'Game of Thrones' cast and crew have recalled how Dame Diana Rigg used to take over on set
The veteran actress - who died last week aged 82 - portrayed Lady Olenna Tyrell in the fantasy drama series and has been remembered for her commanding presence, incredible talent and sense of mischief by those who worked closely with her
21 September 2020
In an excerpt from new behind-the-scenes book 'Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon' published by Entertainment Weekly, showrunners David Benioff and D.B Weiss recalled their first meeting with the "bawdy" star.
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David said: "We had tea with her. 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 said with a big smile, 'There's an awful lot of bonking, isn't there?' "
Director Mark Mylod admitted he was "terrified" of the actress, who had the ability to turn him back into a "five-year-old boy" with her authoritative ways.
He said: "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."
And Jessica Henwick, who played Sand Snake Nymeria Sand, recalled a time when Diana took over a scene - but her storming off set afterwards wasn't as impressive as she may have wanted.
Jessica recalled: "She walked onto the set, and she went, 'I'm ready now!'
"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 close-up.' 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."
But Natalie Dormer, who played Diana's on-screen granddaughter Margaery Tyrell, thinks her veteran co-star was often just making mischief and pushing boundaries because she could.
She said: "When you have someone who has that many accolades, you just shut up and watch.
"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."
Like Natalie, Emilie Clarke - who played Daenerys Targaryen - was happy to watch the Dame at work.
She said: "I only had one scene with her and was very blessed to have had that. 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...' "