TBS has canceled Wrecked.
Netflix has canceled Santa Clarita Diet.
The Show Must Go On: The Queen + Adam Lambert Story documentary airs on ABC tonight. It’s a 2-parter with the 2nd installment airing tomorrow.
43.5 million tuned in to watch the NFL draft.
That was some episode of Barry last night, and it was both written and directed by Bill Hader. More below.
“Brenda Walsh is headed back to Beverly Hills. Shannen Doherty will rejoin her Beverly Hills, 90210 co-stars in Fox's reboot that's set to premiere in the summer. The six-episode ‘event series,’ with a truncated title of BH90210, is something of a meta-reboot: Doherty, Jason Priestley, Jennie Garth, Ian Ziering, Gabrielle Carteris, Brian Austin Green and Tori Spelling are all playing "heightened versions of themselves," as Fox describes it, as the cast decides to attempt to mount a reboot of the iconic teen soap.”
Season 2 of Cobra Kai is just plain fun and silly. More below.
“New York-based prodco MY Entertainment has acquired the format rights to Dancefloor Date from Newen Distribution, the distribution arm of Newen Group. Producer, director and former dancer Nigel Lythgoe (pictured) has signed on as showrunner and executive producer of the dance competition-cum-dating series. His credits include So You Think You Can Dance, Pop Idoland American Idol. Dancefloor Date sees singles going on blind dates. Taking turns, they dance for their potential partner from behind a screen. All that remains visible is the dancer’s silhouette as they move. Contestants are eliminated based on nothing more than their dance moves.”
“Lifetime is preparing a follow-up special to the network’s acclaimed Surviving R. Kelly docuseries. Produced by Peacock Productions and hosted by journalist Soledad O’Brien, Surviving R Kelly: The Impact showcases the culture-impact the docuseries had around the world and its role in the conversation on sexual violence. The two-hour special features footage from the docuseries, interviews with journalists, legal experts, NGOs and psychologists to discuss the ongoing saga surrounding the beleaguered R&B singer. Additionally, the special will examine Kelly’s interview with CBS This Morning co-anchor Gayle King this past March and the women who remain loyal to him.”
From Rolling Stone: “Where can we begin with The Long Night other than at the very end?
“It’s not just that the early portions of the episode were a visual nightmare. Director Miguel Sapochnik and director of photography Fabian Wagner seemed to be attempting to put viewers in the headspace of the poor soldiers being overrun by an undead army they could barely see, but large swaths of the episode’s first hour were basically radio. (Sapochnik and Wagner did much better with the epic combat sequences in Hardhome and Battle of the Bastards, which both not coincidentally took place in daylight.)
“It’s that Arya’s thrilling leap out of nowhere to stick the Night King with the pointy end of Littlefinger’s old dagger more or less rendered the rest of the episode moot. Which is what happens when you introduce a supervillain who is vastly overpowered relative to our heroes while also possessing a weakness that functions as as a hard and immediate reset button. The big bad is nearly impossible to kill, but if you can do it — poetically, with the same blade that was once wielded against the same boy who’s the Night King’s target — then all the littler bads will immediately crumble into tiny frozen pieces or simply fall over, dead again. It’s a concept the series had established earlier, and Jon Snow’s desperate battle plan more or less hinged on it, so it’s not a last-second cheat. (Though the question of exactly how Arya flew in there at the end — as opposed to pulling off a Faceless Man disguise at the last possible second — is one that will be Zaprudered and debated for a long time.) Yet it still, like so much of The Long Night, felt narratively unsatisfying.
“A lot of the power of last week’s A Night of the Seven Kingdoms came from the notion that many of the people experiencing these brief moments of joy would be dead before the following sunset. But other than Theon and Jorah very late, The Long Night mainly came for jobbers like Beric Dondarion and Dolorous Edd, for once-important figures like Melisandre who had been gone too long for death to matter, and for memorable but extremely minor characters like Lyana Mormont (who died taking out a zombie giant, because she was too good for this world, and this show). Nearly everyone the audience had a significant emotional investment in survived to fight another day, repeatedly saved from a killing blow or bite at the very last possible second. (Brienne and Jaime alone seemed to save each other a dozen times across the span of the episode.) And just when all seemed lost even for those people — in a sequence scored to some of the most haunting music Ramin Djawadi has ever composed for the show (when you hear a piano on Game of Thrones, things are very bad) — Arya stabbed the Night King and all was relatively well again.
