With the passing of famed British actress Diana Rigg, writer James Hibberd has shared excerpts from his upcoming book on the making of Game of Thrones that include fascinating anecdotes of Rigg. The stories show that she was just as mischievous and badass as her character Olenna Tyrell. In fact, showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss expanded the Tyrell matriarch’s role far beyond the source material entirely because of Rigg’s performance.
As cast and crew recounting working with the late actress, they shared stories about her showing up to her first table read with her lines fully memorized and being a downright battle axe with episode directors when they tried to tell her how to enter a scene. During one memorable moment in season six where Olenna addresses the Sand Snakes, Rigg was ready to do her scene and was not in the mood to suffer delays. Via Entertainment Weekly:
“She walked onto the set, and she went, ‘I’m ready now!'” recalls Jessica Henwick, who played the whip-snapping Nymeria Sand. “A cameraman came over and went, ‘Well, okay, but we haven’t finished setting up.’ She interrupted him and said, ‘Roll the cameras!’ And she just started doing her lines. She did two takes, and then the guy came over and was like, ‘Great, now we’re going to do a close-up.’ And she just stood up and she went, ‘I’m done!'”
“Now, she can’t walk fast. She has to be helped. So basically we just sat there and watched as Diana Rigg effectively did her own version of storming off the set, but it was at 0.1 miles per hour. She cracked me up. I loved her.”
Of course, that kind of no-nonsense attitude is exactly what endeared Rigg to Benioff and Weiss who looked back at their first meeting with the actress. “She was funny, she was bawdy, she was everything we wanted for that character,” according to Weiss. “She said with a big smile, ‘There’s an awful lot of bonking, isn’t there?'”
(Via Entertainment Weekly)