Many moons ago, at another time in another place, a sweet little Scottish lady read an article written by yours truly regarding her final act on Game of Thrones and praising her for her work on both the series as well as other mediums.
Little did I know that the article would serve as a catalyst in cultivating a beautiful yet unexpected friendship.
Sometimes, the stars align. And I can honestly tell you that Kate is as wonderful a person as she is an actress.
So Ladies and Sers, without further delay, please enjoy a WotW exclusive. A man finally got an interview with his dear Lysa…
Oz: Kate, thank you so much for taking the time to entertain a few questions! To say that I am nervously enthusiastic would be a gross understatement. It is truly an honor.
KD: You are so welcome sweetie. This interview is long overdue and I’m grateful for your patience. It’s also an honour to be speaking to The Great Oz!
Oz: Also, I want to apologize in advance for any questions that you may have fielded in any prior interviews. As you know, I am an Unsullied (non-book reader) and refrain from many interviews for fear of being spoiled. With that being said, Kate, tell us how you came to be involved with Game of Thrones from the onset and if you had previous knowledge of the book series from George.
KD: I love that you’re an Unsullied, it’s great to see the perspective from someone who hasn’t read the books and doesn’t know what’s going to happen. I wasn’t aware of George Martin’s wonderful books until my audition came up for Lysa, so it was a whole new world for me too. I did a self-tape first and then was asked to go for a recall. I was really delighted to get the part as she is unlike any character I’ve played before and I just felt a connection to her, strange as that may sound. Sometimes you just read a script and get an overwhelming urge to give that character their voice, to look after them, and that’s how I felt about Lysa.
Oz: When you first read the script for your role as Lysa Arryn and the resulting introductory scene of your character, did you fall out of the chair due to lack of oxygen to the brain or did you uncontrollably laugh into convulsions? Or, none of the above?
KD: I think a mixture of both at first! But I’m always attracted to characters who are complex and dark so it was thrilling too. I remember calling my agent and saying ‘I love her! I absolutely love her!’ I know most people would say ‘I hate her! I absolutely hate her!’ But for me, I just saw a very damaged, fragile soul who, yes, had made terrible decisions and awful ones too, but was also someone who’d had a traumatic, sad life and was psychologically broken in a lot of ways. And that’s what made me want to look after her.
Oz: I understand that a prosthetic was used, but even so how did you and Lino Facioli (Robin Arryn) prepare for what I presume was a very uncomfortable scene?
KD: Yes we used prosthetic breasts, I hope people know this! Lino who plays Robin was absolutely brilliant in dealing with the breastfeeding scene. We rehearsed it with Brian Kirk the director long before we filmed it and just made sure that we were as comfortable with it as we could be. On the actual day of filming I remember us getting the giggles at first a couple of times in between takes as it was such a bizarre thing to be doing, but on the whole we just treated it like any other scene as much as we could and tried not to get too hung up about it. Lino’s mum was always around on set and Lino would read his book in between shots or we would just chat, so it was all good.
Oz: How early on in the process were you aware that the actions of your character (in a coordinated effort with that damn Baelish) would ultimately instigate the sequence of events depicted in Game of Thrones?
KD: I was aware very early on, before filming started. Once I got the part I read the books up until she died, as I just wanted to glean as much information on her background as I could. I’m so glad I did as it definitely helped my decisions on how to play the scenes. The fact that she was hiding so much and that she had done so much for Littlefinger was a great knowledge to have about her. But I’m loving that now I don’t know what happens next as it’s a great way to watch it.
Oz: Does Aidan Gillen have generally tolerable mouth hygiene? Not that I am interested, but for your sake, I hope so.
KD: Aiden has fabulous mouth hygiene and is a true gent and lovely person. I really enjoyed working with him and it was a real privilege to have scenes with him. I think he’s a great actor.
Oz: In the lemon cake scene with Sophie from Episode 5 of Season 4 “First of His Name”, you were able to seamlessly and believably transition from sweet, nurturing Aunt to a jealous, “batshit” crazy woman in a scene that was just over three minutes in length. How difficult was it to achieve that gamut of emotion in such a short time frame?
KD: Ohh the lemon cake scene! Poor Sansa! Thank you, yes it was a huge arc of emotions to go through in such a short space of time but for Lysa completely normal, this is what the inside of her mind was like. And she had no edit button, so everything she felt inside came out. She couldn’t help herself. It was a challenge but a good one to have and Michelle McLaren directs you so beautifully and Sophie is so brilliant to work with that I was spoiled really and don’t feel I can take any credit for the scene. Oh jings, and I can’t tell you how many lemon cakes Sophie had to eat! I doubt she’s eaten one since!
