The Way Lena Headey Talks About Her Game of Thrones Double Will Only Make You Love Her More


In a new interview, Lena Headey talks a bit about what’s happening at the outset of Game of Thrones 6th season, specifically, between Cersei and her brotherlover, Jaimie (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). The best part of the read has nothing to do with what’s upcoming though; instead, you’ll be taken in by her comments about last season’s walk of shame, and particularly, her admiration and protection of fellow actress, Rebecca Van Cleave.

It’s a tough f–king job and she’s very smart. Another thing I want to say: People [assume] I picked Rebecca. Like I was in the casting and picked a hot body. Like I demanded to have a hot body. In reality, I said, ‘If somebody will do this, I’ll have no choice about it. Whatever you decide.’ I had no judgment in that or desire to be involved. I just want to clear that up. Because as a woman, that drives me mad; the thought I’m like, ‘Nope! Nope!’ [and dismissing nude women] in a room. I genuinely wouldn’t. Because none of it is about vanity for me — none of it — otherwise I couldn’t do it. It would be a hindrance.”

I love that Lena flat out addressed the notion that she would chose her own double, which doesn’t seem like something anyone would want to have to do (never mind that even the notion is so uncomfortable); hopefully that job fell under the realm of the casting people alone.

Headey was also queried about some of the negative reactions she’d received when people found out Cleave — her body double –handled Cersei’s nudity. Her response is thoughtful and revealing.

It was really a bit shocking. I’ve done nudity. I’m not averse to it. But I know I’m a very emotional actor and I get really driven by that. In order to do my job, I allow myself to be really vulnerable. I don’t know any other way to do my job. Things really affect me. And the thought of being naked for three days and trying to contain her in the way she would be I think I would feel very angry. I didn’t want to be angry. I don’t think Cersei would be angry. I did what I thought she would do, emotionally. And wonderful Rebecca [Van Cleave, Headey’s stand-in] was able to contain herself and be naked. She found it very difficult, obviously. It’s not a natural thing to do. I film every year and I have kids and they know me now and [being naked in the scene] was just too much on top of that. So yeah, people that get it thought it was great. I didn’t phone it in; I was actually there for three days with Rebecca.”

Getting so deeply inside Cersei’s headspace is a huge part of the reason we adore Lena in this role, and no one who saw that scene and all the emotions playing across Cersei’s face could think the actress wasn’t all in. The nudity wasn’t for us; it was to highlight Cersei’s plight — her vulnerability — and frankly, that’s not visible in a pair of tits. But, Headey made sure we knew just how vulnerable Van Cleave had to make herself to help portray Cersei, and for that we love her even more.

Now, go read the rest of the short interview over at EW,  and help calm my nerves about the possibility of another funereal sex scene — “And then it gets all fucked up.”


Cindy Davis

Cindy Davis has been writing about the entertainment industry for ​over ten years, and is the ​Editor-in-Chief at Oohlo, where she muses over television, movies, and pop culture. Previous Senior News Editor at Pajiba, and published at BUST.

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