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‘Game of Thrones’ Star Lena Headey Says She Lost Work By Not ‘Flirting’ With Directors

The current holder of the Iron Throne reveals that she never "played the game," despite the nature of the "boys club."

Lena Headey on "Game of Thrones"


Anyone wondering why, exactly, women might take some visceral pleasure in the Season 6 scenes in which both Cersei Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen got the opportunity to set the patriarchy on fire would do well to look at the recent comments made by Lena Headey about her career up until now.

Interviewed by co-star Maisie Williams for Net-A-Porter Magazine, Headey said, “When I was in my 20s, and doing a lot of audition tapes in the States, a casting director told me: ‘The men take these tapes home and watch them and say, ‘Who would you f***?’ I’ve never played the game of going in [to auditions] and flirting; I’ve never done it.”

She goes on to say there were times when it may have kept her from getting a job, but that “I’m very happy I didn’t.”

The interview, which includes Williams asking Headey for advice on how to handle the pressures of fame, reflects a mentoring relationship that also echoes the overall rise of intriguing female characters that now populate the world of Westeros, something the New York Times brought up when speaking with Headey for their own profile. But Headey also noted the existence of that same “boys’ club”:

“You grow up in it, and you learn to infiltrate it,” she said, though sometimes it’s not so easy. As a young actress, she faced pressure to sleep with powerful men, she said, adding that “I never played the game.” On later jobs like “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles,” a short-lived Fox series in which she played the title role, “my voice was very quickly ignored and my opinions were very much not wanted,” she said.

The message is one we still hear, over and over: Discrimination still remains within Hollywood, as much as things might seem to improve. But one element aiding that improvement is actors like Headey becoming more and more vocal about these issues.

To end on a high note, the best thing Headey says in the Net-A-Porter interview comes right at the beginning, when Williams asked how she felt about the Season 6 explosion, planned by Cersei, that took down the Sept:

“The High Sparrow [played by Jonathan Pryce] was yet another man who came along and was like, “I’m going to manipulate you.” So I think her revenge… Well, I was like, “Yes! F*** you!” And she took out Margaery Tyrell [Natalie Dormer] and her low-cut blouse. Bye, perky tits.”

Game of Thrones” Season 7 premieres July 16 on HBO.

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