Emilia Clarke Passed On Fifty Shades Of Grey Due To Nudity Concerns

Image via HBO

Emilia Clarke will forever be immortalized in fans’ eyes as Daenerys Targaryen, but there was a time when she had the opportunity to join another extremely successful franchise. Years ago, Clarke was in talks to play the lead role of Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey.

The Mother of Dragons ultimately turned it down due to concerns over the nudity that it would require, and in a recent interview, the actress was incredibly candid about her decision, saying:

“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. And 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 tits, for God’s sake.

So, that coming up, I was like, “I can’t.” I did a minimal amount and I’m pigeonholed for life, so me saying yes to that, where the entire thing is about sensuality and sex and being naked and all of that stuff, 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.’ “

Clarke is referring to the oft-discussed nude scenes early on in the television show’s run. Despite her magnificent performance as one of the most iconic characters of this generation, she’s unfortunately still subject to frequent questions regarding those relatively unimportant scenes.

Taking on the role of the protagonist in a series dedicated to sex would have likely been even more frustrating for the actress. Additionally, Clarke has said that she’s uninterested in taking part in another expansive franchise for the time being. Now that Game of Thrones is finally over, it’s time for her to explore exciting acting opportunities that interest her, and getting involved in another long series does not appear to be one of them.

Ultimately, Dakota Johnson ended up snagging the part of Anastasia Steele and has since made herself into a household name. Though the films are often panned by critics, they’ve also amassed over $1.32 billion worldwide and currently stand as the fourth highest-grossing R-rated franchise ever.

All in all, the decision turned out well for both actresses. Johnson was able to gain exposure and a lot of money, while Clarke is still one of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood. Though some fans will always wonder what the Fifty Shades of Grey movies would have looked like with the Mother of Dragons at the helm, it’s best for everyone involved that things played out the way they did.