Former Game of Thrones co-stars Lena Headey and Hannah Waddingham opened up about their experiences filming the famous wine-boarding torture scene from the season 6 finale, ‘The Winds of Winter.’ Throughout season 6, Headey’s Cersei Lannister had been imprisoned by the religious fanatic, the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce). As a result, Cersei experienced a great deal of humiliating torture at the hands of Waddingham’s Septa Unella (perhaps better known as the ‘shame’ nun). However, Cersei finally got her revenge against the Septa when she regained power and brutally tortured her via waterboarding.
Since her appearance on Game of Thrones, Waddingham’s acting career has arguably sky-rocketed, leading to Krypton, Sex Education, and Ted Lasso roles. The actress received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress as AFC Richmond owner Rebecca Welton on Ted Lasso. Headey received five nominations for the same award for her performance on Game of Thrones over its eight-year run. Most recently, she appeared as the voice of Evil-Lyn in Masters of the Universe: Revelation and as Scarlet in Gunpowder Milkshake alongside Karen Gillan.
Discussing their time working together on Game of Thrones for Entertainment Weekly, the pair recalled their first time meeting on the set. Waddingham also brought up filming the wineboarding scene from the season 6 finale, describing it as something they “never really talk about because I think both of us found it quite traumatic at the time.” Waddingham explained that she found it difficult as she was effectively waterboarded while filming, adding that both she and Headey found it quite “quite uncomfortable. ” Headey agreed, saying that despite the safety parameters in place, it “made me feel horrendous doing that scene with you.” You can ready Waddingham and Headey’s complete statements below:
Waddingham: “I wanted to ask you, which we never really talk about because I think both of us found it quite traumatic at the time: Our waterboarding, or rather wineboarding, scenes. People are always quite shocked that that actually did happen in reality and there was nothing CGI’d. One thing I’ve said a lot is that both of us were quite uncomfortable about it, but as with all these things, you know that they’re not actually going to kill you so you just get on with it and do it. It made wicked telly and I just wondered what your take on all that was, because I think you found it quite difficult too.”
Headey: “Yes, that was, for you, horrendous. Someone else asked me about that the other day and I was like, you know, as an actor we all have boundaries or no boundaries. And no boundaries are obviously very thrilling when you can go to a place… but something like that when you’re tied down [during filming for 10 hours], it made me feel horrendous doing that scene with you.”
Despite the scene being undoubtedly traumatic for both actresses at the time, especially Waddingham, the pair seem to have been able to put it behind them. As Waddingham added, the team became incredibly close friends due to the experience. Waddingham noted that she was initially nervous working alongside Headey because “[she was] like queen lady of the ladies and I was some n*bhead who had popped a baby out nine weeks previously.” Headey took this in good humor, adding that while it may have been the case, “you met me and you realized [that I was an] equal n*bhead!”.
In the years following its conclusion, and arguably while it still aired, Game of Thrones has come under much scrutiny for its treatment of its female characters, particularly regarding assault and rape. The wineboarding scene is just yet another example of what the show’s actors and characters were subject to while filming and has led to a wider discussion of such matters. That said, Waddingham and Headey while finding the scene traumatic to film, appear to have been able to take it in their stride and come out the other side both stronger and closer as friends through their experience working together, which is at least something of a positive.
Source: Entertainment Weekly