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Amrita Acharia, an actress of Indian extraction, seems a fine choice for Irri, one of Daenerys’s two Dothraki handmaidens who are given to her by her brother Viserys (by way of the largesse of Magister Illyrio). The actress has only three credits according to IMDB, so she’s new to the business. The most notable detail is that GRRM confirms in comments that Jhiqui will be an extra with no speaking lines, at least this season, although they are trying to clarify whether she could say “It is known” while retaining an extras status (for budgetary purposes, we assume).
Roxanne McKee has a more significant list of credits, and joins Finn Jones and Derek Halligan as having been a member of the cast of the U.K. soup Hollyoaks, having appeared in 76 episodes of that series. She was twice voted “Sexiest Female” at the British Soap Awards. Below is a video featuring the actress (trying on lingerie… most of the videos I can find from her work seem inordinately focused on her being half-naked!):
Finally, the largest role announced is Sibel Kekilli as Shae, a prostitute who charms Tyrion Lannister (played by Peter Dinklage). A German actress of Turkish origins, Kekilli burst onto the scene with the film Head On, for which she won Germany’s top acting honors, the Bambi and the Lola awards. All of her film roles have been primarily in foreign languages, but GRRM has this to say about her audition:
“But there’s another dimension to Shae as well. She’s not as practiced and hardened at this as a more seasoned pro. There’s still a girl next door quality to her, a sense of vulnerability, playfulness, and, yes, innocence… All of our Shaes were hot as hell. But only a handful of them captured that other quality, maybe three out of twenty, and Sibel was the standout. It’s easy to see why she has won all those awards. Watching those auditions, any red-blooded male would want to take every one of our Shae candidates to bed. But Sibel made you fall in love with her as well.”
Now, her casting does bring up a question or two. It’s no secret that Kekilli first began her career in pornography (in fact, we’d caution when searching for images or videos of her at a workplace because of this), and this may attract some negative attention (especially in the scandal-happy U.K. press) when she’s clearly a gifted actress who has won multiple film awards, both in Germany and internationally (she has been recently announced as a nominee for this year’s German Film Awards, as well). We don’t imagine that this will cause any serious problems for the production, but stranger things have happened.
The other question, though, is the fact that she’s never acted in an English-language production before, as far as we can tell. Her roles have been in German, in Turkish, and (at least in one case) in Finnish. However, the Finnish film, Pihalla—about a woman who marries a Finnish man and moves to Finland—does feature her speaking some English, as can be seen in this trailer at the 30 second and 45 second marks:
Her English certainly seems strongly accented, but it’s possbile that she’s capable of sounding perfectly fluent in a general U.K. dialect but it was not appropriate for that particular role. We’ve asked for clarification from GRRM, where we speculate that if she does speak with a notable accent, it’d be simple enough to adjust Shae’s origins as having been born and raised in the Free Cities before being brought over to the Seven Kingdoms.
Thanks to raijap for the tip about Pihalla.
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