… And then there were only two. The last (but not least) interview of the day took place on the tail-end of our interview with Kit Harington, John Bradley, and Rose Leslie, the late afternoon of Tuesday the 19th of March, 2013, at the super-lux Beverly Hills Four Seasons.
As ever I was joined by Terri Schwartz of Zap2it fame, as well as 3 others, including the always-inventive Paulette from XFinity TV. Sophie and Natalie came in and, well…
There’s no other way to say it: THEY’RE GORGEOUS.
Sophie, as most of you can tell, has grown taller. Sansa has grown too (because duh), and Sophie seems to play off of that trait when she’s onscreen by hunching her shoulders forward and slouching so as to make herself (one imagines) appear smaller. I was briefly worried Sophie might develop the same “tall girl affliction” Sansa demonstrates, where certain girls of a certain height start to develop this rather bad posture over time in the act of trying not to stand out in a crowd. And I can tell you this: Sophie does not mind standing out.
It’s been two years since I’ve seen Sophie Turner in person, and those two years have done remarkable things. She has transformed from the slightly-awkward but sweet girl I met at TitanCon in Belfast into an immensely beautiful and confident young woman with the near-perfect posture of Michelle Fairly (though I imagine there’s a much greater chance she gets that from her gorgeous mother Sally). You’re forced to remind yourself that this statuesque beauty is indeed seventeen and not twenty; her countenance and maturity are just that remarkable. And when Sophie holds court, surrounded by fans or reporters (many times they’re both) she’s Queen Sansa, First of her Name. And she takes all questions head on without blinking. Haters beware!
And Natalie? If you think she’s stunning onscreen you should see her in real life. Her blond hair is artfully tousled, slightly chaotic yet somehow falling in perfect waves to her shoulders—what some might term “bedroom hair.” And though highlighted, blond is her natural color… which to some might seem odd, seeing as she’s seemingly more well-known for playing brunettes, like Margaery Tyrell and Anne Boleyn on The Tudors. I call it the Benedict Cumberbatch quirk. (Though to be fair, I think Natalie has been rocking brunette long before there were Cumberbunnies on this earth, so if nothing else, she is more the pioneer.) She wears a lovely silk blouse with a rather mesmerizing blue snake-scale print.
She likes to say “insofar,” which is a word I rarely hear uttered from an American mouth, and comes off as passionate and—like Margaery Tyrell—quite the pragmatist. She seems to be extremely intrigued by Margaery and is outwardly loyal to House Tyrell. One is left with the feeling that supporters of Highgarden would hold a special place in her heart.
Fire And Blood: Soph!
Sophie Turner: What up! [insert a grin and a gangsta gesture]
FaB: Wow, great to see you again. It’s been two years.
Sophie: How are you?
FaB: I’m great. I’m here!
Sophie: You are!
Natalie Dormer: Oh, what about me?
FaB: Hey, I have questions for you too, young lady. Quality Winter-Is-Coming questions. [to Sophie] As you know, we only ask quality questions.
Natalie: Tell us who you all are. With which House are you all affiliated?
FaB proudly displays his Lannister shirt.
Natalie: [judging me a little] Ooooo.
One reporter shows two temporary tattoos on her wrists—one Stark, one Frey. Bend your mind around that!
Terri Schwartz: I was just telling everybody who wasn’t at last night’s screening about the amazing Margaery scenes. First the orphanage, then the dinner scene… they’re just out of this world, they’re so spot-on.
Natalie: Ahh! Thank you!
Terri: And those are things we as fans of the books haven’t seen…
Natalie: We fleshed it out a bit, eh?
Terri: Yeah. So how was it, being able to show us all a little bit more of Margaery?
Natalie: It’s really exciting to do that. And that was always David and Dan’s plan. When I took the role, when I spoke to them about it, they were like, “You know, so this is what we’re thinking… We’re going to flesh her out a bit… and cut out all the other important PoV characters.” [She’s kidding! Insert cheeky grin.] So yeah, that was great. And it was really good this season to join the family proper, you know? Really get in there and… [smiles at Sophie] …hang out with you.
