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Emilia Clarke: I was always paid the same as my male Game of Thrones co-stars

The Star Wars actor also called out the phrase 'strong female lead': "let's just be women!"

Published: Wednesday, 16th May 2018 at 10:34 am

Looks like they do things differently in Westeros: Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones’ Daenerys Targaryen, has said she has never experienced a gender pay gap on the HBO fantasy drama.


"On Game of Thrones, I have always been paid the same amount as my male co-stars," Clarke told Variety for the Women in Motion gender equality initiative at the Cannes Film Festival.

The actor also spoke out against shows who didn’t offer both female and male leads equal pay. In particular, she said the pay disparity in Netflix's The Crown – where Matt Smith was paid more than co-star Claire Foy ­– as “shocking, actually shocking.”

Speaking about pay negotiations, she added: “You start to dig deep and see where it is, rife in the industry. So I think it’s mainly in the beginning, just be aware of that and going, ‘Can you just check?' You just start to fight harder for that stuff.

“It's really difficult because this is a problem that has been around forever so changing it overnight is impossible."

Clarke – who will play Han Solo’s childhood friend Qi’ra in the upcoming Star Wars spin-off movie – also indicated she might turn her dragons on reporters who ask her how it feels to play a “strong female character”.

“If it’s not strong, what is it? Are you telling me there’s another option, that there’s a weak option?” she said. "You think a lead in a movie is going to be a weak woman? Enough already with the strong women, please let's just be women!"

“Take the ‘strong’ out of it, find another adjective, damn it,” Clarke added. “I’m just playing women!”


Solo: A Star Wars Story is released in UK cinemas on the 25th May

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