Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke is no stranger to on-screen nudity from her role as Daenerys Targaryen on the hit show, but it was a key factor in her decision not to take on another famous part: Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey.
In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the actress explains that although she loved Fifty Shades director Sam Taylor-Johnson’s “beautiful” vision for the film, she ultimately opted not to do the movie — which is an adaptation of author E.L. James’ story of a college senior who gets into a BDSM relationship with a billionaire — so as not to get pigeonholed. Dakota Johnson ultimately ended up in the role.
“The last time that I was naked on camera on [Game of Thrones] was a long time ago, and yet it is the only question that I ever get asked because I am a woman,” she said. “And it’s annoying as hell and I’m sick and tired of it because I did it for the character — I didn’t do it so some guy could check out my tits, for God’s sake.”
She continued, “I did a minimal amount and I’m pigeonholed for life, so me saying yes to [Fifty Shades], where the entire thing is about sensuality and sex and being naked and all of that stuff, I was just like, ‘No way am I going to voluntarily walk into that situation and then never be able to look someone in the eye and be like, ‘No, you can’t keep asking me this question.'”
As Daenerys, Clarke appeared nude onscreen a few times throughout the run of the HBO show, which just aired its final episode after eight seasons. Perhaps most notable was a scene in season 6, when she escaped her Dothraki captors surrounded by flames, sans clothes.
The actress told EW at the time that she was proud of her decision to do the scene. “I’d like to remind people the last time I took my clothes off was season 3,” she said. “That was awhile ago. It’s now season 6. But this is all me, all proud, all strong. I’m just feeling genuinely happy I said ‘Yes.’ That ain’t no body double!”