The Funky Chicken and Robot Dances Got Emilia Clarke the Part of Daenerys in 'Game of Thrones'

Earlier today, actress Emilia Clarke published a pretty detailed piece via The New York Times, where she revealed her brush with death during the first season of Game of Thrones. It's a harrowing read, and it's nigh impossible to imagine the terror that came with the situation.

The Funky Chicken and Robot Dances Got Emilia Clarke the Part of Daenerys in 'Game of Thrones'
Emilia Clarke as Daenerys in "Game of Thrones" season 1 Photo courtesy of HBO

Ever the epitome of grace and professionalism, Clarke also in the same piece, explained her audition experience and how she landed the role of Daenerys Targaryen with the help of the Funky Chicken and Robot dances:

In the spring of 2010, my agent called to say that auditions were being held in London for a new HBO series. The pilot for "Game of Thrones" had been flawed and they wanted to re-cast, among other roles, Daenerys. The part called for an otherworldly, bleached-blond woman of mystery. I'm a short, dark-haired, curvy Brit. Whatever. To prepare, I learned these very strange lines for two scenes, one in Episode 4, in which my brother goes to hit me, and one in Episode 10, in which I walk into a fire and survive, unscathed.

I read for "Game of Thrones" in a tiny studio in Soho. Four days later, I got a call. Apparently, the audition hadn't been a disaster. I was told to fly to Los Angeles in three weeks and read for Benioff and Weiss and the network executives. I started working out intensely to prepare. They flew me business class. I stole all the free tea from the lounge. At the audition, I tried not to look when I spotted another actor––tall, blond, willowy, beautiful––walking by. I read two scenes in a dark auditorium, for an audience of producers and executives. When it was over, I blurted out, "Can I do anything else?"

David Benioff said, "You can do a dance." Never wanting to disappoint, I did the funky chicken and the robot. In retrospect, I could have ruined it all. I'm not the best dancer.

As I was leaving the auditorium, they ran after me and said, "Congratulations, Princess!" I had the part.

Thinking about both Clarke's and the character's journey over the past several years is it's own measure of awe and respect, for sure, and one we'll be sad to see end this year.

The Funky Chicken and Robot Dances Got Emilia Clarke the Part of Daenerys in 'Game of Thrones'

Game of Thrones 8th and final season is set to premiere on HBO on April 14th, 2019.

About Mary Anne Butler

Bleeding Cool News Editor Mary Anne Butler (Mab, for short) has been part of the fast-paced world of journalism since she was 15, getting her start in album reviews and live concert coverage for a nationally published (print) music magazine. She eventually transitioned to online media, writing for such sites as UGO/IGN, ComicsOnline, Geek Magazine, Ace of Geeks, Aggressive Comix (where she is still Editor-in-Chief), and most recently Bleeding Cool.

Over the past 10 years, she’s built a presence at conventions across the globe as a cosplayer (occasionally), photographer (constantly), panelist and moderator (mostly), and reporter (always). 

Interviews, reviews, observations, breaking news, and objective reporting are the name of the game for the founder of Harkonnen Knife Fight, a Dune-themed band with an international presence. 

Though she be but little, she is fierce. #MabTheProfessional

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