HBO’s Game Of Thrones was definitely violent and downright disturbing at times, especially when it involved the characters being in horrifying experiences like getting killed, raped or tortured. Unfortunately for some, the experience behind the camera turned out to be just as horrifying, if not even more so.
That’s exactly what happened to Game Of Thrones actress Hannah Waddingham, who portrayed Septa Unella in Season 6 of the hit series. In case you’ve forgotten, Septa Unella was a member of the cult-like Church Of The Seven (which was led by the Sparrow), best known for forcing Lena Headey’s Cersei to walk naked on the streets of King’s Landing while shouting “Shame! Shame! Shame!” repeatedly along the way.
At the end of the season, Cersei got her revenge by having Septa Unella tied to a wooden table, and forcefully pouring pitchers of wine onto her face until she died. That turned out to be a torturous and traumatic experience for Waddingham, who had to endure a whopping 10 hours of being strapped to the wooden table and getting liquid poured on her face. It’s essentially like getting waterboarded, which is an actual torturing method used in the real world.
Speaking with Collider, she said:
“And there I was strapped to a wooden table with proper big straps for ten hours.
And definitely, other than childbirth, it was the worst day of my life.
Because Lena was uncomfortable pouring liquid in my face for that long, and I was beside myself.
But in those moments you have to think, do you serve the piece and get on with it or do you chicken out and go, ‘No, this isn’t what I signed up for, blah, blah, blah?’
And then, the funny thing was, after we’d finished shooting it for the whole day, and people like Miguel Sapochnik, the director by the way, walking past with a cup of tea and a sandwich on-the-go and going, ‘Hi hunny, you alright?’
And I was like, ‘Not really.’ ‘The crew have just been saying we are actually really waterboarding you here.’
And I was like, ‘Yup, you don’t need to tell me that!’”
Worst of all, the traumatic experience left a lasting impression on Waddingham, who now suffers from claustrophobia when she’s around or near water. She explained:
“I hadn’t even realized that it definitely gave me claustrophobia around water.
I hadn’t realized until I watched a program where the camera’s down on the actor’s face and they’re being dipped into the water, but you see them face-up to the camera, and I got in a terrible panic about it.
And I actually went and had a bit of a chat to somebody about it, because it’s quite full-on being waterboarded for ten hours, and then only one minute and 30 seconds can be used on camera.”
And to think, Waddingham’s Septa Unella was originally supposed to be raped by the Mountain, instead of being waterboarded. The crew only avoided going that route after all the negative feedback to Sansa Stark’s rape scene from an earlier episode.
This has all been a disturbing revelation from one of the actresses from Game Of Thrones. I wonder if this means that other actors and actresses from Game Of Thrones will start sharing their own experiences on filming the show, be they good or bad.
In other related news, HBO recently gave us our first look at Game Of Thrones prequel House Of The Dragon.