One of the most memorable, emotionally reverberant scenes of Game of Thrones’ season 5 is Cersei Lannister’s Walk of Shame. This power-driven woman, seemingly unconquerable in her ruthlessness, despicable in her amorality but when forced under the punishment of adultery to walk naked through the streets of King’s Landing, a new side was unveiled.
Suddenly, she became vulnerable her pride was her throne, and to be so brutally robbed of it found so many viewers discovering a new empathy for the brutal queen.
It was one of the scariest, most wonderful, most gratifying experiences I could have imagined,” Van Cleave tells EW. “I never in a million years would have thought I would be in Dubrovnik surrounded by hundreds of extras and crew members throwing food at me, but it was amazing.
More than 1,000 actresses applied for the role of Headey’s double for the season’s climactic sequence, where proud Cersei Lannister is shorn, stripped and forced to march for miles through a hostile King’s landing crowd. Seven finalists were then flown to Belfast to meet with producers, including Van Cleave, an American who has landed theater and minor roles since she was 5, but had never previously performed a nude scene. “It was actually the most comfortable casting I’ve ever had, considering,” Van Cleave says.
Director David Nutter called Van Cleave’s casting one of the most important parts of making the finale. “We needed somebody who could do The Walk of Shame physically, somebody who could match Lena’s integrity, intensity and sensibility,” Nutter says. “We found a tremendous actress in Rebecca; she was a godsend. The courage of this girl, who’s never done anything like this in her life, who understood what was important about this … once I had her I felt like I could accomplish anything.”
Fast forward down to now, Mayor Jacob Frey of Minneapolis retreated on a Saturday through a sea of protesters yelling, “Go home, Jacob, go home!” and “Shame! Shame!” after he refused to commit to defunding the Police Department.