Emilia Clarke rose to prominence thanks to her role in Game of Thrones as Daenerys Targaryen aka the Mother of Dragons. Since appearing on our screens as the ‘Stormborn’ breaker of chains, Clarke has also starred in a number of films including Me Before You and Solo: A Star Wars Story.
Scroll down below to find out how she coped with some of her sex scenes on the HBO series, plus we reveal her very unlikely screen idol. Enjoy!
20. She’s actually the second actress to play Daenerys Targaryen
Believe it or not, Emilia Clarke is only the second actress to portray the Mother of Dragons.
Before season one was commissioned, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss created an unaired pilot – which never saw the light of day because it was so bad!
In this unseen episode, an English actress named Tamzin Merchant was cast as Daenerys Targaryen.
Unfortunately for Merchant, the part was recast and instead Emilia Clarke stepped in to play the silver-haired conqueror.
Emilia won around producers of the show not through her acting skills, but through her dancing skills.
D.B Weiss, one of the producers on the show, said: “Emilia asked if there was anything else she could do to lighten the mood and David asked, ‘Can you dance?’ And without missing a beat, Emilia did the robot. She did it with commitment and she did it well…and even the president had no choice but to smile.”
19. She’s wanted to be an actress since she was 3 years old
Clarke was destined to become an actress.
She wanted to be a performer since she was just 3 years old!
Clarke’s father worked as a sound engineer at a theatre, and took his toddler daughter to a performance of Show Boat.
Her mother Jenny once explained: “We sat her in the front row in house seats—Show Boat at the London Palladium.”
“She sat on my lap the whole way through, transfixed by the whole thing.”
At that moment, Emilia knew that she wanted to be an actress!
18. Her idol is Arnold Schwarzenegger
Clarke became a huge fan of Arnold Schwarzenegger after watching the first two Terminator movies with her brother as a young child.
In fact, she even watched clips of Sarah Connor to prepare for her role in Game of Thrones.
She explained to the Irish Examiner that she “watched Sarah Connor back, in order to kind of embody some other strong women on screen.
So it was funny when this audition [for Terminator Genisys] came around. I was like, ‘Yes, definitely!'”
Brie Larson and Margot Robbie were also tested for the part.
Connor was played by Linda Hamilton in the classic movies directed by James Cameron.
17. She drinks a shot of vodka before she films any nude scenes
Clarke has often spoken candidly about how filming the sex scenes in Game of Thrones took its toll on her.
During the season 1 ‘wedding night’ scene featuring Jason Momoa as Khal Drogo, Clarke explained that she turned to a cup of tea in between takes to try and hold it together.
The actress revealed: “Once, I had to take a little time out. I said I needed a cup of tea, had a bit of a cry, and was ready for the next scene.”
She has also stated that her preparation for any nude scenes always involves a shot of vodka beforehand!
Clarke has revealed that she gets some stick from people for doing nude scenes.
“I just wanted to come out and do an empowered scene that wasn’t sexual – it was naked, but it was strong,” she said. “I get a lot of crap for having done nude scenes and sex scenes. That, in itself, is so anti-feminist.
“Women hating on other women is just the problem. That’s upsetting.”
16. She can play four different instruments
As well as being a talented actress, Clarke is something of a musical prodigy, too.
Clarke can play several musical instruments, including the piano, flute and guitar, and has previously stated that music was a big part of her life growing up.
Clarke has said that, had acting not worked out, she would have tried her hand at a professional singing career, not a bad shout considering she’s accomplished alto, ballads, blues, cabaret singing and jazz singing.
A further talent of Clarke’s is that she can translate pop songs into made up languages – see the video below for evidence of her giving MMMBop a Dothraki makeover.
The actress also starred in an advertisement for the Dolce and Gabbana perfume ‘The Only One.’
In the advert she sings the 1960s Italian pop song “Quando, Quando, Quando.”
15. People never recognise her in real life
For a long time, most people assumed that Emilia Clarke had blonde hair – thanks to a certain high-profile role in Game of Thrones.
However, she wore a wig for several seasons of the show until dying her hair blonde for filming in 2017.
In reality of course, Clarke’s hair is dark brown – meaning that she doesn’t end up getting recognised by fans that much on the street.
She once told Conan O’Brien: “I don’t get recognized, truly.”
I’ll be walking with Kit Harington, who plays Jon Snow, or Gwen [Christie], who plays Brienne of Tarth, and people will be like, ‘Can you take this picture for us?’
And I’m like, ‘Sure! Definitely I can!'”
14. She used to work four jobs at once before she had her big break
Emilia Clarke definitely did her fair share of the struggling actor phase before becoming the Mother of Dragons.
