As much as we love to hate her, one of the cruelest moments of Game of Thrones’ season five had to be Cersei Lannister’s walk of shame.
Forced to repent her sins of adultery, Cersei’s naked ‘Walk of Atonement’ across the streets of King’s Landing put one of the series’ most intimidating and powerful characters in her most vulnerable state.
It’s gruesome and compelling – and actor Lena Headey has gotten a lot of backlash for it.
While filming the scene, body double Rebecca Van Cleave walked nude, and Headey’s face was digitally added onto her body using special effects. And Headey has said she has received a fair bit of flak for not performing the nude scene herself.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Headey said: “Some people thought I was less of an actress because I didn’t get my tits out.”
The Game of Thrones actress added that she used a body double in part because she has children who ‘know me now’, but also so she could stay fully in character:
In order to do my job, I allow myself to be really vulnerable. I don’t know any other way to do my job.
Things really affect me. And the thought of being naked for three days and trying to contain her in the way she would be I think I would feel very angry. I didn’t want to be angry. I don’t think Cersei would be angry. I did what I thought she would do, emotionally.
And wonderful Rebecca [Van Cleave, Headey’s body double] was able to contain herself and be naked. She found it very difficult, obviously. It’s not a natural thing to do. I film every year, and I have kids and they know me now and [being naked in the scene] was just too much on top of that.
So yeah, people that get it thought it was great. I didn’t phone it in; I was actually there for three days with Rebecca…it’s a tough f–king job and she’s very smart.
Body double or no body double, the scene was compelling and memorable – and certainly doesn’t make Lena Headey any less of an actress.
The critics definitely didn’t mind, as Headey was nominated for best supporting actress in a drama series for the 2015 Emmys.
Cersei’s character will pick up after the walk of shame in Thrones’ season six – and that coupled with the death of her daughter, Myrcella, is bound to make for an interesting season.
According to Headey, the show just keeps getting better and better. She told Entertainment Weekly: “It’s so juicy, and it’s so fucking dark, and so emotionally clever, in this landscape. It sounds so cheesy, but I’m really grateful to be part of something so cherished.”
Sunday’s season six premiere couldn’t come fast enough.