'Game of Thrones' star Sophie Turner on Sansa's struggle
When I was arranging my “Game of Thrones” actor interviews a few weeks ago (this week I’ve already posted chats with Alfie Allen and Gwendoline Christie, plus an email exchange with Benioff and Weiss), I put in a special request to interview the three older Stark children together, mainly so we could discuss their annual DVD commentaries where they take different approaches to performing the show’s theme song. (In season 1, they sang it. In season 2, they beat-boxed and rapped. Season 3 involved percussion.)
Unfortunately, the schedules didn’t quite work out, and I wound up interviewing Sophie Turner on her own and then Maisie Williams and Isaac Hempstead-Wright together (look for that one tomorrow). But the solo conversation with Turner went quite well despite the absence of her fictional siblings, as we discussed how the real-life bonds formed between them, what it’s been like for her to act opposite some of the finest actors in the UK, the huge difference between Jack Gleeson and King Joffrey, and more. But we still started out, briefly, on the DVD commentaries.
I have to say that I love when the DVD comes out and I get to the episode where you and Maisie and Isaac have recorded a commentary.
Sophie Turner: (she buries her face in her hands) It's so embarrassing.
Sophie Turner: I'm glad you like it.
There is a real chemistry between the three of you considering that you haven't worked with them for a long time now.
Sophie Turner: Yeah. I think I've – have I only done one total scene with Isaac ever in my life? And Maisie, we haven't been working together since Season 1. It's crazy, but I do have a good rapport with them both.
How did that form? What was it like at the beginning of the series when you were all up at the Winterfell location playing the tight-knit family?
Sophie Turner: We bonded very quickly, because like we'd never done anything like this before, so we were all coming together and asking, “What do we do?” We were all young and excited. And our parents were chaperoning, and they became close so then it's the two generation of friendship. It was really easy, to be honest, to get the camaraderie of everything. And then it just formed naturally with Sean (Bean) and Michelle (Fairley) and Richard (Madden), it was easy because they're all just so lovely.
When you're off in one location and they're off in others and your schedules are different, how close in touch do you stay?
Sophie Turner: With Maisie and I, when I'm not in Croatia, we're generally in Belfast at the same time, not so much Isaac. So we see each other all the time. And then during our time off we all meet up anyway. It's really easy.
Since Sansa arrived in Kings Landing, you have been placed in front of kind of murderers row of the great English actors, Charles Dance and Diana Rigg and everyone else. How has that been for you?
Sophie Turner: It's been amazing. It's been like the best acting lesson you can get, working with these people. It's crazy; last night we had this cast dinner, and I was looking at this table and it was Conleth Hill, Charles Dance and Diana Rigg, and I was saying that this is like a stage actor's dream to be sitting with them. It's amazing getting to go into work and working with people like Peter, Charles, Diana, Natalie Dormer.
“The Avengers” is even before my time so it's way before yours. Is that something you're even aware of?
Sophie Turner: I'd heard of it, but I've never seen it. But I knew Diana because she's just a person that you know. Everyone knows Dame Di.
She's just a person that you know.
Sophie Turner: But then I did my research and I was like, “Ohm she's a big deal. That's why she's a Dame.”
And does she carry herself like a Dame on the set?
Sophie Turner: Not in a diva way, but like she knows what's up. She knows the business back to front. She suffers no fools, and quite rightly. If there's no need to do 20 million takes when you've already got it on the fifth take, she'll say, “Come on, we need to hurry up because we've got it.” She just knows what she's doing and I have so much admiration for her.
So 40 years from now, when you're Dame Sophie Turner that's how you're going to roll?
Sophie Turner: That's how I'm going to roll. Queen Sophie Turner. Let's not settle for Dame.
How many of the books had you read beforehand? What have you read at this point?
Sophie Turner: I've read book four part one, but only my chapters.
Because you want to be surprised on everything else?
Sophie Turner: No, it's more like I want to be able to go back at the end of “Game of Thrones” and read everything, so I don't want to briefly skim over while I'm trying to get to my chapters and figure out the internal monologue. I want to really have a good sit down and be able to read it to myself.
What does having those texts available to you with Sansa as one of the POV characters give you as an actress playing the part?
Sophie Turner: It just gives you the internal monologue and it gives you the background on the characters that you might not get from the script. It gives you all the necessary things that you need to build up the character. And it's so useful, because normally just have like a script for anything else, but you actually have so many tools to use. The script is our Bible for the storyline. But the books just help you round out the character.
She's a character who has had to, in a lot of stretches, silently endure things. So I imagine that is useful to you to sort of figure out where her head is that in any one moment.
Sophie Turner: Yeah. Because normally she's just crying or looking sad, so it's good to figure out what she's actually feeling.