She’s basically grown up before our eyes; from the age of 12 to turning 18 this year (which we’re still having a hard time accepting), we’ve watched Game of Thrones’ Maisie Williams transform. Her scrappy, little Arya — the girl whose eyes were once protectively shielded against the world’s horrors — abruptly found herself on her own, and as just as a young Stark learned to rely on herself, so has Williams skillfully adapted to instant fame and picked up on her industry’s ways. Living out your childhood in this era of zero privacy and 110% judgement is a cruel awakening for anyone who chooses to be an entertainer (what a funny word that is!); Maisie admits she’s no exception. Speaking with the Evening Standard, Williams says she’s experienced internet trolling and bullying, but she knows to step away from the public eye when it gets to her:
‘I’ve been sat on a train, right next to my mum, with my phone in my hand and reading all sorts of abuse. I felt completely on my own.
[As her birthday approached] I thought, ‘It’s my 18th, I want to have fun and not worry about anything like that. I should just go to a field in the middle of nowhere,’ so I did. It was wonderful, it was so nice to be with my friends and people who really, really matter. Sometimes being in this industry and reading horrible things online — for anyone, not just me, for anyone — does get on top of you, so it’s nice to spend time with real people who are right in front of you. Your real friends, who take time out of their lives to come and spend time with you for your birthday. It really did just round off my year — or even my childhood — nicely I guess, ‘cos now I’m an adult.”
She’s also smart enough to not divulge certain information, like when asked about who she’s dating:
“My boyfriend is my boyfriend, and he’s very, very nice. He’s not an actor or anything, and no one will ever know who he is. Not in a mean way, that sounded so evil.”
Williams has already noticed the disparity in roles for men and women — especially in character descriptions — and she has a subversive plan for dealing with stereotypical bullshit.
“There are a lot of roles that come in that are ‘the girlfriend’ or ‘the hot piece’ in a movie or TV series. That’s something I’ve seen first-hand and read all the time. It will say ‘Derek: intelligent, good with kids, funny, really good at this’ and then it will say ‘Sandra: hot in a sort of cute way’ — and that’s all you get. That’s the way your character is described, so going into an audition you are channelling ‘hot’, which isn’t like a person, that’s not who a person is. That’s what I see and that’s what needs to change. I’ve been lucky enough to play a very great female character from a young age, who is a fantastic role model for girls.
I just hope that if we stop playing those characters, they’ll stop being written. It’s a very big thing to say for me, on behalf of all the women in this industry.”
I’m ashamed at my own naiveté; yes, I am slightly surprised there are still such sparse character descriptions being written, and I despise the idea that young actresses being handed crap like that. Heck, if it’s coming through her agent, I’d have a word and tell her not to even pass along scripts that contain a character who is nothing more than “hot;” that’s another good way to weed out the shit and at the same time, send out a message. You know what, though — Maisie doesn’t need my advice — she’s doing just fine on her own.