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Emilia Clarke

Emilia Clarke

English actress
Emilia Clarke
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro English actress
A.K.A. Emilia Isobel Euphemia Rose Clarke, Clarke, Emilia
Is Actor Stage actor Film actor Television actor
From United Kingdom
Type Film, TV, Stage & Radio
Gender female
Birth 23 October 1986, London, UK
Age 34 years
Star sign Scorpio
Residence Berkshire, United Kingdom; Hampstead, United Kingdom; Venice, USA
Height: 1.5748 m
The details


Emilia Isobel Euphemia Rose Clarke (born 23 October 1986) is an English actress. She studied at the Drama Centre London, appearing in a number of stage productions, including one by the Company of Angels. After making her screen debut in a short film, her television debut came with a guest appearance in an episode of the British medical soap opera Doctors in 2009. The following year, she was named as one of the UK Stars of Tomorrow by Screen International magazine for her role in the Syfy film Triassic Attack (2010).

Clarke rose to international prominence for her breakthrough role as Daenerys Targaryen in the HBO fantasy television series Game of Thrones (2011–2019). The role has garnered her critical acclaim and several accolades, including three nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series and a nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.

Clarke made her Broadway debut as Holly Golightly in a production of Breakfast at Tiffany's in 2013. Her film roles include Sarah Connor in the science fiction film Terminator Genisys (2015) and Qi'ra in Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018). She has also starred in the romantic films Me Before You (2016) and Last Christmas (2019). Time magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2019.

Early life

Emilia Isobel Euphemia Rose Clarke was born on 23 October 1986 in London. She grew up in Oxfordshire. Her father was a theatre sound engineer from Wolverhampton, while her mother is the vice-president for marketing at a global management consultancy firm. She has an older brother. She became interested in acting at the age of three after seeing the musical Show Boat. When she was ten, her father took her to a West End audition for the musical The Goodbye Girl, a musical by Neil Simon. Clarke attended Rye St Antony School in Headington and St Edward's School, Oxford, which she left in 2005. After RADA, LAMDA, and Guildhall rejected her, Clarke worked and travelled before entering Drama Centre London, from which she graduated in 2009.

Clarke stated in a 2018 interview that her maternal grandmother was the child of a secret affair between Clarke's great-grandmother and a man from the Indian subcontinent. Her grandmother wore light makeup to hide the darker complexion she had inherited from her father. Clarke credits this background for her family's having a "history of fighters", saying: "The fact that [my grandmother] had to hide her skin colour, essentially, and try desperately to fit in with everyone else must've been incredibly difficult."


Early career (2000–2010)

Clarke started to act in stage productions while attending school. She appeared in student productions of Twelfth Night and West Side Story while attending St Edward's School. After taking a sabbatical year, she was accepted into Drama Centre London. She also appeared the 2009 production of Sense, co-produced by theatre company Company of Angels and Drama Centre London. One of her first film roles was in Drop the Dog, a University of London student short film. She graduated from drama school in 2009. She worked at various non-acting jobs after graduating while auditioning for roles. She starred in two commercials for the charity Samaritans, portraying a domestic abuse victim. Her first credited television role was a bit part in a 2009 episode of the British soap opera Doctors. In early 2010, she was cast in her first professional film role, playing Savannah in the television film Triassic Attack. The film, released in November 2010 on the American network Syfy, received negative reviews. Despite the film reviews, she was named a "UK Star of Tomorrow" by the film magazine Screen International.

Game of Thrones (2011–2019)

Emilia Clarke at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con

Clarke was cast in her third professional role as Daenerys Targaryen in the HBO fantasy series Game of Thrones, based on the book series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin in 2010. Daenerys is one of the last surviving members of House Targaryen who had ruled Westeros from the Iron Throne for nearly three hundred years prior to being ousted. Actress Tamzin Merchant was originally cast for the part of Daenerys. After the pilot episode was re-shot in early 2010, Merchant was replaced by Clarke. In an interview, Clarke stated that she did the funky chicken and robot dance during her audition. Show creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss said they chose Clarke "10 seconds after leaving the room". The show ran from April 2011 until May 2019, with Clarke portraying Daenerys throughout all eight seasons of the show.

