Glorious Gwendoline Christie
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DEADLINE – Season 8 of Game of Thrones was as cruel to Brienne of Tarth as it was kind. In the moments prior to the big Battle of Winterfell, she was knighted by her longtime paramour Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), and the pair consummated their relationship, before Jaime abandoned her to run back to his sister, Cersei. But as the dust settled, she was also made Lord Commander of Bran Stark’s Kingsguard, finally fulfilling her seasons-long dreams. Christie’s first Emmy nomination for the role comes as she returns to the London stage in a new production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
There are a total of 10 acting nominations for Game of Thrones’ final season. Emmy night is going to be quite a party…
I know [laughs]. It’s an amazing way to end the show that has changed all of our lives. It’s changed our lives beyond all comprehension, really. I’m delighted that so many of us got nominated.
There was a documentary released about the production of this final season. The footage from that final table read was extremely emotional.
It was. I remember my first point of contact with the show was, in Season 2, at the readthrough. I remember sitting there, and I had watched the first season, and it was sort of bewildering to me to be surrounded by all these people that I recognized. You start to see it come to life. And I had loved that first season. It was wonderful to have everybody together for that final readthrough. Some people—most people—have read all the scripts. A couple of people wait until the day.
Continue reading “Press: Gwendoline Christie On The “Deeply Emotional” Final Season When Brienne “Stepped Into Her Own Power””
“It’s something I find hard to do, like everyone else, but I would like to be in charge of my own destiny,” Christie says, speaking from London. “And I would like to endeavor to give myself opportunities. Particularly when working very hard on something very special and you’ve pushed yourself beyond your limits.
“I checked that it wasn’t an inappropriate thing to do, and I was told it wasn’t. People submit themselves all the time. I truly never expected it to manifest in a nomination and I don’t think anybody else did either. But I just had to do it for me. And I had to do it as a testament to the character and what I feel she represents.”
For Christie, who is starring in a production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at London’s Bridge Theatre, the conclusion of the beloved HBO series handed her character what Christie considers a happy ending. The final episode brought the recently knighted Brienne back around to what she wanted from the very beginning: to be a member of the Kingsguard.
“I could not believe that I made it all the way through,” the actress says of her character’s survival, laughing. “And I was in the end of the final episode. Brienne makes it through and has a life beyond. I found that incredibly positive and unexpected. And she gets a great last line.” (“I think we can all agree that ships take precedence over brothels,” she tells Bron as the king’s advisors set about rebuilding King’s Landing.)
Christie felt a strong connection with Brienne since before she was even cast on the show in Season 2. The actress was so compelled to get the role that she spent eight weeks preparing for her audition, binge-reading three of George R.R. Martin’s books and training to get physically fit. While working as a dog walker to her mentor, actor Simon Callow, she spent hours perfecting Brienne’s stride. The actress was driven because she couldn’t believe this character could exist on TV.
“I did everything I possibly could to make it happen,” Christie remembers. “I knew that emotionally I could identify with the character, but where the work had to go was into the differences, which was all of the physical elements and all of the physical strength. I was very scared to go near my androgyny, my masculinity and my physical strength — and the strength with which I felt some of my own opinions, especially some of my opinions about women.
“It was the opportunity to do something I knew I needed to do, which was to undergo a change and undergo a transformation and get in touch with who I truly was and how I’ve been made physically and who I am as a person.”
She adds, “I felt that even if the show didn’t go anywhere, it didn’t matter, because I would get to do a job and I’d get to investigate that as work. That, to me, is what being an artist meant.”
After she joined the cast, Christie quickly became aware that she wasn’t the only person obsessed with Brienne. Fans gravitated to the character, a noble warrior committed to her duty and to doing what was right. With her grand stature and androgynous sensibility, she didn’t fit into the narrow bounds of women on TV. “I don’t know what plans [the writers] ever had for that character, but I was shocked by how embraced the character was by the audience,” the actress notes. “I didn’t think that would happen. I didn’t think that’s what audiences wanted, because we’ve been told that’s not what audiences want.”
The understanding of Brienne as a strong, unconventional woman might explain some of the backlash to the final season, when the character chooses to sleep with Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, the first person to congratulate Christie on her nomination) after the Battle of Winterfell. Some fans were upset that Brienne reveals vulnerable emotions when Jaime leaves to return to his sister, but Christie feels it’s important for us to see a woman in all her colors.
“When you’re about to lose something that has truly meant something to you, it can destroy you, and I don’t think there’s any weakness in that,” Christie reflects. “What I liked was that happens, but then she goes back to work. She doesn’t follow him, does she? She stays with Sansa and she does her duty. And she did get her happy ending, and her happy ending wasn’t defined by a man. What completes her as a character and what makes her three dimensional as a character is the fact that she becomes open about her feelings.”
