Now that we’re officially into the beginning of summer movie season, this weekend saw the release of the family-friendly live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, Andy Samberg’s latest comedy Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, as well as the tear-jerker romance Me Before You. Based on the novel of the same name by Jojo Moyes – who also penned the film’s script – Me Before You stars Emilia Clark (Game of Thrones) as a young woman who takes a job caring for a man who had been paralyzed in an accident two years prior, Will Traynor, played by Sam Claflin (The Hunger Games).
In Clarke’s case, the actress has had plenty of experience when it comes to bringing previously established characters to life on screen – between her role as the Mother of Dragons Daenerys Targaryen on Game of Thrones to her part in Terminator Genisys as a new incarnation of Sarah Connor. Now, Clarke has compared the character of Lou to the role for which she is perhaps best well known.
In an interview with Screen Rant, Clarke spoke about the differences between Lou – an “optimistic, happy person” who the actress said has been described as either “a mix between Bridget Jones and Mary Poppins or Bridget Jones and Cinderella” – and the more stoic Daenerys Stormborn:
“I just turned up for the audition, genuinely, and the truth is that Lou is incredibly close to who I am, so this is much more me than Daenerys. … But I think there’s weirdly a lot of similarities between the two because they’re both incredibly strong – but one smiles and one doesn’t.”
Certainly, Clarke’s performance is a high point of Me Before You, and according to Moyes and director Thea Sharrock, the actress was an easy choice for the role. As Sharrock said in an interview with Screen Rant, her and the casting director Kate Dowd spent months searching through hundreds of auditions for the perfect fit for Lou. In fact, Sharrock had resigned herself to choosing an not-quite-perfect fit until Clarke walked into the room and embodied the role.
Moyes, however, had trouble picturing it at first because of Clarke’s previous work on Game of Thrones:
“When Thea said to me, ‘Oh we’re going to have the Khaleesi,’ I’m struggling to see that – the whole blonde hair thing and the somber [expressions] and the killing people. Then [Clarke] walks in and you just go, ‘Oh, OK, there you are.’”
Additionally, Sharrock expanded on the differences between Clarke playing Lou to Daenerys:
“It’s so wonderful to see her being able to really show the world what she can do, which is obviously so different to what has been the enormous hit of Game of Thrones.”
Of course, as viewers who have seen both Me Before You (or, at least, the trailer) and Game of Thrones know, the characters of Lou and Daenerys are incredibly different. But, as Clarke hints, both are secure in who they are and dream for more for themselves – though Lou wishes to travel the world while Daenerys would rather conquer it (well, Westeros at least).
That said, Me Before You and Game of Thrones may not be enjoyable for all the same audiences. Clarke’s new movie is certainly a far cry in terms of genre and tone from HBO’s wildly successful fantasy series, and that is reflected in the actress’s performances. However, as Clarke said, there are some similarities between Lou and Daenerys – they simply may not be obvious at first.
Me Before You is now playing in theaters.
Game of Thrones continues with ‘The Broken Man’ tonight @9pm on HBO.