- "I think she is deeply, deeply fearful. She sleeps with fear in her soul. She is full of terror and paranoia and insecurity. She hides it with stillness. She does not move much and that's been a real challenge for me. I fidget. She's like a cobra, she's a snake just waiting and waiting."
- ―Lena Headey on playing Cersei
Lena Headey has been acting since 1990, when she was 17 years old. The first movies she appeared in were Waterland (1992), The Remains of the Day (1993) and The Jungle Book (1994), which also featured Ron Donachie. In 2001, she appeared in 'The Parole Officer' alongside Stephen Dillane. Headey's first major film roles came in the mid-2000's, appearing in the horror film The Cave (2005) and in Terry Gilliam's The Brothers Grimm (2005), opposite Matt Damon and Heath Ledger. The infamously troubled production of The Brothers Grimm was so stressful that Headey took a year off from acting afterwards.
Headey then worked on two of her most prominent film roles prior to production on Game of Thrones, as Queen Gorgo in the movie 300 (2007) and as Sarah Connor in the TV series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008-2009).
Since Headey began working on Game of Thrones, she has also starred as the main antagonist in Dredd (2012), an adaptation of the Judge Dredd comic book series.
Game of Thrones
Headey stars in HBO's Game of Thrones as Cersei Lannister. She was announced as the role on 1 September 2009. She was part of the initial starring cast and remains a member of the starring cast for the second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth seasons.
On Cersei in Season 5, Headey said: "I always think of Cersei as a wayward 15-year-old who's never had any real parenting. She presents herself as this image of perfection, when underneath there's deep paranoia. She has no one to trust now."
Headey reprised her role as Cersei in Game of Thrones: A Telltale Games Series.
She was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award in the category Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her role as Cersei Lannister in 2014. Ultimately she lost to Anna Gunn for her role as Skyler White on Breaking Bad. 
She received her second Emmy nomination for Game of Thrones in 2016, but lost to Maggie Smith for her role as Violet Crawley on Dowton Abbey. 
On December 12, 2016 she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award in the category Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Miniseries or Television Film.
She was recently nominated for “Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series” at the 2018 Emmys for her acting in Game of Thrones.
Lena Headey was born in Hamilton, Bermuda. Her father, a Yorkshire police cadet, was stationed there at the time. She spent the first five years of her life in Bermuda, until her family moved back to England. They settled in Shelley, West Yorkshire, where Lena grew up. By her own admission, Lena was rebellious and frequently skipped school, spending the day riding around on trains. Lena describes herself as a "Northern girl". She also never thought of herself as particularly good looking.
At the age of 17, a casting agent noticed Lena in a publicity photo for a Shelley High School drama competition at the Royal National Theatre, which started her acting career. Headey did not attend a formal drama school, but instead acts instinctively. Describing her acting process, she said: "You make-believe that you are that person and that your environment is real. That's the only way I can do it. I can’t fake it. I can't be like, 'I'll just pretend to be-' Clearly I'm not a queen. The wig and the costume all help."
Lena has suffered from bouts of clinical depression since she was 15 years old, when she was officially diagnosed. She eventually learned to manage it without taking medication, because she was extremely worried about becoming dependent on it. Lena described herself as functioning fairly well until the birth of her son in 2010 (near the end of her filming on Season 1 of Game of Thrones), after which she developed postpartum depression. In reaction, she did start taking several homeopathic remedies, but she still does not want to become dependent on prescribed medication. As Headey said,
- "...Then I had postnatal depression, which I didn't realise for a long time. I went a bit nuts and eventually went to a guy who mixes Western and Eastern philosophy in terms of medicine and he put me on a course of something that changed everything. But I would never want to be dependent [on medication]."
