Hannah Waddingham Says ‘Game of Thrones’ Scene Led to Claustrophobia

Hannah Waddingham is revealing the toll of filming an intense Game of Thrones scene.

On the April 2 episode of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the 49-year-old actress shared, “Thrones gave me something I wasn’t expecting from it and that is chronic claustrophobia.”

Waddingham — who played Septa Unella in the hit HBO series — recalled filming the scene in which Cersei (Lena Headey) poured wine on her character’s face and demanded she confess her sins.

Hannah Waddingham poses at the opening night of “Purlie Victorious” at The Music Box Theatre on September 27, 2023 in New York City.

Bruce Glikas/Getty Images

“I have talked about it since with David Benioff and Dan Weiss, the two exec producers on it, I was like, ‘Good job it’s for them because it was horrific,” she shared.

“[I had] 10 hours of being actually waterboarded, like actually waterboarded,” she added.

The Ted Lasso star revealed that the show’s cinematography came at a cost.

“The reason why I don’t believe [Game of Thrones] is touched yet in terms of the cinematography of it for a series, it’s just a different level,” she said. “But with that comes actual waterboarding.”

Hannah Waddingham on “Game of Thrones”.


She went on to detail her experience filming the dramatic scene, saying, “So I’m strapped to a table with all these leather straps and I couldn’t lift up my head because they said that was going to be too obvious that it’s loose and I was like, ‘Right, I’d quite like them to be loose.’”

“I’m on my way back and I’m in this fancy-pants lift and my hair is already bleached to death [but] I have grape juice all in my hair so it went purple,” she continued. “I couldn’t speak because the Mountain had his hand over his mouth while I was screaming and I had strap marks all over me like I’d been attacked…”

“The lift doors open and one of the other guys who’s been filming something else is like, ‘What happened to you?’ I told him everything and he went, ‘You’re lucky, I’ve just been crawling on my elbows in s— for four days’…But it kind of doesn’t matter on Thrones.”

Hannah Waddingham on “Game of Thrones”.


Waddingham shared a similar sentiment during a 2021 interview on Collider Ladies Night.

“I was strapped to a wooden table with proper big straps for ten hours. And definitely, other than childbirth, it was the worst day of my life,” she shared at the time. “Because Lena was uncomfortable pouring liquid in my face for that long, and I was beside myself.” 

“But in those moments you have to think, do you serve the piece and get on with it or do you chicken out and go, ‘No, this isn’t what I signed up for, blah, blah, blah?’” she added. 

“And then, the funny thing was, after we’d finished shooting it for the whole day, and people like Miguel Sapochnik, the director by the way, walking past with a cup of tea and a sandwich on-the-go and going, ‘Hi hunny, you alright?’ And I was like, ‘Not really.’” she concluded. “‘The crew have just been saying we are actually really waterboarding you here.’ And I was like, ‘Yup, you don’t need to tell me that!’”

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Game of Thrones is available to stream in full on Max.

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