Emilia Clarke has been jetting around the world of late, stomping red carpets, promoting Solo: A Star Wars Story and trying her hardest not to give anything away about Game of Thrones season 8. Speaking on The Hollywood Reporter’s “Awards Chatter” podcast, she gave her most extensive interview yet, covering everything from her childhood to the time she won the role of Daenerys Targaryen by doing the Funky Chicken in her final audition to making some pretty interesting claims about what’s to come. You can listen to the full, hour-long interview here. We’ll hit the highlights below.
The most interesting part of the interview probably comes near the end, when Clarke revives the idea that the Game of Thrones producers are filming multiple endings to the series, something that she’s suggested before. It should be noted that other cast members, like Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister), don’t buy into this idea, but Clarke thinks otherwise.
I don’t know that I even [know the ending] now. I’m being serious. I think they’re filming a bunch of stuff and they’re not telling us. I’m being serious. I’m being deadly serious. I think that they don’t even trust us. There’s lots of different endings that could happen; I think we’re doing all of them and we aren’t being told which is actually what’s going to happen.
Are Clarke’s claims credible? It’s impossible to know, but she is serious. I feel like she wanted us to know that.
— dragon’s daughter (@yeahclarke) May 17, 2018
Beyond that, Clarke dropped a lot of knowledge about her career and her early days on the show. I was surprised to hear how nervous she was when filming the first season, back when she wasn’t even sure people would watch. “I literally would just wake up and try and survive the day. Like, literally, ‘don’t let them know that they shouldn’t have hired you, cause they shouldn’t have hired you.'” During those days, she carried around the first book in the Song of Ice and Fire series “like a talisman” and read it constantly, unsure if she would even last until the shoot was over.
That didn’t last, obviously. Game of Thrones blew up, and Clarke became something close to a household name. Happily, she says her daily life didn’t change much, thanks in no small part to the fact that she, unlike Daenerys, is a brunette. “I had brown hair, so one really knew who I was, so I would take Kit [Harington’s] picture a lot.”
Another subject she touched on was nudity, something she’s had to do for Thrones:
Was it daunting for me, as a 23-year-old, to do it? Yes, 100 percent. Hell, it’s daunting anyway. But I must admit, having done it, I believe people care more for her as a character, because they’ve seen her suffer, so there’s that. But the volume of interest in the fact that I took my clothes off is astonishing to me. Emilia Clarke didn’t go up on stage and go, ‘What up guys? Check out these guys [her breasts]!’ That didn’t happen. I took on a character, and the character had things happen to her.
It sounds like Clarke isn’t annoyed by the nudity itself — she praises the show for taking brave risks — but is a little irritated that people ask about it so much. “It is something that I get asked more than any other question…Daenerys is so much more than someone who had scenes where that happened. It’s so much more. She as a character is so powerful within the show, so it gets really, like, ‘Why don’t we talk about that?'”
Moving on to her career as a whole, Clarke discussed how her experience playing Daenerys, a role that requires her to act convincingly opposite tennis balls and in front of green screens, prepared her for special effects blockbusters like Solo. (She also says that she’s signed on for multiple Star Wars movies, although that doesn’t necessarily mean that she’ll appear in any beyond Solo. “I think it’s like an insurance thing.”) I was also interested to hear about the movies she tried to get but didn’t (the robot from Ex Machina) and roles that she was asked to play but turned down (Anastasia Steele in the Fifty Shades of Grey movie…wouldn’t that have been different?)
As for what we can expect from Solo, Clarke is as disciplined about not giving away spoilers for that movie as she is not giving them away for Game of Thrones. “It will entail some seriously good movie-watching. It’s a Star Wars movie.”
Circling back to Thrones, Clarke talked about some of her favorite scenes from the show, and teased a little of what’s coming while she was at it:
The most spine-tingling moment I’ve had, aside from the ones that are happening right now, I think is the moment when I let ’em know that the game’s up on me not understanding Valyrian. That was truly the beginning of a lot…It was playful, and at the same time, it was deadly.
Other contenders are her first meeting with Tyrion Lannister and the scene from the end of “Mhysa” where Daenerys crowd-surfs with the help of the recently freed Yunkish slaves. “But yeah, my god what’s coming up…I just wanna let you know it’s gon’ be good!”
Finally, Clarke weighed in on how she’s feeling now that Game of Thrones is coming to an end. “The transformation of Daenerys is the greatest gift I’ve been given as an actor, 100 percent.”
It’s incredibly emotional, this final season that we’re in the middle of right now…I truly get really emotional just even thinking about the end of the show [because] what you’re leaving behind is…everything that has happened to me in my 20s — 10 years of my life was woven within the show. You know, there’s so much that’s happened to all of us, and you’re walking away from all of that…Daenerys is so much a part of who I am, and I am so much a part of who she is, so it’s this incredibly frightening thing to walk away from — but at the same time, unbelievably exciting.
We’re sure that whatever Clarke does, she’ll find success. Let’s end with his video of her playing with an action figured modeled off her characters from Solo:
Now that’s talent.