Christie, who will appear in Armando Iannucci’s upcoming film, “The Personal History of David Copperfield,” which will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September , is particularly pleased by her Emmy nod because of what it says about how pop culture is evolving.
“I wanted the possibility of being recognized for everything that character represents, for what she’s meant to me and for the part I feel she’s played, in some small way, in the burgeoning landscape we have in entertainment of seeing women in a different way,” she says. “A more realistic way and a more unconventional way.
“I’m really, completely overwhelmed. What an extraordinary way to round out this phenomenal, mind-blowing experience that has changed all of our lives.”
EW – OCTOBER 2017: THE TABLE READ
When Kit Harington entered the conference room, he had no idea what to expect.
The final season’s scripts had been emailed just a couple of days earlier, sending the Game of Thrones cast into a reading frenzy. Like millions of fans around the world, the actors had been waiting nearly a decade to learn their characters’ fates. The entire six-episode season arrived at once, protected by layers of password security.
Sophie Turner flew through her copies in record time, quickly messaging the producers her reaction. “It was completely overwhelming,” says the actress, who plays Sansa Stark. “Afterwards I felt numb, and I had to take a walk for hours.” Others, like Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen), first had to hurry home to get some privacy. “I turned to my best mate and was like, ‘Oh my God! I gotta go! I gotta go!’” she recalls. “And I completely flipped out.” She then settled in for a reading session with a cup of tea. “Genuinely the effect it had on me was profound,” Clarke adds. “That sounds insanely pretentious, but I’m an actor, so I’m allowed one pretentious adjective per season.” Peter Dinklage, meanwhile, broke his years-long habit of checking immediately to see if Tyrion Lannister survives. “This was the first time ever that I didn’t skip to the end,” he says.
Even showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss were uncharacteristically anxious, wondering how the actors would react to the climactic twists. “We knew exactly when our script coordinator sent them out, we knew what minute they sent them, and then you’re just waiting for the emails,” Benioff said.
The cast then journeyed to Belfast to gather in a production office for the formal read-through. By then, everybody knew the tale that was about to unfold, with two notable exceptions: Davos Seaworth actor Liam Cunningham (“The f—ing scripts wouldn’t open, the double extra security!” he grouses) and Harington, who outright refused to read anything in advance.
“I walked in saying, ‘Don’t tell me, I don’t want to know,’” Harington says. “What’s the point of reading it to myself in my own head when I can listen to people do it and find out with my friends?” So, yes: Jon Snow, quite literally, knew nothing.
Benioff and Weiss opened the proceedings by asking the cast to refrain from doing anything during filming or afterward that might reveal even the tiniest spoiler (“Don’t even take a photo of your boots on the ground of the set,” one actor recalls being told). And then, seated around a long table scattered with a few prop skulls, the cast read aloud the final season of Game of Thrones.
At one point, Harington wept.
Later, he cried a second time.
HOLLYWOOD REPORTER – Peter Strickland’s film debuted as part of the Midnight Madness program at TIFF.
A24 has acquired the North American rights to In Fabric, writer and director Peter Strickland’s horror film about a woman who buys a cursed gown from a strangely sinister department store outside of London.
A 2019 domestic release is planned. In Fabric had a world premiere as part of the Midnight Madness sidebar at the Toronto Film Festival, and is set to make its U.S. bow on Thursday at the Fantastic Fest.
The film’s ensemble cast includes Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Hayley Squires, Leo Bill, Julian Barrett, Steve Oram and Gwendoline Christie. In Fabric tells the story of a lonely woman, played by Jean-Baptiste who visits a London department store in search of a dress that will transform her life.
She’s fitted with a perfect, dark red gown that unleashes a malevolent curse and unstoppable evil, threatening everyone that comes into its path.
“I’m very excited to have In Fabric distributed by A24. I love the films they’ve put out and their fearless approach to successfully finding an audience. In Fabric is in safe and loving hands with A24,” Strickland said Tuesday in a statement.
Bankside Films negotiated the deal on behalf of the filmmakers. In Fabric is produced by Andy Starke, who also worked with Strickland on The Duke of Burgundy, and is executive produced by Rose Garnett, Lizzie Francke, Phil Hunt, Compton Ross, Stephen Kelliher, Hilary Davis, Andrew Boswell, Ben Wheatley, and Ian Benson.
The film was financed by BFI Film Fund, BBC Films, Head Gear Films, Metrol Technology and Twickenham Studios. Peter Strickland is represented by Ian Benson at The Agency and David Kopple at CAA.
