"Game of Thrones" Star Calls This Scene "The Worst Day of My Career"
"That was horrible. Nobody wanted to be there," the actor said in a recent interview.
While it may seem like Hollywood actors would have little to complain about, some of the experiences they go through on set for the sake of telling a story can be deeply traumatic and upsetting. In the case of Iwan Rheon, who played Ramsay Bolton on HBO's smash hit series Game of Thrones, one shot in particular was what he called "the worst day of my career": the scene in which he forces himself upon his young wife, Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner). During a new November interview with Metro, Rheon spoke at length about how emotionally difficult and straining it was to film the violent encounter—for many of the cast and crew involved. Read on for more about how the experience has stayed with him, and for a very different career low-point, Oprah Says This Was the Worst Guest She Ever Had.
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The entire Game of Thrones crew felt affected by the scene.
Even with everyone on set anticipating how difficult of a scene it would be to film, Rheon recalls that the genuine horror made it all that much more challenging to get through. "That was horrible. Nobody wanted to be there," he told Metro. "Nobody wants to do that, but if it's telling a story then you have to tell it truthfully. They didn't sensationalize it or anything. It was very, very hard watching. It's a horrible thing that happens, unfortunately… It was the worst day of my career."
The scene made a show set in fantasy feel incredibly real to Rheon.
Even for a show filled with dragons, magic, and intense violence, Rheon admitted that the scene stayed with him for being so tragically true to life. "Chopping someone's finger off, you don't really see it, and when you're doing a close-up, it's a piece of plastic. We're just acting, it's not real," he explained. "Then something like that where you're in the actual reality of the situation is very difficult to deal with. It was a horrible, horrible day. This is something that we shouldn't even have to worry about, because it's something that shouldn't exist in this world but unfortunately it does."
Sophie Turner has said the scene moved her to advocate for domestic abuse victims.
Actor Sophie Turner, who played Sansa, said that working on the scene awakened a deeper calling in her to do something about the horrific acts of sexual assault that all too often take place in the real world. "Initially, I didn't feel there was anything that stayed with me from all the things Sansa went through," she told Harper's Bazaar in 2019. "But though I think it hasn't affected me emotionally, I did start thinking about the domestic abuse and rape, and it spurred this little part of me that might be an activist." And for more celebrity and entertainment news delivered right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
And other Game of Thrones stars have said they've been affected by similar scenes.
While the scene between Ramsay and Sansa was a deeply traumatic one for the actors involved, Game of Thrones was not exactly lacking in similar storylines that also deeply affected those who worked on them. During an interview with The Times of London, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who played Jamie Lannister, confessed that actor Emilia Clarke had suffered a similar emotional trauma while filming a scene in which her character, Daenerys Targaryen, was raped by her husband in the show's first episode. "For Emilia to play that … was really tough and degrading, because what that character goes through is horrific," he said. "She's sold to a guy who rapes her, but her way of getting through that is a massive journey." And for other actors who've been challenged by their characters, check out This "Shameless" Star Just Had the Best Comeback to an Angry Tweet.