Emilia Clarke has revealed that she only secured her role in Game Of Thrones after she performed “the funky chicken” dance in front of the show’s HBO executives.
Clarke recalled to The Wall Street Journal that this all began after she attended one of her very first auditions at the age of 10. Clarke’s father took her along to the open audition on London’s West End, but she didn’t realise that she needed to perform a song in order to secure the role.
“I was learning a folk song in school about a donkey, so I decided to sing that,” Clarke noted. “They said, ‘Do you know anything more current?’ I then gave them my best rendition of the Spice Girls, complete with dance moves — that’s where my musical career ended. It made me realize that I wasn’t quite ready. I think my parents were trying to give me a healthy dose of realism early on.”
However, a decade later, Clarke found herself telling David Benioff and D.B. Weiss about this incident as she tried to sell herself to the Game Of Thrones producers. Benioff then dared her to drop some of the same moves for them, and Clarke instantly obliged their request. “I did the robot, followed by the funky chicken,” she remarked. “I think it sealed the deal.”
Despite her spectacular dance moves, Clarke wasn’t actually Benioff and Weiss’ first choice for the role of Daenerys Targaryen.
Tazmin Merchant, who has appeared in the likes of Jane Eyre and The Tudors was originally cast in the part for the Game Of Thrones‘ pilot, however the pair soon recognised the error of their ways and opted to replace her with Clarke.
This wasn’t all down to her dance moves though, in fact it actually had something to do with the fact that she is a pretty good actress too.
Benioff and Weiss told the WSJ in a joint email, “We needed an actress who could convincingly embody both the timid, voiceless Dany we first meet, and the Mother of Dragons she later becomes. Some of the young women could do fearful but not fearsome, one or two could do the reverse. Only Emilia nailed both.”
But despite the fact that most of the time Clarke has to act in an intense and stern fashion as Targaryen, Benioff and Weiss insist that the English actress is much funnier than her reserved character. “She’s effing funny,” they erupted. “Does that mean we’ve written hilarious scenes for her? No. But someone should.”