Clarke has previously worked multiple jobs at once.
She has been employed as a waitress, bartender, call centre worker and even a licensed real estate agent.
If acting hadn’t worked out for her, Clarke said that she would have either become a singer, an architect or a graphic designer.
When her agent called to say she landed an audition for a new HBO show, Clarke had to call in sick to her catering job.
We think that’s a pretty good excuse to call in sick for work.
(Photo: Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)
13. She was bullied about her eyebrows as a child
Clarke actually used to get teased about her very active eyebrows a child!
Thankfully though, she never did anything to change them in anyway, and now they’ve become a meme all of their own.
The actress once said: “My mom had rules when I was younger: ‘Don’t do drugs, don’t have sex, and don’t touch your eyebrows,’ she’d say.
And I didn’t and I’m so grateful for that advice.”
It even went as far as her and Cara Delevigne having an ‘eyebrow-off’ on the Graham Norton show.
The competition was judged by none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger and was won by Clarke and her impressive eyebrow dancing skills.
12. She used to date Seth MacFarlane
Clarke has dated a few famous faces over the years, but did you know that she actually had a six month relationship with Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane?
Back in 2012, the pair were inseparable, but sadly they couldn’t make things work with Clarke always away on location.
She also revealed that she got tired of fans giving their opinion on her relationship with MacFarlane:
“Well, a con is you have strangers giving you love-life advice like, ‘I’m a big fan of the show, and I’m not sure what you’re doing with that guy,’ which I didn’t react well to.
That happened in New York when Seth and I were together.
This guy started to give me advice: ‘Can I get a selfie? And by the way…’ Unh-unh, bro.”
11. She nearly died from a severe brain aneurysm just after filming season one of Game of Thrones
In the run up to season 8 of Game of Thrones, Emilia Clarke has revealed a devastating secret which she successfully managed to keep under wraps from the media for a long time.
In a 2019 article for The New Yorker Clarke revealed that she suffered not one, but two aneurysms while working on the HBO fantasy series, in 2011 and 2013 respectively.
Clarke even suffered from aphasia at one point – which is a type of brain damage that causes people to struggle speaking.
She understandably felt very low during this time and became depressed about her health.
However, Clarke revealed that she memorised Game of Thrones lines to help her beat the effects of the aneurysms.
The actress is now a vocal advocate for stroke and aneurysm-related health problems.
10. She’s of Indian descent
Although she’s made a name for herself playing oh-so-English queens and aristo types, Emilia Clarke’s background is more diverse than a lot of people realise.
Through her mother, Clarke is of partial Indian descent, her grandmother having been borne out of an affair between Emilia’s great-grandmother and a mysterious man from India.
Clarke has said that her grandmother had to wear makeup to hide the fact that she was half Indian.
“The fact that [my grandmother] had to hide her skin color, essentially, and try desperately to fit in with everyone else must’ve been incredibly difficult.”
When her grandmother passed away, Clarke went to India with her boyfriend at the time to scatter her ashes.
“She loved India more than she loved England,” she said. “F***, yeah. I love that part of me—I’m like one-eighth Indian.”
9. Malcolm McDowell’s son was her most recent bf
After she dated two famous men in Seth MacFarlane and Jai Courtney (whom Clarke met on the set of 2015’s Terminator Genisys), Clarke turned her romantic attention to a famous son.
Clarke had been dating Charlie McDowell, son of A Clockwork Orange icon Malcolm McDowell and actress Mary Steenburgen.
Charlie is best known for directing the films The One I Love and The Discovery.
However, the long distance apparently took its toll on the relationship.
As of February this year, the pair were no longer together, with Charlie unfollowing her on Instagram and deleting snaps of them together.
He also appeared to suggest that it wasn’t him who decided on the split, telling a fan on Twitter “This was not my decision.”
8. She’s one of the highest paid TV actors – ever
What with Game of Thrones being the biggest show around, it should come as no surprise that Emilia Clarke – as one of the main stars – is currently making a pretty penny fronting HBO’s flagship drama.
In fact, Clarke is one of the highest paid TV actors ever, netting – along with Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Kit Harington and Lena Headey – more than $1 million per every episode of GoT’s final season.
And with lots of controversy going around about the gender pay-gap, you will be pleased to know that Emilia has always been paid the same as her male co-stars from day dot.
“On ‘Game of Thrones,’ I have always been paid the same amount as my male co-stars… It was my first job and I was not discriminated against because I was a woman, in my paycheck.”
Clarke was surprised when she heard about the recent wage gap controversy about Netflix’s The Crown. When news broke that Clair Foy, playing the Queen, was earning less than Matt Smith, it was announced that Foy would reportedly receive $275,000 in back pay.
