‘Game of Thrones’ Star Hannah Waddingham on Waterboarding Scene and Mental Health Fallout: ‘I Would Do It Again’ (Video)

“Am I scarred for life? Absolutely not,” the actress, Emmy nominated this year for “Ted Lasso,” tells TheWrap

The worst day of “Game of Thrones” actress Hannah Waddingham’s life, she told TheWrap on Friday, was the day she was waterboarded for many hours as the captive of Cersei Lannister. That said, she “would 100% do it again in a heartbeat.”

Waddingham, nominated for an Emmy for her role on “Ted Lasso,” was a guest on this week’s episode of “TheWrap-Up” podcast, where host Sharon Waxman asked about the grueling scene and how it affected her mental health.

More and more industry professionals are opening up about prioritizing their mental health. From Simone Biles withdrawing from several Olympic events to focus on her mental wellbeing to Kit Harington speaking up just last week about how “Game of Thrones” took a mental toll on him, conversations about balancing performance and mental health are being had.

“I found it quite claustrophobic, where I have never had any claustrophobia before, and I went and had a bit of hypnotherapy afterwards,” Waddingham said. “I said in an interview that it was the worst day of my life, other than childbirth. Yes, it was. In that moment, that experience was really unpleasant.”

Nevertheless, Waddingham said that she trusted that the producers wouldn’t push her to do something that would have a long-lasting, negative effect on her emotional health. In fact, the actress said she would “definitely” get waterboarded again, if a scene called for it.

“I would 100% do it again in a heartbeat,” Waddingham said. “Because there are some moments — and I’ve actually discussed it with a couple of the guys from ‘Thrones’ since — where you need to give of yourself, even if it makes you uncomfortable.”

While Hannah Waddingham said she was “lucky” to not be pushed too far in her roles, she emphasized the importance of actors’ mental health being nurtured and the need for both actors to speak up in order to make their boundaries known, and for producers to listen and act accordingly.

“I think you have to speak up,” Waddingham said. “If you don’t feel comfortable with something, you speak up. And [producers] will always listen. And if they don’t listen, that’s when it becomes a problem.”


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