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Emilia Clarke Was Told to Get Nude So ‘Thrones’ Fans Wouldn’t Be Disappointed

Clarke is opening up about the pressure she felt to bare it all on HBO's fantasy blockbuster series.

Game of Thrones Emilia Clarke Daenerys

Emilia Clarke in “Game of Thrones”

Helen Sloan/HBO

During her eight seasons on HBO’s fantasy blockbuster “Game of Thrones,” Emilia Clarke defended the show’s graphic sex and nudity and called for the men and women on the show to appear equally nude onscreen. Now that the series is over, Clarke is getting a bit more critical of her time baring all on television. During an appearance on Dax Shepard’s “Armchair Expert” podcast (via The Independent), Clarke said she felt pressured to appear nude on “Game of Thrones” early on, which led to other projects assuming she would be comfortable with going nude.

“I’m a lot more savvy [now] with what I’m comfortable with, and what I am okay with doing,” Clarke said. “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, ‘Fuck you.’”

Clarke said there was a “fuck ton of nudity” in the first season of “Game of Thrones” and part of the reason she went through with it was because she was a brand new actress with no prior experience on film or TV sets. As Clarke explained, “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.”

As Clarke continued to appear in nude scenes, she came to question the rationale behind each moment. “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,” she said. “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.”

Clarke credits working opposite Jason Momoa as being instrumental in teaching her to stand up for herself when she felt uncomfortable. Momoa would tell Clarke directly, “No, sweetie, this isn’t okay,” giving Clarke more encouragement to create boundaries for how and when she would appear nude on the series.

IndieWire has reached out to HBO for comment.

Listen to Clarke’s full appearance on the “Armchair Expert” podcast here.

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