Diana Rigg, who passed away at age 82 last week, is being remembered by those who worked with her on “Game of Thrones”, in which she played cunning Lady Olenna Tyrell.
In the upcoming behind-the-scenes book about the making of the show, Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon, Rigg is remembered as being a formidable presence on the set.
In excerpts from the book shared by Entertainment Weekly, showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss recalled the first meeting they had with her. “We had tea with her,” Benioff said. “Dames don’t audition for you; you audition for them. We loved her, she was funny, she was bawdy, she was everything we wanted for that character.”
She also joked about the show’s frequent sex scenes. “She said with a big smile, ‘There’s an awful lot of bonking, isn’t there?'” said Weiss.
One of the show’s directors, Mark Mylod, admitted that she “terrified” him. “My very first scene with her, I asked her to do a very minor thing. Like, ‘Would it make sense if you close the door and walk a few paces before this moment?’ She came back with some rebuttal about why she wanted to do it another way and then said: ‘Thank you! Go away!’ I became a five-year-old boy,” he said. “I could feel myself blushing and creeping back to my monitor, stripped of any kind of dignity or authority.”
Natalie Dormer, who played Olenna’s granddaughter Margaery Tyrell, also shared her remembrances. “When you have someone who has that many accolades, you just shut up and watch,” Dormer said of working with Rigg. “She had a very dry sense of humour and was aware of the parody of herself. Sometimes I think she was mischievous to see what she could get away with.”
Actress Jessica Henwick, who played Nymeria Sand, recalled a time when Rigg, impatient to finish her scene, basically took over.
“She walked onto the set, and she went, ‘I’m ready now!'” recalled Henwick. “A cameraman came over and went, ‘Well, okay, but we haven’t finished setting up.’ She interrupted him and said, ‘Roll the cameras!’ And she just started doing her lines. She did two takes, and then the guy came over and was like, ‘Great, now we’re going to do a closeup.’ And she just stood up and she went, ‘I’m done!’ Now, she can’t walk fast. She has to be helped. So basically we just sat there and watched as Diana Rigg effectively did her own version of storming off the set, but it was at 0.1 miles per hour. She cracked me up. I loved her.”
Emilia Clarke, who played Daenerys Targaryen, admitted she was intimidated by working with such a legendary actress. “I only had one scene with her and was very blessed to have had that,” said Clarke. “Like with Peter [Dinklage], it was watching an acting master class. I kept thinking: “Okay, not my line yet, I’m not just watching you — really! I’m acting with you. . . .”