Carice Van Houten was Emmy nominated for her role as the Red Witch, Melisandre.
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images/Warner Bros. Television Distribution
Carice Van Houten told Insider that thanks to the power of the Me Too Movement, she now questions her nude scenes in “Game of Thrones.”
Van Houten played Melisandre in the HBO show, and had several scenes in which she appeared nude or partially nude.
In an interview over Zoom, Van Houten told Insider: “In retrospect, I thought, ‘Why did that scene have to be nude? Why was that normal?'”
Van Houten says that she is now “very aware of the male gaze,” and that she won’t be doing any more nude scenes: “My consciousness is bigger. I’m a bit more woke.”
Van Houten also told Insider that she never actually submitted herself for an Emmy nomination despite reports, and wishes she took “that f—–g necklace” from the “Game of Thrones” set.
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Melisandre actress Carice Van Houten told Insider that she now questions her nude scenes in “Game of Thrones” because of the Me Too Movement.
Insider spoke to the Red Witch via Zoom in lockdown, which Van Houten is spending with her three-year-old son in Amsterdam. And Van Houten said that while her opinion on the divisive final season of the HBO show hasn’t changed — she loved it — she has rethought the necessity of the nudity in the show.
“When the Me Too movement started, that’s when it started sinking in for me,” Van Houten told Insider. “And it did sort of change my perspective on my whole career, not just ‘Game of Thrones.'”
“In retrospect, I thought, ‘Why did that scene have to be nude? Why was that normal?’ I did question things and it was not so much that I was blaming anyone, but that’s just how we evolved, and just how the movement affected me.
“I became very aware of the male gaze, and that’s also why, during that process, me and my friend Halina Reijn [director] made ‘Instinct,’ very much inspired by that.”
Carice Van Houten had several nude scenes in the show.
Warner Bros. Television Distribution
“Instinct,” a terrific movie that was the Netherlands’ submission for best international feature film at last year’s Oscars and sadly didn’t make it into the final nominees, follows a psychologist who becomes infatuated with one of her patients: a sex offender in a penal institute. Marwen Kenzari (Jafar in “Aladdin”) plays the offender.
The movie is the first product of Van Houten and Reign’s joint production company Man Up, which will focus on female-orientated movies and films told from female perspectives by women in film.
“We sort of made it into a dogma where we are done with that [nudity]. We don’t need to show nudity to create intimacy, we don’t need to see breasts,” Van Houten said.
“I was always very liberal and I defended nudity because I thought, ‘Why can you have a machine gun and not see a nipple?’ I thought it was so weird.”
In “Game of Thrones,” Van Houten is one of several actresses who had numeral nude scenes, along with Lena Headey (Cersei) and Emilia Clarke (Daenerys), and critics of the show have labelled the nudity as “gratuitous.”
However, Clarke has previously defended the show’s depiction of nudity and sex, arguing that “people f— for pleasure, it’s part of life.” Season seven (and eight) did have a noticeable drop in nudity, although that is likely due to how the story and its characters unfolded rather than any direct reaction to past criticism.
Van Houten makes it clear that she maintains that art shouldn’t shy away from nudity or explicit scenes of a sexual nature. However, the Me Too movement has refined her viewpoint, and she now insists that any nudity must have a narrative function, which the nude scenes in “Game of Thrones” may not have had. She is done with nudity for herself, however: “I’ve done that enough now. No more.”
Van Houten says this change of thought process is “me confronting my own feeling of ‘that’s what the audience wants’ and not feeling confident to say, ‘Wait a minute, why would I have to do that?’ It’s just our conditioned behaviour as females, and not thinking about what that means.
“My consciousness is bigger. I’m a bit more woke.”
Carice Van Houten at the 71st Emmys with costar Liam Cunningham, aka Ser Davos Seaworth.
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Van Houten also revealed that despite reports last year, she never actually submitted herself at the Emmys.
“I would never, ever do that. I didn’t even think about it. I don’t even know when the Emmys are,” Van Houten laughed.
“A journalist from Gold Derby wrote an article [arguing for Van Houten to be considered for an award], and that was picked up by my agent, and then they had a conversation with other teams where they said ‘why is she not nominated?’ And then it was decided to bring me forward to the commission, and I was put on that shortlist to be nominated or not. There’s a lot of misunderstanding about that [submitting herself].”
Van Houten, who said being nominated for an Emmy was “f—— cool,” told Insider that, that was a good way to end her “Game of Thrones” journey, and would have been a nice physical keepsake to remember the show other than the only thing she kept from the set: thermal underwear.
“Liam Cunningham [Davos], as he says himself, liberated a lot of things. He’s just a thief,” Van Houten joked. “He has all sorts of things, cups and daggers. And now I’m like, ‘Why didn’t I keep that f—–g necklace?’ I didn’t even think of taking it, but I wish I had.”
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