Here Is Why Emilia Clarke Turned Down ’50 Shades of Grey’ Lead Role

HBO Game of Thrones actress, Emilia Clarke, admitted to turning down the role of Anastasia Steele in the 50 Shades of Grey franchise due to her reluctance to strip down on camera during a “Drama Actress” roundtable discussion for The Hollywood Reporter according to reporters of the daily mail.


Refusing The Male Gaze

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Having bared her body on Game of Thrones, Clarke emphasized that she did so to further her character Daenerys’s narrative and not because nudity was the main concept of her role, a characterization she was, and remains, uncomfortable portraying. While she praised the vision of 50 Shades of Grey director, Sam Taylor-Johnson, proclaiming her a “magician,” Clarke felt the role of Steele was not for her given that the entire 50 Shades of Grey plot revolves around “sensuality and sex and being naked and all of that stuff,” said Clarke. Moreover, Clarke stated that since she initially stripped down on Game of Thrones she has been repeatedly asked to do so for roles, a request she finds incredibly irritating and attributes to her being female-bodied and resultantly hyper-sexualized. About the hyper-sexualization of her body and complementary requests for nudity, Clarke stated, “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 t*ts, for God’s sake.”


No More Nudity, No More Sequels

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During her discussion with The Hollywood Reporter, Clarke stated, “Well, Sam [Taylor-Johnson, the director] is a magician. I love her, and I thought her vision was beautiful. But 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.” Clarke comments that given her desire for these requests to cease, to accept a role whose character arc is purely sexual would be to disenfranchise herself from dignifiedly looking someone in the eyes and refusing a role that involves nudity in the future. Clarke said of her thought process when turning down the role of Steele, “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.” Another deterrent to Clarke’s acceptance of the role of Steele was her professed reluctance to participating in anything with sequels at this moment of her career. Clarke forthrightly told The Hollywood Reporter, “One thing I would not like to do is something that would have a sequel.”


Other attendees of the Drama Actress roundtable included Michelle Williams, Patricia Arquette, Christine Baranski, Danai Gurira and Niecy Nash.

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