Lena Headey is one of Game of Thrones’ most impressive actors, able to call upon a range of emotions to play the wily, villainous and vulnerable Cersei Lannister.
Over the years, the four-time Emmy-nominated Brit has portrayed one of the most compelling characters on the show, out-scheming all the men and women around her to make it to the top.
She lost all her children in the process and, ultimately, paid with her life.
But for all the hard emotional work Headey has done in seasons past - especially the walk of shame- she’s had a pretty breezy season eight, collecting a massive salary for her efforts.
Out of the total 432 minutes of season eight, Headey has appeared in under 25 minutes of screen time — and that’s not even when she is visible on screen, that’s the total of scenes Cersei is in.
We clocked Headey’s first episode appearance at roughly four-and-a-half minutes of scenes, her fourth episode tenure at a tick over 10 minutes and her fifth episode involvement at 10 minutes and 13 seconds.
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Headey, along with four of her “top tier” co-stars (Kit Harington, Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), command anywhere between $US500,000 and $US1.2 million per episode.
Variety reported in 2017 that the five actors had negotiated $US500,000 million per episode for the seventh season while The Hollywood Reporter said Headey and co are making around $US1.2 million for the final season.
Headey appeared in three episodes this season, so somewhere between $US1.5 million and $US3.6 million for 25 minutes of screen time.
Which equates to, after currency conversion to the Australian dollar at today’s rates, $AU28,760 and $AU69,040 per minute of screen time.
Obviously Headey did more than 25 minutes of work. If you’ve ever been on or near a movie or TV set, you’ll know that hours and hours of raw footage is shot for a much less finished product.
There’s a lot of waiting around, reshooting the same scenes and lines of dialogue from multiple camera angles (called “coverage”).
Headey recently told radio host Chris Evans that she worked “only 15 days” a year on the series, and most of it on a soundstage in Belfast. Unlike many of her colleagues, who spent so much of this final season filming battle scenes at night outside in the bitter cold.
Except for her teary, emotional reunion with Jaime and the burden of her imminent death, Cersei has spent most of this season looking smug, glowering and drinking wine on a balcony.
Well played, Lena Headey. Well played.
Game of Thrones series finale airs on Foxtel and Foxtel Now on Monday, May 20 at 11am and 8.30pm
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