Category: 2017 Interview

Press: Gwendoline Christie on Playing the ‘Complete Opposite’ of Brienne of Tarth

NY TIMES – If Jane Campion’s first season of the crime drama “Top of the Lake” seemed remote and somber to some, the second season, “Top of the Lake: China Girl” has more of a sense of humor, even when delving into the darker recesses of life. (In this case, migrant sex workers, institutionalized misogyny, mental illness and more.) In the second season, which begins Sunday on Sundance, Elisabeth Moss’s detective Robin Griffin, who returns home to Australia after time in New Zealand, is assigned an overeager assistant, played by “Game of Thrones” star Gwendoline Christie.

 

Over the phone earlier this month, Ms. Christie spoke about becoming Robin’s reluctant partner, her own reluctance to take a stand on the issues the show raises and her meltdown on set. Following are edited excerpts from that conversation.

 

Jane Campion wrote the character of Miranda with you in mind?

 

I really wanted to be in this series, so I wrote to Jane, and I was lucky enough to have her write this part for me. It touches on aspects that I don’t always feel particularly comfortable with, but I think it’s important to highlight, and so we see Miranda being marginalized at work, the victim of misogyny. It’s not always comfortable to play those things. Yes, you’re at work, and yes, you’re just playing a part, but it’s so personal.

 

And yet at the same time, Miranda provides some of the comic relief.

 

I think the series is quite hilarious! It has a very, very dark sense of humor, but it’s extremely funny. Miranda is like an enthusiastic puppy. Miranda desperately wants to be friends, and she’s really governed by emotion in a way that Brienne of Tarth from “Game of Thrones” is not. Miranda is the complete opposite of Brienne. Brienne has a reflective thought process, and works things through with sustained thought. She takes her time. She pauses. And Miranda is totally impetuous. She’s also incredibly gauche. She’s gawky. She’s awkward. She’s too much. That’s a note that Jane gave me to constantly remember: “You’re too much.”

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Press: Gwendoline Christie on ‘Game of Thrones’ and Brienne’s Love Triangles

 

NY TIMES – In Sunday’s Season 7 finale of “Game of Thrones,” after arriving at King’s Landing from Winterfell, Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) bears witness to the presentation of the undead wight, the hard-won proof of the common evil all of the show’s characters will soon face.

 

Can opposing sides put aside their squabbles and band together to prevent the end of the world? For her part, Brienne tries to facilitate that, even if she’s rebuffed in the moment by Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), her former road trip partner. We talked with Ms. Christie about Brienne’s tête-à-tête with her gold-handed man, her reunion with a past combatant and her unusual love triangles. Following are edited excerpts from that conversation.

 

Sansa sent Brienne to King’s Landing as her representative, but also because she didn’t want or need her around to dispose of the Littlefinger problem. How do you feel about how that was resolved?

 

Back in Season 3, when she was escorting Jaime Lannister to King’s Landing, there was a farmer who witnessed them on the road. Jaime said, “That farmer knows who I am. What if he tells someone?” implying that she needed to go and kill him. And Brienne refused, because she didn’t believe it was the right thing to do. She doesn’t believe in dispatching a life unless it’s absolutely necessary. Unless it’s official. Look at the way she beheaded Stannis. She essentially read him his rights. Although it was loaded with emotion for her, she presented it in a very official, formal way, with great nobility. So I don’t know how Brienne will react to people taking matters into their own hands at Winterfell. Brienne is about a code of honor, a code of conduct, and she never kills anyone just for the sake of it.

 

It’s complex, though, because Brienne’s made her oath to Catelyn Stark to protect the Stark girls. It’s a little bit of a tricky situation because both Sansa and Arya have had their own journeys, and at times, some horrific experiences. I think she wishes she had been able to save them from what they had been forced to experience. We can use the word “maternal” because it has so many connotations, but what I like about it is that, in Brienne’s own way, she is expressing something of their mother to them. She’s protecting them as best she can. I think things are getting more interesting for Brienne now. I know it’s not what she wanted, to leave Sansa’s side, but being at King’s Landing as Sansa’s representative sort of upped her game. It’s going beyond the remit of what she thought her job description was.

