Lena Headey on the differences between shooting the ‘300’ films and ‘Game Of Thrones’

Lena Headey has had a very fruitful run as a horrible, horrible person for the last few years. Images of Queen Cersei and Ma-Ma from “Game Of Thrones” and “Dredd” had all but crowded out the impression she made in the original “300” as Queen Gorgo.

Sitting down with her at the recent press day for “300: Rise Of An Empire,” I was struck by how easily she's built a reputation for herself as a powerful on-screen figure. My oldest son is currently obsessed with all things related to “The Terminator,” despite the fact that he hasn't seen any of the films yet. He listens to the scores for the first two films, he's read every word of a Cinefex issue released when “Terminator 2” came out, and he has several Terminator toys that he considers prized possessions. When he realized that Headey was one of the actors who has played Sarah Connor, he just about lost his mind.

Right now, one of the strongest skill sets than any actor who wants to work in big studio films can learn is how to handle a set where everything is green-screen and added later. It is increasingly uncommon for films to do giant-scale physical builds where an actor can get lost in the immersive details of a world, and that seems like a shame to me. I wanted to talk to Headey about this since she's been lucky enough to have both extremes of the experience. On “Game Of Thrones,” she's working on one of the most amazing large-scale soundstages in the world, and the builds that they do are impressive. On both of the “300” films, she's working in something more like an abstract theater piece, working in imaginary spaces and inventing things for herself.

I had to stop reading the “Song Of FIre and Ice” novels because I realized I enjoy watching the show without knowing how things might play out. I like the books a lot, but I think the show is fantastic. I have no idea how much longer Headey's character is going to be part of things, but I would like to hope she's in it for the long haul. The relationship she has with her brother Tyrion on the show, played by the great Peter Dinklage, is amazing and venal and scary, and one of the best antagonistic relationships on the show.

She isn't in a lot of “300: Rise Of An Empire,” but she's an important bridge between the two films. Without Gerard Butler, she's the one who speaks for Sparta in the movie, and it's weird how it feels like no time has passed between the films. If they do make another one after this, Headey's going to have to have a large part in the film based on where this movie concludes. I would be happy to see her at it again, and good or bad, she's always worth watching.

“300: Rise Of An Empire” opens everywhere on Friday.