‘Game of Thrones’ Team Tells Stories of Diana Rigg Ignoring Direction and Walking Off Set

"Thrones" co-creator David Benioff says Rigg "was funny, she was bawdy, she was everything we wanted for that character." 
Diana Rigg in "Game of Thrones"
Diana Rigg in "Game of Thrones"

A week after the passing of Diana Rigg Entertainment Weekly published highlights from the upcoming making-of-“Game of Thrones” book “Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon” in which the cast and crew share unforgettable stories about the legendary actress. Riggs starred in “Game of Thrones” as Olenna Tyrell from 2013 to 2017, appearing in 18 episodes and earning three Emmy nominations for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series.

“We had tea with her,” “Thrones” co-creator David Benioff says of casting Rigg. “Dames don’t audition for you; you audition for them. We loved her, she was funny, she was bawdy, she was everything we wanted for that character.”

Lady Olenna was one of the most fiery characters to appear on “Game of Thrones,” and the actress who played her was perhaps even more fiery on set. Director Mark Mylod, who helmed several episodes of “Thrones” during its run, jokes in the book that he was “terrified” of Diana Rigg because of how confident and strong-willed she was on set.

“My very first scene with her, I asked her to do a very minor thing,” Mylod said. “Like, ‘Would it make sense if you close the door and walk a few paces before this moment?’ She came back with some rebuttal about why she wanted to do it another way and then said: ‘Thank you! Go away!’ I became a five-year-old boy. I could feel myself blushing and creeping back to my monitor, stripped of any kind of dignity or authority.”

Another memorable Rigg moment occurred during the filming of a scene where Olenna cuts short a conversation she is having with Ellaria Sand and the Sand Snakes by quipping, “Oh do shut up. Let the grown women speak.”

“She walked onto the set, and she went, ‘I’m ready now!'” Nymeria actress Jessica Henwick says. “A cameraman came over and went, ‘Well, okay, but we haven’t finished setting up.’ She interrupted him and said, ‘Roll the cameras!’ And she just started doing her lines. She did two takes, and then the guy came over and was like, ‘Great, now we’re going to do a close-up.’ And she just stood up and she went, ‘I’m done!”

Henwick continued, “Now, she can’t walk fast. She has to be helped. So basically we just sat there and watched as Diana Rigg effectively did her own version of storming off the set, but it was at 0.1 miles per hour. She cracked me up. I loved her.”

“Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon” is available for pre-order and will be released October 6.

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