Emilia Clarke is no stranger to boldface names, having played the iconic Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones. However, she was “petrified” before her UK stage debut.
“I’m profoundly aware of the fact that there will be people who love Game of Thrones and are seeing it for that,” Clarke said in an interview with BBC.
“It’s ten times more frightening because there’ll be people wanting to go and say, ‘Well, she can only act on camera; she clearly can’t act on stage.’ Which is obviously the biggest fear.”
Yet, the 35-year-old actress also looks forward that by performing in a play written in 1895, following a group of lonely Russians inhabiting an isolated nation estate; she will motivate a new audience to get to the theater.
“Hopefully, they’ll come and go, ‘We just came to see the Mother of Dragons, oh how frustrating, she’s not on a dragon, this isn’t what I paid for.’ Spoiler: I’m not on a dragon at any point during this play,” Clarke laughs.
“But hopefully, what they get, as a kind of little extra, is that they get to enjoy this play that they might not have seen otherwise.”
Clarke acts in the film as Nina, alongside Tom Rhys Harries, who plays Trigorin.
Nonetheless, there is a different type of anxiety. Following a quick decade when Clarke became an international sensation, she had two brain hemorrhages and saw her father die of cancer; playing in the West end is intimidating because “it’s something I’ve wanted for so long.”
She continued, “It’s frightening because it’s a dream of mine finally realized.”
The show’s production was shut down after only four preview shows when the pandemic hit.
“There is no higher art than theater,” said the British actress. “I adore it. I absolutely love it. I feel happiest, safest, most at home.”