There are giggles all around.
Terri: Well what I liked was, in the books you’re like, “Does [Margaery] know what’s going on here?” But in the show we know she does. Like she tells Littlefinger “I want to be THE Queen,” she has that whole exchange with Renly that I love… But the other characters in the show don’t know that, so what was it like playing that?
Natalie: She’s a pragmatist. And what Soph and I have been trying to do is… Margaery is trying to take Sansa under her wing a bit, to teach her to be a little more practical. Obviously there are strings attached to the friendship, but I think she genuinely cares. Margaery identifies with Sansa, because they both come from very close families. It’s referenced, mentioned that the Tyrells are a close family. And we all know how close the Starks are. So I think Margaery looks at Sansa and genuinely gets a shiver down her spine about the horrible things that have happened to her. And insofar as the Tyrells are in the house! We’ve come to take on the Lannisters. We’ve moved in.
Sophie: [cackling with glee] Yes!
Natalie: So obviously we want to win Sansa over to our side. We want her to be on our team. So… yeah, it’s a little bit of manipulation, but it’s sincere too! It’s not, like… all Machiavellian. Twisting the mustache. It’s like… it’s practical, and it’s sincere in that way.
Terri asks Sophie how hard is it to trust anyone any more…
Sophie: Well, after Ned’s death… it’s not easy! But Sansa realizes that you do have to kind of be a solo player and form alliances in order to get to where you want. But she’s still a little bit naive, and she still hopes that she can be a normal 14-year old with friends. So she forms this kind of alliance/friendship with Shae. And she’s learning to trust people, but she’s learning to trust the right people. She believes that she’s not going to trust Littlefinger—you know, the really bad ones. So she’s making better choices than she would have if Ned perhaps wouldn’t have… [she leaves it hanging] But she’s learning her way. And I think Margaery realizes that.
FaB: Tell us a little bit about—well, without getting too spoilery—about Diana Rigg, who is just fantastic. We know—or anyone who has watched her over the years knows how good she is—but how well she was able to be meshed in with you guys’s scenes. I mean, here’s one more Tyrell to add. “Growing Strong” indeed, they’re adding one every season, right? So you’re really growing, and growing… and maybe Mace [Tyrell] next year!
Natalie: Yeah! Giving us Mace would be good.
Terri: Is she wicked?
Natalie: [to Sophie] What did you say in the other room? “When you’ve met Diana Rigg…”
Natalie and Sophie together: “…you know you’ve met Diana Rigg.”
Their knowing look has the room laughing—and even more intrigued!
Natalie: Well of course you know she’s Dame Diana Rigg. So she’s a legend. And a veteran. And insofar as Margaery is the protege of the Queen of Thorns. She is learning directly from her grandmother. As a younger actresses, it was kind of, you know, N.A.R. “No Acting Required.” It’s Sophie and I watching Diana at work, and there’s kind of a nice parallel there between Margaery and Sansa watching Olenna at work. Because she’s Been There—Done That—Got The Tee-Shirt. She comes straight in with so much wisdom and authority, doesn’t she.
Sophie: Yeah. She also knows her character by heart. But she kind of is her character at the same time. There are a lot of parallels between Olenna and Diana.
Natalie: It’s really fun to watch the Tyrells line up against the Lannisters. And to watch like… the matriarchal power of Olenna, Diana Rigg. It’s on par with like Charles Dance as Tywin Lannister. It’s a real chess play happening within King’s Landing. And we’re just… pawns. Lesser players. Aren’t we, really.
Sophie: [amidst many chuckles] Yes.
Natalie: Because if it wasn’t for the internal politics going on, Sansa and Margaery would probably sincerely be genuinely friends. Two young girls quite like each other. It’s just the circumstances that sort of put them in this very ambiguous, sort of difficult situation.
