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Emilia Clarke just explained why she said no to THAT Fifty Shades of Grey role

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Kayleigh Dray
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British actress Emilia Clarke arrives on the red carpet for the Time 100 Gala at the Lincoln Center in New York on April 23, 2019. (Photo by ANGELA WEISS / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images)

The Game of Thrones actor was originally in talks to star as Anastasia Steele, but turned down the role because she didn’t want to be asked about “sensuality and sex” for the rest of her career.

We all know Emilia Clarke best as Game of Thrones’ Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, First of HerName, the Unburnt, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons. However, if things had gone a little differently earlier on in her career, she could have become the face of a very different book-to-screen adaptation.

That’s right: Clarke has revealed that she was in talks to star as Anastasia Steele in the Fifty Shades of Grey movies – a role which eventually went to Dakota Johnson. However, she eventually turned down the role, though, due to ongoing criticism around her nude scenes in GoT.

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Speaking about her decision to turn down the role, Clarke said: “Well, Sam [Taylor-Johnson, the director] is a magician. I love her, and I thought her vision was beautiful. But 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.”

Clarke went on to say that she has been “pigeonholed for life” thanks to the brief nude scene she filmed for Game of Thrones, and so felt forced to say no to Fifty Shades because she didn’t want to be asked about “sensuality and sex” for the rest of her career.

“So, that coming up, I was like, ‘I can’t,’” Clarke told Hollywood Reporter.

“I did a minimal amount and I’m pigeonholed for life, so me saying yes to that, where the entire thing is about sensuality and sex and being naked and all of that stuff, I was just like, ‘No way am I going to voluntarily walk into that situation and then never be able to look someone in the eye and be like, ‘No, you can’t keep asking me this question.’”

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In a previous interview with The Sun ahead of Game of Thrones’ season eight premiere, Clarke explained: “There’s not one part of the show that I would go back and redo. People ask me the nudity question all the time. But the short answer is no, I would never change anything.

“You had to see those sex scenes, as they couldn’t just be explained.”

As well as her character’s sex scenes with Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa) and Jon Snow (Kit Harington), Clarke has also appeared naked in season six, when Daenerys emerges unscathed from a burning building.

To highlight the fact that she had only survived due to the Targaryen blood coursing through her veins, Clarke and the producers decided that Daenerys would be physically unhurt – but that the flames would have burned the clothes away from her body.

The scene received criticism from self-described feminists on social media – criticism which, Clarke felt, was largely undeserved.

“I just wanted to come out and do an empowered scene that wasn’t sexual — it was naked, but it was strong,” she said.

“I get a lot of crap for having done nude scenes and sex scenes. That, in itself, is so anti-feminist.

“Women hating on other women is just the problem. That’s upsetting.”

Images: Getty

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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