HBO’s “Game of Thrones” is the biggest show on the planet right now and it might be most enormous of all time.
When that happens the costs go through the roof. This final season of HBO’s hit fantasy show smashed budget records and that doesn’t just mean on computer graphics cost, it’s also for the actors.
And you’ll never believe which “Game of Thrones” actress was paid $1.2 million per episode for a total of 25 minutes of screen time over the whole season.
The final season of “Game of Thrones” has been one of the most anticipated television events in many years – and fans have waited over a year and a half after the finale of seven for the premiere of the final 8th season.
“Game of Thrones” was so big it rivaled the anticipation for Marvel’s “Avengers: Endgame,” which was the culmination of twenty-two different Marvel Universe movies coming to an end and has made just shy of $2.5 billion in three weeks. Both are undeniably the most massive juggernauts in their respective film and television industries in recent years.
Many moments so far have either rubbed people the wrong way or have been truly great moments. One was an unforgivable gaffe.
But the moment that had everyone throw up their arms in disbelief – there were several of those moments in “The Bells” – was the death of Cersei.
Evil queen Cersei is one of the most sadistic characters in the entire “Game of Thrones” series and books. The audience wanted a cathartic death. And the only way to really accomplish that catharsis is to make her die in the most brutal unmerciful ways possible – as she has done to many other characters during the series.
She appears for a total of 25 minutes in the 432 minutes of total season 8 running time. And actress Lena Headey got paid $1.2 million per episode, for a grand total of $6.8 million over the whole season.
Granted, Cersei shows up in the first episode for a few minutes but she doesn’t even appear in the 90 minute run time for “The Bells” for very long either.
Fox News Jessica Napoli did the math: “So, after converting the numbers, Headey brought in around $48,000 per minute of screen time. It should also be noted that Headey obviously did more than 25 minutes. Many extra scenes and dialogue are cut in the editing room and reshoots happen quite often.”
But even Headey admitted she didn’t do as much in “Thrones” final season as previous seasons. She told radio host Chris Evans (not Captain America) she worked about 15 days this time around and stayed primarily in Belfast on a sound stage.
To put that into perspective, “The Long Night” episode – featuring the living-dead at Winterfell – took 55 nights to shoot and used hundreds of extras besides the main cast members. Those extras are paid a day right of approximately $175 per day according to SAG minimum rates.
Some actors make an absurd amount of money a day too and can sometimes eclipse $1 million.
It really just seems like HBO’s negotiating tactics are dreadful but the leverage hinges on the actor’s ability to claim they’re irreplaceable. Famously, they replaced Katie Holmes in “Batman Begins” for the role of Rachel for Maggie Gyllenhaal in “The Dark Knight” and nobody seemed to care. Katie Holmes presence wasn’t irreplaceable.