Interview with Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen)

Interview reproduced from The New York Times website July 2015.

Daenerys-Targaryen-daenerys-targaryen-28965193-994-1498How are you now you’ve finished filming? How are you feeling about the cult that now surrounds “Game of Thrones? I’m fine thank you! I know this sounds silly after six years, but I’m just kind of absorbing the cultural footprint the show seems to be leaving. I don’t get recognized that much so I’ve had the time for it to kind of sink in in a rather lovely way, as opposed to in a kind of Britney Spears, shave-your-hair-off kind of way.

I suspect the hair is part of it, though right? The fact that you’re naturally brunette instead of Khaleesi platinum? That’s exactly it. If I shaved my hair off people would probably recognize me a bit more.

When you were riding the dragon in that one episode, what were you actually doing? It’s one of those silly things where you’re in a green area with burly men kind of making the dragon buck, kind of [makes bedspring sound effect], up and down, and someone’s got a vacuum cleaner in your face for the wind. But it still feels amazing, despite all of the restraints, to film flying away on a dragon. I’ve got chills — it’s just what we’ve been waiting for since they hatched.

Have you begun shooting the next season? We have started shooting. I go to the read-through on Saturday. I have all the information. I can’t say a thing but MY GOD it is so good! The next season’s so [expletive] good, it’s amazing.

Is Jon Snow coming back? I’m not telling you that.

What question do you get more than any other? I get two questions: 1) How long does it take to dye your hair? And 2) Is Jon Snow dead?

Daenerys arrived as a callow youth and evolved into a ruler. What’s different about playing her now versus in the early days? It’s almost an unrecognizable character because of the growth she’s gone through, starting from this timid creature and now getting to play a queen who rides dragons. There was always this feeling of more than meets the eye about her, from the beginning, and it’s been a lovely, slow kind of evolution, bit by bit, stage by stage. Every season she reemerges with even more strength and power and guts, and I just hope that continues.

You just did “Terminator: Genisys.” Was the scale of it on an entirely different level? Well it’s funny. With each season of “Game of Thrones” we’ve just got bigger. The green screen has grown. The studios have grown. The sets have grown. So going on to “Terminator” wasn’t as scary as it would have been if I’d just come from doing independent movies, for example. But yeah, it was pretty epic, with large scale grenade-throwing, fire, blowing-up-ness. With Arnold at the center of it.

How was it to do a “Terminator” film opposite THE Terminator? It was surreal at times and largely quite funny. He knows how to take a joke; he knows how to give one.

Do you have a favorite Arnold memory? Just his comments. If not sure if he’s aware of how perfect his Austrian timing is. And boy does he love the gym. There were a couple of invitations to join him in the gym.

Did you do it? No. I think I would have got killed.

Lena Headey was on “The Sarah Connor Chronicles,” which means that both of you have now played that character. Who should be the next “Thrones” actor to take it on? Oooh Maisie Williams, without a shadow of a doubt. That or Hodor. [Laughs]

It would simplify the dialogue. [Laughs] It totally would, can you imagine? “Come with me if you want to live.” “Hodor.” [Laughs.] I would love to watch that movie.

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