What lena headey’s game of thrones body double said about walking naked in front of 500 people: ‘it was amazing’

When you think about Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey)"s story on Game of Thrones, one big sequence probably comes to mind. As it turns out, the shoot was just as grueling as the scene itself.

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In James Hibberd"s new oral history, Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon, the Entertainment Weekly editor at large provides some of the biggest behind-the-scenes secrets of the entire series, including the real story behind Cersei"s "walk of shame."

At the end of Thrones" fifth season, as punishment for her various crimes — including adultery with her twin brother Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) — Cersei, the queen mother of the realm, has her hair shorn & is forced to strip naked for a long, painful walk through King"s Landing as she faces her subjects. Behind her, a nun in the Faith Militant walks behind her with a bell, repeating one word over and over again: "Shame." Ultimately, this humiliating display leaves Cersei broken và battered, as well as determined lớn seek revenge upon the Faith và its leader, the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce).

As Hibberd details, this sequence, which was shot on location in the walled city of Dubrovnik, Croatia, was just as difficult to lớn shoot as it was khổng lồ watch. Here"s the real story behind Cersei Lannister"s famous Walk of Shame on Game of Thrones.

The Walk of Shame may seem incredibly cruel và outlandish, but as Hibberd points out, it"s rooted in real history that author George R.R. Martin adapted for his fifth book in the Song of Ice and Fire series, A Dance with Dragons. "Martin"s usage was based off the punishment of King Edward IV"s mibức xúc Jane Shore in the fifteenth century," Hibberd wrote. "After Edward"s death in 1483, the king"s brother took the throne & charged Shore with conspiracy, accusing her of "sorcery" và "witchcraft." Shore was forced khổng lồ endure a penance walk through London wearing only a thin White undergarment while the crowd "shamed" her."

Martin explained why he used this particular punishment for Cersei, since he knew it would cut khổng lồ the heart of the character: "It was a punishment directed at women to break their pride, và Cersei is defined by her pride."

Showrunner David Benioff knew just how important this sequence would be, và knew it had khổng lồ be as intense as possible. "They"re trying to lớn shame her," Benioff said." They"re trying khổng lồ humiliate her as much as they possibly can. It"s supposed to lớn be like a scene from a nightmare. And the nightmare is you"re walking naked in front of a đô thị of people. It"s a comtháng anxiety dream to lớn be naked in front of people. I don"t think it"s as comtháng that you"re in your pajamas in front of people. It"s much more horrific if they"ve just completely dehumanized you & taken off all your clothes & you have sầu nothing to lớn hide behind.

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However, before shooting could even begin, the show faced two big obstacles. First, the city of Dubrovnik, which represented King"s Landing for seven of the show"s eight seasons, was unhappy that a naked woman would be filmed against their extremely recognizable backdrop. "During the planning phase, a Dubrovnik church tried to lớn block the Walk of Shame from filming, citing a đô thị policy against "public displays of sexuality,"" Hibberd wrote. "Producers still managed to get permission but had to lớn switch a key scene khổng lồ a different location within Old Town." After adjusting plans khổng lồ appease a real-life religious institution to display a scene engineered by a fictional one, there was another issue: Headey didn"t want to appear nude.

Headey asked to lớn be partly clothed, but since Cersei is nude in the books, producers insisted it remain faithful. "I chose not khổng lồ be naked for many reasons," Headey recalled. " some people thought I was less of an actress because I didn"t get my t*ts out. That was really a bit shocking. I"ve sầu done nudity. I"m not averse khổng lồ it. But I"m a very emotional actor, and I get really driven by that. In order khổng lồ do my job, I allow myself lớn be very vulnerable. I don"t know any other way lớn vày my job. Things really affect me."

As Headey explained, she didn"t think she would be able lớn play Cersei effectively and appear nude: "The thought of being naked for three days and trying lớn contain her in the way she would be... I think I would feel very angry. I didn"t want to lớn be angry. I don"t think Cersei would be angry. I film every year & I have kids and it was just too much on top of that."

