Gallery: The Fashion Awards 2019

Wednesday, Dec 4, 2019

 

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Press: Emilia Clarke: ‘I didn’t want people to think of me as sick’

Sunday, Dec 1, 2019

THE GUARDIAN – As she stars in this year’s Christmas feelgood movie, Emilia Clarke talks about the intense scrutiny of Game of Thrones, how she coped with the brain haemorrhage that almost killed her – and why we all need to escape reality sometimes

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Emilia Clarke had a headache. It was 2011, just before Valentine’s Day and just after she’d wrapped on the first series of Game of Thrones, playing Daenerys Targaryen, Breaker of Chains, Mother of Dragons. She didn’t yet know, as she crawled into the locker room of her local gym in north London and vomited bile into the toilet, that Game of Thrones would run for seven further seasons, break Emmy-award records for most wins for a scripted television series and for a drama, be named one of the greatest TV shows of all time, and quickly come to define her. But there was much she didn’t know.

She didn’t know that at 24 she had suffered a life-threatening stroke, a subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH) caused by bleeding into the space surrounding the brain. She didn’t know, as she lay on the floor repeating lines from Game of Thrones in order to test her memory, that a third of SAH patients die immediately, or that those who survive require urgent treatment to avoid a second, often fatal bleed. She didn’t know there was another swollen blood vessel in her brain, which had doubled in size by the time she finished filming season three. She didn’t know that one day, eight years later, over biscuits on her pink sofa, she would be smiling with the dark realisation that her stroke was one of the best things that could have happened to her.

Her pink sofa is in her pink house, which is also green and blue and muted shades of rust, and has a secret bar hidden in a courtyard shed, and an outdoor screening room heated by a wood-burning stove. To walk into her living room, where one corner is painted with a symbol relating to her mum, another to her late dad, and a third with a meaningful dragon, is to enter the cosiest corner of Clarke’s mind. By the stairs, horsehair is visible in the plaster; the walls are stripped back to the bone. She shows me round with a raw sort of glee, a sense that her comfort and safety are bound into the details: the friends’ art on the walls, the “single girl’s” bedroom. She moved in after Game of Thrones; in this and many ways, her life can be cleanly dissected into before and after.

Before, Clarke, now 33, who grew up in Oxfordshire, had appeared in a single episode of the daytime soap Doctors. She was ambitious, optimistic and relentlessly cheerful. After, after Game of Thrones, and the death of her father, which shook her family, as did her life-threatening stroke, she is sitting on her pink sofa and contemplating a decade that changed her.

“And yes, I’m at the point where I definitely think of the brain haemorrhage as a good thing,” she nods. She has extremely expressive eyebrows that appear jointed – for every word Clarke says, and she says many, they add 15 more. “Because I was never destined to be the ‘young actor goes off the rails’ type, up and down the gossip columns. And having a brain haemorrhage that coincided precisely with the beginning of my career and the beginning of a show that became something quite meaty, it gave me a perspective that I wouldn’t have had otherwise.” She pauses. “I’m quite a resilient human being, so a parent dying and brain haemorrhages coinciding with success and people following you in the street and getting stalkers – you’re just, like, ‘Well let’s try and make something sensible of it.’”

It was a decade that contained the very best and very worst of a life, and one of the sensible things she tried to make of it was the founding of a charity, SameYou, to provide treatment for people recovering from brain injuries and stroke. It was only in order to promote the charity that, eight years after her stroke, she finally decided to talk about it, in a piece for the New Yorker. “On the set, I didn’t miss a beat, but I struggled,” she wrote, of returning to Game of Thrones after brain surgery. “Season two would be my worst. I didn’t know what Daenerys was doing. If I am truly being honest, every minute of every day I thought I was going to die.”

It’s remarkable, considering her profile and her regular appearances in the Daily Mail in lovely dresses and grand smiles, that she managed to keep it secret for so long. She didn’t want to tell strangers, “Because it was mine.” She feared, too, that people would “sneer at it”.

It so happened that, the week before I went to meet her, I had a similar (though less dramatic) neurological diagnosis – when I tell her about it, for some reason my voice shakes. She is warm and quick with recommendations, and as she continues she says, “Well, you know, then. You know the worries. That people will think your soul, your movement, your voice, who you were,” was damaged. “It was nerve-racking to share it, to be honest. It always is, when you make yourself vulnerable.” She waited so long to talk about it, because, “I didn’t want people to think of me as… sick.”