“The choice of Arya as the Night King’s killer was a great one. It was an inspired payoff to Melisandre’s long-ago prophecy about her shutting many eyes — blue ones included — forever, and also to Beric’s frequent resurrections. (The Lord of Light really did have a plan.) More importantly, though, it wasn’t Jon Snow who got to do it. Game of Thrones made its bones by subverting audience expectations about who the heroes of a story could be, and what would happen to the more traditional kind. But Jon is about as classic a Hero’s Journey kind of cat as you can find, and the series building to him taking out the gravest threat to humanity would have been much too predictable. Instead, it went to his oft-overlooked sister/cousin, who also conveniently happens to be a much more compelling character. Enough Valyrian steel was floating around Winterfell for a number of characters to make fine global saviors, but Arya was the best possible choice. Kudos to Benioff and Weiss for recognizing that.
“But the abrupt way that Arya’s sneak attack ended the entire battle speaks to a problem the GoT showrunners have been struggling with for years: deciding whether the series’ ultimate threat was the Night King or Cersei.
“Though the White Walkers appear in the series’ very first scene, they were largely a background threat over the first few seasons. It’s not really until the siege at Hardhome that it becomes clear how much worse the Night King is than any Lannister, any Bolton, any slaver, any previous opponent to all that is good and right and Stark in this fantasy world. But Hardhome almost put the thumb too forcefully on the narrative scales, making every human-on-human conflict feel like a petty waste of time while an apocalypse was busy marching south. Yet at the same time, the Night King isn’t much of a character, is he? He doesn’t speak, his facial expressions range from smug to smug, while his motives are as simplistic as you can get on what’s long been a morally grey show. You can debate what style of leadership best suits a sprawling, chaotic nation like Westeros, but everyone can agree that it would be bad if the Night King just slaughtered everyone. And to top it all off, his powers, and his army, had been built up so much over the past few seasons that any battle with him had result in either defeat or victory within a single episode like this.
“So it’s hard to fault Benioff and Weiss — whether acting entirely on their own or following what George R.R. Martin told them about his own plans for the hypothetical seventh book — for getting the zombies out of the way early and making the endgame about Lannister vs. Lannister, Clegane vs. Clegane, Bronn vs. anyone not paying him, etc. We have a much longer history with and deeper emotional investment in Cersei (for good and for ill) , and the final episodes can dig back into the conflicts of character and philosophy that have been the series’ bread-and-butter over the years.
“But it also weirdly turns the apocalypse into a very expensive distraction. Dany and Jon’s forces are depleted — after all the time spent hyping the Dothraki over the years, they basically had one impressive win (in last season’s The Spoils of War) and were largely wiped out in about 30 seconds here — but the basic conflicts are the same as they were before Jon led his idiotic mission that gifted the Night King a dragon. And if the war with the army of the dead was just meant as misdirection for the real final fight, then the least it could have given us was better spectacle than most of what The Long Night had to offer.
“That Arya Stark — the girl dismissed and laughed at by everyone, who trained under one remarkable and varied killer after another, and who methodically began working through her special list — was the one to save the world is delightful. Yet inserting her moment of absolute triumph midway through the final season, at the end of a headache-inducing hour where too many characters were protected by plot armor, rendered it much less potent than it should have been. The Night King was defeated, but in a way suggesting he never mattered nearly as much as the series periodically suggested that he did.”
Per TV Guide, “USA's acclaimed techno-psychological thriller series Mr. Robot will be ending with its upcoming fourth season, and creator Sam Esmail and stars Rami Malek, Christian Slater, and Carly Chaikin tore themselves away from their computer terminals to say farewell to the show at the Tribeca Film Festival, a fitting venue for such a New York-centric show. (The show actually premiered at Tribeca in 2015.)
“At the end of the panel, Sam Esmail broke a little bit of news about Season 4: It will be a ‘Christmas special’ set over a week around Christmas in 2015, in the spirit of British TV shows Esmail loves. ‘Typically, how they wrap up their series is with a Christmas special,’ Esmail said. ‘So the final season of Mr. Robot is one very long Christmas special.’ He didn't give any other details about the plot of the final season, but did say that the ending is the one he's had in mind since the very start.
