Game of Thrones: Lena Headey admits she looked like ‘Vegas showgirl’ in unseen pilot

Game of Thrones: Nikolaj Coster Waldau says the story is ‘done’

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The first pilot episode for the acclaimed fantasy drama Game of Thrones has since gone down as one of the biggest failures in the show’s history. Thankfully, HBO’s adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s sprawling saga eventually recovered, but comments from Cersei Lannister star Lena Headey have revealed just how bad the first attempt really was.

Lena Headey has claimed her original look as the ruthless queen Cersei Lannister was drastically different in Game of Thrones’ first pilot episode for HBO.

The infamous first attempt at tackling George R. R. Martin’s epic source material, A Song of Ice and Fire, featured several missteps that would eventually be rectified in the series fans know today.

Although the footage has not been released to the public, a new book, Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon, has detailed some of the worst mistakes from the original pilot.

Entertainment Weekly editor James Hibberd has compiled a number of interviews with the cast and crew to try and explain what exactly went wrong with HBO’s first attempt at revitalising the fantasy genre for TV.

In the book, principal star Lena Headey revealed the first costume for her morally complex portrayal of Cersei Lannister was completely unrecognisable.

She recalled: “I looked like a Vegas showgirl in the [original] pilot — furs and massive hair, like a medieval Dolly Parton.”

The series eventually became known for having some of the best costumes in the biz, but not before some considerable trial and error.

When Thrones actually went ahead, Cersei became more acquainted with elegant dresses and braided hair as one of Westeros’ most prominent leaders.

Later, Cersei ascended the coveted Iron Throne and donned a more practical look, including short hair and battle-ready metal shoulder guards.

However, the original novels also describe the ruthless Lannister as exceptionally beautiful, so it appears the first pilot tried to make her look as glamorous as possible.

Despite appearing totally out-of-place in Game of Thrones’ brutal fantasy setting, Headey also admitted she wasn’t totally against Cersei’s first design.

The star told Hibberd: “Not that I’m complaining, I loved it. My hair devolved.”

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Cersei initially started out with a more elegant braided look, but it seems the actress wasn’t as enthusiastic about her style choices in later seasons.

Costumes apparently remained a contentious point for the cast during filming for the first pilot, as Headey’s co-star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau also slammed the characters’ questionable fashion choices.

Best known as the equally complex Jaime Lannister, Coster-Waldau confessed the cast and crew were completely unprepared when they first joined HBO’s future hit.

He explained: “Nobody knew what they were doing or what the hell this was.

“During King Robert’s arrival I remember finding the whole thing ridiculous. The absurdity of doing this parallel universe with these very noble men.

“It’s a very fine balance between being serious and believing it and just being cosplayers. There was certainly not a sense that this was going to be some game-changer for anyone. But we had a lot of fun.”

Thankfully, most of the cast looked back fondly on the pilot, and the slapdash production didn’t deter them from returning for HBO’s second attempt at Game of Thrones’ TV debut.

Game of Thrones is available to stream on Now TV.

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