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Press: “Game of Thrones” stars on their awesome sparring scene

 

 

EW – It was a sword fight fans never knew they wanted until it happened: Arya Stark vs. Brienne of Tarth. The petite Stark sister challenged the imposing warrior to a sparring match during Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones, a practice fight in the Winterfell courtyard that actresses Maisie Williams and Gwendoline Christie say they loved filming.

 

“It’s an incredible moment when Arya walks into the courtyard and Brienne says ‘nice sword,’” Christie tells EW.

 

“When she first sees Arya, it’s not just that she sees the living embodiment of Catelyn Stark, but also she sees something of herself in another young girl. I don’t think Brienne has seen something of herself in somebody like that before. So when she hears Arya has returned to Winterfell, and sees Arya dressed not entirely dissimilarly to Brienne, it’s not just that feels like part of Catelyn Stark is alive but that she’s now in a position of education. It’s a very distant form of parenting for Brienne and not one she ever thought she’d have.”

 

As for the fight itself, the duo practiced a bit for the unique face-off, which had the 5-foot-1 Williams going up against the 6-foot-3 Christie.

 

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Press: Last Jedi goes ‘deeper,’ ‘further’ than previous film

EW – Get ready for more Captain Phasma when The Last Jedi debuts in December.

 

While the character became a fan-favorite character even before Star Wars: The Force Awakens bowed in 2015, Captain Phasma was only briefly explored in the seventh installment of the Star Wars franchise. However, the chrome-plated Stormtrooper is expected to get more screen time in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, with rumors swirling that the character played by Game of Thrones star Gwendoline Christie, will even be unmasked. Either way, Christie says director Rian Johnson will be delving “deeper” into all of the characters in The Last Jedi, with the actress revealing she played a role in developing Phasma’s backstory.

 

“I was just so delighted to be in The Last Jedi, and for that to be directed by Rian Johnson, who is another director I’ve long admired since I watched Brick, actually; I thought that was a really brilliant piece of work,” Christie told EW at the Television Critics Association’s press tour on Saturday, where she was promoting Top of the Lake: China Girl. “When I met him, these are huge things to me and things I never thought would happen in my career, so when Rian invited me to read the script, have my thoughts and then to come and discuss it with him — as he did all of the cast members — I was really thrilled to have an opportunity of a forum where I could put my ideas forward and have some back and forth about where we felt things were and where we felt they can go. What I can tell you about the next Star Wars film is I think Rian does an exceptional job of going deeper, of going further, and really exploring what these relationships are.”

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Press/Video/Photos: Interview – Game of Thrones star Gwendoline Christie

From Star Wars to the new Top of the Lake, Gwendoline Christie has become a screen heroine for our times. Lorraine Candy meets the unconventional actress who embraces the joy of being an outsider

 

 

SUNDAY TIMES STYLE – Let’s get the tall bit out of the way first, shall we? Gwendoline Christie is a delicate 6ft 3in tall. I say delicate because, personally, I’m always struck by how dainty the Game of Thrones superhero is. She is all fine blonde curls and flawless porcelain skin. Feminine, girly, graceful are the words that come to mind when I think of the Gwendoline I have known for several years. Gosh, we have had some fun together, this elegant outsider and me. “The world is absurd, Lorraine,” she will often observe with characteristic wry humour, “and if you can’t find it absurd, then I don’t know how you’d get through.” Indeed it is — especially when you look at it from Gwendoline Christie’s perspective.

 

The 38-year-old actress is a composite of opposites, if such a thing exists: an introverted extrovert, a soft strength, the most conventional unconventional person I know. She’s both intellectually intense and wonderfully silly. Time spent with the ever-so-polite and well-brought-up Gwendoline is like going to a spa for your mind: it’s never ordinary, even if it is just having a cup of peppermint tea, as we are for this interview.

 

For most of her life, mostly because of her height, Gwendoline has been on the margins of what is considered normal. From being bullied at her local village school, to the relentless fruitless auditions she didn’t ever get through, she was continually told, as she puts it, “that your outside can’t come on the inside”. How demoralising, but also, perhaps, how wonderful, because if you can overcome those cruel obstacles, you develop a rare confidence that is unbreakable. Then, one day, you wake up and deliver to the universe the gift that is Brienne of Tarth, the one woman who is everything all women want to be.

