What was it like playing Melisandre in that postpartum hormonal state?
It was sort of surreal because I just came from a really beautiful, intense, crazy bubble, and to move back to Westeros and talk about ‘winter is coming’? And I was so extremely tired. [The cast and crew] were very nice accommodating me, but when I had to go away to express milk, I did feel responsible, like I better not take too long because it’s a tight schedule, and we all need to go home at a certain time. So I felt the pressure, desperately looking at my baby’s pictures to get the milk to come, and then running back to the set. Nobody was pushing me, but I did feel rushed.
At least Melisandre’s robe would make it easier to do that between takes — unlike, say, Brienne of Tarth’s armor.
[Laughs] That’s true. I could just open my robe. I was in a very good situation, in that sense.
How would you say it affected your acting?
The fact that Melisandre is turning more human, more vulnerable and more transparent, I want to say — that went nicely with my own experience. The beauty of the show is that no character is black or white, or pure evil. They’re complex, real characters, and I was hoping that Melisandre would develop in a different direction. And it finally happened, so I’m really glad about that. It’s just nice as an actor to use your own neurosis, and for a long time, I couldn’t use any of it. Melisandre was always very confident, very secure, very determined, very spiritual, and those things are not at the top of my palette, to be honest, which is why she was a great challenge for me — to not play a character who was very much in doubt, or insecure, or neurotic.