Lena Headey: The Game Of Thrones Star Will Soon Make Her Directorial Debut

Lena Headey will soon make her directorial debut with the movie Violet in a mystery about two women on the Trans-Siberian Express

By Ross Bonaime | Published

For eight seasons on Game of Thrones, Lena Headey played Cersei Lannister, head of one of the most powerful families in all of Westeros. Headey’s portrayal of Cersei was one of the show’s most iconic performances, as Cersei became one of the show’s primary villains, yet one that audiences could at times sympathize with. 

Since Game of Thrones ended in 2019, Lena Headey has stayed incredibly busy, working on a number of new television and film projects. Let’s take a look at what Lena Headey has been up to since the end of Game of Thrones.


Lena Headey

In March 2022 Deadline broke the news that Lena Headey would be making her feature film directorial debut with Violet. The film will be based on the 2019 novel of the same name by SJI Holliday. Headey said of the source material that it was a “a compulsive page turner that stayed with me long after I finished the book.” She expressed her excitement to make her directorial debut with “such an intense female thriller.”

The movie is apparently about two women who share a car on a Trans-Siberian express train ride and they develop a friendship. But there is a mystery about the two women and it appears both are hiding some sort of secret. There’s been no casting news for this film and it’s not apparent if Lena Headey will also have a role in addition to directing.

Before making her directorial debut with Violet, Lena Headey has had quite the career on the big and small screen.


Lena Headey Jungle Book

Lena Headey began acting when she attended Shelley College and was first noticed at the age of 17 when she performed in a school production at the Royal National Theatre. Her first screen role was in 1992’s Waterland, which also featured Jeremy Irons, Sinéad Cusack, and Ethan Hawke.

Throughout the 1990s, Lena Headey appeared in a number of notable films. Only her second film appearance was in The Remains of the Day, a film that would go on to receive eight Academy Award nominations, and would be called one of the greatest British films of the 20th century by the British Film Institute.

Lena Headey in Remains of the Day

Lena Headey would also appear in Disney’s 1994 film Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, 1997’s Mrs. Dalloway starring Vanessa Redgrave, and Headey would appear in her first leading role with 1998’s The Man with Rain in His Shoes, starring alongside Douglas Henshall and Penélope Cruz.


Lena Headey as Queen Gorgo in 300

Throughout the early 2000s, Lena Headey’s popularity continued to increase. In 2000, she would appear in the ensemble thriller Gossip alongside such actors as James Marsden, Norman Reedus, and Kate Hudson. Headey was also cast in Neil LaBute’s 2002 film Possession, the Talented Mr. Ripley sequel, Ripley’s Game, and Terry Gilliam’s The Brothers Grimm in 2005. 

Yet Lena Headey’s most prominent film role of the 2000s was in Zack Snyder’s 2006 action film, 300. In the film, Headey played Queen Gorgo, the wife to Gerard Butler’s King Leonidas. 300 would be Headey’s most commercially successful film, making over $456 million worldwide.


Soon after 300, Lena Headey would take on the iconic role of Sarah Connor in the Fox series, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. The show, was set after the events of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and followed Sarah and her son John Connor as they try to avoid the government and Skynet. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles would only run for two seasons, but Headey would receive Saturn Award nominations for both years in the category of Best Actress on Television.


Lena Headey Game of Thrones

Despite already finding success with 300 and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, the biggest role of Lena Headey’s career would come in Game of Thrones, which debuted in 2011.

For her performance, Headey would be nominated for five Primetime Emmy Awards in the category of Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, and in 2017, she would be nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television.

In 2019, the Gold Derby TV Awards called Headey the Drama Supporting Actress of the Decade.

Lena Headey on Game of Thrones

In an interview with U.K. Vogue, Lena Headey said what she admired about Cersei: “I’ve always said that she loves her children beyond all reason – and she never, ever gives up. If she was in a fight with a tiger she would stay there until it gave up. So, I admire that. Her tenacity.” In another interview with The Guardian, Headey mirrored many of the criticisms made by her Game of Thrones co-stars, saying, “I will say I wanted a better death.”


Despite the grueling schedule of Game of Thrones’ filming, Lena Headey still found time to appear in an impressive amount of projects. In 2012, Headey appeared in the film Dredd, and voiced the character of Callista Curnow in the video game, Dishonored.

Headey would also join the cast of such films as 2013’s The Purge and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, she would return to the world on 300 in 2014’s 300: Rise of an Empire, and in 2016, she would appear in both Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and voice Lunafreya in the anime Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV.

Lena Headey also found time to do voice-over work for a number of projects, including playing Aunt Grandma on the series Uncle Grandpa, as well as acting in Danger Mouse, Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia and Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.


Lena Headey

After Game of Thrones, Lena Headey stayed incredibly busy. She has since starred in 2019’s Fighting with My Family and The Flood, while also doing voices for a multitude of shows, including 2019’s The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, the Cartoon Network series Infinity Train, and on the Guillermo del Toro-created Wizards: Tales of Arcadia.

Lena Headey has also started to try her hand at directing, making her short film The Trap in 2019, and directing music videos for such artists as Freya Ridings and Madeon. In her video for Ridings’ “You Mean the World to Me” song, Headey directed her Game of Thrones co-star Maisie Williams. 


Now 47-years-old Lena Headey is currently single but also the mother of two. Her son, Wylie, was born in 2010. Her daughter Teddy, was born in 2015.

Being a mom hasn’t slowed Lena Headey down, though. She has already finished shooting Gunpowder Milkshake, about three generations of female assassins. The film also stars Karen Gillan, Angela Bassett, Paul Giamatti, and Michelle Yeoh. She’s also already filmed Rita, a TV movie where she plays the title role, and stars alongside Josh Hutcherson. 

Lena Headey is also working on Twist, an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, starring Michael Caine and Rita Ora. The film is currently set for a 2020 release, although it seems as though that has likely been delayed. In addition to these projects, Lena Headey is also listed to star in Crooks alongside Juno Temple.

Finally, she is playing Evil-Lyn in Kevin Smith’s animated Masters of the Universe: Revelation. The series released a trailer, which has received acclaim. Here it is…

With an impressive resume full of acting and voice performances, as well as now directing, Lena Headey looks to have some of her best work still ahead of her.