“The majority of the panel was dedicated to reflecting on the show, which seemed to come out of nowhere when it premiered in the summer of 2015 and captured the imagination of a country growing increasingly uneasy with its soul being turned over to opaque technology and the untrustworthy corporations that wielded it. The show's modern day Robin Hood story of an alienated, mentally ill computer programmer named Elliot Alderson (Malek) using his hacking skills to fight an enormous global corporation to try to restore power to the people resonated with viewers uncomfortable with the technocratic status quo. ‘There's a lot of anxiety about what the world is going through right now, and I think Elliot tapped into that,’ Esmail said.
“When Mr. Robot premiered in 2015, it was ahead of its time in a way no one could have predicted. ‘Our tagline in the first season was 'our democracy has been hacked,' and that was before our democracy actually was hacked,’ Esmail said, referring to Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Season 1 is ‘kind of quaint now,’ he said, since it came a year before reality caught up to fiction. Esmail said that with the fast, non-stop nature of technical progress, he knew a show about tech was going to quickly seem dated, so he kept it set in 2015 so that it would become a ‘period piece of current day.’
“Still, what's happening in 2019 informs what happens on the show. ‘In the writers' room, even through this season, we're continuing to let current events inspire us, because that's what we feel passionately about,’ Esmail said.
“The show's other legacy will be that it made a star out of a relatively unknown actor named Rami Malek, who is now an Emmy and Oscar winner who will be playing the villain in a James Bond movie. Malek reflected on his early days with the show and how much his life has changed since then and become more like Elliot's in a certain way. Back at the beginning, to better understand the socially isolated character of Elliot Alderson, Malek would do things like not talk to or make eye contact with cashiers, which was difficult for him as someone who likes to connect with the people he encounters.
"‘I was just trying to do what Elliot would do and hide from the world, and I found it to be a very lonely place,’ he said. ‘And only recently, because things have changed in my life, I find myself having to do that more, and how lonely that is, walking down the street, keeping my head down.’
“Malek added that he's ‘very privileged and blessed’ to have the fame Bohemian Rhapsody has brought him, and he'd like to stop and talk to everyone, but he can't anymore. He also said that he'd never have the opportunities he's gotten without the show. ‘I only got Bohemian Rhapsody because the producers had seen me on Mr. Robot playing Elliot, and I don't know how they thought that guy was going to play Freddie Mercury, but had this show not existed, that would not have happened.’
“Mr. Robot will return for Season 4 on USA later this year (production started in February). Previous seasons are available to stream on Amazon Prime.”
Per TheWrap, “[t]here are lots of kick-ass karate moves across the two seasons of YouTube’s Cobra Kai. Many of them take place over 11-straight minutes in the crazy Season 2 finale.
“If you’ve seen Episode 210, you know exactly the fight scene we’re talking about. Yeah, the high-school hallway fight scene that takes up literally one-third of the episode (which has a 33:33 runtime) and concludes with series-altering consequences in the form of another epic cliffhanger.
“The Cobra Kai”team only had the school to shoot in over a Saturday and Sunday, star Jacob Bertrand told TheWrap. The weekend before they had six hours to practice timing and camera angles.
“‘Those kids had a Couple. Of. Days,’ Ralph Macchio told us, emphasizing the feat’s timeline. ‘It was insane. It was like an 11-minute riot.’
“‘We actually filmed it all in one take,’ Bertrand said. The teen rumble was shot all the way through ‘seven or eight times,’ he said, and editors only made one cut in the whole thing.
“While Bertrand’s baddie Hawk dishes the violence as much as he takes it, one grown man got it far worse than any of the kids.
“‘Our A-cam operator, his name’s Bones — he was so tired from doing that thing over and over,’ Bertrand said. ‘It’s such a long sequence [and] he’s got like 85 pounds of camera strapped to him.’
“Bertrand admits he messed up ‘a little bit’ one time during Bones’ busy day, but he wasn’t alone. The young man who plays Cobra Kai’s most ‘No Mercy’ pupil said that all of the fighters seemed to botch the sequence once.
“Still, what came out was pretty awesome.
“‘That whole fight is so frickin’ cool,’ Bertrand said. ‘I’d say most of my hits are elbows. These fights are brutal. We’re not actually connecting, but dude, this s–t would hurt.’”
Per The Hollywood Reporter, “In [last} night's episode of HBO's Barry, inner demons aren't the only kind Barry Berkman has to deal with.
