You might not recognise Emilia Clarke with her wig off. The British 29-year-old is best known for playing the dynamic Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones. She’s the powerful queen with three enemy-charring dragons by her side. She also has iconic long, icy blonde locks.
In real life though, Emilia is more girl-next-door with a brunette bob; a chortling, unfiltered bag of fun. This summer she’s the star in the blockbuster weepy romcom of the year, Me Before You. It follows a quirky home carer (Emilia) whose world view is transformed when she starts looking after an angry paraplegic millionaire (Sam Claflin). Basically, it’s this year’s PS. I Love You but better.
Aside from your surnames, how are you and your character Louisa Clarke similar?
I’m goofy like her. At dinner, I’ll try and crack jokes at inappropriate moments and I really like karaoke. I like a good rap so I often do Whatta Man by Salt ’n’ Pepa. Weirdly, The Libertines are actually really good because you can just shout it. I always try and do Adele and people are like “Emilia – no!”
Both Louisa and Daenerys Targaryen have journeys from naivety to strength. Do you like characters with that arc?
It’s not so much that I look for them. It’s just that the sort of roles that I’ve gone up for since Game of Thrones have been women with a backbone. Daenerys and Sarah Connor from The Terminator are strong, powerful women because they wield guns and kill people, but strength is so much about what it means to you personally.
What are the things that push you out of your comfort zone?
What used to be scary was going to Los Angeles. Walking into the after-party of an awards ceremony and being like, “No one here knows who I am, especially without the wig, and I’m scared… Hello there, Leonardo DiCaprio!”
Have you spoken to Leo?
I can’t! I keep ending up really close to him at events and I just can’t say hello. It’s too much. I’ve loved him so much since I saw him in Titanic when I was 11. I just need to breathe the same air as him. That’s all I can manage.
It seems like you’re enjoying being famous…
It’s amazing when I get to do amazing things and share them with my mates who aren’t famous. I brought my best mate Mike with me to LA and it was just the sweetest thing. He walks into this party and goes: “JLo is on the dancefloor, dancing.” I’m like: “I can embarrass me, but you can’t embarrass me.”
Me Before You is a real weepy. Which film last made you cry?
I get so affected by movies, so I cry in a lot of them. But the last one was probably Big Hero 6. And that is the honest truth. It’s a movie that will get you out of any bad mood. I watch all the good arty stuff, too, I swear. But sometimes you just need an inflatable, cuddly doctor-bot.
Me Before You is out in cinemas from Thursday June 2.