Before landing her breakthrough role on Game of Thrones, Headey’s auditioning process fostered a few significant struggles. Specifically, her refusal to flirt with casting directors costing her roles. Glamour reported that not engaging with casting directors caused the demise of many acting opportunities for the Queen Regent. It is hard to imagine professionalism losing a person a job rather than helping them gain it, and yet it is a reality actresses like Lena Headey have faced.
“When I was in my 20s, and doing a lot of audition tapes in the States, a casting director told me: ‘The men take these tapes home and watch them and say, ‘Who would you f—?’” she said to Net-a-Porter’s The Edit magazine.
Like countless other actresses in Hollywood, Headey believes that women face innumerable difficulties compared to those that men face in the industry. The scrutiny that actresses face, clearly, goes grossly beyond what their male counterparts are analyzed for during auditions.
One issue the Game of Thrones actress touched upon was the simple act of actually listening when a woman speaks.
“I was talking about this with another actress, and I said, ‘Do you find that you have to say the same things seven times, whereas a man says it once and everyone listens?'” Headey said. “Male counterparts can say the same thing [I just did] and everyone’s, like, ‘Oh, that’s a great idea,’ and I’m like, ‘I just said that 19 times, but you chose not to listen or take it on board.'”
Actresses have become increasingly vocal about the sexism they experience while working in Hollywood, past and present, and we are here for it. Actresses including Emmy Rossum, Jessica Chastain, and now Lena Headey have said enough is enough, and are calling out the behavior and tactics that deserve it.
I’ve never played the game of going [to auditions] and flirting; I’ve never done it,” Headey said. “And I’m very happy I didn’t.”
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