Emilia Clarke Has “No Regrets” About Turning Down Playing Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey

Emilia Clarke
Emilia Clarke plays Daenerys Targaryen on HBO's Game of Thrones.  Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic


The Mother of Dragons could have really unleashed some passion in the Red Room! Emilia Clarke is becoming a household name thanks to her role as Daenerys Targaryen on HBO’s Game of Thrones, but she also had the opportunity to headline a major big screen blockbuster. 

The British brunette, 27, was originally considered for the coveted role of Anastasia Steele in the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey. It ultimately went to relative newcomer Dakota Johnson, who was critically praised for her portrayal of the naive, sexually explorative writer. 

“No regrets,” Clarke told The Hollywood Reporter of passing up the role. “I’d done nudity before and was concerned with being labeled for doing it again.”

50 Shades Dakota
Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan in 50 Shades of Grey. Chuck Zlotnick

True, Daeny has slipped off her flowing gowns several times on the smash hit show, based on the books by George R.R. Martin, but she wasn’t interested in being known for her Red Room antics. In fact, she’s still trying to come to terms with her new fame. 

“Never in a million years did I think Game of Thrones was going to take off like it did,” Clarke admitted. “It’s taken me five years to catch up with it. I’m still not sure I’m there.”

But there’s no denying that she’s deserving of the headstrong part. 

“We saw hundreds of people for the role,” producer D.B. Weiss told THR of Clarke’s audition. “This character needed to step into Joan of Arc territory, to deliver a messianic level of intensity. There was only one actress [we saw] who could do that.”

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