The holiday rom-com, also starring Emma Thompson, follows Clarke’s character Kate, who, after suffering a serious illness, accepts a job as a department store elf. When Kate meets Tom (Crazy Rich Asians’ star Henry Golding), her luck and her life take a turn
It all sounds very similar to the 33-year old's own life. After collapsing between seasons one and two of Game of Thrones, Clarke was diagnosed with having suffered a subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH), a life-threatening stroke.
It also may have something to do with her recent split from her director boyfriend, Charlie McDowell. When asked by WHO if the couple were dating, she replied, “Not anymore”.
Even her on-screen love interest Golding has caught her eye in the past.
“It was very funny, I went to go watch his movie (Crazy Rich Asians) when I was on a date, and it was hilarious because Henry came on the screen and I was like, ‘well that’s a beautiful man that I get to do this nice movie with’.”
Having previously dated Seth MacFarlane, the newly single star opens up like never before about her love life and what it’s like to be famous while dating.
When you are not working, what is the sort of perfect way for you to be incognito? Do you go on the London tube?
I don’t do the tube because I did that a couple of times and just went, “this is quite claustrophobic”. And you’ve got that bloody [fame] hat on and you’ve got a whole train carriage, and there was one tube incident where I just walked all the way down to the end and would just walk back again, because every time I sat down, it got a little intense. So yeah, I walk around London a lot, which I love to do. I just put my headphones on, listen to music or all of my podcasts that I am obsessed with.
What’s it like for you when you go out in public now Game of Thrones has finished? Are you still inundated by fans?
Yes. I mean, I seem to be hell-bent on living a normal life, so I will just walk around London without caring too much and if people ask me for photos, then depending on what kind of a headspace I’m in, will be how that is. But, yeah, around the time when the last season was on TV, it was too much, it was not fun for me at all. But since then I kind of deal with it on a day-to-day basis, but it definitely still is around.
How has fame affected your love life?
Tinder came along and I was like, “Can I? No, probably not”. It might be interesting. It would be weird – I think I would only get weird responses to that. Yeah, fame and dating is just a, forgive my French, s--t show … Simon Pegg said my favourite quote about being famous. He said that “being famous is like wearing a stupid hat you can’t take off”. And that’s how it feels. So, imagine going on a date with a stupid hat on all the time and that person just being like, “there’s something…”. But I manage.
Has your love life ever felt like a rom-com?
Yeah, every relationship I’ve had has had an element of that. That’s how it goes from one date to one year, it is those moments of, “oh, this is the magic fairy dust that you make a movie about”. Yeah and it’s like [that with] the first love, it was full of that, because you are just too naive to know anything different.
Did you get that feeling the first time you fell in love?
Well the first particular one was not great, but there was a significant relationship that I had in my life and that [feeling] was all the time, it was exactly that. But I think so much that love and relationships come down to timing – they come down to who are you in that moment when you meet that person and who they are and whether your paths are going to go along the same road or if they are not. And I think that kind of serendipity is the glue that will hold you together throughout. And if you are not in the right timing, then it’s just – that’s the thing that will tear you apart.
What is romance to you?
Romance to me is someone knowing how you like your tea – do you know what I mean? It’s the little small things, it’s the kind of considerate moments you get when someone knows you. I think big declarations, they freak me out and I’m not interested in the show of that.
Did this movie hit close to home because you’ve had your own serious health scare?
When I read the script, it definitely was like, “Oh, I get that. That’s something that I can understand and relate to in a way that hopefully gives this character to some kind of truth’’. So it was quite cathartic filming some of the scenes that when you watch the movie you will see.
How does it feel to go through something like that?
The truth is, when you are given a literal life and death experience, unless you are on a cliff face and you are about to plummet to your death, what you are normally dealing with is hospitals and doctors rushing around telling you that you are not well and family members looking incredibly concerned. All of that happens without you doing anything – you don’t really have time to catch up to the experience that you are living through, you are just breathing in and breathing out and that’s literally it.
What happens once you’re out of hospital?
You leave hospital and then someone is asking you to breathe in and out and go back to your normal life and put on that blonde wig and wear those damned shoes and walk through fire and breathe in and breathe out. And that was the most difficult thing; it was never that I thought that I was going to die in that moment, but it was more that I was daily going, “Well, you told me that I might die and now I’m not, so where am I?”. And anyone who has been ill, in any capacity, it’s like kind of going back into it. And the more severe the illness that you went through, the more time it takes for you to adjust to a life that you have now been given having had that experience. And so, what I did was just work. I just kept working, just kept working through it.
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