A Fantasy Life for TV Starlet; Actress Sophie Turner First Appeared on Stage at the Age of Three in an Amateur Production in Warwick. She Talks to CATHERINE VONLEDEBUR about Her Rise to Fame and Becoming One of the Stars of TV's Hottest New Fantasy Drama Game of Thrones
Byline: CATHERINE VONLEDEBUR
YOUNG TV star Sophie Turner hates watching herself on TV.
When her parents tune in to see the hit HBO fantasy epic Game of Thrones, she has to go into another room.
The 17-year-old actress plays Sansa Stark in the US TV show but despite her steep rise to fame, she still lives with her mum and dad at their home near Leamington Spa.
"I really dislike watching myself on screen. I am very insecure about my acting. We are our own biggest critics. I have to sit in another room to my parents when they watch it," she says, cringing.
"They love it."
But the teenager need not worry - her acting has won her millions of fans and a Young Artist Award nomination as Best Supporting Young Actress in a TV Series.
Sophie was just 13 when she was cast as Sansa, the eldest daughter of the ill-fated Stark family. But she was already an experienced member of Warwick-based Playbox Theatre. "I first started acting when I was three and joined Playbox Theatre. That was how my obsession grew. I am still in Playbox.
"My first lead was in a production called Scary Play directed by Stewart McGill, who is amazing," she explains.
"Playbox is a fun environment. It's not just a place for kids to hang around and be silly. We are all very serious about acting. They do not mould you into the actor they want, but let you be yourself."
Sophie's mum Sally, a former nursery school teacher, explains: "Two of the most memorable productions Sophie was in at Playbox were Red and Se7en, which was circus based; and at school she was very funny as the scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz."
Sophie auditioned for the part of Sansa at King's High School in Warwick, where she was a pupil.
She says: "Playbox put me up for a lot of auditions, but it was through my drama teacher at school I heard about the Game of Thrones audition. The casting director knew about the drama department at our school.
"I had four more call backs in London.
It was really intense, but fun. I did a lot of chemistry tests with other people - the last one was with Maisie (Williams) who plays Arya. She is lovely."
When Sophie was first cast in Game of Thrones her parents had mixed feelings.
Sally says: "It was really exciting, but a bit scary as we had no knowledge of that world. I had to chaperone for her when she first started at 13. Her scenes are filmed in Belfast and Croatia, but the series is also shot in Iceland and Morocco. It is a fascinating process to watch.
"Game of Thrones is brilliantly done, and keeps you hooked. Sophie is a very lucky girl."
The teenager had to forget everything she knew about working on stage and develop her camera work, but from the outset was surrounded by people who were able to offer helpful advice and tips.
Like her character Sansa, Sophie has two older brothers - James, aged 25, a doctor, and Will, aged 23, who has just graduated from university.
"On set everyone is friends with everyone. I am really close with Natalie Dormer (Margary Baratheon) and Sibel Kekilli (Shae).
"Jack Gleeson who plays Joffrey is one of the most lovely, intelligent and funny people on set - he's just so nice, unlike his character.
"Kit (Harrington) is lovely but I do not get so many scenes with him. He's like an older brother to me, as is Richard (Madden - who plays Rob Stark)."
Game of Thrones has been a huge hit in the US and on Sky Atlantic in the UK. …