Emilia Clarke

Is it Game Over Time or Game On?

Emilia Clarke continues to forge ahead in Hollywood
Violet Wilder speaks with her about her career

Emilia Clarke’s character Daenerys Targaryen may be history for now at least but the actress’s career goes on with fresh projects and new heights in view.

It says a lot about Clarke that even in between filming the eight seasons of Game of Thrones, the actress additionally managed to squeeze in appearances in two of the largest movie franchises of all time.

She played the role of Sarah Connor opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator Genisys in 2015 before starring as Qi’ra in the Star Wars spin-off Solo: A Star Wars Story, three years later.

In more recent times, she has been swaying her influence around dramatic material of a rather more grounded nature. It ranges from an extended theatre turn in Anya Reiss’s adaptation of Harold Pinter’s The Seagull to voice over excellence in animated adventure The Amazing Maurice.

And in 2023, she takes her first steps into executive producer responsibilities in The Pod Generation. It all adds up to a slew of work that belies her 36 years.

“I think it was important for me to move away from that tight structure of Game of Thrones,” Emilia begins, adding: “Although it was an evolving storyline, and it captivated minds and hearts for so long, ultimately you are kept in a restricted place. As far as characterisation goes certainly, there is very little movement; and actors need to keep flexing their muscles on a variety of different things to stay fresh.”

Clarke adds: “So it’s been good to step away and look at other projects. I’ve certainly enjoyed letting my own specific acting ability do the talking rather than relying on a huge cast, a colossal set or CGI.”

Emilia admits she was always slightly at odds with her character Dany’s brazen fearlessness in Game of Thrones.

“I do feel I’ve learned a lot from her. I have taken on some of her security and tried to embrace that wonderful fearlessness she has. But deep down, that’s not my nature. I have a very easygoing and vulnerable side, and that will always be who I am. Yet, these days, I’m much better at asserting myself and knowing what I want,” she explains.

While Clarke is in many ways pleased to see the back of Thrones, she is forever grateful for the way it has escalated her personality and career. And although the Thrones machine has ground to a halt, rumours of a spin-off series continue to abound.

“I think as an actor, there is always a strong sensation of not wanting to be left out and not wanting to miss out,” she admits, rather candidly. “That could be for Thrones or any other project, to be honest,” Emilia confesses.

“Ultimately, there’s nothing worse in this industry than to find yourself on the outside looking in – it’s every actor’s greatest fear,” Clarke reveals.

She gives herself the best chance of staying on the inside of the acting arena but refuses to view the world purely through secure aspects such as television and film. Instead, she spreads her influence wide.

Her stage work is prolific – Emilia has swayed between music and poetry projects, and recently became an ambassador for the SMA Trust, which is an organisation that helps those with spinal muscular atrophy. She is also a representative for the Royal College of Nursing in the UK, a link that echoes back to her own health issues.

Completely on top of her health and seemingly aware of the need to nurture her pursuit of greatness now, and fully aware of the dangers of overdoing things, Clarke is someone who will become renowned for the modus operandum of ‘less is more.’

“I can’t look too far ahead,” she says, and credits her late father for giving her the confidence and relentless ambition to succeed in the industry.

“At the end of the day, I was never someone who wanted to be plastered over every billboard in town. I’m recognised to a level now, which makes me feel comfortable; but a part of me does still crave anonymity and misses it. Ultimately, it’s gratifying when people appreciate your work and that’s a lovely feeling – I know I am very lucky.”

For all her success, Emilia was never entirely set on the path to acting royalty. She discloses: “My father wanted me to understand the realities of the business, and how you have to face up to rejection and a lot of disappointment. My parents first started taking me to various shows hoping that eventually, I would grow bored with them.”

“Because my father was working as a sound engineer in the theatre however, I would often accompany him there. Very quickly, I grew to love the beauty of the empty stage and everything associated with it. I was hooked – and it’s been that way ever since,” Clarke concludes.

– Compiled by hub.branded

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