Sci-fi star Emilia Clarke on being Holly Golightly
This March 14, 2013 photo shows British actress Emilia Clarke posing for a portrait in New York. Clarke, best known for her role in the HBO series, "Game of Thrones," is currently starring in the Broadway production of "Breakfast at Tiffany's." (Photo by Victoria Will/Invision/AP)
NEW YORK (AP) — Emilia Clarke was auditioning to play one of America's most iconic heroines and wanted to impress. Her first scene required her to bite an apple.
"I was like, 'Oh, yeah. I'm going to go all Daniel Day-Lewis on them. I'm going to bring my own apple!" the British actress recently recalled.
Everything was going well in the London rehearsal room until the character takes a bite. "I took this almighty hunk. I literally took half the apple in this one mouthful," she says, laughing.
As her scene partner and the director watched, stunned, Clarke kept going, despite a mouthful of fruit. "I remember being, 'Well, I guess I have to kind of go there.'"
Whether it was due to her exuberance or sheer commitment, or a mixture of both, Clarke won the part, and what a part it is: Holly Golightly in a stage adaptation of Truman Capote's classic 1958 novella, "Breakfast at Tiffany's."
"I still don't think I really do realize the enormity of it," says Clarke, who will be making her Broadway debut — actually, her first professional stage debut — in the role made famous in film by Audrey Hepburn.
"It's funny, a lot of actors I've spoken to have sort of said, 'Oh, it's really brave that you're doing it,'" she says. "I'm like, 'What? Are you kidding me?' This would never have been a choice. It's a 100 percent yes. You don't say 'maybe' to that."
Clarke, a petite, stunning brunette with a wide smile, has come to the role from what seems like the other side of the galaxy. For the past few years she's been playing the platinum-haired Daenerys Targaryen in the fantasy adventure saga "Game of Thrones," a series adapted from George R.R. Martin's novel series "A Song of Ice and Fire."
Last year, viewership climbed to rank as HBO's third most popular show of all time, averaging 11.6 million viewers weekly across all the company's platforms. Season three begins at the end of the month. Playing Daenerys has helped propel the 25-year-old Clarke, who is known on the show as The Mother of Dragons, into a star.
"She's the reason why I'm doing 'Breakfast at Tiffany's'!" says Clarke. "I don't know how they connect and I don't know how I've fooled these people into thinking I can do both of them. But it's been — and continues to be — the most incredible roller coaster."
Fans of the Blake Edwards film will find this Golightly is very different from the one that made Hepburn a fashion icon, with her ball gowns, long gloves, elaborate pearl chokers and trademark cigarette holder.
The play's creative team returned to the time period that author Capote originally set his story, meaning during World War II, not the more glamorous 1960s of the movie. Playwright Richard Greenberg has made it truer to the grittier subject of the novella, which is more explicit in its exploration of the relationship between a gay man and a straight call girl.