“In the HBO comedy created by star Bill Hader and Alec Berg (Silicon Valley), about a hitman who wanders into an acting class and finds his truth, its protagonist's assorted flights of fancy translated to the screen have been integral to several episodes. But this week was the first time the show has crossed a line into … well, something else.
“In the final scene of last week's episode four, Det. Loach (John Pirruccello) — in a massive heel turn — asks Barry to kill his ex-wife's boyfriend, Ronny Proxsin (Daniel Bernhardt). Considering Barry had just confessed his involvement in Det. Moss' murder to Fuches (Stephen Root), and considering Loach had captured said confession on tape, Barry and Fuches have no choice but to accede.
“Episode five is the story of that attempted hit gone very, very bad. There's no Barry helping Sally with her truth exercise, no Cousineau attempting to fill the Moss-shaped void in his life by trying to get his son to not hate him, no NoHo Hank and the Chechens' Barry-led desert boot camp — just 30 minutes of Barry and Fuches having an extremely rough day.
“As it turns out, Ronny Proxsin is ‘two-time Olympic medalist in tae kwon do’ Ronny Proxsin. Also, as turns out, he has a young daughter (Jessie Giacomazzi) who, despite still being a white belt, seem to possess a wealth of (super?) natural talent.
"‘Our stunt coordinator had said, during season one, “There's this little girl, Jessie, her parents are stunt performers, and she's awesome. And so if you ever need a little girl to do anything let me know,"‘ Hader, who also wrote and directed the episode, tells THR. ‘I have a notebook that I keep with ideas, and I had written out, “Barry and little girl fight in house. She stabs him. She's almost superhuman.”’
“In an extremely roundabout way, Barry and Fuches succeed. But not before Barry nearly bleeds outs from a little-girl-inflicted stab wound, Fuches loses a cheek, and Loach takes a fatal spinning roundhouse kick to the head (the little girl survives, though Barry should probably expect a Kill Bill-type revenge scenario at some point around season seven or eight).
“Last week, Hader sat down with The Hollywood Reporter to talk about how the episode came together, how he imagines the rest of the cast will react to the mayhem, and why, after reading this interview, Berg is going to be furious:
Last time we spoke, before the season one finale, you and Alec had just set up the writers room for season two. And we talked a bit about how you were going to resolve the issues around Moss and how you were going to keep people rooting for Barry after the events of the finale. I'm curious how you cracked that.
We never see it from the point of view of, "It would be great if everyone were rooting for Barry." We just want to make sure that we're being honest with Barry — and all the characters. I think a big thing was in season one we were kinda just setting the table of who these people are. I mean, we were trying to figure them out. And so season two, when we came up with the idea of Cousineau wanting a truth exercise it was like, "This gives us a chance to get to know these characters." And then after writing for a while we hit on this idea of, "Can you change your nature?" which is what Barry's trying to do. Is there something about yourself that you dislike that's just so fundamentally a part of your DNA that you just can't change? And Barry's is his ability to kill people. And he doesn't want to do that, but it just seems like the universe keeps telling him, "This is why you were put on Earth."
The other thing that's happened since last we spoke is you're now an award-winning leading man and director. And you won for the pilot. Was that the first episode of TV that you had directed?
That was the first anything I'd directed. But I'd been wanting to do that since I was like 10. I was a movie fanatic, and my heroes were never actors or movie stars; it was always the director. And I loved writers. I loved reading. I was always just more fascinated by these people who created these things that moved me. You'd see their names in the end credits and be like, (whispers) "Who's that? I want to learn more about this person."
