In one of Game of Thrones‘ most powerful scenes, Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) does a naked "Walk of Shame" through a crowd-a dramatic shot where body double Rebecca Van Cleave walked nude, and Headey’s face was placed on her body using special effects. Headey received backlash for this. "Some people thought I was less of an actress because I didn’t get my tits out," she told Entertainment Weekly. "It was really a bit shocking. I’ve done nudity. I’m not averse to it. But I know I’m a very emotional actor and I get really driven by that." She says a body double was used in part because she has a 6-year-old son who "know[s] me now," but also so she could fully stay in-character:
In order to do my job, I allow myself to be really vulnerable. I don’t know any other way to do my job. Things really affect me. And the thought of being naked for three days and trying to contain her in the way she would be I think I would feel very angry. I didn’t want to be angry. I don’t think Cersei would be angry. I did what I thought she would do, emotionally. And wonderful Rebecca [Van Cleave, Headey’s stand-in] was able to contain herself and be naked. She found it very difficult, obviously. It’s not a natural thing to do. I film every year, and I have kids and they know me now and [being naked in the scene] was just too much on top of that. So yeah, people that get it thought it was great. I didn’t phone it in; I was actually there for three days with Rebecca…it’s a tough f–king job and she’s very smart.
Headey also wasn’t part of the casting process when it came to choosing her body double―a point she feels is important for people to know:
People [assume] I picked Rebecca. Like I was in the casting and picked a hot body. Like I demanded to have a hot body. In reality, I said, "If somebody will do this, I’ll have no choice about it. Whatever you decide." I had no judgment in that or desire to be involved. I just want to clear that up. Because as a woman, that drives me mad; the thought I’m like, "Nope! Nope!" [and dismissing nude women] in a room. I genuinely wouldn’t. Because none of it is about vanity for me- none of it-otherwise I couldn’t do it. It would be a hindrance.