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Tamzin Merchant breaks 12-year silence on playing Daenerys in original 'Game of Thrones' pilot - Entertainment Weekly

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The Carnival Row histrion and The Hatmakers writer candidly discusses "the large lesson" of appearing successful HBO's archetypal scrapped aviator much than a decennary aft playing the Mother of Dragons.

Before Emilia Clarke was Daenerys Targaryen, determination was Tamzin Merchant. 

The then-21-year-old Merchant landed the pistillate pb relation successful HBO's archetypal ill-fated Game of Thrones aviator that was filmed successful 2009. The aviator was famously scrapped and astir wholly reshot owed to galore issues, and respective roles and unit members were replaced on the way. One of those changes: the histrion who played the Mother of Dragons. 

At the time, the British histrion was coming disconnected different deed costume drama, Showtime's The Tudors. She would aboriginal spell connected to articulation WGN's Salem, the CW's Supergirl and Amazon's Carnival Row — which is presently filming its 2nd season. Merchant is besides astir to motorboat her literate debut, the young big phantasy caller The Hatmakers (more connected the book). 

Merchant has ne'er publically discussed the Game of Thrones aviator successful immoderate item — until now. 

"Shooting that aviator was a truly large lesson," Merchant said via Zoom from London. "It was an affirmation astir listening to my instincts and pursuing them, due to the fact that I tried to backmost retired of that concern and, during the declaration process, I did backmost out. I was talked backmost into it by immoderate persuasive people. Then I recovered myself bare and acrophobic successful Morocco and riding a equine that was intelligibly overmuch much excited to beryllium determination than I was."

Merchant is referring to Daenerys' wedding nighttime successful the pilot, which included nudity erstwhile the exiled Targaryen princess was claimed by her brutish equine lord husband, Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa). The Merchant mentation was filmed arsenic much of a seduction than successful the yet aired aviator starring Clarke. One changeable of the enactment country was interrupted by the equine having an erection (the aviator reshoot and equine anecdote were elaborate successful my Game of Thrones oral history, Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon).

Continued Merchant: "It was a acquisition that if my guts are telling maine a communicative isn't thing I'm excited to tell, past I shouldn't effort to beryllium excited conscionable due to the fact that different radical are telling maine that I should beryllium excited," she continued. "I didn't person immoderate grooming arsenic an actor, I lone person my instincts. And what excites maine and what drives maine is simply a compelling communicative and a compelling character. So for me, Game of Thrones was ne'er that. I deliberation it's a testament to Emilia Clarke for making that relation iconic — she was evidently excited to archer that story, and she was epic and excellent. But for me, it wasn't successful my bosom to archer it."

Actors being swapped retired aft a aviator is filmed is simply a precise communal occurrence. Usually, who primitively played whom during the unaired improvement process of a bid being figured retired is rapidly forgotten. But Merchant had the highly antithetic acquisition of watching a task wherever she had a little gig that simply didn't enactment retired dilatory turn into the biggest popular civilization sensation of the 21st period and an inescapable marque successful mundane life. 

"It was benignant of comic riding to auditions connected buses with Emilia Clarke's look connected it," Merchant quipped. "Like, 'oh my mode of transport is rather absorbing today!' It's been a happening I felt similar I watched unfold and it's been fantastic for the movie manufacture successful Northern Ireland and Croatia, and that has been truly great."

In Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon, one root noted that calling Merchant to pass her of the recasting determination was "the hardest telephone telephone [the producers] ever had to make." While HBO enforcement Michael Lombardo said, "There was a portion of casting we had to rethink, [a role] that was compromised. We each knew Daenerys' travel was critical. Her scenes with Jason conscionable didn't work." While co-executive shaper Bryan Cogman added, "I thought Tamzin did a truly bully job. It's hard to accidental wherefore things didn't enactment out. Ultimately, it's evident Emilia Clarke was calved to play that part."

Merchant past added that erstwhile she considers her accidental connected Thrones, she tends to deliberation of the communicative of "The Red Shoes" – the 19th-century Hans Christian Andersen fairytale that was adapted into a 1948 movie and a ballet.

"The mentation that I'm talking astir is this astonishing audiobook by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés, who wrote Women Who Run with the Wolves," Merchant says. "It tells a communicative of this miss who has a brace of handmade shoes; these reddish shoes that she's made herself. She's walking connected her way and she gets taken by this woman successful a aureate carriage. The woman sweeps her disconnected to this expansive beingness of riches and luxury. And she burns the reddish shoes that the miss made. All the miss wants is simply a brace of reddish shoes and she yet buys this caller beauteous brace — and they creation her to death."

"And for me, I deliberation if I had to get successful that aureate carriage — if I hadn't been released from my declaration — I deliberation it would person taken maine to a spot acold from the originative idiosyncratic that I americium today," she says. "Also, if I was precise affluent and famous, I wouldn't person clip to bash each the things that my psyche needs to do. Expressing myself creatively is simply a request that's much important than immoderate magnitude of riches that I could person gained from that part. If I did I deliberation I'd conscionable distract myself – but that's conscionable me, not anybody else; I deliberation Emilia Clarke is amazing. I conscionable wouldn't beryllium the creator that I americium contiguous [like with the book]. I'm profoundly grateful to person claimed my ain way to beryllium carving it for myself."

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Game of Thrones

HBO's epic phantasy play based connected George R.R. Martin's caller bid 'A Song of Ice and Fire.'

  • TV Show
  • 8
  • 73
  • TV-MA
  • David Benioff
  • D.B. Weiss
  • HBO
stream service
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