According to Variety, Clarke said the news about The Crown was “shocking, actually shocking.”
7. She’s officially the ‘most desirable woman in the world’
When it comes to her looks, Clarke certainly has a lot of fans: in 2015, Clarke was named the Sexiest Woman Alive by Esquire magazine.
The previous year, Clarke had already gone one better by bagging the people’s vote, being voted the most desirable woman in the world by AskMen readers.
Speaking on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Clarke said that shooting her photos for Esquire was ‘funny.’
She said until she gets replaced this fall, “I feel like I should have opened supermarkets or something with that title.”
The actress said she’s “not really naked” in the photos. “Just sort of.”
“That’s me Photoshopped and drunk,” she said. “That’s what I look like.”
6. She turned down Fifty Shades of Grey on principle
Though she’s best known for Game of Thrones, Clarke has a decent side-hustle in film acting, having appeared in such projects as Terminator Genisys, Me Before You and Solo: A Star Wars Story.
However, there was one major part that Clarke actually turned down: Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey.
The Game of Thrones actress said that she feared she would be typecast if she accepted the role in Fifty Shades of Grey because of her nude scenes in Game of Thrones.
‘I really wanted to work with [Fifty Shades director] Sam Taylor-Johnson because she’s fucking amazing.”
‘But there is a huge amount of nudity in the film,’ she explains.
‘I’ll never say, “I’m never doing nudity” because I’ve already done it, but I thought I might get stuck in a pigeonhole that I would have struggled to get out of.’
5. She made her film debut in Triassic Attack
There aren’t many star actors who started out their careers with the big roles from the off, and Emilia Clarke is no exception.
In 2010, Clarke made her film debut, in the SyFy original television movie Triassic Attack, from the makers of such classics as Robo Croc and Lake Placid vs Anaconda.
The sci-fi straight-to-tv film Triassic Attack brought Clarke her first film role.
It debuted on the SyFy channel on November 27th 2010.
It followed the fallout after three dinosaur skeletons are reincarnated to attack the town of Mill City.
Her role in the movie garnered major attention for her and resulted in critical praise. She was named as one of the “UK Stars of Tomorrow” in Screen International Magazine in 2010.
4. She was “relieved” she didn’t have to make any more Terminator movies
Though Clarke got to meet Arnold Schwarzenegger, one of her film heroes, on the set of Terminator Genisys, it seems that was about the only positive thing she took from the experience.
In a candid 2018 interview with Vanity Fair, Clarke revealed that – with the production so troubled (“No one had a good time”) – she was “relieved” Genisys flopped commercially so she wouldn’t have to make any more Terminators.
The film was directed by Alan Taylor, a director that Clarke had worked with on “Game of Thrones.”
Clarke said Taylor got “eaten and chewed up” on the “Terminator” set.
“He was not the director I remember,” Clarke said. “He didn’t have a good time. No one had a good time.”
Apparently it was so bad that the crew of the Fantastic Four film, which was shooting at the same time and was also pretty chaotic, got jackets made that said “At least we’re not on ‘Terminator.’”
3. One Game of Thrones scene made Clarke repeatedly vomit
It’s not all fun and games shooting Game of Thrones all the time, apparently, not least when it comes to the cast having to eat disgusting props for a scene.
For the scene in which Daenerys eats a raw stallion heart, Clarke was given a ‘heart’ made of solidified jam but which “tasted like bleach and raw pasta.”
I ate roughly 28 hearts throughout the days we filmed that scene. Fortunately, they gave me a spit bucket because I was vomiting in it quite often.”
All the stickiness of the heart also made Clarke stick to the toilet at one point.
‘So I was covered head to toe in the fake blood and I’m continually sticking myself to myself, or to other things.
‘Then there was a moment when we were filming it that I disappeared, and I was stuck to the toilet.’
2. She starred in a Samaritans advert
One of her very first television appearances was appearing in an advert for the Samaritans charity.
It was an appeal to keep the helplines operational.
Emilia had already featured in numerous plays at St. Edwards College, Drama Centre London and for the Company of Angels.
Following this, she appeared in a short film produced by students from the University of London.
She spends most of the film sat on a bench talking on a phone with some very questionable closeups.
Being a film student myself, I can sympathise.
1. She has missed out on several roles
Despite being one of the hottest and most in-demand actresses in Hollywood, Emilia has lost out on some pretty big roles.
Could you imagine anyone ever passing up on Emilia Clarke?
She auditioned for a role in Captain America: The Winter Soldier which went to Emily VanCamp.
She was also looked at for the role of Enchantress in Suicide Squad that went to Cara Delevigne.
So there you have, twenty wonderfully fascinating facts about the incredible Emilia Clarke.
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