ELLE – According the new Game of Thrones trailer, “The great war is here.” Well, not quite—the HBO show won’t return until July 16. Luckily, we ran into Gwendoline Christie at the Cannes Film Festival, and she gave us a few tidbits to keep us going.
“Season seven is where things really start to heat up,” Christie said, “and you start to see unlikely combinations, unlikely attitudes, and unlikely acts.” She also confessed she’s having a hard time with the show coming to an end sometime soon. “I’m not really dealing with it,” she said, laughing. “I mean, we all know with GoT that, each season, part of the fun is you don’t know what characters are going to live or die.” We sure hope she isn’t hinting that our beloved warrior Brienne of Tarth might get the hatchet.
The actress also confirmed that there will be another season after this one, so there’s hope she’ll last long enough for that. “I believe there will be an eighth season,” she said, “and what I will say is I have loved the experience of working on that show…I’ve made some wonderful friendships out of it, so hopefully I’ll be able to keep those.”
Christie is in Cannes to promote her new show, the second season of Top of the Lake, which costars Elisabeth Moss, as detective Robin Griffin, and Nicole Kidman. The first season was set in New Zealand, but this time around the action has moved to Sydney, and there’s a whole new mystery to solve. Christie plays Griffin’s police partner, Miranda, who is nothing like the immovable, confident Brienne of GoT or Christie’s Star Wars character, Captain Phasma. Instead, Miranda’s a slightly unhinged fangirl type who seems a bit lost. “She’s struggling with everything,” Christie said. “She’s struggling with life, and not being very good at anything at all, and that interested me.”
For Christie, her contrasting role as Brienne in GoT has proven a very important point recently, given our strange political times. “I think it’s incredibly valuable for there to be characters who are women that exhibit strength,” she said. “I think that’s valuable in our entertainment at present, to see that—always, but particularly at the moment.”
She also pointed out the brilliance of playing a woman who isn’t objectified in any way. “It’s really thrilling to have the opportunity to play a woman that’s unconventional in a mainstream TV show,” Christie said. “It isn’t about how she looks, it isn’t about her being cute or sexy, or anything about her appearance. It’s about her desire to act for the moral good and her quest for nobility, in the true sense of what it is to be a knight.”
For Christie personally, the idea of judging people on their looks and expecting them to fit a conventional mold has always seemed bizarre. “Ever since I was a child,” she said, “I’ve never placed any sort of emphasis on the way that people look as a value system. I’ve never thought that someone’s appearance governs really who they are, because it’s something that none of us have any control over at all…. For me, it seems more about one’s actions. So I don’t think of myself in any way other than just me, and my work, and my life, and what it is that I want to do.” And she’s not the only one who thinks that way: “What I’m thrilled about from GoT is that people have connected with me—all sorts of people—and said, ‘I love your character and I feel some of her in me.’ Male, female, whatever shape, size, anything they might be.”
Luckily, no matter what happens to Brienne in the forthcoming season of GoT, we not only have Top of the Lake to look forward to, but also Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Christie’s definitely keeping any Star Wars plot details close to the vest. All she’ll say is, “It’s a real delight and I think the actors involved are tremendous…. I love and adore Daisy Ridley and John Boyega. They are truly fabulous and very grounded, considering they’ve been catapulted into this stratospheric forum. It’s so funny and so brilliant.”