Hannah Waddingham Details Being "Waterboarded" for Game of Thrones Torture Scene

Hannah Waddingham's account of filming her torture scene for Game of Thrones will make you shout, "Shame!"

By Alyssa Ray May 25, 2021 6:10 PMTags
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Hannah Waddingham's torture scene on Game of Thrones was pretty much, well, torture to make.

During a recent interview with Collider Ladies Night, the Ted Lasso actress opened up about her experience playing Unella (a.k.a. "Shame" Nun). Specifically, Hannah revealed she had a less than enjoyable experience while filming her torture scene.

As fans of the show well know, Unella, who paraded a naked Cersei (Lena Headey) around King's Landing, found herself facing the queen's wrath as wine was repeatedly poured down her throat. Unfortunately, as Hannah detailed it, filming this scene resulted in the actress being essentially "waterboarded."

Per Hannah, the specifics of the torture scene changed "at the last minute." Apparently, the character was initially supposed to be raped by Gregor Clegane (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson). "I think they possibly changed it while I was mid-air, flying to Belfast because suddenly I got sent these new sides that said I would need a wetsuit top," she shared. "And I thought they'd sent me the wrong bits. And, sure enough, when I got there, I was then put in the wetsuit top and I was like, 'Because?' and they went, 'Oh, it's waterboarding instead.' And I was like, 'Oh, we're not actually doing waterboarding?' 'No, no, no, we are.'"

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As she continued, Hannah recalled being strapped to a table for 10 hours. "And definitely, other than childbirth, it was the worst day of my life," she added. "Because Lena was uncomfortable pouring liquid in my face for that long, and I was beside myself. But in those moments you have to think, do you serve the piece and get on with it or do you chicken out and go, 'No, this isn't what I signed up for, blah, blah, blah?'"

Macall B. Polay/courtesy of HBO

Not only could Hannah "barely speak" after filming the now famous scene, but she also admitted to struggling with "claustrophobia around water" in the aftermath of it all. According to Hannah, she had "a terrible panic" while watching a program where an actor was dipped in water. "And I actually went and had a bit of a chat to somebody about it," she said. "Because it's quite full-on being waterboarded for 10 hours, and then only one minute and 30 seconds can be used on camera."

Still, Hannah assured viewers that she didn't feel unsafe during production. She concluded, "The one thing I kept thinking to myself was, 'The production company aren't going to let you die, so get on with it, be uncomfortable.'"

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Speaking of uncomfortable, Hannah was thankfully able to overcome her issues with water for an iconic spit-take scene on Ted Lasso. "Bill Lawrence wanted the full, like, it dripping off my face, the sparkling water dripping off my face thing," she told E! News earlier this year. "And after a while, they were like, 'Do you want Jason to not do that? And we can just spray you.' And I was like, 'No!'…I mean, once you've been in something like Game of Thrones, where you've actually been waterboarded for 10 hours, lovely Jason Sudeikis spitting sparkling water in my face is not going to be a hardship."

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