Fabien Frankel takes his art very seriously.
While speaking to the West of Westeros podcast, the 28-year-old actor claimed he spent a whopping seven months preparing for his sex scene on House of the Dragon. The scene appeared in the prequel’s episode 4, in which Frankel’s Ser Criston Colehas character got intimate with Milly Alcock’s Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen.
“It was something we talked about over seven months. It was one of the first things I was very keen to talk about,” Frankel said. “We were incredibly fortunate that episode 4 was directed by Clare Kilner, who I think is one of the great TV directors working today. The big thing for me was about it not feeling like another gratuitous, sweat-glistening-off-their-back sex scene, ‘cause it’s just not like that. Anyone who’s ever had sex will tell you sex ain’t that beautiful. It isn’t some picturesque, amazing thing.”
The British actor went on to say he, Alcock, and Kilner had multiple conversations with their “intimacy coordinator” to ensure they got the scene just right and presented it in a realistic manner.
“It’s awkward, especially when you are young,” he said about sex. “There’s an uncomfortability that one has to sit in, and there’s a discovery and understanding of each other’s bodies — not to mention the practical side of the whole thing … I just remember back and forth texts, back and forth phone calls, back and forth meetings between Clare, myself, Milly, and our intimacy coordinator. But particularly me, Clare, and Milly going, ‘How do we make this human?’”
Frankel said he was adamant that the scene be dragged out, as his character would need help and enough time to remove his armor.
“Knights would have squires, and squires would take off their armor,” he explained. “For even a world-quality squire, you’ve got 10 minutes to get the armor off. Let’s say five, maybe at best. There’s no way Rhaenyra and Cole are gonna take that armor off in 10 seconds. So I was like, ‘Well, you have to have that in. It’s important that that’s what it is. It’s important that it’s a struggle to get the armor off.’ It’s heavy. How do we get the buckle off? How do we get the boots off? These are all the things I really cared about, ’cause they take away this sort of, to my mind, archaic sexual sex scenes that have existed for so long in television and film, and make it feel real and how it would be.”
House of the Dragon—a spinoff of the wildly popular Game of Thrones—premiered last month on HBO. The series was recently renewed for a second season; however, the network has not announced a premiere date.