Early in her Game of Thrones career, Emilia Clarke’s character of Daenerys Targaryen was one of the most frequently nude characters on the show.
In her birthday suit during both her first scene of the first season, her last scene of the first season, and various other scenes in between, Clarke was baring all on camera far more than any other actor or actress on the show.
And while Clarke’s nude appearances lessened as the seasons went on, it still impacted her career elsewhere, as it was one of the major reasons she turned down the lead role of Anastasia Steele in the erotic romantic drama Fifty Shades of Grey.
The role — which eventually went to American actress Dakota Johnson — is frequently in the nude during the course of the franchises three films: Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed. And because of that frequent nudity, Clarke turned down the role as she did not want to be “pigeonholed” as that actress.
“I was like, ‘I can’t.’ 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… 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,’” Clarke said during an actress roundtable interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
Given the way that the Fifty Shades franchise has since turned out, Clarke was wise to turn down the almost comical role of Anastasia Steele.
As for Clarke’s post-Game of Thrones career, she will be starring the in upcoming Paul Feig-directed comedy Last Christmas alongside Emma Thompson.