'Game of Thrones' star Nathalie Emmanuel was broke and almost gave up acting before Missandei came along
It is impossible to imagine anyone else playing Nathalie Emmanuel's Missandei in HBO's blockbuster ' Game of Thrones' but did you know that she almost gave up acting before she got the part? In a recent interview with Harper's Bazaar, the 'GoT' actor revealed that it wasn't working out for her before the part came along. She had dropped out of school at the age of 17 to pursue her acting career and was thinking about going back to get her degree. She was living in Liverpool at the time working at a clothing line called Hollister.
"My job was technically a 'model' which basically means you wear the clothes and they control how you looked. I was folding clothes, cleaning the toilets, helping people in the changing room… it was awful," she revealed in the interview. “Financially, I was struggling pretty badly. I still had my mortgage to pay. It felt like the right time to start exploring other options. I am a high-school drop-out, basically, because I left at 17 to go and do Hollyoaks. So I was like: 'Oh, I guess it is time for me to go back and finish my A levels…'"
At the time, ' GoT' was well on its way to becoming a sensation that it is today and the network was filming season 3. She found a casting call for a non-white actor aged between 18-23 to play a role in it and she gave it all she had. The audition was intimidating, she said and she didn't hear back for weeks but little did she know that fate had some great plans for her.
"I didn't hear back so I just got on with things. Then I was walking down the street one day, bringing my shopping home from Tesco, when I got the call," she recalled. "I dropped everything, screaming. I broke a jam jar on the pavement. It was all very exciting and emotional."
Talking about bringing the character to life as we know it she said, "When it came to character work it was kind of difficult,” she says. “Because in the books [by George RR Martin], Missandei is only nine years old. She is described as a very quiet, very still person. Kind of timid. But I didn’t really want that for her. I thought: 'She has survived so much, so much horror, but underneath there’s this impenetrable strength'. So at first, I created a person who was very contained. Then I got to play with the subtleties of her coming out of that and having more freedom to think and feel."
The final season of 'Game of Thrones' premieres this Sunday, April 14.