Ultimately, producers came up with a solution. Though Headey would perform the walk herself, a nude body toàn thân double would walk next to her, & Headey"s head would later be superimposed onlớn the double"s toàn thân using CGI.

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After auditioning plenty of candidates, producers found a performer who embodied Headey perfectly: Rebecca Van Cleave sầu, a newcomer khổng lồ the industry. "Rebecca is a great actress, & she was aware of what it was," Headey said. "It was a long process trying to find sometoàn thân who got what it means to lớn physically be there."

When it came time khổng lồ film, the two actresses charted Cersei"s exact path through Dubrovnik"s Old Town. "I wanted khổng lồ make Lena và Rebecca feel lượt thích a team," said director David Nutter. "So the day before shooting we went lớn the location & walked through it, so they had a great tag team as to what they were doing."

Headey has nothing but compliments for the actress who made the scene possible; as she told Hibberd, "It was as helpful for her as she was for me. She was very cool and brave sầu. It takes a lot khổng lồ walk through the crowd naked for three days with the crowd braying at you. I didn"t phone it in; I was there for three days with Rebecca."

When filming began, the trò chơi of Thrones crew went khổng lồ great lengths lớn protect both actresses, according khổng lồ executive producer Bernadette Caulfield. "We covered most of with umbrellas," Caulfield said. "That was our biggest challenge. We wanted khổng lồ protect , and we wanted lớn make sure just everybody behaved & was respectful of the situation, and we didn"t want to offover anytoàn thân. We left very little exposed, so to speak."

Even so, it was a daunting task, as Van Cleave sầu remembered: "The first time I took off the robe there was all this anticipation building up khổng lồ it. But it"s such an emotional experience for Cersei, you almost check out of the fact that you"re nude. You"re so in touch with the scene và what you"re going for."

In the moment, with extras screaming obscenities and throwing objects at both actresses, it was quite difficult to maintain composure, but easy lớn feel what Cersei would really be feeling. "It"s not hard when people are screaming at you và you look like sh** và you"re being f**king humiliated how that would feel," Headey admitted." I did what I thought she would bởi vì emotionally. And wonderful Rebecca was able to lớn contain herself và be naked. She found it very difficult, obviously. It"s not a natural thing lớn bởi vì."

"Some of those shots we got, some of those close-ups, Lena had khổng lồ go to a dark place to lớn get the right emotion," Benioff recalled. "It"s incredibly compelling, yet you almost want khổng lồ turn away because you"re looking at someone who"s suffering."

There"s no denying that Cersei"s horrifying Walk of Shame wasn"t an intense & tough filming process, but in the over, everyone involved agreed that it was worth the final product. "What was really impressive about what David Nutter did with the scene is you feel what it would be like for this to lớn happen khổng lồ you," Benioff said. "Obviously you, the viewer, are not standing in the street being pelted with sh** and tomatoes and eggs & everything else, but he"s letting you feel it. A lot of the shots are first person. You feel quite viscerally the horror of that moment. And once you"ve been inside a character"s skin, it"s very hard to loathe them."

As Van Cleave sầu put it, the process was daunting, but also strangely fulfilling: "It was one of the scariest, most wonderful experiences I could have sầu imagined. I never in a million years would have thought I would be in Dubrovnik surrounded by hundreds of crew members and extras throwing food, but it was an amazing & gratifying experience. It helped me; I feel stronger than ever now."

In the over, the sequence was also a testament to Cersei"s sheer force of will. "The thing about Cersei is that she"s never going to be fully broken," Headey said. "There"s something in her that"s vengeful and angry & survivalist. You can break every bone in her body toàn thân, but if there"s one left, she will fix it." Cersei later takes her revenge, but there"s no denying that her Walk of Shame is a huge turning point for her character.