'Get Her A F---ing Robe': Emilia Clarke On Landing Game Of Thrones And How Jason Momoa Came To Her Aid When She Didn't Realize What She'd Gotten Into With Nude Scenes

 Jason Momoa touches Emilia Clarke's belly in Game of Thrones Season 1.
Jason Momoa touches Emilia Clarke's belly in Game of Thrones Season 1.

Emilia Clarke has had a brilliant run since kickstarting her acting career playing Daenerys Targaryen as part of the Game of Thrones cast. GOT was not her very first role, but it was the one that put her on the acting map; yet, the job may have been groundbreaking but it came with a bit of discomfort, too, particularly given Dany’s arc in Season 1. The good news? She got to film some of her most uncomfortable scenes with TV vet Jason Momoa, who was there to help navigate the sex and nudity appearing on HBO (now Max) required.

Clarke has spoken in the past about “feeling pressured” to perform naked for certain Daenerys Targaryen scenes. She’s always been clear Momoa was really there for her when she was still relatively new to Hollywood and didn’t know exactly how to navigate complex situations. But when she started filming the show, she didn’t feel super empowered to comment on what made her feel comfortable and what didn’t. Plus, she's spoken about how her role in Game of Thrones nearly didn’t pan out in the first place.

Emilia Clarke Really Had To Fight To Land The Daenerys Targaryen Role

She told the Armchair Expert podcast the show had to really push to hire her at 23 and it was really touch and go. They’d already filmed the infamous unsuccessful original pilot and the actress was coming in “off the back” of that. She first met with “David, Dan, Carolyn Strauss and Frank Doelger in a little room in Soho” and auditioned for them. That wasn’t enough.

She then had to fly all the way to Los Angeles to put on a little show for HBO execs, and the whole thing was so unnerving that years later she told Dax Shepherd she “felt like [she] blacked out for the whole experience.” She said:

Beforehand, Frank had taken me aside and was like, ‘Listen sweetie. There’s gonna be things that they might ask you to do outside of just doing the scenes. I’m like, ‘OK cool. Right. What does that mean?’ And he was like, ‘It’s cool, everything’s fine, I just want you to be aware they might ask you some questions. blah blah blah. Be prepared. It’s all good!’ Little did I know they were gunning for HBO to sign off on me because I was a complete unknown. Total complete gamble. So I was going in with their hopes as well as my own. At the end I was so nervous, so scared. I did not look willowy or tall or any of the things they expected the chick to be.

Clarke had read the books twice at this point preparing for the audition, so she already knew she didn’t quite fit George R.R. Martin’s idea of Daenerys, who was “tall” and “willowy.” She said the interview itself was in a big auditorium and she even did some insane stuff, like the chicken dance, so she was not sure she landed the role – particularly given she was such a newcomer in the industry and it was such a big role. But she nailed it.

Then she got the scripts.

Emilia Clarke On Meeting Jason Momoa And How He Helped Her

After landing the lead as Daenerys Targaryen, she realized that nudity was written into the script and required. Which was fine, but she also didn’t know how to advocate for herself or what was OK and not OK being new to the set. She specifically said it was “hard” and she was well aware she was “new to the game and realizing that in a hair’s breadth it could all disappear."

The good news? She had Jason Momoa -- whom she called a "seasoned" actor already at that point, to help her navigate what was and wasn't allowed on set. She said during the podcast that while she wasn't comfortable speaking out, it was her onscreen husband who came to her aid and was much more sensitive about the number of people who were around on set. He made sure she was set up, which she calls "fortunate" looking back:

It’s only now that I realize how fortunate I was with that because that could have gone many, many, many different ways. He was always like, ‘Can we get her a fucking robe? She’s shivering!’ He was so kind and considerate and cared about me as a human being.

The early scenes on the series are fairly faithful to George R.R. Martin’s written works (though characters like Ros don't exist), which means that Game of Thrones features plenty of nudity. Scenes where Dany deals with rape and weird moments with her brother are all part of a storyline intended to highlight how she takes control of her own narrative as a grown, powerful woman later on. But filming all of that on set is a very different experience, and Emilia Clarke said in the interview she didn’t feel “worthy of requiring anything” when the fantasy series was only the third time she’d been on a major set.

She's sort of hinted at feeling uncomfortable early on while filming before. She previously also told a story about why Dany has such good posture in the fantasy drama, revealing it's because she was terrified and her mom had asked her to sit up straight. She did what she was asked and it became a character trait that stuck.

Despite the worries and hiccups, her time on Thrones sounds like it was largely positive, and she's still championing her working relationship with Momoa years later. The actor still refers to her as his Game of Thrones wifey (which never stops being cute as heck). She noted it's really just a part of his overall personality to be as Momoa-y as possible. It's a case of what you see is exactly what you get.

Physically bowled over. When he first met me he wrestled me to the ground. To the ground. I was so English before then, I had never been greeted –I’d never met anyone his size. Let alone his size of personality. He's like, ‘Hey wifey.’ He’s got [Hawaiian spirit] and then some.

Being vulnerable onscreen can be hard, particularly when you are new to Hollywood. These days Emilia Clarke is much more seasoned on set, and says she knows her way around a contract. Yet despite some trials with her HBO gig, there's clearly been some great stuff to come out of it too, including a career uptick and a friendship with one big bear of an actor.