Was Emilia Clarke Manipulated Into Nude Scenes on ‘Game of Thrones’?

Emilia Clarke’s involvement in the hit HBO series, Game of Thrones certainly catapulted her career into a new stratosphere. But, the experience was not without its issues. Playing the role of Daenerys Targaryen was physically and mentally exhausting for the actress, but there were other more insidious things that happened while she was on set as well. In a recent interview, Clarke confessed that she often felt pressured to perform nude scenes that she hadn’t agreed to whilst on the set of Game of Thrones.

Game of Thrones alum Emilia Clarke attends the Golen Globes Ambassador Party
Emilia Clarke | Photo by Leon Bennett/WireImage

Emilia Clarke was pressured into doing nude scenes

Recently, the Last Christmas actress was a guest on the podcast Armchair Expert where she discussed on-screen nudity at length. During the interview, she managed to reveal some pretty unsavory things about her early days on set of Game of Thrones. Clarke confessed that in the early days, people tried to manipulate her into nude scenes last minute by telling her that she’d disappoint fans if she didn’t even do them, despite her never agreeing to them in the first place. “I’m a lot more savvy [now] with what I’m comfortable with, and what I am okay with doing. I’ve had fights on set before where I’m like, ‘No, the sheet stays up’, and they’re like, ‘You don’t wanna disappoint your Game of Thrones fans’. And I’m like, ‘Fu*k you,’” the actress recalled.

Reading the scripts

Clarke also vividly remembers being taken aback with the sheer volume of nudity that was originally requested of her when she first read the scripts for Game of Thrones. “I took the job and then they sent me the scripts and I was reading them, and I was, like, ‘Oh, there’s the catch!’But I’d come fresh from drama school, and I approached [it] as a job – if it’s in the script then it’s clearly needed, this is what this is and I’m gonna make sense of it… Everything’s gonna be cool,” the Last Christmas star shared.

Game of Thrones Season 1 was challenging for the actress

Though she accepted that some of her scenes required nudity, Clarke still felt a sense of confusion and unease. “So I came to terms with that beforehand, but then going in and doing it… I’m floating through this first season and I have no idea what I’m doing, I have no idea what any of this is. I’ve never been on a film set like this before, I’d been on a film set twice before then, and I’m now on a film set completely naked with all of these people, and I don’t know what I’m meant to do and I don’t know what’s expected of me, and I don’t know what you want and I don’t know what I want,” the Game of Thrones alum confessed.

Feelings of unworthiness

Nudity aside, Clarke shared that she didn’t feel worthy of advocating for herself and her needs for a long time. “Regardless of there being nudity or not, I would have spent that first season thinking I’m not worthy of requiring anything, I’m not worthy of needing anything at all… Whatever I’m feeling is wrong, I’m gonna cry in the bathroom and then I’m gonna come back and we’re gonna do the scene and it’s gonna be completely fine,” she shared about her early days at Game of Thrones.

Jason Momoa helped Clarke realize the behavior was not okay

Fortunately for Clarke, a fellow actor, Jason Momoa, helped her come to the realization that what she wasn’t experiencing was not okay and she began to express her needs and concerns more readily. “It was definitely hard. Which is why the scenes, when I got to do them with Jason, were wonderful, because he was like, ‘No, sweetie, this isn’t okay.’ And I was like, ‘Ohhhh,’” the 33-year-old stated. It’s awful that Game of Thrones executives tried to pressure the actress into nude scenes that she had not previously agreed to. We’re glad she chose to fight against them despite her inexperience at the time.