Movies & TV / News

Carice Van Houten On Game of Thrones Backlash, Whether #MeToo Resulted In Less Nudity on Show

July 3, 2019 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Game of Thrones Melisandre

Carice Van Houten weighed in on her time as Melisandre on Game of Thrones, how the #MeToo movement may have changed the show and more in a new interview with Deadline. Highlights are below:

On how she feels now that the show is over: “For the first time, I’m feeling it. There was always a year between shoots so we were used to it, but around now we would be getting into the script again, getting in touch with each other, speculating over what would happen to each other’s characters. I do feel a certain emptiness but I don’t think that’s a bad thing.”

On her death in the final season being handled “gracefully”: “Yes, that’s the right word for it. It was graceful. I was very grateful to the writers for that. That whole episode was bombastic, but my death was like the final note of a symphony.”

On how she looks back at her time on the show: “It’s still so fresh, it’s hard to say. It was amazing witnessing the ripple effect and the impact it had on people. Melisandre was an out-of-character role for me. I had never played anything like that before. In Holland, I had done a lot of dramedy, so I couldn’t believe people could see me as her. It was a challenge to trigger that in myself. The thing I’m most happy about is that the show inspired people and brought people together. It’s the best thing that could have happened. I hope we get something like it in future, especially in this world where everyone is increasingly connected but individual…”

On the infamous scene where she had Shireen burned to death: “I wasn’t a mother back then. I think I would have found it more troubling now. Of course it’s fiction, but that was raw and gruesome. I remember first reading it and thinking “are we actually going to do this scene?” The day itself was actually a fun day, despite it being freezing. The actress who played Shireen was good fun. I won’t easily forget that day. But there were many epic scenes, whether it was giving birth to a shadow baby or turning into a crazy old woman.”

On if she felt uncomfortable about the amount of nudity she showed in the show: “Yes and no. It wasn’t my favorite thing in the world at all. But yes, in Black Book I experienced nudity on set. The Dutch are quite open-minded, we’re a bit easier with that. But it’s never comfortable being the only one undressed on set. It was before I had a child. I would be more uncomfortable now. The times have changed in many ways. Back then, it was all a little overwhelming. No one forced me into anything, but in hindsight I might have been a little more cautious with it.”

On the #MeToo movement possibly causing the show to have less gratuitous nudity: “Yes. It also showed that you don’t need it.”

On if she understood the fan frustration around the final season: “I could in a way but I also felt it was bound to happen after eight years of expectation. Everyone has their own theories and wishes. It’s hard to do it “right,” to wrap it up in a bow. Everyone has a right to their opinion but it didn’t bother me. I loved it when the dragon Drogon destroyed the throne, for example. Those moments were amazing. The fact there’s discussion about it is a good sign, though.”

On if she was ready for the show to be over: “I was overwhelmed by emotion. I hate saying goodbye. But we’re actors, we’re used to going from family to family as it were, we’re kind of like circus people. It was not only wrapping the show and the character, it was an end of seven years of my life. A lot happens in seven years. That’s why some actors might be very emotional about it.”

On the possibility of Melisandre returning in any of the Thrones spinoffs: “Who knows. I guess you could see a very young Melisandre or something like that. That could be fun. But not in the shape of me. No one has contacted me about it. There are so many great characters, but I personally would have loved to see more of Melisandre’s background.”

On if she’s had any offers to do superhero films: “Unfortunately not. Sometimes I feel like that’s the only frustrating part of having been in Game of Thrones: I’m very grateful for it but sometimes people only see that side of me. I feel like I should probably do a comedy to get me out of being associated only with the Red Woman.”