Lena Headey: That Game of Thrones waterboarding scene was a “really tough day”

Image: Game of Thrones/HBO
Image: Game of Thrones/HBO /

Hannah Waddingham described Septa Unella’s Game of Thrones torture scene as “the worst day of my life.” Now, Lena Headey (Cersei) says her piece.

At the end of Game of Thrones season 6, Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) gets her revenge on Septa Unella (Hannah Waddingham), who memorably followed a naked Cersei through the streets of King’s Landing yelling “Shame,” by leaving her to the Mountain to do with her what he will. Before that, she has a scene where she unloads on Unella both figuratively and literally, dumping a glass of wind into her face as she talks through her genocidal feelings.

It’s a nasty scene, and suffering through the waterboarding — or wineboarding, in this case — was even harder than it looked. “[D]efinitely, other than childbirth, it was the worst day of my life,” Waddingham said not long ago. “I hadn’t even realized that it definitely gave me claustrophobia around water.”

Now, Headey has weighed in on the scene, confirming that Waddinham indeed “had a really shit time” filming it. While Headey thinks the measures were taken to keep things “authentic,” she admitted to Insider that it was a “really, really tough day.”

"People have different limits. People will go to different places. And some people will be like, ‘I don’t want to f—ing put myself in that position.’ I totally respect whatever your boundaries are, but Hannah was a trooper. That was a long day of prune juice in your face."

That’s basically what Waddingham herself said when she described the experience. “[I]n those moments you have to think, do you serve the piece and get on with it or do you chicken out and go, ‘No, this isn’t what I signed up for, blah, blah, blah?’” she said. “The one thing I kept thinking to myself, ‘The production company aren’t going to let you die, so get on with it, be uncomfortable.’ …As long as you feel like there’s not any genuine threat of something happening, push yourself, be uncomfortable…My whole thing has always been, take people to the absolute nth degree of their emotions and that’s the same thing.”

That said, Headey, at least tried to makes a little easier on Waddingham that day, purposefully not aiming the wine at her face. “I was like, I’m just going to do a light salad dressing drizzle around her nuns wimple.”

You can next see Headey as a mother assassin in Gunpowder Milkshake, out on Netflix on July 14.

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