So episode five is the first episode of season two you've directed, and you wrote it as well. And several things struck me about it. There have been past episodes where you've messed around with dream sequences, daydreams, et cetera. But this episode is just, like, complete fucking gonzo, and it seems like you've finally crossed a line into almost sci-fi, fantastical elements. It reminded me of how The X-Files would go back and forth between episodes that would advance the larger plot about aliens, the smoking man, and what they, I think, literally referred to as "Monster of the Week" episodes …
I've never seen The X-Files. (Laughs.) But I think I know what you mean. To me it's just, we're telling a story. And there was a way of writing this episode where Barry killing Ronny was the first scene. And then you went to the acting class and you saw what was going on there, and then [Barry] would go back to Fuches and say, "All right I did it," and they would have their scene. In a show that Alec and I purposely have made pretty tightly packed with story, and it has this real propulsive narrative, and we're juggling, for a 30-minute show, a lot of characters, it was nice to just do something [like this]. In season one we initially talked about the stash house sequence, "What if that was one [entire] episode?" And it just didn't make [sense]. [There was too much story] on either end of that episode that needed to be told. So, but this episode, [we thought], "We could just take a break." There were two separate things [that came together to make this episode]. One was, our stunt coordinator had said, during season one "There's this little girl, Jessie, her parents are stunt performers, and she's awesome. And so if you ever need a little girl to do anything let me know." I have a notebook that I keep with ideas, and I had written out, "Barry and little girl fight in house. She stabs him. She's almost superhuman. Barry finds her and you think he's gonna have to kill a kid and that's what he's grappling with, and she ends up kicking the shit out of him." And then I wrote, "Fuches and Barry search for girl around neighborhood like she's a lost dog. They find her sitting on a street corner. She runs up a tree and onto a house like a squirrel." And so that was it. And then when we started writing season two the first day of writing, the first thing we said was, "What happened to Moss?" And the second thing was, during season one, we were laughing about Loach being sad because his wife had left him and we thought, "Oh, it would be great if Loach at one point needed Barry to kill his ex-wife's boyfriend." So we wrote that down on the board and said, "That should be the last scene in the middle of the season, episode four or five. Right in here we should find that out, so let's build to that." And then it's like, OK, so Barry has to kill this guy. Who is this guy? And then I went, "Oh my God, that guy's daughter can be the little girl!" And everybody went "Who? What are you talking about?" (Laughs.) And so I kinda wrote this episode on my own. I eventually pitched it to the room, but it was definitely something that lived in my head, like we didn't really do a table read of it. Like everybody in the acting class, everybody else on the show with the exception of Stephen is seeing this the way that you're seeing this. They have no idea. They're gonna watch this like, "What the fuuuck?!" (Laughs.) And when we started the table read for episode six, we just said, "Here's what you need to know. Fuches now knows about the monastery, and Loach is dead." And everybody went, "Whoa. OK." We didn't say really what happened. And now I shall say there was a script out there, so [the rest of the cast] easily could have read it. It wasn't like we were being secretive. When I wrote it and then brought it to the table, the two notes I got were, Tao Kolade, one of our writers, said, "I think you should start from Ronny's point of view," 'cause initially I had it starting with Barry hiding in the house. And then when [the little girl] bites [Fuches'] face, I initially had, "Fuches was frozen in terror," and everybody kinda flagged that as weird. They were like, "Wouldn't he, like, grab her off his face?" And we realized, like — cause I had [Barry's] stitches breaking — what if [Fuches] uses superglue to [try to close the wound back up] and the superglue gets on his hands and he ends up superglueing himself to the steering wheel and it was like, "Oh, that's hilarious. Now he's glued to the car!" And then Alec, the big thing he and I talked about when he read it was, "This is good, but it's kinda like just a big action sequence. There's nothing emotional in there right now. And I think this has to be about, last episode Fuches just totally betrayed Barry." And we decided it needed to be about Barry realizing that Fuches has never had his best interest [at heart]. And then I just came up with, "What if he passes out [from blood loss], and we go to these daydreams, like in the desert." So I wrote those [scenes].
Since you brought that up, during the desert sequences, there's that scene where he's walking through the desert and all the other soldiers are reuniting with their families, and Barry sees Fuches. And Fuches looks very serene, and calmly gestures in the direction of, presumably, death or whatever. And then there's the last scene in the episode after Barry escapes the store and sees Fuches waiting in the parking lot, and Fuches has the same look and makes the same gesture toward the car. What's going though Barry's mind there?
It's like, [Fuches] does the same thing, like "Come with me; get in the car," and Barry has a legitimate hesitation between going to jail for the rest of his life or going with Fuches. It's like, "Which is better for me right now?" So it's ending on that realization for him. We also copied the tracking shot in the desert, and it was very conscious like, let's do that same tracking shot with him as he walks [to Fuches' car] and we reveal all the [police cars in front of the store]. I just did another interview where I fully admitted that Alec and I do have real, um, symbolism in the show, but just talking about it makes you feel like a pretentious asshole. (Laughs.) But it is true the desert is the place where Barry does all his bad — where he's in his element, this place where nothing can grow and things just die. And he's always trying to get to water. Like if you watch the scene [in the finale] between him and Moss, she's in between him and water. That was very consciously staged that way. But you talk about it and you sound like a dickhead. So, Alec's going to be furious with me! (Laughs.) Now a second interview! He's gonna be like, "Dude, stop talking about that shit! You sound like an asshole."