There are still days on set when she will quietly pull aside the makeup person and say, “‘I think I’m having a brain haemorrhage. I’m not, I promise, but maybe just put me in a cold tent and we’ll sit down for a second, and I apologise in advance if I freak you out.’ Over the summer I was burning the candle at both ends, and I was with my mate on the plane. And I was like, ‘Dude, I feel really weird…’ But I was fine. It’s hard not to think the worst. It’s hard to think you’re overtired, or you’ve been on Instagram too long, and to realise these might have the same side-effects as something deadly. But the charity evolves with me. I use it. Here’s something else that I feel: maybe someone else feels the same way.”

She talks about the summer just gone with a regretful kind of wonder – it was th e summer after the Game of Thrones finale had divided fans, when she was coming to terms with how the “overwhelming” amount of nudity in the first season had affected her. And, after years of “filling every hiatus with a movie, shit, good or otherwise” (she starred opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator Genisys, and as Qi’ra in Solo: a Star Wars Story) she had decided to take a break. Or, the decision was made for her.

“After we did the premiere for the last season, it felt suddenly like I lost all of the bones in my body. And I was in this puddle on the floor going, ‘Maybe this isn’t just the show.’ I’d never wanted to look around and see what we had, because I was convinced it was just going to blow up in our faces. And, well, at the end it kind of did. So I kept my head down. Then, after the premiere, I finally was able to stop, and that was difficult.” She travelled and went “raving with my mates, but that was not fulfilling. So, bloated and exhausted I went away for two weeks with my best girlfriend, [The Good Fight star] Rose Leslie, and it was in this retreat in India that I suddenly got it. This is what stopping feels like. And I was able to finally… be kind to myself.”

Continue reading Press: Emilia Clarke: ‘I didn’t want people to think of me as sick’

Press: Emilia Clarke explains what Daenerys is thinking during her big turn

Wednesday, Nov 27, 2019

WINTER IS COMING – Earlier this week, Emilia Clarke appeared on the Armchair Expert podcast with Dax Shepard and Monica Padman. The episode, which you can listen to here, is quite long: over two hours! Clarke covers a huge variety of topics, from why she started her SameYou charity to growing up in England to which American accent she finds sexy to, of course, Game of Thrones.

In fact, she talks rather a lot about Thrones, because Shapard is clearly a superfan and has a ton of questions. Like, it’s hard to overstate how big a fan he is.

Anyway, Clarke covers a lot of ground, but I was most interested in her comments about why Daenerys chose to burn down the city of King’s Landing after it was clear the Lannister army had surrendered. She walked Shepard and Padman through her thought process after receiving those final scripts. “On one side, I was like, ‘How juicy!’ Oh my days, as an actress, to be able to do this? Like, flip that fucking shit? And on the other side, I’m like, ‘It hurts. It hurts so much. I love her so much.’ So it was kind of a combination of that the entire way through. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to film.”

Clarke, who was terrific in that scene, clearly spent a lot of time getting herself to a place where she could play in convincingly. She offered up a passionate explanation for why Daenerys did what she did. “[I]f you really look at her…the fact that she’s been on the run her whole life, she’s been abused her whole life, she’s been dealing with the weight of responsibility of carrying her family’s legacy her whole life…When it comes down to this thing of people start to betray her, people start to leave her, people start to devalue what it is she’s made…She’s killed people all the way up until this point, and now someone’s gonna turn around and say, ‘Ah, maybe no.’ I did this because it was all or nothing. I went all in, and now you’re telling me that I can’t? So it becomes its own addiction.”

You’re at the bar, and you’re holding the fucking drink in your hand, and you don’t wanna fucking drink it, but you can’t help it, because you’re so damaged and you’re so hurt and you’re so vulnerable that there is nothing left to do. Everybody has left you. That’s my pitch.

Like a lot of other fans, I didn’t quite buy Daenerys’ flip to the dark side when it happened, but I never doubted Clarke’s commitment, and honestly, she’s kind of selling me on it here.

Continue reading Press: Emilia Clarke explains what Daenerys is thinking during her big turn

Press: David Beckham Is ‘Star Struck’ After Meeting ‘Mother of Dragons’ Emilia Clarke: ‘So Nice to See’ Her

Tuesday, Nov 26, 2019

US WEEKLY – GoT super fan! David Beckham was left “star struck” after he met Game of Thrones alum Emilia Clarke, also known as the Mother of Dragons, on Friday, November 22.

The soccer superstar, 44, took to Instagram to gush about the pair’s meeting at a Fleetwood Mac concert in San Francisco.

