Gwendoline Christie

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Gwendoline Christie
Gwendoline Christie by Gage Skidmore 2.jpg
Born (1978-10-28) 28 October 1978 (age 38)[1][2]
Worthing, West Sussex, England, UK
Residence London, England
Alma mater Drama Centre London
  • Actress
  • model
Years active 2006–present
Height 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)

Gwendoline Christie (born 28 October 1978) is an English actress and model. She is known for portraying the warrior Brienne of Tarth in the HBO fantasy-drama series Game of Thrones and Captain Phasma in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.


Christie performing at the London Palladium in 2009

Christie's mentor since drama school has been actor and author Simon Callow.[3] Her theatrical career includes a performance as the Queen in Shakespeare's Cymbeline,[4] portraying Mag Wildwood in Breakfast at Tiffany's,[5] and "standing out" as Lucifer in Marlowe's Doctor Faustus (2010).[6] On screen, Christie played supporting roles in Terry Gilliam's 2009 and 2013 films The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus and The Zero Theorem, the BBC television production Seven Ages of Britain, and the 2012 television series Wizards vs Aliens, among others.

Christie's striking height, 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m),[7] attracted the attention of photographer Polly Borland, who made Christie the subject of a noted series of photographs, entitled Bunny, between 2002 and 2008.[8] According to Christie, she felt then that the photographs—in which she appears mostly nude—could help her come to terms with her body, and challenge notions of femininity. However, she later said that she was shocked in retrospect that she had agreed to them.[7]

In July 2011, Christie was cast as the warrior Brienne of Tarth in the second season of HBO's fantasy TV series Game of Thrones.[9] Her character – an unusually tall, muscular, and plain-looking woman – is a favourite among many readers of the novels, and Christie had been proposed for the role by fans long before auditions took place.[3]

Christie said that she could draw on her own experiences of having been bullied for her height and androgynous looks to play the part of Brienne, a role that she was passionate to obtain after reading the A Song of Ice and Fire novels which the show adapts.[10] To prepare even for the auditions, she started wearing unisex clothing to help her get into her character's more masculine mindset, and took up an intensive training regime, gaining over a stone (6.4 kg, 14 lb) of muscle mass.[3] According to series co-writer, producer, and author of the novels, George R.R. Martin, she obtained the role practically without debate after an arresting audition at which she appeared already made up and costumed as Brienne.[11] After being cast in the role, she prepared for it by taking horsemanship, sword-fighting, and stagefighting lessons.[3]

Christie speaks at the Calgary Comic Expo in 2015

Her debut in the second season's third episode on 15 April 2012[12] was well received by critics. Nina Shen Rastogi praised her "eloquent and economical physical performance", noting that her walk, stance, and mien effectively conveyed Brienne's single-minded devotion to her self-given quest to become a knight.[13][14] For her role as Brienne, Christie was nominated for the 2013 Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress.

In 2015, Christie played Commander Lyme in the final film in the The Hunger Games series, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2. Actress Lily Rabe had signed on for the part previously, but had to back out due to scheduling conflicts.[15] Also that year, Christie co-starred in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, as Captain Phasma,[16] one of the film's main antagonists.[17] She has confirmed that she will reprise the role in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.[18] In June 2015, Christie joined the cast of Swallows and Amazons as Mrs. Blackett.[19]

Personal life[edit]

Christie was born in Worthing, West Sussex, to a housewife mother and a father who worked in sales and marketing.[7] She grew up in a hamlet near the South Downs.[3] She trained as a gymnast as a child, but after a spine injury forced her to abandon that career, she took up acting.[10] Christie graduated from Drama Centre London in 2005.[3]