Well he's definitely not gonna like my next question then! Because last time we talked you mentioned you were a big Kurosawa fan, and that Alec had written that little scene in the finale where Loach is holding the press conference and the reporters start asking about Yojimbo, and how that came out of a kind of throwaway comment in the writers room about how the season one arc was reminiscent of Yojimbo. So watching season two I've kinda been keeping my eyes peeled for other references. And nothing really stuck out to me in this episode, but it's an episode that seems like it could contain tons of references. So I was gonna ask if there was any specific homage to a film or a director that you had in mind?
No. You can't do that because then it becomes a movie about movies. But it's all buried in there someplace, like in your subconscious. I watch this show and I go, "Oh wow, I really like Taxi Driver!" (Laughs.) I saw that at such a specific time in my life, and it clearly has those moments in the show where [the influence is so obvious] it's almost embarrassing. But it's never — that would be death to be like, "We're gonna copy this shot." [The influence] goes in you one way and it comes out another way. And the more you do it the more I think it becomes your own. You start to find your own voice. Everybody starts off in a cover band, you know? And I think because I started directing in my late 30s —— like I watch episode five and I'm really proud of it but I'm like, "OK, next time like let's go even deeper with this, and let's get better at that." But if I had to pick one filmmaker or movie that kind of influences this season as far as showing stuff to people [who work on the show], it would probably be Andrzej Wajda's War Trilogy that Criterion put out: A Generation, Kanal and Ashes and Diamonds. If you just watch the opening of Ashes and Diamonds, I would just show that to [cinematographer] Paula Huidobro and all the way down to the stunt coordinator, like, "It's more this." No music. The shots are very designed, theres a lot of depth, but the violence is still brutal.”
Per EW, “Sorcerous. Fanatic. Seductress. Murderer. Hero.
“Melisandre was arguably Game of Thrones’ most morally complicated character. The Red Woman arguably committed the most horrifying and unforgivable act in the show’s ultra-violent history — burning an innocent child alive in a misguided attempt to try and magically help Stannis Baratheon win his war against Ramsay Bolton. Yet she also used her powers to resurrect Jon Snow and, in Sunday’s Battle of Winterfell, saved humanity by guiding Arya Stark to fulfill her destiny of killing the Night King. In the episode’s final moments, the 800-year-old sorceress, having completed her mission to defeat the forces of the dead, removed that mysterious necklace which maintains her youth and walked into the morning sun. The act somehow broke the spell that preserved her long life. Melisandre’s final sacrifice was herself.
“During EW’s GoT set visit last spring, we got to see actress Carice van Houten perform her final walk, stumbling and staggering until she turned to dust (the aging effect was added later). As usual, Houten was in Melisandre’s signature blood-red dress, an outfit she wore since the character was introduced in season 2. Playing Melisandre was always challenging for Houten, as she candidly discusses below, both physically (she often worked in freezing temperatures wearing only her thin outfit) and emotionally (it’s tough to connect to an audience when playing an inhuman character).
“EW interviewed Houten on the eve of her final day on set in a Belfast hotel lobby by a warm fire — perfect ambiance for The Red Woman. The actress often amusingly switched into using fruit-centric code language when tourists lingered nearby to protect spoilers from being overheard (Example: ‘Strawberry [Melisandre] is definitely on a mission. The Banana [Davos] that the Strawberry fought with is there when the jam is being made [the battle]…’). So some of this conversation has been translated from fruit-speak for clarity:
What was your reaction to Melisandre’s storyline this season?
I haven’t read the whole season. Why read it when I can see it? But I had a bit of a feeling it was not going to end well for me. I was a bit emotional. I really like that we finally know what she came for, and it’s the end of her journey. “I can go now, my work is done” — without it being really dramatic. It’s a life that’s been hundreds of years that’s come to an end now.
Did you have different predictions about what she might do in her final episodes?
I knew I’d have something to do with Arya. I thought probably something with fire. I did know I was going to come back one more time as an old lady. I expected to live a little bit longer. But I really liked the way they ended my character. She actually saves the day, so she’s a bit of a hero in the end, which is cool. For a long time she was hated — and fair enough. I got some points when I brought back Jon.