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Videos: Comic-Con Interviews

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Press/Video: Comic Con – Gwendoline Christie teases what’s ahead for Brienne

 

 

EW – The seventh season of Game of Thrones may see Brienne of Tarth’s loyalty shift — to herself.

 

During an interview at EW’s video lounge at Comic-Con International in San Diego on Friday, actress Gwendoline Christie teased what’s ahead for her character now that Brienne has fulfilled her oath to rescue Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner).

 

“As we see Brienne back at Winterfell, we see that she’s with Sansa, she’s there in place, and it feels like she’s going towards consolidating her oath,” Christie said. “What I think we’ll see throughout the season is actually Brienne starting to question what received authority is and take on more of an independent decision-making process.”

 

That might mean that she starts to question her allegiances. “I think we’ve seen Brienne being an incredibly honorable character, but one who has operated from a received sense of what honor is,” Christie added. “And now in the world, it’s not at all as she expected, and no one’s clear as to whether they’re good or evil. And that gray area means that there’s an increased decision-making process that happens moment to moment.”

 

It was a big Friday for Christie and the Thrones cast, as they also participated in a packed panel in Hall H of the San Diego Convention Center. There, the Brienne actress discussed her character’s reaction to the flirtatious Tormund.

 

“I don’t think at the foremost of her consciousness is a value system based on how men appreciate her,” she said of Tormund’s advances. “But who doesn’t like being appreciated as both, really? But I don’t think that’s what she’s invested in. She’s finding it awkward. But underneath any awkwardness is potential secret enjoyment.” But, she added, “I think to win Brienne’s heart is about mutual respect about your skill and your ideals, not about overpowering of sexual advance.”

 

Christie was joined in EW’s suite by her Thrones costars Isaac Hempstead Wright (Bran Stark), Liam Cunningham (Davos Seaworth), and John Bradley (Sam Tarley), the latter of whom broke down his character’s gag-inducing montage in Sunday’s season premiere. Watch the full interview in the video above, and click here to hear Sophie Turner’s take on the Sansa Stark-Jon Snow rivalry.

 

Game of Thrones airs Sundays on HBO.

Videos: “Game of Thrones” Season 7 Interviews


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Press: What’s Next for Westeros, Gwendoline Christie and Her Empowering Brienne of Tarth

 

NEWSWEEK – “I’m Gwen,” she says, as if she could be anyone else. Gwendoline Christie is tall. This won’t come as a surprise to fans of Game of Thrones, the show that features the 38-year-old actor as the dutiful and fearless warrior Brienne of Tarth. And yet, when meeting Christie on a Friday morning in the rooftop bar of a London music venue, the full 6 foot 3 inches of her can still take you aback, even without her character’s coat of armor.

 

For the uninitiated, Game of Thrones is based on George R.R. Martin’s wildly popular fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire, of which there are five novels, with two more planned. The books are set in a vaguely medieval world on fictional continents where the leaders of seven kingdoms battle the undead, dragons and one another for the exceedingly uncomfortable-looking Iron Throne. Since the show’s premiere in 2011, it has won more Emmy Awards than any other scripted series in history (38 to date), kept Reddit and social media ticking with memes and theories, and inspired all manner of online debate—over excessive violence (heads chopped off, girls burned alive, men castrated) and gratuitous sex (the rape of one character in particular).

 

But the 23 million viewers (on average) who watch each episode come for the unusually large number of indelible characters—like Lena Headey’s power-mad Queen Cersei; the brooding, putative hero, Jon Snow (Kit Harington); and Brienne.

 

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Jane Campion’s Croisette Return With ‘Top Of The Lake’: “Anything Seen On A Big Screen Is Right For This Festival”

 

DEADLINE – It’d have been hard to guess, going into Cannes, that by far the most entertaining of my Croisette interviews would be with Jane Campion, and her Top of the Lake: China Girl cast. After all, the first season of Top of the Lake was dark, following Elisabeth Moss’s Robin Griffin, a tortured detective investigating the pregnancy and disappearance of a 12-year-old girl. And Moss had prepped me, ahead of the festival, that China Girl was darker still, opening with a prostitute’s body shoved into a suitcase, pushed over a cliff.

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