“I was a little star-struck whist [sic] being in the same vicinity of the Mother Of Dragons … So nice to see @emilia_clarke in San Fran whilst being wowed by Fleetwood Mac 🔥 #dreamforce2019,” Beckham wrote alongside a photo of the two smiling as he put his arm around her.

The father of four previously found himself in hot water. with British Game of Thrones fans after posting spoilers about the HBO series on his Instagram Story in February 2017.

Beckham took snapshots of the season 7 episode The Queen’s Justice and shared them with his 59 million followers before the episode aired in the U.K., which led some fans to slam him on Twitter. One user even tweeted, “David Beckham casually spoiling Game of Thrones on his Insta stories like he spoiled the World Cup in 1998.”

Nevertheless, Beckham’s GoT fandom has prevailed. Clarke, meanwhile, has become accustomed to people’s adoration since landing a starring role on the acclaimed HBO series.

The 33-year-old English actress, who played Daenerys Targaryen from 2011 until the series ended earlier this year, became a fan favorite and was nominated for three Emmy awards for her work on the show. While she is grateful for the experience, Clarke told Dax Shepard. that she was made to believe Game of Thrones fans would be “disappointed” if she didn’t appear nude on screen.

“I’d come fresh from drama school, and I was like, ‘Approach this as a job.’ If it’s in the script then it’s clearly needed, this is what this is and I’m gonna make sense of it,” Clarke explained on Shepard’s “Armchair Expert” podcast in November. “I’m floating through this first season and I have no idea what I’m doing, I have no idea what any of this is. I’ve never been on a film set like this before, I’d been on a film set twice before then, and I’m now on a film set completely naked with all of these people, and I don’t know what I’m meant to do and I don’t know what’s expected of me.”

She went on to share that it was her costar Jason Momoa who gave her the confidence to say “no” to GoT‘s many nude scenes.

“He was like, ‘No sweetie, this isn’t OK,’” the Last Christmas star dished. “Now things are different. Now things are very, very, very different and I’m a lot more savvy about what I’m comfortable with and what I’m OK with doing.”

Press: Emilia Clarke Says She’s Been Pressured to Do Nude Scenes After ‘Game of Thrones’

Tuesday, Nov 26, 2019

VARIETY – Emilia Clarke revealed that she’s been pressured to do nude scenes on projects following her role as the occasionally nude Daenerys Targaryen on “Game of Thrones.” Now a seasoned actor, Clarke is quick to shut down producers who won’t respect her boundaries.

“I’m a lot savvier with what I’m comfortable with, and what I am okay with doing,” Clarke said in a recent episode of Dax Shepard’s “Armchair Expert” podcast. “I’ve had fights on set before where I’m like, ‘No, the sheet stays up,’ and they’re like, ‘You don’t wanna disappoint your ‘Game of Thrones’ fans.’ And I’m like, ‘F–you.’ I feel like I’ve seen enough now to know what is actually needed.”

Clarke recalled filming intimate scenes on the “Game of Thrones” set, revealing that she found nude scenes “terrifying.” She explained how former co-star Jason Momoa acted as her mentor during the filming of Season 1.

“It’s only now that I realize how fortunate I was with that, because that could have gone many, many, many different ways. Because Jason had experience, he had done a bunch of stuff before coming on to this, he was like, ‘Sweetie, this is how it’s meant to be and this is how it’s not meant to be, and I’m going to make sure that’s the way it goes,’” Clarke said, adding that Momoa would always be sure she received a robe during the filming of nude scenes. “He was so kind and considerate and cared about me as a human being. He took care of me, he really did. In an environment where I didn’t know I needed to be taken care of.”

Clarke, who was on “Game of Thrones” for 10 years, explained how she felt first receiving the role and learning how much nudity was expected of her.

“I’d come fresh from drama school, and I was like, ‘Approach this as a job.’ If it’s in the script then it’s clearly needed, this is what this is and I’m gonna make sense of it,” Clarke said. “I’m floating through this first season and I have no idea what I’m doing, I have no idea what any of this is. I’ve never been on a film set like this before, I’d been on a film set twice before then, and I’m now on a film set completely naked with all of these people, and I don’t know what I’m meant to do and I don’t know what’s expected of me.”

With Momoa’s guidance, Clarke felt comfortable pushing back, even requesting less nudity after Season 1.

Outside of the Emmy-winning series, Clarke has appeared in “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” “Me Before You” and “Last Christmas,” which is currently in theaters.