Sophie: It’s a forced friendship. [Sophie has an odd little raised eyebrow and an ironic-looking smile] Take it or leave it.
Natalie: [a faux gasp!] I was totally sincere!
And now they’re regarding one another as TRUE ENEMIES. (Not really. But again—this cast loves nothing better than to take the piss out of one another.) The hair-tossing and sniffing is getting out of hand! We’re all laughing.
Sophie: I mean, apologies, but… [SHRUG!]
More looks. Hackles being raised!!
(I wish I had video of this. It’s nearly a Joan Collins-on-Dynasty situation.)
Natalie: It’s like this on set too.
Sophie: Ahh! Conleth! He doesn’t let anyone get through any scenes!
Sophie and Natalie together—AGAIN: “He’s the worst.”
(Do they practice this stuff??)
FaB: Well then let me ask you something! Did Olenna survive a scene with Conleth Hill? Because she is a bit of a firecracker.
Natalie: [leaning forward on one elbow, chin placed squarely in her palm] How do you know Conleth Hill and Diana Rigg have done a scene together?
FaB: [wilting a little under her piercing gaze] I… we have… little birds?
FaB: That’s a very good question to answer a question!
Sophie: Winter-is-Coming have spies!.
Yes, the other reporters are looking at me perhaps strangely. What? Spies are legal.
Natalie: Spiders are whispering. Well that’s very King’s Landing, isn’t it.
FaB: No more about spies. I have some non-Game of Thrones question for Natalie. Someone sent me an e-mail and said, “Natalie, you were criminally underused in Captain America. What happened?”
Natalie: Well that is the role I went in for.
FaB: Yes, sorry! Your American accent was spot-on, however! I loved it.
Natalie: [somewhat wryly] Thank you very much.
Sophie: [patting her arm] Well done, love.
Terri asks if there’s some sort of political war [theme] surrounding season 3, and whether or not they get to be a part of it, now that everyone seems to be coming to King’s Landing…
Natalie: It’s not just about King’s Landing, insofar as talking about the whole season. There’s a lot of big epic shocks, isn’t there?
Natalie: A lot of big events.
Sophie: As you were saying in the other room, it’s really a pivotal season, to be honest. Even if [this show] goes to 8 or 9 seasons, season three would be the one to pick out and say, “Watch this.”
Natalie: You would look back and go, “This is the pivotal season.” Dave and Dan wanted to get to this point. They felt very attached to the idea of getting to season 3. Right?
Natalie: And when you see the season, it’s completely understandable why. There’s a lot of reversal of fortune. And it’s people’s… Well, there’s a real steep learning curve. Well, not learning curve, but a lot of people have a lot of really traumatic things happen to them.
Sophie: It’s a lovely season.
The look on Sophie’s face is probably best described as faux naive. She’s getting more laughs the longer she holds it.
Terri: If this is the one they wanted to get to, do you think… well, if season 4, for whatever the reason…. if the world ended…
Everyone is basically amused by the thought that someone might think there will BE no season 4. That in and of itself garners laughs.
Terri: If no one gets to see [season 4] would season 3 be able to work on its own? Or would we have to have something come afterwards?
Natalie: Well you’d have to ask David and Dan that. I’m sure the fans would disagree with you, because they’d be like, “Hey, there’s four more books to be coming.” No, the story has to continue, doesn’t it? If we did all those seasons, all the books, this is like the end of the first act. The way some movies and plays have three acts. This is the massive finale of the first act.
We all agree! (Though I’ve always seen it as the end of the second act, Ned’s death and the dragons’ birth being the end of the first. But then of course that leaves a GIGANTIC third act. But these are quibbles to be had between fans!)
FaB: They’d have to have a fourth season anyway, because [this season] takes us only halfway through the third book.
Natalie: Yes, that, and plus I would love to continue playing Margaery!