Can you talk about that scene with Arya?
It was good. Your character’s going to kick some ass. I felt like that guy in the movie who gives the main character one last push to do it, like in a football game. I thought it was a cool moment.
You also have that run in with Davos, who wants to kill Melisandre of course. And you’re like, “Wait, hold that thought…”
That was a good moment. He’s sort of stunned by what I say. Because all of a sudden we’re all in this together. So yeah. Small enemies, small things don’t matter anymore because we have to fight this one enemy.
I watched the moment being shot where she walked down the trench and joined the body pile. I don’t know if you’re a person who looks at your scenes on the monitor after a shot, but it looked amazing.
You saw that? Yeah. I don’t normally look, but I did that time. It does look amazing.
In the end she was just done with it all?
It was kind of relief. I tried to play it with tiredness but also with relief. I can go now. It’s done.
What do you wish you got to do with your character?
I would have loved to have more interaction with other actors. She and Cersei would be a good combination.
Oh yes, that would have been great.
I would have liked to know a bit more about her past. Because she was a slave. It would have been a nice moment to show she is human and connect her to to others. As an actor it’s more interesting to play doubts and secrets. And it’s nice to tap from your own s—. I wish we knew a bit more about her s—.
What moment are you most proud of?
The moment I liked most to play was when we had just burned Shireen and I think, “This is going to help us, this is going to save us, and the snow is melting.” She thinks [the human sacrifice] worked. And then someone comes up to us and says that it’s all gone to hell. I just remembered really loved the silent acting of thinking, “Oh f—!” To show that with one look. That’s what I mean by it’s interesting for an actor to play secrets. [Melisandre’s] whole world went upside down in that moment. I really like that kind of stuff. Another scene I liked to play was the scene in a bathtub where she’s mocking Stannis’ wife and being cheeky. I like that hint of humor. And the scene at the table with Stannis and his wife. It felt like — you know that scene with Jessie Pinkman at dinner table with Walter White and his wife?
In Breaking Bad, when Walt insists on Jessie staying for dinner…
They’re having this awkward dinner. That’s a fun moment for me. I cannot complain because that’s not the character, but those few human moments I think is what I’m better at. This wasn’t an easy part for me at all. It’s not like me to be so sure of myself. The first shooting day I had to do the burning of the gods [on the beach at Dragonstone; season 2, episode 1]. I had to do that speech for all the soldiers. So many great actors were there and I had never been so cold in my life — and my character is never supposed to be cold. I got unlucky there because I get cold in the summer. That dress was so fitted I couldn’t wear anything underneath. I was so nervous and shy and insecure about what I was going to do and how I was going to do it and I couldn’t use [those feelings] because I had to be all about the Lord of Light. A lot of people bought [the performance], which is fun.
HBO is doing a prequel series. Any thoughts on that?
Story-wise, there’s loads to tell. You can get so much more out of this world. But it’s also [showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss] and a combination of a lot of factors when something works. I don’t want to be cynical, but I believe in the right moment. Maybe they can CGI me into a young girl. At the same time, all good things come to an end. [Tormund Giantsbane actor Kristofer Hivju] says you’re actually another person now than when you started.
Because every seven years every cell in your body has been replaced.
Right. So this is a new start I guess. Funny enough, I’ve had some emotional moments today. My last day [on Game of Thrones] is tomorrow. It’s that cliche of you don’t know what you have until you don’t have it anymore. I do love Belfast. I’m not going to see these people anymore. I’m not going to wear this dress anymore. I’ve cursed this dress sometimes. I’ve been in weird situations in my personal life in that dress because I’ve always worn the same thing. So that dress is connected to seven years of my life.
I assume you can’t keep one because GoT costumes are so valuable at this point. They’re wanted for exhibits and museums.
Yeah. As they should be. They’re beautiful but impractical.
How do you think fans will react to the end of this series?
I don’t know. People have had so much time to make up their own story. I guess they become attached to something they wish or fear for. Some will be surprised. Above all, they’ll say that it’s over. It’s a pretty f—ing unique show, let’s face it. This is freeing in a way. You need to jam in life a bit. Now I’m going to try another instrument.
You’re ready to move on too, it sounds like.
I’m curious, tomorrow, if I’m going to cry. It wouldn’t surprise me if I cry.”