Lena married Irish musician Peter Loughran in May 2007. They had a son together, Wylie Loughran, born in March 2010. Lena's pregnancy coincided with much of her filming for Season 1 of Game of Thrones, but the production team was so enthusiastic about her performance - and the larger scale concern of having Headey play Cersei for several years - that they didn't recast the role but instead worked around it. For example, directors in Season 1 kept the camera frame above her waist or had her sit at a table. For wide shots when Cersei was walking around, most of Cersei's costumes in Season 1 had large billowing sleeves which she carried in front of her to hide her pregnancy. At other times, body doubles were shot from behind in quick-cuts.
She separated from Peter Loughran in 2011 (during or near the end of production on Season 2), and they formally filed for divorce in July 2012 (at the beginning of production on Season 3). The divorce was finalized a year and a half later in December 2013 (just after production on Season 4 finished).
On February 15, 2015, Lena announced in People magazine that she is pregnant with her second child, due in summer 2015. She did not say who the father was. In an interview with MORE magazine in April 2015, she explained that after the media focus around the divorce that ended her first marriage, she doesn't want to publicly reveal details about her relationships.
On July 10, 2015, Lena announced the birth of her second child via Twitter, exclaiming "Just fallen in unconditional heartbreaking divine love for the second time."
Multiple reports have described Lena Headey as both very foul-mouthed and very funny.
|Game of Thrones Season 1 credits|
|Winter Is Coming||The Kingsroad||Lord Snow||Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things||The Wolf and the Lion|
|A Golden Crown||You Win or You Die||The Pointy End||Baelor||Fire and Blood|
|Game of Thrones Season 2 credits|
|The North Remembers||The Night Lands||What Is Dead May Never Die||Garden of Bones||The Ghost of Harrenhal|
|The Old Gods and the New||A Man Without Honor||The Prince of Winterfell||Blackwater||Valar Morghulis|
|Game of Thrones Season 3 credits|
|Valar Dohaeris||Dark Wings, Dark Words||Walk of Punishment||And Now His Watch Is Ended||Kissed by Fire|
|The Climb||The Bear and the Maiden Fair||Second Sons||The Rains of Castamere||Mhysa|
|Game of Thrones Season 4 credits|
|Two Swords||The Lion and the Rose||Breaker of Chains||Oathkeeper||First of His Name|
|The Laws of Gods and Men||Mockingbird||The Mountain and the Viper||The Watchers on the Wall||The Children|
|Game of Thrones Season 5 credits|
|The Wars to Come||The House of Black and White||High Sparrow||Sons of the Harpy||Kill the Boy|
|Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken||The Gift||Hardhome||The Dance of Dragons||Mother's Mercy|
|Game of Thrones Season 6 credits|
|The Red Woman||Home||Oathbreaker||Book of the Stranger||The Door|
|Blood of My Blood||The Broken Man||No One||Battle of the Bastards||The Winds of Winter|
|Game of Thrones Season 7 credits|
|Dragonstone||Stormborn||The Queen's Justice||The Spoils of War|
|Eastwatch||Beyond the Wall||The Dragon and the Wolf|
|Game of Thrones Season 8 credits|
|Winterfell||A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms||The Long Night|
|The Last of the Starks||The Bells||The Iron Throne|
|Game of Thrones: A Telltale Games Series credits|
|Iron From Ice||The Lost Lords||The Sword in the Darkness|
|Sons of Winter||A Nest of Vipers||The Ice Dragon|
- The SFX Book of Game of Thrones
- Cersei Lannister Is the Queen of Bad Decision-Making, Vulture, 2015 May 25.
- Game of Thrones star Lena Headey: I believe Cersei is very frightened and paranoid, The Telegraph, Lena Headey interview, March 25, 2014.
- Lena Headey Expecting Second Child, People, 2015 February 15.
- Game of Thrones' Lena Headey Talks Depression & Divorce: "It's a Mourning Process, and Yet Nobody's Died", E! Online.
- Tweet from @IAMLenaHeadey, 2015 July 10.
- Pronounced "Lee-nuh Hee-dee"