She talks to Paul Flynn about breaking moulds, Star Wars and why she’s happy to be an outsider…
EVENING STANDARD – When she was 15 years old, Gwendoline Christie would frequently skip school to head up to London.
She’d get the train from Worthing, West Sussex — where she lived with her mother, a housewife, and dad, a salesman — and make her way to the stalls in Kensington Market, obsessing over the beguiling selections of nightlife pieces on display at Hyper Hyper. She’d sit and sketch mannequins at the V&A. Hours would be whiled away browsing the rails at Vivienne Westwood. Back home, she’d test herself by covering the credits of fashion magazines to see if she had learned who designed what and why. Discovering Alexander McQueen, she says, was ‘earth-shattering, it just felt like so many of the things I loved coming together and exploding’.
To Christie, from a young age, fashion represented part of a wider life plan. ‘It was a combination of wanting to escape the unpleasant narrative that was being applied to me at school, where I was bullied terribly,’ she says, ‘and loving the transportative nature of the arts. It was about not wanting to live a prescriptive life.’
Christie had heard the word ‘unconventional’ applied to herself so many times, from such a young age, that she adopted a ‘sink or swim’ attitude to fitting in. She developed ideas about beauty every bit as armour-plated as the uniform she’s sported for the past six years as Brienne of Tarth: the character who first turned her into one of the truly iconic faces of the 2010s in Game of Thrones (although at the mention of the word icon, she blurts, ‘Pfffft! Bollocks!’ and mimes ‘Lol’ with two hands shaping the ‘L’s, her mouth forming the ‘O’).
ABC NEWS – “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” star Gwendoline Christie will never forget an incident she experienced with Carrie Fisher, her “Star Wars” co-star, and Fisher’s French bulldog.
“Gary Fisher, Carrie’s dog, wandered in and immediately passed wind!” Christie said today on “The View.” “It was quite an intense experience for everyone.”
Christie said the moment happened shortly after she met Fisher, at an interview promoting the film. “That was my introduction!” she exclaimed.
Continue reading “Press/Video: Gwendoline Appears on the View”
Gotta be honest, I thought John and Gwendoline would be a bit braver 🙂
VOGUE – Star Wars mania hits new heights this winter with the premiere of The Last Jedi, the action-packed intergalactic sequel to The Force Awakens, which sees the return of a certain stalwart of the rebel alliance as well as the final swan-song of a dearly departed Princess. To celebrate the long-awaited release, Jason Bell meets the star-studded cast – which includes Gwendoline Christie, John Boyega, Adam Driver and Laura Dern – to shoot a series of portraits exclusively for British Vogue.
She looks like a goddess!
Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver and their “Last Jedi” comrades discuss the difficulties of new relationships, the joys of villainy and those porgs.
THE NEW YORK TIMES – While they tell tales of Death Stars and daddy issues, the “Star Wars” movies are also stories about duality: how goodness and evil can coexist — on the same planet or inside the same person — and what happens when they collide on an intergalactic scale.
These themes are revisited once again in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” the eighth episode in the science-fiction saga that George Lucas started in 1977. “The Last Jedi,” which opens on Dec. 15, is the first to be written and directed by Rian Johnson (“Brick,” “Looper”). It follows the resounding success of “The Force Awakens,” directed by J. J. Abrams in 2015, about two young heroes, a scavenger named Rey (Daisy Ridley) and a renegade stormtrooper named Finn (John Boyega), caught up in the search for Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill).
The new film continues where “The Force Awakens” left off, as Rey and Luke are about to meet on the planet Ahch-To, and it promises a further exploration of their relationship to the sullen evildoer Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and his nefarious master, Snoke (Andy Serkis). It also features the final performance in the series from Carrie Fisher, who played Leia and who died last December.
At a running time of some two and a half hours, “The Last Jedi” continues the adventures of Finn and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and their adversaries Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) and General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson). Somehow it finds room for the new characters Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) and Vice Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern), and a wide-eyed alien species called porgs.
Like the film they made, the creator and cast of “The Last Jedi” can encompass a spectrum of darkness and light, seriousness and silliness, all in the same conversation. Just days before the movie’s opening, they gathered for what felt at times like a solemn high school graduation and, at other times, like its after-party.
Here, Mr. Johnson, Ms. Ridley, Mr. Boyega, Mr. Hamill, Mr. Driver, Mr. Serkis, Mr. Isaac, Ms. Christie, Mr. Gleeson, Ms. Tran and Ms. Dern discuss their work on “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” and some of the questions it raises. These are edited excerpts from that conversation.
Audiences have a strong sense of what they think a “Star Wars” film should look and feel like. But Rian, you make films that are personal and idiosyncratic. How do you do that in a “Star Wars” movie?