Game Of Thrones Stars Speak On Their ‘Traumatic’ Experience Filming Torture Scene

by : Poppy Bilderbeck on : 16 Aug 2021 18:09
Game Of Thrones Stars Speak On Their 'Traumatic' Experience Filming Torture SceneHBO

Two Game of Thrones stars have spoken out about their ‘traumatic’ experience filming a torture scene for the hit television series. 

Over the past few months, actors Hannah Waddingham and Lena Headey have opened up about the challenges of filming the series’ waterboarding scene for real.


The scene in Game of Thrones depicts Cersei Lannister (Headey) torturing Septa Unella (Waddingham).

By the end of the sixth season, Unella is imprisoned by Cersei and is subsequently tortured. Unella can be seen having wine poured onto her to try and force her into a confession, before she is locked in a room with The Mountain.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the pair of actors reunited. Waddingham noted how shocked people were when they found out that the scenes ‘happen in reality’ and that there was ‘nothing CGI’d’. She said, ‘One thing I’ve said a lot is that both of us were quite uncomfortable about it, but as with all these things, you know that they’re not actually going to kill you so you just get on with it and do it.’


In an interview with Collider, Waddingham described the day of filming as the ‘worst day’ of her life, other than childbirth. She detailed being ‘strapped to a wooden table with proper big straps for 10 hours’ and having liquid poured over her face by Headey. She admitted, ‘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 also noted how the pair have never really spoken about the scenes as both found them quite ‘traumatic’, so proceeded to ask Headey what her take on it was, despite it making ‘wicked telly’.

Headey has previously said that her co-star had a ‘really sh*t time doing that scene‘. She continued in this interview by saying that she agreed that Waddingham’s experience of the scene must have been ‘horrendous’.


Headey went on to say:

Someone asked me about that the other day and I was like, you know, as an actor we all have boundaries or no boundaries. And no boundaries are obviously very thrilling when you can go to a place…

But something like that when you’re tied down [during filming for 10 hours], it made me feel horrendous doing that scene with you.

Waddingham told Collider about how the scene has definitely given her ‘claustrophobia around water’ and that she had to have a ‘bit of a chat to somebody about it, because it’s quite full-on being waterboarded for 10 hours, and then only one minute and 30 seconds can be used on camera.’


Waddingham acknowledged a silver lining to the ‘traumatic’ scenes however, in how herself and Headey are now ‘incredibly close’.

She concluded by noting that as long as you don’t feel like there’s any genuine threat of something happening, that actors should ‘push’ themselves and ‘be uncomfortable’. Waddingham said, ‘My whole thing has always been, take people to the absolute nth degree of their emotions and that’s the same thing. Give of yourself and then it gives back to you.’

If you’ve been affected by any of the issues in this story, you can speak in confidence about where to get help from Mind free on 0300 123 3393, 9am–6pm Monday to Friday.

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Topics: Film and TV, Game of Thrones


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