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Game of Thrones star Gemma Whelan: I love being typecast as a lesbian

Game of Thrones star Gemma Whelan: I love being typecast as a lesbian

  • Whelan has recently been starring in cult Shakespearean comedy Upstart Crow.
Gemma Whelan as Kate and David Mitchell as William Shakespeare in Upstart Crow.

Game of Thrones star Gemma Whelan gave us one of the fantasy series most memorable kisses.

And now her role in Shakespearean comedy The Upstart Crow in London’s West End has seen her have a same-sex smooch again.

Now Whelan, who in real life is married to comedian Gerry Howell and has a two-year-old daughter, has talked about being typecast in roles involving lesbian passion.

And she loves it.

Whelan says: ‘Every single thing I do, there’s a lesbian touch to it. Long may I continue to be typecast, if that’s the way it goes.’

Whelan’s best same-sex moments

English actress and comedian Whelan, aged 38, is most famous for playing Yara Greyjoy in HBO fantasy series Game of Thrones.

In series seven, episode two, her character Yara Greyjoy gave us one of the series most memorable same-sex moments when she kissed the Dornish ruler Ellaria Sand.

But not many people know that Whelan and fellow actor Indira Varma improvized the moment.

Whelan later said: ‘It wasn’t directed that we would kiss. It just seemed like something we should do. We led it, very much so. It was meant to be a suggestion [of flirting] and then it became more sexual than we expected because it seemed right.’

And in Upstart Crow, Whelan’s character Kate has often played with storylines around gender and sexuality.

The cult BBC comedy is set in Shakespearean England. Kate is one of the recurring characters alongside Will Shakespeare, played by David Mitchell.

Kate dreams of being an actor but the law of the land prohibits it because only men can perform on stage. So she repeatedly challenges gender roles.

The stage version of the TV series, The Upstart Crow, currently playing in London’s West End, takes these stories further. It sees Kate falling in love and having a same-sex kiss.

Kate’s character isn’t the only LGBT+ storyline in the Upstart Crow series, which is also available on Netflix. The comedy often refers to the love sonnets Shakespeare wrote to a ‘beautiful young man’ as well as a ‘dark lady’.

And as well as real-life bisexual Shakespeare, the TV comedy also features Tim Downie as Kit Marlowe.

In real life, Kit or Christopher Marlowe was a gay playwrite and poet and a major influence on Shakespeare.