Embracing her distinctive side. Gwendoline Christie is a major star now, but some naysayers once doubted that she’d ever make it in film and TV.
“I’d been told, just simply because I was a tall woman with somewhat unusual looks, that I would probably never work on screen,” the Wednesday star, 44, recalled in a Vogue video published on Thursday, January 26. Her “huge breakthrough,” she added, came when she landed the role of Brienne of Tarth on Game of Thrones.
“This part had been lovingly crafted by George R.R. Martin,” the U.K. native explained, referring to the author of the Song of Ice and Fire books on which the series was based. “I had to take my hair away. I had to acknowledge my height, my strength, my size, my androgyny and also my vulnerability.”
After the show wrapped, however, Christie was still “very concerned” about “being cast-able” for parts in movies and television. “I was concerned that maybe I wasn’t being considered for roles because I was just too unconventional and maybe I should make more effort to fit in,” the Top of the Lake alum said. “And then I thought, ‘No, I’m not going to make any effort to fit in. I’m gonna work really hard and do my best to be good at my job. I’m gonna honor who I am and every single freakish thing about me.’”
One way she did that was by participating in designer Tomo Koizumi‘s February 2019 fashion show, closing the presentation in an extravagant gown covered in layers and layers of rainbow tulle. “I didn’t make it easy for myself,” Christie quipped of the outfit, which she accessorized with towering heels.
Last year, the Flux Gourmet actress revealed that her role on Wednesday was “the first time” she’d ever felt “beautiful” on screen. Christie plays Larissa Weems, the principal of Nevermore Academy.
“I cannot express my extreme gratitude more heartily to [director] Tim [Burton] and [costume designer] Colleen [Atwood] and our hair and makeup team,” the Sandman alum told Entertainment Weekly in November 2022. “Colleen Atwood is rightfully a legend, and what she does is close to witchcraft in terms of transformation. It is an honor of my life to work with Colleen and to work with Tim.”
The In Fabric star went on to say that Atwood, 74, took special care to make sure Larissa’s costumes fit well on Christie’s body — and asked for the star’s feedback as well.
“She is able to look at your body and emphasize different elements, emphasize your strong points,” Christie explained. “The way she made me feel was my body felt celebrated and beautiful. Never once did I feel like there was something to hide or something to be ashamed of. She made me feel incredible. She was also enormously collaborative and wanted to know what I thought, which I was quite nervous initially to show her any references, but she welcomed them and she loved them.”