Paulette asks Sophie if she can talk about Sansa, and whether or not she’s going to continue being a victim or if she will be more of an actual player…
Sophie: Sansa, after the end of season 2 when she realizes that she is still Joffrey’s prisoner, kind of [feels like] she has no purpose now. Because she thought, “I’ll become queen and then I ail have the power to reunite myself with my family.” And now she’s a prisoner on her own with no kind of purpose. So in this season she feels like she has to be very independent in order to get back to see her family. So she has to become one of the players of the game rather than one of the pawns of other people’s games. And she will refuse to let herself be used and she becomes kind of an initiator to get home, hopefully. So I think you’ll see her become a lot more independent. [pause] Fo’ sho’.
Sophie is asked whether or not she’s seeing more sympathy from fans, since, in the beginning, her character was “sort of reviled.”
Natalie: This is news to me! I’ve been hearing this as we’ve been going room to room, and…
Sophie: It’s true!
Natalie: [incredulous] Did you get a lot of slack when you first started out?
Insert Sophie SAD FACE…
Natalie: Did you? Aww!
Sophie: It’s okay.
FaB: Yeah, but Sophie’s taken [any Sansa criticism] all head on, chin up, bravely the entire way.
Natalie: Really! Oh, well… [to Sophie] I’m proud of you! [pause] That was so patronizing. So Margaery Tyrell.
FaB tries to follow with a question for Sophie, and is then (gently) reminded that Sophie hasn’t even had the chance to answer the first one!
Sophie: I think that people are definitely starting to like her a little bit more. But because she’s such a realistic character, there’s always going to be controversy surrounding her. Because, I mean, that’s how it is in everyday life. But the thing that frustrates me is the fact that if you were a 13 year old girl thrust into the exact same situation, I could almost guarantee that you would make the same decisions that she makes. Because she makes them for a reason.
YOU GO SOPH. She’s bringin’ it with passion. Sophie has a keen understanding of her character and is putting all Sansa haters to bed. Good… NIGHT.
Sophie: But I think people are kind of warming to her because, as I said, she’s not going to let people use her. She’s just not going to be so naive as to let people do that [any more]. And she does kind of become a player of her own. And that’s what I think will—hopefully—attract the viewers to her. Or at least have them think more kindly of her.
Terri mentions the scene in season 1 where Sansa nearly pushes Joffrey off the bridge, noting it as a moment of strength and a point where Sansa starts to consider taking things into her own hands, and asks if it is addressed at all further down the line…
Sophie: The thing is, about Sansa, that was… Well, some people see that as a moment of strength. But I see it as a moment of weakness. Because Sansa’s game is that she never loses face, and she will always keep this facade, and she won’t let her emotions be exposed in such a way as to show she could be potentially dangerous to [the Lannisters] in a way. Because [at that point] she was kind of loopy! But I think she in many ways is an underdog, and I felt like she wants to maintain that. Because she knows that was a moment of weakness for her, and I think she’s learning from people like Littlerfinger that she has to very much please the people that she wants to please, and do all the manipulating behind their backs to survive and, in the end, to hopefully win this game.
Wow. If there was ever any doubt that Sophie doesn’t completely understand her character, you can erase those thoughts right now. That’s about as on-point as anything I’ve read about Sansa, and I love that she wasn’t baited into simply agreeing with the interviewer (as a lot of actors seem to reflexively do); Sophie has a personal relationship with this character and knows her inside and out.
Oh, and I LOVE that Soph wants Sansa to win “the game.” (Tyrion said it best: “Lady Stark, you may survive us all.” And I fervently believe it.)
FaB remarks on the wonderful scene at the end of season 2 where Margaery is accepted as Joffrey’s new betrothed, and how Sansa is able to keep a stoic face up until she’s out of eyesight… and then all this joy and relief radiates from her. FaB wants to know how she got into the mindset of shooting that rare joyous Sansa scene!
