Lena Headey dreamed of a Cersei-Arya showdown on Game of Thrones

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 20: Actors Lena Headey (L) and Maisie Williams attend the 67th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 20, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 20: Actors Lena Headey (L) and Maisie Williams attend the 67th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 20, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images) /

We all remember how Game of Thrones ended (and how the public reacted). Daenerys burned King’s Landing, Jon Snow kills Daenerys Targaryen, and Cersei and Jaime Lannister died buried under the collapsing Red Keep. The ending inspired a lot of passionate reactions online, and many couldn’t help but wonder how things might have been different if that plot point or that storyline had been changed.

The cast members were no different. Before the ending, they all had their ideas about how the series might wrap up. That includes Lena Headey, who played Cersei.

In a recent interview, The Hollywood Reporter’s James Hibberd asked Headey if she had thought of an “ideal storyline” for her character, and what it would have been. “I’m think all of us did, to be honest, because you start trying to write the story yourself,” she said. “And [Arya Stark actress Maisie Williams] and I would fantasize about a Cersei and Arya showdown; that she would come back as Jaime. That was our dream. But they made different choices.”

Lena Headeys gets why Game of Thrones ended how it did, but did have a moment of “Why?”

Arya kills Jaime, takes his face and tries to kill Cersei? I could see that working. Although I also liked Arya Stark taking the Hound’s advice and giving up on her quest for vengeance. One door closes and another opens, narratively speaking.

But as Headey said, showrunners Benioff and Weiss made the choices they made, working as they were under massive pressure to get everything just right. “I think in hindsight, everybody understands that,” Headey said. “You’re in it, and you’ve been so invested, there’s a moment of, ‘Why?’ But I absolutely get it.”

With Game of Thrones now in the rearview mirror, Headey has moved on to other projects, and doesn’t miss the show itself. “I miss the people — because you fall in love with people, and you create these family units. So that takes a little while to go though. There’s a weird grief from those relationships. But I don’t miss it. We did it. We put everything into it. It changed everyone’s f**king world, and we’ll always have it.”

Lena Headey hasn’t watched House of the Dragon

As for those other projects, there’s a lot. Headey will headline the new sci-fi series Beacon 23 on MGM+ starting November 12. She’s also directing a movie of her own: The Trap, about psychological drama about a solitary woman who meets a mysterious young drifter (James Nelson Joyce).

The main character of the movie is played by none other than Michelle Fairley, who played Catelyn Stark on Game of Thrones. “We are great mates,” Headey said. “I hunted her down, made her drink with me, and we’ve got a lovely friendship. I used to watch Michelle and she’s such a f**king beautiful actress, and I love her face. So I wrote this with her in mind. I wanted to be able to do all the things.”

As for how it feels to be behind the camera rather than in front of it, Headey describes it as “f**king heaven.” Directing is something Headey has wanted to do for a long time. “It’s just so much better.” As an actor herself, obviously she has insights when it comes to getting good performances out of her players:

"That was the most easy. I love it because it is creating space for people to be vulnerable. I work with actors as an actor. I study what people do, and I know when you’re not giving what you can, or being lazy, or just not in the space that day. So I believe there is a way of talking to actors that will elicit something else. And I think every actor’s got a fucking rocking performance in them, they just need the words and a story that will serve them. But maybe you have to ask them."

This busy schedule doesn’t leave much time for Headey to watch, say, HBO’s Game of Thrones prequel series House of the Dragon. She thinks that would be “too weird.”

Next. Jacob Anderson was “tired” by the end of Game of Thrones, didn’t act for a while after. dark

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