She has received widespread praise for her portrayal of Daenerys, which traces an arc from frightened girl to empowered woman. Matthew Gilbert of The Boston Globe called her scenes "mesmerizing", adding that "Clarke doesn't have a lot of emotional variety to work with as Daenerys, aside from fierce determination, and yet she is riveting." Emily VanDerWerff for The A.V. Club commented on the difficulty of adapting such an evolution from page to screen, but concluded that Clarke "more than seal[s] the deal here." In 2017, she reportedly became one of the highest paid actors on television, potentially earning £2 million per episode of Game of Thrones. In 2019 she said she had been uncomfortable acting nude in her first experience at age 23 of a large film set, but had since become "a lot more savvy" about what level of nudity is needed for a scene.

Clarke received multiple award nominations and wins for her role of Daenerys. After the first season, Clarke won Best Supporting Actress in a Drama at the 2011 EWwy Awards. She was also nominated three times for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 2013, 2015, and 2016. In 2019, she was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, her first nomination in the category. In addition to the television show, she lent her voice and likeness to the 2014 video game of the same name. She also had a cameo appearance during Kit Harington's monologue on Saturday Night Live in April 2019. She said in a November 2019 NPR interview if she "were to get stereotyped as the mother of dragons, I could ask for worse. It's really quite wonderful." Clarke, in addition to her work on Game of Thrones, has also appeared in various animated television shows.

Film career (2012–present)

Clarke's first film role was in the 2012 short film Shackled. In 2012, she starred alongside Elliott Tittensor in the comedy film Spike Island. The film details a group of friends who try to get to the namesake island of The Stone Roses 1990 concert. The movie was originally distributed only in the United Kingdom but was subsequently picked up by Level 33 Entertainment for North American distribution in spring 2015. From March to April 2013, she played Holly Golightly in a Broadway production of Breakfast at Tiffany's, a role requiring her to perform a nude scene. The production received mixed reviews from critics. Later that year, she also starred in the black comedy-crime drama film Dom Hemingway alongside Jude Law. The film received mixed reviews but only grossed $1.3 million worldwide.

Clarke at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival

In May 2013, Clarke was cast in a film adaptation of the novel The Garden of Last Days. James Franco was set to direct and star in the film however he left the project two weeks before filming after creative differences with the film distributor Millennium Entertainment. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in 2019, Clarke said she was offered the role of Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey. She said she turned down the part because of the nudity required. In 2015, she played Sarah Connor in Terminator Genisys. The film, which also stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jai Courtney, and Jason Clarke, received unfavourable reviews from critics, Despite the reviews, the movie was a box office success, grossing over $440 million worldwide. Clarke was nominated for Teen Choice Award for Choice Summer Movie Star – Female and Best International Actress at the 2016 Jupiter Awards for her performance.

In 2016, she starred as the female lead, opposite Sam Claflin, in the movie adaption of the best-selling book of the same name, Me Before You. The film, which released on 3 June 2016 and directed by Thea Sharrock, received mixed critical reviews. The film grossed $200 million worldwide and was a box office success. For her role as Louisa Clark, she shared nominations with Sam Claflin for the Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Liplock and the MTV Television Tearjerker Award. In 2017, she played the lead as Nurse Verena in the supernatural psychological thriller film Voice from the Stone. The film was released on April 2017 in limited release, video on demand and digital HD.

In November 2016, she was cast as the female lead in Solo: A Star Wars Story. The movie, which was directed by Ron Howard, details the origins of Star Wars characters Han Solo and Chewbacca. Clarke played Qi'ra, Han's childhood friend and love interest. The film received favourable critical reviews despite being the second-lowest grossing Star Wars film. The film was released worldwide on 25 May 2018. Her performance received positive critical reviews with many calling her one of the standouts of the film.

