Her name is Rebecca Van Cleave (pictures below) and not only was playing Cersei’s naked body double the first time she’d ever shot a nude scene, from the looks of her IMBD profile, it’s by far her most high profile role to date.
According to Entertainment Weekly…
Actress Rebecca Van Cleave worked closely with star Lena Headey on the gripping penance walk in Sunday’s season 5 finale. While filming the Walk in Dubrovnik last October, Van Cleave performed nude while Headey wore a simple beige shift. The show’s visual effects team then merged the performances together—combining Headey’s progression of facial emotions during Cersei’s punishing hike to the Red Keep and Van Cleave’s physical movement echoing Headey’s body language in order to create the seamless illusion that Headey was completely bare for the sequence.
“It was one of the scariest, most wonderful, most gratifying experiences I could have imagined,” Van Cleave tells EW. “I never in a million years would have thought I would be in Dubrovnik surrounded by hundreds of extras and crew members throwing food at me, but it was amazing.”
Getting the role was no small feat either since over 1,000 actresses applied for the part. The 1,000-plus were then narrowed to seven actresses who were flown to Belfast to meet with producers where Van Cleave was selected.
As for why Headey didn’t perform the nude scene herself, she had several reasons, she was pregnant for one, and another was because “she wanted to focus on the emotions in her performance.”
Van Cleave is obviously very glad that Headey allowed her to have the experience…
— Rebecca Van Cleave (@rebeccajoean) June 18, 2015
“It’s definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but also the best experience of my life,” said Van Cleave. “And I hope the next thing I do will have my head in it!”