Year Title Role Notes
2007 The Time Surgeon The Tape Short film
2009 The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus Classy Shopper 2
2013 The Zero Theorem Woman in Commercial
2015 The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 Commander Lyme
2015 Star Wars: The Force Awakens Captain Phasma
2016 Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Herself Cameo
2016 The Dress The Woman Short
2017 Star Wars: The Last Jedi Captain Phasma Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
2010 Seven Ages of Britain The Operator Episode: "Age of Ambition"
2012–present Game of Thrones Brienne of Tarth Main role; 32 episodes
Empire Hero Award (2015, together with the cast)[20]
Nominated – Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress on Television (2013)
Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2013–15)
2012–2013 Wizards vs Aliens Lexi Main role; 26 episodes
2017 Top of the Lake


Year Title Role Notes
2006 Pravda Cindy Chichester Festival Theatre
2006 Mirandolina Ortensia Royal Exchange Theatre
2007 Cymbeline Queen Barbican Theatre
2009 Giantbum Sir Boss London's Tate Britain
2009 Skin Deep Susannah Dangerfield Leeds Grand Theatre
2009 Breakfast at Tiffany's Mag Wildwood Theatre Royal Haymarket, London
2010 Dr. Faustus Lucifer Royal Exchange, Manchester

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2016 Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens Captain Phasma Voice[21]


  1. ^ Gwendoline Christine, Christie Ventures Ltd; (subscription required)
  2. ^ "England and Wales Birth Index 1916–2005". Retrieved 5 October 2014. (subscription required (help)). 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Game of Thrones: Gwendoline Christie Interview". SFX. 11 April 2012. Retrieved 12 April 2012. 
  4. ^ Best, Jason (30 May 2007). "Cymbeline". The Stage. Retrieved 8 July 2011. 
  5. ^ "Breakfast at Tiffanys – Theatre Royal Haymarket London – Cast and creative". 2014. Retrieved 12 December 2014. 
  6. ^ Walker, Lynne (16 September 2010). "Doctor Faustus, Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester". The Independent. Retrieved 8 July 2011. 
  7. ^ a b c McQuoid, Debbie (27 March 2013). "Gwendoline Christie: Natural Born Warrior". Stylist. Retrieved 29 March 2013. 
  8. ^ Walker, Esther (29 June 2008). "How We Met: Gwendoline Christie & Polly Borland". The Independent. Retrieved 8 July 2011. 
  9. ^ Hibberd, James (8 July 2011). "'Game of Thrones' casts fan favorite Brienne". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 8 July 2011. 
  10. ^ a b Lash, Jolie (17 April 2012). "'Game of Thrones' – Gwendoline Christie Talks Digging Deep To Play Brienne". Access Hollywood. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  11. ^ Martin, George R.R. (7 July 2011). "The Maid of Tarth". Retrieved 12 April 2012. 
  12. ^ Jeffery, Morgan (12 April 2012). "'Game of Thrones' Gwendoline Christie: 'I'm similar to Brienne'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 12 April 2012. 
  13. ^ Shen Rastogi, Nina (16 April 2012). "Game of Thrones Recap: How Do You Sleep?". Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  14. ^ Shen Rastogi, Nina (8 April 2012). "TV's best show about women". Salon. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  15. ^ "'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2' Adds 'Game of Thrones' Actress Gwendoline Christie". The Hollywood Reporter. 4 April 2014. 
  16. ^ "Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Gwendoline Christie Confirmed As Captain Phasma". Retrieved 4 May 2015. 
  17. ^ Feeney, Nolan (2 June 2014). "Lupita Nyong'o, Gwendoline Christie Join New Star Wars Film Cast". Time. Retrieved 5 June 2014. 
  18. ^ Rayne, Naja (20 January 2016). "Star Wars Actress Gwendoline Christie Confirms She Will Be in the Next Film". People. Retrieved 2 February 2016. 
  19. ^ de Semlyen, Phil (24 June 2015). "Rafe Spall And Gwendoline Christie Join Swallows And Amazons". Empire. 
  20. ^ "Empire Hero Award". Empire. Bauer Consumer Media. 2015. Retrieved 1 April 2015. 
  21. ^ McGillan, Graeme (4 May 2016). "'Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Writer Talks New Mythology and Celebrity Voices". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 9 December 2016. 

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