Emilia Clarke: “I’m going to be victorious”She tames dragons as Game of Thrones’ eye-catching queen, and now the lusty Londoner is taking on the Terminator.
Daenerys Targaryen, Emilia Clarke’s much-loved character in Game of Thrones, was sold into marriage but then rose through the ranks to command a colossal army and become empress-to-be. Even in the turbulent universe of one of the world’s biggest, most talked-about TV drama series, this is a striking career trajectory. Now, the 28-year- old actor is on her own fast track to the top as she prepares to take on the role of Sarah Connor in Terminator: Genisys.
THE RED BULLETIN: You’re now in the fifth season of Game of Thrones. Do you think you’ll win in the end?
EMILIA CLARKE: Of course! I’m always saying to my co-stars, “Relax. I’m the one who’ll end up on the throne.”
As well as taming dragons as Daenerys, you’re playing Sarah Connor in Terminator: Genisys. Do you consider yourself a bad-ass?
I’m a very long way from the characters I play. In day-to-day life I don’t get the chance to tame dragons or fight robots. I think that the hardest and most bad-ass thing you can do as a woman is just accept who you are and be happy with it.
So, you’ve never tamed dragons. Have you tamed any other animals?
Cockroaches. Many moons ago, I lived in a house that had cockroaches, and funnily enough I befriended one of them. I named him Bob.
What became of him?
He’s no longer with us.
Daenerys went from naive girl to accomplished ruler in the same way you’ve gone from roach tamer to star …
I like the parallel. Before Game of Thrones, I was working in catering—that’s when I was living with Bob.
Have you retained your catering skills? Could you whip up some lunch now?
I could serve up some really good champagne and canapés.
How did you make the break into acting?
I’m convinced that if you want something long enough and you focus on it and don’t give up, it’ll happen. Ever since the age of tiny, I’ve wanted to be an actress. I appeared in the musical Showboat when I was 3, and it was like I’d been hypnotized. Not long after that I saw Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady and became completely obsessed with her. I watched that film every day for two years.
How did an unknown actor like yourself land a part in Game of Thrones?
I’d finished drama school the year before and I auditioned or the part. I didn’t have much experience, but I had plenty of enthusiasm. And they took me. It was a bit of a whirlwind, really, like an amazing fairy tale.
Was your first time on set a daunting experience?
Learning the language of the Dothraki was difficult, for starters. And while I’m a huge fan of horse riding, doing it on camera is a totally different matter. I get really scared in those kind of situations. When you’ve got so much equipment around the set that could easily get destroyed by an idiot actor on a horse, it’s worrying. And, of course, in my first scene I was riding a horse, which made it even more intimidating. There was a huge amount of fear leading up to it, but it was the same as having nerves in the wings of a theater before you go on stage. As soon as you set foot on set and then you’re on camera, it’s all about the character and everything else dissolves into the background. You do what you’re there to do.
Have you learned what it takes to be a heroine?
You have to be determined and unselfish in the pursuit of your goals. You can’t get wrapped up in your vanity.
If you ruled for real, what would be your first decision for the common good?
Hmmm. I’d probably halve the price of beer.