'Game Of Thrones' star Hannah Waddingham: I was waterboarded for 10 hours to film torture scene

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Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister tortures Hannah Waddingham's Septa Unella in Game of Thrones' S6 finale The Winds of Winter (HBO/Sky Atlantic)
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister tortures Hannah Waddingham's Septa Unella in Game of Thrones' S6 finale The Winds of Winter (HBO/Sky Atlantic)

Game Of Thrones star Hannah Waddingham has described a torture scene in the hit fantasy series as "the worst day of my life", claiming she was actually strapped down and waterboarded for 10 hours.

The 46-year-old English West End theatre actor played devoted follower of The High Sparrow, Septa Unella in the HBO show – who was tortured by villainous queen Cersei Lannister, played by Lena Headey, in season six.

Waddingham told Collider’s Ladies Night podcast: “There I was strapped to a wooden table with proper big straps for 10 hours. And definitely, other than childbirth, it was the worst day of my life.

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"Because Lena was uncomfortable pouring liquid in my face for that long, and I was beside myself.”

The Sex Education star admitted she had opted to be submitted to the real-life torture for the sake of her performance.

She went on: "I could barely speak because I had been screaming through The Mountain's hand. 

Septa Unella and Cersei Lannister in 'Game Of Thrones'. (HBO)
Septa Unella and Cersei Lannister in Game Of Thrones. (HBO)

"So I had no voice at all to barely whisper, bruises already coming up like I had been attacked, and I was like, ‘I've basically just been waterboarded for 10 hours.'

“The one thing I kept thinking to myself [was] ‘the production company aren't going to let you die, so get on with it, be uncomfortable’.”

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 25:  Hannah Waddingham poses at Bingham Riverhouse in her award show look for the 27th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on March 25, 2021 in London, England. Due to COVID-19 restrictions the 2021 SAG Awards will be a one-hour, pre-taped event airing April 4 on TNT and TBS.  (Photo by Darren Bell/Getty Images for ABA)
Hannah Waddingham poses at Bingham Riverhouse in her award show look for the 27th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, 2021 (Darren Bell/Getty Images for ABA)

But Waddingham admitted she was so traumatised by the experience she had to speak to a counsellor about suffering claustrophobia and a fear of water as a result of the torture scene.

The Ted Lasso star also revealed the original script included her character being raped by brutal knight The Mountain, played by Icelandic strongman Hafpor Julius Bjornsson, as part of her torture, but that part of the scene was cut.

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Waddingham said: “Unella was meant to be raped by The Mountain.

“I think they'd had so many complaints about the rape of Sansa that they chose not to go with it.”

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