Becoming a character from the inside out requires more than just dying your hair. Game of Thrones actor Sophie Turner told W Magazine that in addition to transitioning from a blonde to a ginger, by spending eight years with Sansa Stark, she really grew into the role as she as simultaneously growing up herself. In that time, Sansa evolved from a meek young girl to an independent woman, and the 21-year-old said she would not have had the opportunity to give Sansa so much depth had she not invested those years into crafting her character from the bottom up. "Normally you play a character for a month or so, and then you are done with it, but to be able to flesh out a character for over eight or so years has been really amazing," she told W. "She’s a project that I really feel is part of me now. Everything that happens to her affects me. I have kind of been living through two people for the past eight years.”
The experience, she explained to W, impelled her to fearlessly continue to audition for roles playing strong women such as Jean Grey/Phoenix in X-Men: Apocalypse.
Turner told the magazine,
"I guess in the beginning, Sansa was quite a damsel in distress. I never saw her storyline going in the direction it has, but now that I’ve got a taste for playing someone that was an underdog and now is really coming into her own being a strong, powerful female character, I’ve really got a taste for it. That’s what I look for now."
However, the GoT star also made an astute observation about roles for women. There is no problem when it comes to playing a woman who has her life together or playing one who does not — both could be equally powerful, complex narratives that deserve to be brought to life.
"Every woman is strong, no matter whether they are queen of the North or they are homeless and not doing particularly well for themselves," she said.
Although female superheroes are few and far between in Hollywood, hopefully more people in the entertainment industry will adopt Turner's open-minded outlook when it comes to female characters overall. Women don't need powers to command the big screen. To see the everyday woman, the helpless woman, the strong-willed woman, and the depressed woman gives their stories just as much validity and importance.
Turner told W that taking on these roles is an act of strength itself. "There is no shame in playing someone who needs help. I'd love to play someone like that in the future." Bringing more visibility to women who face adversity or overcome hardships can be empowering for viewers who don't see themselves as royals or superheroes.
Turner's confidence in her convictions, dedication to her characters, and goal to make her roles more multidimensional is making quite an impression. Her standout portrayal of Jean Grey in X-Men: Apocalypse will be reborn in a spin-off, feature film, X-Men: Dark Phoenix. Whether Turner is reigning supreme or wreaking havoc on villains, the young star is already setting an example for young women — there's a power in just being you.