In 2016, Clarke, along with Jack Huston, was cast as leads in the film Above Suspicion. The film, based on a thriller novel by Joe Sharkey and directed by Phillip Noyce, was announced at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. In late 2019, Clarke starred the in romantic comedy film Last Christmas. The film, also starring Henry Golding, was written by Emma Thompson and directed by Paul Feig. In a January 2020 interview with Bustle magazine, Clarke stated she got inspiration from Will Ferrell's character in the 2003 comedy film Elf.

Upcoming projects

In 2014, Clarke was cast in the historical drama film The Guns of August. The movie, which is based on the novel of the same name and set during World War I, will also star Helena Bonham Carter and Game of Thrones co-star Charles Dance. As of 2020, the film was still in pre-production. In January 2017, she was cast as the lead in the upcoming English language adaptation of the 2015 Korean romantic comedy The Beauty Inside. In May 2019, it was announced that Clarke is set to play the English poet Elizabeth Barrett in the film Let Me Count the Ways, which The Wife director Bjorn Runge is set to direct.

In late 2019, Clarke was cast in the West End production of Anton Chekhov's The Seagull. The production, which will be directed by Jamie Lloyd, will premiere at the Playhouse Theatre in March 2020. The Seagull will be Clarke's first West End production.

Advertising and endorsements

In 2015, luxury goods company Dior signed Clarke to be the face of the Rose des Vents jewelry collection, created by Victoire de Castellane. In 2018, Dolce & Gabbana announced she would be the brand ambassador for the fragrance "The Only One". She appeared in an advertisement, which was directed by Matteo Garrone and starring Game of Thrones co-star Kit Harington, for the perfume. In 2020, cosmetics company Clinique announced Clarke as their first global ambassador.

Clarke also supports several charitable organisations. In September 2011, she joined SMA Trust team as their celebrity ambassador. In August 2017, she became a patron of Open Door, a non-profit that aims to help young people gain access to drama school auditions. She auctioned a chance to watch an episode of Game of Thrones with her at the 2018 Sean Penn Charity Gala, which raised over $120,000 benefiting the J/P HRO & Disaster Relief Organizations. In February 2018, she appeared at London's Centrepoint Awards, which celebrates the courage shown by homeless young people. In April 2018, she was named ambassador to the Royal College of Nursing.

In 2019, following the announcement of the brain aneurysms she suffered in 2011 and 2013, Clarke launched her own charity SameYou. The charity aims to broaden neurorehabilitation access for young people after a brain injury or stroke. On 26 September 2019, she co-hosted a YouTube live stream with Irish YouTuber Jacksepticeye that raised over $250,000 for SameYou.

Personal life

Clarke lives in Hampstead, London. In 2016, she purchased a $4.64 million house in Venice Beach, California.

In July 2016, her father died of cancer. Clarke was filming Above Suspicion in Kentucky at the time and was unable to be home for her father's final days. She wrapped the film early but arrived at the airport in London to learn that he had just died. "The world felt like a scarier place once my dad wasn't in it", she said. Referring to Brexit, to which she is opposed and the vote for which happened three weeks before her father died, she added that "those two things happening in quick succession threw me off balance and made me re-evaluate who I am".

In a March 2019 article she wrote for The New Yorker, she revealed she had a subarachnoid haemorrhage caused by a ruptured aneurysm, in February 2011. She underwent urgent endovascular coiling surgery and subsequently suffered from aphasia; at one point she was unable to recall her own name. She had a second aneurysm surgically treated in 2013.

Clarke is a feminist.

She was voted the most desirable woman in the world by AskMen readers in 2014 and was named Esquire's Sexiest Woman Alive in 2015. In 2017, she was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone.

Awards and nominations

Clarke has been nominated for numerous awards throughout her career. She was nominated for four Primetime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 2019, for her role in Game of Thrones. In 2019, she was named as one of the 100 most influential people by Time magazine.

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 18 Mar 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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