What Was Emilia Clarke’s Biggest Role Before ‘Game of Thrones’?

Emilia Clarke on Game of Thrones
Emilia Clarke on Game of Thrones | Jason Momoa via Instagram

Those of you who watch Game of Thrones regularly know Emilia Clarke is the iconic Daenerys Targaryen. Now in her eighth year playing this fantastical yet empowered character, it might seem like Clarke has become typecast in the role.

While Clarke is still young (only 32), she did some movies and TV before Game of Thrones . While some of those projects aren’t well known to all, she’s been working hard to prove that she’s a classically-trained actress.

Now with GoT ending, what roles has she done to help her transition into a true movie superstar?

Clarke’s early days on British television

As with many actors, the desire to act usually starts as an influence from their parents. Clarke’s father was a theatre sound engineer, and she fell in love with stage work after seeing a production of Show Boat her father worked on.

After training at Drama Centre London, it looked like Clarke would end up being a classical stage actress. Her first acting jobs were on the stage only a short decade ago. Little did she know this would transition into one of the most successful TV shows of all time. Of course, many British stage actors often end up with this trajectory.

It only took a year for her to start landing roles on British TV.

Appearing on a British soap opera and a SyFy movie

During 2009, Clarke appeared on a popular British soap called Doctors. Her appeal seemed to become instant with her new fans. It led to appearing in a sci-fi movie on the SyFy network called Triassic Attack (a bit of a Jurassic Park knockoff).

British fans voted her as one of the UK Stars of Tomorrow as a result of these few projects. Her ethereal and classically trained acting sensibility were obvious from the beginning. You can say this despite appearing in only one short theatrical film in 2009 called Drop the Dog

These few projects helped Clarke land the role of Daenerys in GoT only a year later. Not many actresses can progress this quickly before they turn 25 years old.

Film roles after landing ‘Game of Thrones’

Only a year into playing Daenerys Targaryen, Clarke was immediately bankable as a movie actress. Since Game of Thrones was already akin to an expensive theatrical production on television, it wasn’t that challenging of a transition.

With plenty of controversial sex scenes in GoT, it may explain why Clarke refused to take the lead role in Fifty Shades of Grey. Her refusal of the role was due to the excessive nudity, which was a smart career move. Her focus is always on acting, and it’s translated into some good film roles so far.

Clarke’s first major role was in the British film Spike Island. Yet, if you want to find her biggest film roles while doing Game of Thrones, it was only within the last few years.

From ‘Terminator Genisys’ to ‘Solo’

Landing the role of Sarah Connor in Terminator Genisys was a major step forward in Clarke’s film career. Even if it was in her familiar wheelhouse of sci-fi/fantasy, it led to another prominent film role in 2018.

Before landing the role as Qi’ra in Solo: A Star Wars Story last year, she did manage to land one romantic role in a film called Me Before You where she generated some on-screen chemistry with Sam Claflin.

Clarke’s life on social media

As Clarke expands her movie career through 2019, you can find her on social media where she shares pics of her life acting on GoT and elsewhere. Her Twitter account still exists, though she’s only tweeted once (in 2013). On Instagram, however, she’s far more active and posted two pics of herself working and unwinding on a beach for New Year’s.

Now with a $13 million net worth, Clarke is ready to transition to something greater. With numerous movies in the pipeline, perhaps she’ll successfully move away from sci-fi/fantasy and show us what the real world looks like on the big screen without dragons.