Emilia Clarke had the opportunity to play the lead in 2015’s “Fifty Shades of Grey,” but turned down the role because of sexism.
In The Hollywood Reporter’s annual “TV Drama Actress Roundtable” discussion, published Thursday, Clarke said the experience of playing Daenerys Targaryen in “Game of Thrones” had quite an impact on her.
Throughout the duration of the HBO hit, Clarke’s character had a handful of nude scenes. Most of them were meant to highlight the character’s eventual journey from an abused girl thought of as property to a fierce (and ultimately ruthless) ruler.
But as Clarke put it, people were laser-focused on her naked body.
Due to this, Clarke passed on playing Anastasia Steele in “Fifty Shades,” a highly sexual role.
“Well, [‘Fifty Shades’ director] Sam [Taylor-Johnson] is a magician. I love her, and I thought her vision was beautiful,” Clarke, 32, said during the conversation. “But the last time that I was naked on camera on [‘Game of Thrones’] was a long time ago, and yet it is the only question that I ever get asked because I am a woman.”
“And it’s annoying as hell and I’m sick and tired of it because I did it for the character,” she went on. “I didn’t do it so some guy could check out my tits, for God’s sake.”
Clarke felt like she “did a minimal amount and I’m pigeonholed for life,” so the role eventually went to Dakota Johnson. The movie went on to earn $166 million domestically and $571 million worldwide, per People, spawning the sequels “Fifty Shades Darker” and “Fifty Shades Freed.”
It seems like the possibility of doing a project that involves sequels was also a daunting proposition for Clarke, given she was tied to an insanely popular TV show for about a decade.
“One thing I would not like to do is something that would have a sequel,” Clarke said. “Something that could have, like, ‘And then two and then three and then four.’ I’d like to not do one of those for a minute.”