British Actress, Gwendoline Christie, “Brienne” in the hit TV series “Game of Thrones”, provided us with what was to be, the biggest shock of the London Film and Comic Con. And we don’t mean that negatively either. We’ve watched “Game of Thrones” and “Brienne” is one of the more likeable characters, a very tall masculine looking woman capable of besting any man in a sword fight or dare we say it, fisty cuffs. Of course we read up on her, made some notes of questions we wanted to ask, but we hadn’t actually looked at any photographs of her outside of Game of Thrones, because, lets be honest, “Brienne” should be fairly easy to spot, right? You couldn’t be more wrong. I can see why now I would have been rubbish in making casting choices (picking the bands likely to be successful I can do), because whoever cast Gwendoline as Brienne was truly inspired. Even with short hair, in person, Gwendoline looks anything but masculine, far from it, in fact if we’re being honest, she’s incredibly attractive. And that fierce “Brienne” demeanour, ah you see, now we know why that character doesn’t smile, because Gwendoline’s smile is beautiful, and the moment she would smile whilst in character, the game would be up. It’s at this point you really appreciate just how great an actress Gwendoline is, and why she has had an appearance in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Great Expectations and Pravada, and why she was the only choice for “Brienne”.
First question, and very obvious, but how does it feel to be a part of the phenomenon that is “Game of Thrones”?
Well I feel hugely privileged to be part of such a brilliant project that has so much integrity, and such great work put into it. It’s got a brilliant storyline, a terrific writer, brilliant acting, great editing, great directors. The executive producer writers I think have such devastatingly clever minds, creating this thing which so many people seem to be relating to so many people across the globe on so many levels. More overly for me, it looks so beautiful and it has so much integrity.
I have to say Brienne of Tarth, Tyrion Lannister, Jaime Lannister and Jon Snow are our favourite characters, but how did you prepare for the part? Did you read the books beforehand?
Yes I read the books. When I knew I was going to have the meeting I read the books and watched the initial show. I lost a stone and a half in weight, and I started doing Yoga regularly, I did some kick boxing (at this point having done Tae Kwon Do, Jiu Jitsu and currently studying Wing Chun and Dim Mak, I’m convinced that any bout with Gwendoline would be nothing short of very tough). I changed my diet drastically, I stopped drinking. I just became as physically fit as I possibly could do. I couldn’t find anywhere for sword fighting / training, but I wanted to do everything that I possibly could do. After I was cast I went to a strength and conditioning expert and I put on a stone and a half in muscle, and bulked up, because I also wanted to alter my appearance so that I looked as much like the character as possible, and, they cut my hair off. I don’t wear any make up in the show and there are certain things that they do, and I put a lot of weight on, on my face and so on. I also started wearing a lot of unisex clothing all of the time, stopped wearing heels. I was training three or four times a week, and was eating lots of proteins. So it was about tapping back into the similarities and differences between the character and I, locating precisely what those similarities were and then working on the differences, finally marrying it all together.
How does it feel doing those scenes on such a grand scale?
It feels like you’re a part of something that is majestic. When you’re filming in a studio, it can work very well if what you are doing is very intimate, but on the whole if it’s “real”, it really does help you to suspend your own disbelief just for a minute, that it could be you. I like to try and make things as real as possible because it’s more interesting.
With that sense of majesty and being outside on set, does that help with your character more?
Oh yes, hugely. I mean I would love to be able to spend more time outside in my costume. You see, that person exists outside, and I’ve always been as what some people would regard as a very outdoorsy type person. I love being outdoors, the countryside. That’s where she (Brienne) exists, that’s her realm. And being in those places, as I said before, does help you to suspend your disbelief, and we all create our own reality don’t we. So for a minute you can possibly dip into that that could be who you are, or at least it’s certainly who you are that day, for those twelve hours!
How much of an impact did seeing yourself playing that sort of masculine character on screen have, stripped if you will, of your femininity?
Well. That’s the vanity you see. And I suffered from it the first time I saw episode three on TV when it was broadcast. I found it very hard. Very very hard, you know, because that is me.
It is quite a brutal show in all aspects though!
True, but Brienne is an aspect of me. Vanity, and the want to be beautiful all the time. I’m not really interested in being that sort of actor, but of course there is that part of me that would just love to be in a flowing evening gown with amazing hair and make up, in a gorgeous kind of film noire look. Of course that’s there too!
Thank you very much for your time!
It’s fair to say that not only has Gwendoline won us over as actress, with her total commitment and devotion to making her roles believable and real, but she has won us over as a person too, who it seems is just a thoroughly wonderful person. We’ve interviewed a whole host of bands, but coming to something like London Film and Comic Con was something of a first for us so we didn’t know what to expect. We found some of the attendees (well two of them actually) were a little arrogant (we won’t name them) and just didn’t want to do interviews. Now in the case of Charles Dance it was understandable when he replied “it’s just too busy to do an interview, sorry”, we weren’t hurt by the refusal, and had it been any other day and had he known of our background more fully he may well have said yes. Same goes for Tom Skerrit, who politely declined, and again, we understood that, he looked great, he was still smiling, but when he talked, you could tell how absolutely tired out he was. And then you get people like Bai Ling, Gwendoline Christie, Rose Leslie, Kevin Sorbo, Magnus, Chris Judge and Ben Browder who go that extra distance, who listened to what we had to say, and were happy to do an interview. We have a team of 50 young people writing for the site, and of course at our monthly editor meetings the question will be asked “So how did it go at London Film and Comic Con?”. The actors mentioned above absolutely made Adams’, Abz’s and Darshan’s day, who had been at the event since 8am themselves. In response, the small Jitty team that attended the event will no doubt say how “awesome” or “wonderful”, Gwendoline, Kevin et al were, and their efforts on the day were greatly appreciated, probably more so then they realise.
We certainly wish her all the best and hope to see more of her in a wide variety of roles, because it seems that there aren’t many roles Gwendoline can’t do!