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We’ve known for a few days now that Lena Headey used a body double for her famous Game of Thrones Season 5 walk. Now, we’ve learned that actress Rebecca Van Cleave earned the part after beating out more 1,000 hopefuls. While a lot of people who watch the show have had opinions about the CGI and the body switcheroo on the small screen, Van Cleave has now spoken out about the experience, calling it “gratifying.”
It was one of the scariest, most wonderful, most gratifying experiences I could have imagined. I never in a million years would have thought I would be in Dubrovnik surrounded by hundreds of extras and crew members throwing food at me, but it was amazing.
Van Cleave also told EW that she was one of five finalists who were actually flown to Belfast to meet the producers on the series, where she was chosen to perform the walk in place of Lena Headey, who had opted out of doing the naked walk herself “for several reasons,” (meaning we still don’t know exactly why she said no to the walk but may have had something to do with pregnancy). Luckily, her body double, despite never having done a nude scene before, seems to have had no qualms with the process. Van Cleave also says that watching the scene later had a major impact on her, as well.
It was very surreal and emotional, to be honest. I had a good little cry afterward. Lena and I put so much into that scene and to see it all come together was really special.
The two actresses actually tag teamed it on the set of Game of Thrones when the scene was filmed in October. Reports indicate that Lena Headey’s Cersei filmed her scenes in a nude shift and Van Cleave actually dropped trou and bravely walked around in front of hundreds of Game of Thrones extras. Van Cleave also took direction from Headey during the filming, as the two had to hit the same level of emotionality during the big walking scene. They spent a lot of time on set together—working as closely as two people who get covered with excrement from chamber pots can.
Maybe we’ll eventually learn why Headey opted not to take her clothes off to play out what is arguably Cersei’s most famous scene. Even if we don’t, it’s good to know that the actress that took her place ultimately had a great experience with the role, even if her head and her voice were not included.
While Game of Thrones has already been renewed for Season 6, it will be some time before the HBO drama returns to the schedule. For now, you can check out everything we know about the upcoming season, here.