Oz: You recently finished performing a stage play in London for Thornton Wilder’s Our Town. Can you describe the experience and whether you prefer to be on stage or filmed on set?
KD: I had an amazing time doing Our Town, it was so much fun. The director David Cromer is out of this world and I had a great experience with him and the cast. I did theatre for many years before doing tv and film so it was great to go back to it. Oh it’s really difficult to compare theatre and screen as they are so different in many ways, and yet not. It’s hard to describe but I love them equally for different reasons.
Oz: I have a confession… I told one of my partners in crime here at WotW that you and I were scheduled to converse and he has a question for you. But I have to warn you.. He is a loose cannon that carries an axe as a sidearm. Do you consent?
KD: Yes, I consent. I have my battle armour ready 🙂
Axey: Kate, where does Lysa’s death rank in your career of character deaths? Was it more fun to film Lysa’s fall, or to film your character Ford getting smashed against a wall by an alien in PROMETHEUS? Or was there a better death in another production?
KD: Ooh, interesting question, I will lay my shield down for a second to answer it. I loved both of those death scenes! Poor Ford, it was a nasty death for her and she was terrified out of her wits, whereas at least Lysa didn’t know what was coming until it was too late. But then she was so betrayed, so the last seconds of her life were utterly tormented whereas Ford’s, although terrifying beforehand, was very quick and she didn’t die the tormented soul that Lysa did. I’m afraid I just can’t choose! They were both a lot of fun to film.
Axey: Is a character’s end generally fun to film or sad? What’s your LEAST favorite kind of scene to film?
KD: It’s both really. You’re sad to say goodbye to someone you have cherished and looked after, but at the same time these scenes are fun to film. Lysa’s was challenging for me as I’m scared of heights and I had to be hanging from a harness very high up while I was filmed from below, but it’s good to be out of your comfort zone and do things that scare you. I think so anyway. And can I just say that the director Alik Sakharov is absolutely incredible! I loved working with him so much, what an honour it was. I can’t tell you how lucky I feel to have had the chance to work with the directors, cast and crew that I did on Game of Thrones, it really was special. My least favourite scenes to film are probably ones that I have to be violent to someone in. I filmed a scene recently on something that reduced me to floods of tears as I had to do something really awful to someone. Those ones I find tough. But again, you have to find a way through it and do your character the justice they deserve. It’s my job after all. I do go through a mourning period when I stop playing a character though, you miss them.
Oz: You and I spoke briefly before you headed to Sundance for your role in The Witch. The film has received great reviews from a number of sources. What can you tell us about the Sundance experience and about the film itself?
KD: We had a marvelous time at Sundance! It was so much fun. We filmed The Witch last Spring in Kiosk in quite a remote part of Northeastern Ontario and it was a real labour of love from all concerned, so it was surreal to be showing it at Sundance and getting such a fabulous response. It’s set in 1630 in New England and it’s about an English Puritan family who get banished from their Puritan plantation and set up home next to these woods. I feel it’s more of a horrific tale rather than a horror as such and is really about a family imploding. It reminds me of the Grimm’s Fairytales in a lot of ways. I was so made up for Rob Eggers our director who won Best Director in the U.S. Dramatic Competition that we were in. He is a name to look out for, what a brilliant writer and director he is. Ralph Ineson who plays the father and Anya Taylor Joy who plays the daughter are amazing in it. They’ve become really close friends of me now, I love them. Oh and the kids! They were great too. See, I’ve been spoiled with the people I have worked with! And we all left a piece of our hearts in Mattawa, the beautiful wee town we stayed in while we were filming. It’s so beautiful there. The film gets released in the Autumn.
Oz: What else does the future hold for Kate Dickie?
KD: At the moment I’m working on a TV drama called The Frankenstein Chronicles and as well as The Witch, I also have another film coming out this year called Couple In A Hole, which is about a couple living in a hole in the ground. It’s another interesting and unusual story by writer and director Tom Geens.
Oz: If you ever venture to the southeastern United States, would you ever consider stopping by House Oz and meeting Ozzette and the Ozlings?
KD: I would absolutely stop by your house and probably eat you out of biscuits and drink all your coffee!
Oz: One more question my dear before I release you from this dungeon of inquiring minds… is there any chance in hell that Lysa caught a moon vine after falling from the moon door and will reappear in Season 5 just waiting for a man from a fantastic website to save her?
KD: She tried! She tried so hard Oz, but alas no, she is no longer with us. I will miss her so.
Oz: Well, shit.
Special Thanks to: the Staff at WotW, Sue, WinterPhil, Zack, Ozzette, and the readers of WotW and WiC. Without you, something like this would have never been possible. Most of all, thank you Kate.
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