Anyone who has seen Emilia Clarke in an interview takes away two things from it: One, the actress is very different from the character she portrays on the hit show Game Of Thrones, and secondly, she has very expressive eyebrows.
Those eyebrows do some amazing things in Me Before You – her second major feature film after Terminator Genisys (2015).
A romantic drama – based on the bestselling novel by Jojo Moyes – Me Before You has the Londoner playing a caregiver to Will, a recently-paralysed man, played by Sam Claflin.
In an interview transcript provided by Warner Bros, the film director Thea Sharrock said she knew Clarke was right for the role of Lou Clark the minute the actress walked into the room. “I thought, ‘This is Lou Clark!’”
As filming progressed, Sharrock saw Clarke had more similarities with the character, than just the surname. “You know what’s interesting? When Emilia first saw the film, her mum, dad and brother came with her, and one of her best friends.
“The best friend said that whenever Will called her ‘Clark’ in the film, she found it incredibly affecting as it felt like he was talking to Emilia, not Lou (as that is what so many of her friends call her.) As though the thin line between Emilia Clarke and Lou Clark was merging.”
The actress, who turns 30 in October, attested that what attracted her to the role was the opportunity to play a large part of who she is. And that is, “the clumsy idiot.”
1. Was it nice to shoot a British movie?
Yeah, I got to sleep in my own bed! We filmed it in London – it was so dreamy. I’m never desperately searching for that one thing and I’ll only wait until I get that script.
It’s just finding the right character that I love and want desperately, more than life itself, to bring it to life. But, yes, it was getting to be really weird – people were like, ‘I didn’t realise you were British!’
Some people would say that. So I’ll be very happy when people realise I’m proper English!
2. Lou has a very tight-knit family. Did you relate to that?
Hugely, yeah. I’m really, really tight with my family – really close – and I think it can really shape a person.
And so to read a character which also has that, I just knew it. I just instinctively knew what she needed. I knew how best to get those aspects of her personality out.
3. Are you a big romantic movie watcher? What are your favourites?
When Harry Met Sally is the ultimate for me, the absolute ultimate – I know it all off by heart! Anything – because of the age that I am – with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks in it: Sleepless In Seattle, You’ve Got Mail … I love all of those.
Then Four Weddings And A Funeral! Yes, big time. Notting Hill.
They’re all shameless – proper stay-at-home-on-a-Sunday with a box of Kleenex.
4. Are you an unashamed romantic?
Er … yeah! I have this theory … it might fall flat. But I watched Cinderella the other day, because my mate Richard (Madden) is in it. And it’s really good! It’s so beautifully done.
I was watching it and it just reminded that, as a kid, I grew up watching Disney and you grow up believing in magic, and the happily ever after of it all, and I feel like the essence of all the Disney movies is that they are just folk stories, which people have been saying forever.
And as a kid, I truly believed in the magic of it all, and as adults we just find new words for that: yoga, meditation, green juice. We’re all just trying to find magical aspects to elevate the mundane day-to-day life.
And I think that movies like this have that little sprinkling. Rom-coms, they make you feel safe. They make you feel like there’s hope.
Don’t get me wrong – I loved American History X!
I’m an artiste who went to drama school and I’m about to do a really dark role, but I do have that unashamed love of romantic comedies. These things just tap into a universal truth.
There’s a little bit of you that wants the hope, and wants the optimism and wants the magic.
Call it Disney, call it folk stories, call it rom-coms… there’s just something magical about it.
And Jojo’s book and this movie have that.