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Lena Headey Opens Up on Filming ‘Game of Thrones’ Waterboarding Scene: ‘A Really Shit Time’

Headey says it was "a really, really tough day" on set having to essentially waterboard her co-star.

"Game of Thrones"

Hannah Waddingham and Lena Headey, “Game of Thrones”


Hannah Waddingham, a frontrunner to land an Emmy nomination this year for “Ted Lasso,” generated headlines last month after she revealed she was waterboarded on the “Game of Thrones” set for nearly 10 hours while filming a scene in which her character, Unella, is tortured by Cersei Lannister. Now, Waddingham’s scene partner and Cersei actress Lena Headey has weighed in on shooting the harrowing moment. Speaking to Insider, Headey said her co-star “had a really shit time doing that scene.”

“I adore Hannah, she’s one of my favorite humans,” Headey said, noting the scene was filmed that way as to be “authentic” despite creating a “really, really tough day” on set.

Headey continued, “People have different limits. People will go to different places. And some people will be like, ‘I don’t want to fucking put myself in that position.’ I totally respect whatever your boundaries are, but Hannah was a trooper. That was a long day of prune juice in your face.”

Because the waterboarding torture scene was filmed through many takes, Headey admitted she purposefully stopped aiming at Waddingham’s mouth while pouring the wine in order to give her co-star a break. The actress said, “I was like, I’m just going to do a light salad dressing drizzle around her nun’s wimple.”

Here’s what Waddingham revealed about the “Thrones” scene last month: “I was strapped to a wooden table with proper big straps for 10 hours. And definitely, other than childbirth, it was the worst day of my life. Because Lena was uncomfortable pouring liquid in my face for that long, and I was beside myself. But in those moments you have to think, do you serve the piece and get on with it or do you chicken out and go, ‘No, this isn’t what I signed up for, blah, blah, blah?’”

Waddingham continued, “The funny thing was, after we’d finished shooting it for the whole day, and people like Miguel Sapochnik, the director by the way, walking past with a cup of tea and a sandwich on-the-go and going, ‘Hi hunny, you alright?’ And I was like, ‘Not really.’ ‘The crew have just been saying we are actually really waterboarding you here.’ And I was like, ‘Yup, you don’t need to tell me that!’”

Next up for Headey is a starring role in Netflix’s action movie “Gunpowder Milkshake,” streaming July 14.

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