"In among the dirt is where you'll find the hope. It can only shine out in the glorious way that it does in the play if it's surrounded in murky waters."
Making things even harder is that Clarke is a huge Hepburn fan, who recalls watching her in "My Fair Lady" multiple times. And even though she has built her own Golightly, she still feels Hepburn's shadow.
"Audrey Hepburn inspired me, Emilia Clarke. That's something that's in my blood, that I can't ever get rid of. So whenever I approach a part, I'm taking my own history with me, I'm taking my own experiences with me."
Her co-star, Cory Michael Smith, who is making his Broadway debut in the role of Fred, says Clarke makes the role her own: "She's so marvelous and bright. You don't even see the shadow. The shadow's gone."
Clarke, a 2009 graduate of the Drama Centre School in London, grew up on a TV diet of "I Love Lucy" and "Cheers." She stays fit with yoga and Pilates, and unwinds by listening to "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" audio book.
One thing that Golightly and her "Game of Thrones" characters share is intensity — and that includes some nudity, something Clarke says in both cases isn't gratuitous.
With "Game of Thrones," Clarke says being stripped down is necessary to understand her character's pain and heartbreak. In "Breakfast at Tiffany's," Golightly jumps into a bath with Fred. ("My dad has seen it maybe three times now and every time, he's like, 'I don't see anything!''')
"The last thing I want to be known as is That-Chick-Who-Gets-Her-Clothes-Off. That's the very last thing I'd like anyone to ever say about me," she says. "I would hope — I would so, from the bottom of my heart, hope — that people wouldn't come and see the play just to cop a look at a young girl stepping into a bath."
Clarke's other acting credits include a guest spot on the British TV series "Doctors" and a role in a Jurassic Park-esque TV movie for Syfy called "Triassic Attack."
She got word that she'd landed the Golightly role a few days after that apple-filled audition. She was at a vegetarian restaurant in London when her agent called. "I freaked out, spilled the smoothie everywhere," she says, still giddy at the memory. "Genuinely, probably, the happiest day of my life so far."
Follow Mark Kennedy on Twitter at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits
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