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Hannah Waddingham Got Real About The Unexpected Way Game Of Thrones Impacted Her, And It Sounds Like No Picnic

 Game of Thrones Hannah Waddingham.
Game of Thrones Hannah Waddingham.

Before Hannah Waddingham was best known for playing the beloved football club owner Rebecca Welton on Ted Lasso, she played Septa Unella, the infamous woman who said “shame,” on Game of Thrones. Now, as the actress takes on massive new projects, like the 2024 movie schedule’s The Fall Guy, she’s reflecting on the show that helped her get her start. However, that start was no walk in the park, and she got real about how working on GOT unexpectedly impacted her.

While her role in the Game of Thrones cast didn’t involve a ton of screentime, Waddingham’s character sure did pack a punch. Arguably, harder to watch than some of the more gruesome GOT deaths, the actress was involved in Cersei’s infamous naked walk of shame, plus her character got tortured later in the series. Speaking about her time on the acclaimed fantasy series on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the actress detailed just how hard it was to work on that show, and the unexpected impact it had on her:

Thrones gave me something I wasn’t expecting from it, and that is chronic claustrophobia. ‘Cause I had ten hours, I mean I’ve talked about it since with David Benioff and Dan Weiss the two exec producers on it, I was like ‘Good job it’s for them, because it was horrific.’ Ten hours of being actually waterboarded, like actually waterboarded.

Continuing on with her story, Hannah Waddingham noted that the cast and crew’s commitment to the show is what made it so good. However, that commitment also made the series incredibly difficult to film. Much like Maisie Williams, who hurt herself with her sword and recalled just how intense filming The Long Night battle was, the Ted Lasso actress candidly explained the battle scars she got from Thrones, saying:

The reason why I don’t believe it’s touched yet in terms of the cinematography of it for a series, it’s just a different level, but with that comes actual waterboarding. So I’m strapped to a table with all these leather straps, and I couldn’t lift up my head because they said it’s going to be too obvious that it’s loose. I was like ‘Right, I’d quite like it to be loose.’ So, I’m on my way back and I’m in this fancy pants lift, and my hair is already bleached to death, I had grape juice all in my hair so it went purple. I couldn’t speak because the mountain had his hand over my mouth while I was screaming, and I had strap marks everywhere like I’d been attacked.

I can totally understand why she has claustrophobia, that sounds so scary. As I said, making GOT is no picnic, and Waddingham proved that again by continuing her story and describing an interaction she had with another person who had been filming a strenuous scene on the beloved fantasy show:

Then the lift doors open, one of the other guys who’d been shooting something else, was just like ‘What has happened to you?’ And I told him everything, and he went ‘Well, you’re lucky I’ve just been crawling through shit on my elbows for four days.’ We were laughing about the fact that both of us are in Game of Thrones.

While this sounds scary, and I totally get why it impacted her, Hannah Waddingham has also been clear about the positive impacts of Game of Thrones. She’s said she loved that her character looked like she’d “been dug up,” and she said she does love interacting with fans about Unella and the show. Plus, as she told Colbert, everyone on the series was so committed to making the best show, and she was ready and willing to give it her all:

It kind of doesn’t matter when you’re in Thrones, because you just want to give the best.

How To Watch Game Of Thrones

Maisie Williams in Game of Thrones
Maisie Williams in Game of Thrones

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Even though it sounds like Hannah Waddingham’s time on Game of Thrones was incredibly difficult, and she ended up with claustrophobia because of it, she obviously loved working on the show, as she told Colbert.

She’s also shared that candid and infectious positive energy about her other projects too, like Ted Lasso and her next film The Fall Guy. Speaking of The Fall Guy, hopefully, as we get closer to the action flick’s May 3 release, we’ll get more behind-the-scenes stories like this one that are both raw and funny.