Gemma Whelan , an actress from Game of Thrones, detailed her experience of filming sex scenes on the fantasy drama, calling it a “frenzied mess.”
The HBO hit series was lamented with its dragons, violence, sex, and nudity from the beginning. Whether it was Jaime and Cersei partaking in their incestuous relationship or Daenerys Targaryen and Khal Drogo, the show never strayed away from explicit content.
Showrunners David Benioff and DB Weiss have faced backlash over the years for portraying explicit moments and sexual violence within the show, with the cast speaking about their involvement in the scenes.
In a recent interview with The Guardian, Whelan, who played Yara Greyjoy, the sister of Theon Greyjoy ( played by Alfie Allen), spoke about her time on Game of Thrones. During the filming of the last season, she was pregnant with her daughter, Frances, and joked, “Yeah. It’s a great way of getting loads of closeups!”
She addressed how people’s behaviours in the world have changed after disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein’s sexual offences, noting that the “choice of language” is different and if anyone makes any type of “innuendo,” things shut down.
“I think, five or 10 years ago, if there was a double entendre, everyone would jump on the bandwagon and see how many laughs they could raise. But now you don’t have to play along with things like that,” Whelan told the outlet.
Whelan also said that the cast was mostly left to get on with the scene, with show personnel saying, “When we shout action, go for it!”
“They used to just say, ‘When we shout action, go for it!’, and it could be a sort of frenzied mess. But between the actors, there was always an instinct to check in with each other.”
She further gave an example of a brothel scene with a woman who was exposed so, she and the woman spoke about the camera angle and what she would be comfortable with.
When Yara first met Theon, he didn’t realise it was his sister. With that, he relentlessly tried to seduce her, which became an incestuous sexual moment.
Whelan also said that her fellow castmate Allen asked, “Is this OK? How are we going to make this work?” before mentioning that the scenes are choreographed when working with intimacy directors and “permission and consent are given before you start.”
“It is a step in the right direction,” Whelan added.
After many of the Game of Thrones sex scenes were finished in 2018, HBO started mandating the employment of intimacy coordinators moving forward.