‘Game Of Thrones’ Director On Filming Tyrion & Shae Split

Sunday’s episode of “Game of Thrones” was big.

(Spoiler Alert! This story includes major details from “GoT” Season 4, Episode 2, “The Lion and the Rose.”)

It ended with a deadly twist (for those not reading the books), but throughout the episode, little seeds were planted that will fuel character drama throughout Season 4.

Beyond King Joffrey Baratheon’s poisoning, there were big moments for Brienne of Tarth, who was confronted for the first time with her feelings about Jaime (by his own twin, Cersei Lannister). And for Tyrion, he had to break up with the woman he loves – Shae. And when she wouldn’t listen, he had to summon the cruelest words he could think of to break her heart as means of getting her on a boat to Pentos.

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On Sunday night, we posted the first part of our interview with director Alex Graves, about helming the episode that saw Joffrey’s exit and saying goodbye to actor Jack Gleeson. Today, we have Part 2, where the director (who also handled episodes 3, 8 and 10 this season) discusses the other big moments in “The Lion and the Rose,” and hints at what’s to come.

AccessHollywood.com: Some of those of those moments in Episode 2 – Cersei vs. Margaery, Cersei vs. Oberyn, Cersei vs. Brienne — can we just talk about working with Lena [Headey] on those and the direction you gave her? She’s so good, but she really brought the b***h out for sure.
Alex Graves: The only direction I really gave Lena, who’s a genius, was, the more polite you are, the better. And she smiled a little bit more and waited a little bit longer to get Cersei-esque and it just made it all the more chilling.

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Access: The scene with Cersei and Brienne – that really changes things for a character like Brienne, who a lot of people are invested in. What were your conversations like with Gwendoline Christie?
Alex: This is not Brienne’s strong suit, playing with the royals, and it’s basically trying to put up the best front she can, and knowing that she’ll be released once she’s said her hellos without any trouble. And then you send Gwen into that knowing that Lena’s gonna say, ‘And you love him.’ And that’s all you had to do because it was such a shock when you read it.

Access: Where do you go, going forward from that moment, with those characters? You did the third episode too this season.
Alex: Well… what goes down in Episode 2 is really set up for Episodes 8 and 10, and Episode 10 is the largest episode they’ve ever written or executed and it’s hard to describe how incredible that script was and how excited we all are about that episode. I will say this — Episode 2, of the episodes that I directed, is the smallest episode I directed.

Access: So the wedding, and Joffrey’s death is the smallest you directed? Let me just clarify what you’ve just said.
Alex: Let’s just say that the season is just starting to get going.

Access: Another scene totally unrelated to the Purple Wedding was the Shae/Tyrion scene. I talked to Sibel [Kekilli, who plays Shae] about it and she got so emotional just talking about it… What did you say to them?
Alex: Yeah, it’s an incredible scene, just starting with the script, and the moment in the book. … That was one of my greatest fears in the whole season. Sibel and Peter have brought that relationship to so much more life than is in the books that it was scary, you know, it was terrifying that he was really gonna do it and then, that he’d be able to do it and pull it off. What I did was I set that scene up so that it was lit in such a way that we did it basically in one set up and I was filming them both at the same time, and I didn’t cut and we kept going again and again and the most that I really said was — and I sort of knew this would happen – once we’d gotten up and running, and they’d really kind of gone for it, I went into Peter and said something like, ‘OK, now just get through it because you’ve got somewhere else you’ve gotta be in five minutes.’ And with all the emotion that he has, and Peter is an incredibly warm and loving person, so it was very, very hard for him, he really brought that back into the scene and gave not only [a] more chilling performance, but we said afterward, [an] effective performance. He has got to get her out of there. It’s such an incredible scene. And then, with Sibel, I just basically said – we talked a little bit about how long she should keep it all in and I mentioned — have you heard the story about hitting Bronn?

Access: No. I saw she smacked him on the show.
Alex: Well, I went over to [Jerome Flynn, who plays Bronn] after a couple of takes and I said, ‘Would you be OK if she hit you and of course he said, ‘Absolutely,’ and I said, ‘Take it easy. Let’s do it once,’ and she hit him so hard, and so fast that it was shocking and I went in and I actually regretted saying it and I said, ‘Let’s not do that again. OK, I’m sorry. Let’s just go again, but no more hitting. It’s probably a mistake.’ And so we went again and she hit him even harder.

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Access: Poor Jerome!
Alex: I went across, I was heading straight for Sibel and [I was] halfway to her and I went, ‘Wait a minute. What happened?’ and he goes, ‘I asked her to do it again. It helped.’

Access: You got to direct Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Jerome Flynn together, sparring as Jaime and Bronn. They are both funny guys. Please tell me that was the most fun day on set.
When you see all the gigantic stuff that was so high pressure, that was like the most fun I may have had all season, because it was like, ‘I want the camera to be here, and action.’ And to film the two of them was a blast and the dialogue in that scene was incredible and that was just fun.

“Game of Thrones” airs Sundays at 9 PM ET/PT on HBO.

-- Jolie Lash

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