Game Of Thrones' Emilia Clarke's Stance On Nude Scenes Over Her Career

Emilia Clarke - Game of Thrones

Oftentimes, actors need to be open and liberated in very revealing ways. Typically, that means being emotionally vulnerable and allowing oneself to channel the inner and outer emotions of the character. But sometimes, actors are also required to reveal themselves physically in order to become the character, which means doing nude scenes. Some actors ultimately opt out of performing nudity, but for the cast of HBO's immensely popular Game of Thrones, there were many performers who agreed to do their respective nude scenes. That includes Emilia Clarke in her star-making role of Daenerys Targaryen. Though, she has changed her stance on nudity in the past few years.

Nudity is ultimately a choice made by the actor, and it's something that actors take different stances on — even throughout their careers. For Emilia Clarke, the actress has been quoted saying different things about nude scenes at different points in time. Similarly, she has chosen to perform nude scenes at different times in her career, even when she suggested that she wasn't looking to perform them in the future. With that, let's look at Emilia Clarke's stance on nudity of the past few years, and how it has changed and evolved at different stages.

Emilia Clarke - Game of Thrones

Emilia Clarke Clears Up Rumors About Her Opinion Of Doing Sex Scenes

While Emilia Clarke performed in several different productions, in movies, TV and on the stage, in her early acting years, it was the star's appearance on HBO's Game of Thrones which turned her into a household name. The role itself notably required a good deal of nudity from the young actress, particularly in the first season. She also performed a nude scene in her Broadway production of Breakfast at Tiffany's, but for the HBO show, Clarke took a firm stance on future nude scene.

In 2015, a report stated that Emilia Clarke said she "can't stand" sex scenes, however the actress went on the record, in response to the report, via Instagram, to clarify her stance at the time, stating she was quoted out of context, and adding:

In drama, if a nude scene forwards a story or is shot in a way that adds insight into characters, I’m perfectly fine with it. Sometimes explicit scenes are required and make sense for the characters/story, as they do in Westeros.If it’s gratuitous for gratuitous sake, then I will discuss with a director on how to make it more subtle. In either case, like a good Mother of Dragons, I’m always in control.#dracarys#bodiesmaybetemplesbutmindsarewhatmatter

Emilia Clarke - Game of Thrones

Emilia Clarke Feels "Empowered" To Perform Game Of Thrones' Season 6

Emelia Clarke's nude scenes were few and far between on Game of Thrones after the first season. Nevertheless, Clarke opted to perform one final nude scene in character in Season 6, since she felt that the scene was an "empowering" and "not gratuitous." Ultimately, Clarke was "thrilled" by the scene and choose to perform it.

It was just a wonderful, strong moment I wanted to own, a real empowering, girl-power wow scene. I was so thrilled with it. It's not a sexy scene, she's not naked for no reason, it's not gratuitous. She's naked because she's just destroyed her enemies in this almighty blaze after they underestimated her – how could I say no?

Emilia Clarke - Game of Thrones

Emilia Clarke Claims That She Doesn't Mind Nudity In Films And TV Shows

Shortly after performing this Season 6 nude scene for Game of Thrones, Emilia Clarke revealed in another interview that she doesn't mind nudity in movies or TV shows. She claims that "it's part of life," and Clarke claimed that she was "annoyed" by the way she talked about it dismissively. Admittedly, though, these comments seem to be directed at nudity in general, not so much about Emilia Clarke performing nude scenes herself. Nevertheless, it shows an openness from Clarke, particularly as someone who has done her fair share of nude scenes throughout her acting career.

I'm starting to get really annoyed about this stuff now because people say, 'Oh, yeah, all the porn sites went down when Game of Thrones came back on. I'm like, 'The Handmaid's Tale?' I fucking love that show, and I cried when it ended because I couldn't handle not seeing it. That is all sex and nudity. There are so many shows centered around this very true fact that people reproduce. People fuck for pleasure — it's part of life.

Emilia Clarke - Game of Thrones

Emilia Clarke Admits That She Passed On Fifty Shades Of Grey Because Of The Nudity Involved

Before Dakota Johnson became Anastasia Steele in the Fifty Shades of Grey movies, Emilia Clarke was one of several actress circling the part. She opted not to act in the steamy trilogy, however, and there were reports that it had to do with the nudity involved in this part. Ultimately, Clarke seemed to confirm these claims a few months earlier when she admitted that she was hesitant to take this role because of the high amount of nudity involved.

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 — I didn’t do it so some guy could check out my tits, for God’s sake.

Emilia Clarke - Game of Thrones

Emilia Clarke Claims That She Was Ultimately "Pressured" Into Performing Her Game Of Thrones Nude Scenes

Most recently, Emilia Clarke has revealed on Dax Shepard's Armchair Expert podcast that she felt "pressured" into performing her earlier nude scenes in Game of Thrones, notably in Season 1, and she claims that she often felt uncomfortable doing them, even though she told herself that they were important for the part. At the age of 23, Clarke took on the biggest role of her career with Game of Thrones. As a newcomer at the time, she didn't want to rock the boat by not performing the scenes at hand. In any case, the scenes themselves were often hard to perform, though she credits Jason Momoa for helping her along the way.

I'd come fresh from drama school and I approached it as a job; if it's in the script then it's clearly needed, this is what this is, and I'm going to make sense of it. Everything's going to be cool... I'd been on a film set twice before then, and now I'm 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, and I don't know what you want, and I don't know what I want. Regardless of whether there had been nudity or not, I just spent that first season thinking, 'I'm not worthy of requiring anything. I'm not worthy of needing anything at all.' ... It was definitely hard, which is why the scenes, when I got to do them with Jason [Momoa], were wonderful because he was like, 'No, sweetie, this isn't OK.'

When it comes to acting, nudity is one of the toughest aspects. It requires a great deal of bravery and vulnerability, and it's something that can be cheapened and very gratuitous when done wrong. Ultimately, Emilia Clarke became famous for her role as Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones. Subsequently, Clarke became famous for doing nude scenes. She doesn't want it to be a trend for her future performances, though it seems that she will perform nude scenes under the right circumstances. As it stands, Emilia Clarke clearly holds many mixed feelings towards her own nude scenes.

Will Ashton

Will is an entertainment writer based in Pittsburgh, PA. His writing can also be found in The Playlist, Cut Print Film, We Got This Covered, The Young Folks, Slate and other outlets. He also co-hosts the weekly film/TV podcast Cinemaholics with Jon Negroni and he likes to think he's a professional Garfield enthusiast.