Sophie: Good question! I think because I am so close with Sansa, I feel that she is my first love, in a way, and it’s weird, but she kind of is. And I feel the frustration that she feels when she hasn’t smiled throughout the whole [season], and she has this huge relief… I mean, she is kind of being suffocated by Joffrey in court, and she finally thinks that she is free of the court, free of Joffrey, and you just have to totally get into the mindset of it. And it was nice to have a little smile, finally, and I can tell you I’d been anticipating that scene for the whole second season, once I read the script! Like, “Maybe I’ll really get to smile this season!”
We’re all somewhere between laughing and in awe (and in “awww”) right now. Sophie is holding court, ladies and gentlemen. Haters to the left!
Sophie: And just being Sansa, I’d just been so looking forward to that one moment, where she can think, “I am finally free of Joffrey,” so it was the anticipation of finally being able to have that just… that split second was enough. It felt amazing.
FaB: It was amazing. Thank you.
Terri: I’m a little bummed we’re not going to get any more “Sansa and the Hound” scenes, because I love that relationship between those two characters. I find them very intriguing.
FaB: It seems every question I get [for Sophie] has something to do about the Hound. I’m kind of like, “People, he’s gone [from King’s Landing], move on!”
Terri: Well there was a deleted scene that was released. The one where he is drunk and confronts Sansa in the hallway.
Terri: Were you as disappointed as I was that that didn’t make it into the show? Or… can you talk a little bit about the relationship between those two characters?Sophie: The relationship between Sansa and the Hound is this very kind of… beautiful relationship, where this imposing figure, who, anyone who comes across him is absolutely petrified of him. Yet he finds this one young girl that he can kind of be sensitive around, and feel like he can protect her. And it’s not… I personally don’t think it’s love. I don’t think he has these feelings for her. I think it’s just because he’s been through the same thing—the same thing with Joffrey that he went through with his brother [Gregor]—he can identify with his younger self, and therefore he can identify with Sansa. And it’s beautiful in the way that there’s no one else that… I mean, even as a knight, you’d think he’d identify with a knight, but he identifies instead with this young girl. And it’s so bizarre, this relationship, that you would never put those two together because she frustrates him. But I mean… I loved all the scenes that I had with Rory [McCann]. But I think that because it was was a relationship which translated so well to screen, that perhaps the show runners, if they wanted to, they could take it in a totally different direction.
Most of us perk! A “different direction” sounds intriguing!
Sophie: So I think deleted scenes happen for a reason. Not just because you’ve run out of screen time. I think, or I hope, that something might happen between them in the future. We’ll see if it goes to like… season ten.
Wow. That was wonderfully eloquent. Okay. So how many people want to see a Sansa/Hound reunion way down the line? I certainly do!
Come on, George!
FaB: Speaking of deleted scenes, Natalie had a great one with Finn. I was like, “Damn, why didn’t they put that in?”
FaB: I understand if they ran out of room, but…
Natalie: Well they’re cheating now, aren’t they? Having all these extra features. So you don’t really lose them.
I like that Natalie intends for deleted scenes to be part of her personal canon! FaB goes to ask Natalie a question about yellow roses, as he once read an article in which she stated she has a personal affinity to yellow roses…
… But the HBO people swoop in and announce the interview is ended! Nooooooo!
Natalie: Darn! Well, I wouldn’t want to detract from Soph’s eloquent answer [with my own story], so let’s end on that, shall we? That tale can be for next time!
Next time it is, Nat! It’s a date!
Natalie: More Tyrell in the future. Growing strong.
Growing strong indeed.
Leaving, I got another picture with Soph…
We briefly talked about the fact that she and Maisie and Isaac were all mobbed at the Los Angeles airport when they arrived. She had no idea how so many people found out where and when she was arriving (WE didn’t even know), but she said the experience was “crazy.”
Get used to it, kid. And just be glad TMZ wasn’t there.
And that wraps it. A wonderful day followed by a wonderful week of me transcribing from my little digital recorder.
Tomorrow, people! TOMORROW!
(You’re only a daaaaaay a-waaaaaaaaaaay~)