Hannah Waddingham Has 'Chronic Claustrophobia' After Being 'Actually Waterboarded' for 10 Hours in 'Game of Thrones'

The 'Ted Lasso' star revealed that her time filming a torture scene as Septa Unella was "horrific."

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Person smiling at an event wearing a v-neck outfit

Hannah Waddingham has shared that a particularly "horrific" torture scene she filmed for Game of Thrones left her with "chronic claustrophobia."

Ahead of the release of The Fall Guy, Waddingham sat down for an interview on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and was asked if she does her own stunts. She shared that she left the set of The Fall Guy with a few scars on her hands, but it was nothing compared to what Game of Thrones left her with.

"There weren't stunts, but Thrones gave me something I wasn't expecting from it and that is chronic claustrophobia," said the 49-year-old actress, who portrayed Septa Unella on the HBO series. "It was horrific. Ten hours of being actually waterboarded. Like actually waterboarded. The reason why I don't believe it's touched yet in terms of the cinematography of it, for a series, it's just a different level... With that, comes actual waterboarding."

She said she's spoken to series showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss about the experience since, and suggested she wouldn't have gone through that experience for anyone else.

"I’m strapped to a table with all these leather straps. I couldn’t lift up my head because I said that would be too obvious that it’s loose," she continued. "I’m on my way back [from set] ... I grape juice all in my hair so it went purple, I couldn’t speak because the Mountain had his hand over my mouth while I was screaming and I had strap marks everywhere like I had been attacked. The lift doors open [and] one of the other guys who had been shooting something else was just like, ‘What has happened to you?' I told him everything. And he went, 'Well, you’re lucky, I’ve just been crawling through shit on my elbow for four days.’ ... It kind of doesn’t matter when you’re in Thrones. You just want to give the best."

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Waddingham had an earlier scene in the series in which her character tortured Lena Headey's Cersei Lannister with the infamous walk of atonement scene. In 2021 interview with Collider, Waddingham shared that the waterboarding she suffered on set was done for real. She added that as far as painful experiences go, only childbirth was worse.

"Lena was uncomfortable pouring liquid in my face for that long, and I was beside myself," she shared. "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?’" As a result, she said she could "barely speak" after filming the scene because she was screaming so much. That same year, Lena Headey told Entertainment Weekly that she felt "horrendous" about the scene.

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