Interview with Oona Chaplin

As readers and fans of the book series, we know what to expect from the story before it plays out on screen. We are anticipating each twist and turn, each character reveal and each epic moment. We watch not so much to find out what happens, but to see how it happens. That is not the case with the character played by our latest interviewee.

Oona Castilla Chaplin. Born in 1986 in Spain. Her mother is Charlie Chaplin’s daughter, actresses Geraldine Chaplin, and her father is Chilean cinematographer Patricio Castilla. She was raised in Spain and Switzerland but studied art history and dance at the boarding school Gordonstoun in Scotland. Upon graduating from there, she was accepted into the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.

With her family history, it’s no wonder Oona was a born performer. In addition to acting, she is also an accomplished dancer and a lover of music. You can see some of her dance moves in a series of fun and sexy music videos she made with her cousin in Spain.

But it looks like acting is where she will make her mark, just like her mother and grandfather before her. Her first role in a major production was a part in the 2008 James Bond film Quantum of Solace. (Fun fact: Her mother had appeared in the 1967 version of Casino Royale, making them, as far as I can tell, the first mother-daughter combo to appear in the Bond films.) From there she was cast as the lead in the Italian horror film Imago Mortis and appeared in various other films and TV series’. Her biggest role to date was appearing as Marnie Madden in the BBC period-drama The Hour.

That brings us to Game of Thrones. From the moment her casting was announced, there were questions. HBO refused to provide a last name for the role, listing it only as ‘Jeyne’. Most speculated that the role was that of Jeyne Westerling, but her look didn’t match Jeyne’s from the book and HBO’s refusal to provide the surname was puzzling. Once the show began filming Oona’s scenes, we heard whispers from the set that seemed to indicate she wasn’t Jeyne Westerling, in fact, she may not be a ‘Jeyne’ at all. Needless to say, our curiosity only increased as the mystery surrounding her character deepened.

So when we had the opportunity recently to interview Oona Chaplin about her role in Game of Thrones, we jumped at the chance. With this Sunday’s episode being her debut on the show, we think it’s a good time to bring you our exclusive interview with Oona Chaplin. And, of course, we had to open the questioning asking for details on her character…

Winter Is Coming: Can you give us a description of your character, Jeyne? What is her role in the story?

Oona Chaplin: I can’t give too much away or it’ll spoil the fun, but I’ll tell you she’s a tough cookie covered in mud who catches the eye of a young wolf….

WiC: There has been much speculation over whether your character is the Jeyne Westerling of the novels or a different Jeyne altogether. Or maybe something in-between. Are you able to shed some light on this?

OC: I can’t I’m afraid but it’s gonna be quite unexpected. I think how my story line was adapted has given us much more scope to play the truth. Dan and David have really gone to town this season, and I imagine George is very happy. I hope you’ll be happy too.

WiC: What was the audition process like? How did you find out about the part and then ultimately land it?

OC: My lovely agent put me up for it, and I auditioned twice, both times suspecting I’d never get it because I’m not white and as in most shows I thought they would want an English rose. But these guys are braver and cleverer than that and for whatever reason they thought I was right for the part. I let out the wildest scream when I got the call.

WiC: Had you heard of the show before auditioning? And have you read the books, either before or since?

OC: Hell yes I’d heard of the show! Massive fan right here. And I’ve just finished the 3rd book, brilliant. So much juice….

WiC: What was it like joining the cast for season two and being the “new girl” on set?

OC: Daunting for about 5 minutes and then the wonderful cast and crew made me forget all about it. So welcoming. It’s a very loving family we’ve created up there, I’ve made some friends for life.

WiC: How did filming on this compare to working on a big Hollywood production like Quantum of Solace?

OC: It felt just as big, and just as efficient. Baring in mind I’m a talking extra in Quantum, and I didn’t taste the full enchilada of life on set, I can say the care and love that the GoT team have for every detail was equal to what I saw on 007, and probably not as well paid.

WiC: In most fantasy stories, the women get a backseat to the men and are oftentimes stuck in cliched “damsel-in-distress” roles, yet Game of Thrones seems to buck that trend. What are your thoughts on the women in Thrones and, specifically, how does your character break the mold?

OC: I think women’s characters have suffered in the history of all genres. We’re either whores or virgins. Even though season 1 was mostly guys, the great thing about this series is that all the characters feel real and 3-dimensional. No room for stereotypes in this game. And in season 2 we’re introduced to some really solid females. My character is unafraid and clever, with a big heart and bigger balls.

WiC: Who are your favorite characters in the story (other than Jeyne, of course)?

OC: Arya is wicked. I think she’s my favorite. But everyone has their moment.

WiC: What do you think about season two, so far?

OC: Out of this world. It feels like season 1 was introducing characters and presenting the world, and this season the audience is suctioned straight into war with all the politics and passions and long nights and tears it has to offer. Can’t wait to see the rest!

WiC: Thank you so much for answering my questions.

OC: Thank you very much!

Winter Is Coming: Not much to add other than Oona seems like a fun-loving gal. Someone you would totally want to hang out with. Be sure to follow her on Twitter, @OonaCC. And, of course, you can catch her on Game of Thrones in this week’s episode.

(Where none of your questions about her character will be answered!)

Thanks again, Oona!