Hannah Waddingham says being waterboarded for 10 hours on Game of Thrones was 'worst day of her life'

Hannah Waddingham has gained recognition for her notable roles in recent series such as Ted Lasso and Sex Education, as well as her hosting role in this year's Eurovision Song Contest. However, prior to her current successes, she endured a distressing experience while working on Game of Thrones, where she portrayed Septa Unella.
The 48-year-old actress has openly expressed her sentiments about that particular scene, understandably labeling it as the most harrowing day of her life. During seasons five and six of the popular HBO show, Waddingham found herself subjected to a grueling ten-hour session of waterboarding, a highly traumatic event on the set.
During an interview with Collider, Waddingham recounted the distressing experience she had while filming Game of Thrones. She vividly described the situation, stating, "I found myself strapped to a wooden table with large, sturdy restraints for a daunting ten-hour period. Honestly, apart from giving birth, it was the most dreadful day of my life."

She further elaborated on the difficulties faced during the scene, mentioning Lena Headey's discomfort in continuously pouring liquid on her face, which added to her distress. However, Waddingham reflected on the dilemma she encountered, pondering whether to prioritize the integrity of the production or to retreat by exclaiming, "This isn't what I signed up for, and so on."

Surprisingly, after the demanding day of shooting concluded, Waddingham discovered some intriguing information. She encountered Miguel Sapochnik, the director, casually passing by with a cup of tea and a sandwich, asking if she was alright. In response, she expressed her true feelings, to which Sapochnik informed her that the crew had been acknowledging the intensity of the waterboarding, to which Waddingham cynically remarked, "Yes, that's something I didn't need confirmation on."
After the scene was filmed, Waddingham experienced some lingering physical discomfort. Describing her condition, she revealed, "I could hardly speak due to the strain of screaming with the Mountain's hand over my mouth. As a singer, it was quite alarming to completely lose my voice. I was left with a barely audible whisper, with bruises already forming on my body as if I had been physically attacked. It felt like I had essentially endured ten hours of waterboarding."

The repercussions of that grueling day extended beyond the immediate aftermath. Waddingham confessed, "I hadn't even realized that it had triggered a sense of claustrophobia when near water. It only became evident to me when I watched a program where the camera focused on the actor's face being immersed in water, while facing the camera. It caused me intense distress."

Seeking assistance to cope with her experiences, she sought guidance, sharing, "I actually had a conversation with someone about it because being subjected to ten hours of waterboarding is quite overwhelming, especially considering that only one minute and thirty seconds of footage made it to the final cut."

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