WCW: Lena Headey


We’ve talked about a few of British actress Lena Headey’s historical costume movie/TV show roles, but really only scratched the surface. Let’s run down this actress who has done much more than just Game of Thrones!


The Remains of the Day (1993)

Yep, she played “Lizzie” (it’s been so long that I don’t remember the role, but looks like she’s a servant?) in the 1930s-set Merchant/Ivory film.

1993 The Remains of the Day

I’m guessing servant having an affair with the boss’s son?

1993 The Remains of the Day

In civvies.

1993 The Remains of the Day

And in uniform.


Century (1993)

Set in the late 19th century, a Jewish doctor discovers another is sterilizing women. Headey plays “Miriam.”

1993 Century

A patient? Dunno! Nice blouse tho!


How We Used to Live (1993)

Per Wikipedia, “series traced the lives and fortunes of various fictional Yorkshire families from the Victorian era until the early 1970s.”

1993 How We Used to Live

I’m guessing this is supposed to be 19th century?

1993 How We Used to Live

What’s with all the ringlets under the dowdy caps?


The Jungle Book (1994)

An adaptation of the Ridyard Kipling story, set in 1890s India. Headey plays the romantic interest of Mowgli, who was raised by animals.

1994 The Jungle Book

Ah, the 1990s, the era of raisin lipstick.

1994 The Jungle Book

Lots of frilly white.

1994 The Jungle Book

Of course she’s down with the critters.

1994 The Jungle Book


1994 The Jungle Book

Another view of frills. Okay, technically, lace.


Gentlemen Don’t Eat Poets (1995)

Headey plays the daughter of a paleontologist. I have no idea.

1995 Gentlemen Don't Eat Poets

Mid-20th century?

1995 Gentlemen Don't Eat Poets

1950s maybe?


Mrs. Dalloway (1997)

An older woman in 1923 flashes back to her youth. Headey plays the best friend, Sally.

1997 Mrs Dalloway

With a lot of hair, but in a “we’re casual friends hanging out” sort of way.

1997 Mrs Dalloway

They’re SUPER affectionate friends!


Merlin (1998)

Technically fantasy, but whatever. Headey plays Guinevere in this adaptation of the King Arthur story.

1998 Merlin

Sarah would know if this headdress is complete bullshit or not.

1998 Merlin

I guess we’re going Anglo-Saxon here?


Onegin (1999)

An incredibly boring movie set in 1830s Russia. Headey plays the older sister of main character Tatanya (Liv Tyler).

1999 Onegin

Both sisters clearly have the same hairdresser.

1999 Onegin

Turkey red cotton print?

1999 Onegin

It’s pretty! Just super boring!


The Gathering Storm (2002)

Winston Churchill’s rise to power up to the beginning of World War II. Headey has a small but chicly-dressed part as a government official’s wife.

2002 The Gathering Storm


2002 The Gathering Storm

Sparkly evening wear!

2002 The Gathering Storm

Great Marcel wave!


Black Plague (2002)

I keep trying to force myself to watch this for Snark Week. A straight-to-video movie about a 14th-century village who hosts a French captive, and people start dying…

2002 Black Plague

I like that she’s wearing a veil!

2002 Black Plague

And her hair’s up?


Possession (2002)

A story split between two modern day researchers who are investigating two 19th-century poets. Headey plays the ex-girlfriend of the female poet.

2002 Possession

I think she’s a pre-raphaelite?

2002 Possession

Glasses to make her look serious.


The Brothers Grimm (2005)

Technically another fantasy story, but half of it is set in the real world. It’s about the famed folklorists, although it turns them into con-men. Set in the 1820s, I think? Headey plays the daughter of a woodsman turned into a werewolf. As one does.

2005 The Brothers Grimm

She’s all rough and tumble.

2005 The Brothers Grimm

That bodice looks very Swiss?

2005 The Brothers Grimm

Ready for the Renaissance faire?


300 (2006) & 300: Rise of an Empire (2014)

A highly fictionalized story of 480 BCE Battle of Thermopylae between the Spartans and Persians. Headey plays Gorgo, Queen of Sparta, and has some hot sex with Gerard Butler. She’s also in the sequel, but I can’t tell which (if any) of these pics are from that.

2006 300

They’re not shy about skin in Sparta, apparently.

2014 300- Rise of an Empire

She does look gorgeous and badass!

2014 300- Rise of an Empire

Hey, I’d wear that if I could pull it off!


The Red Baron (2008)

A biographical film about World War I flying ace Manfred von Richthofen; sadly, not about Snoopy. She plays Richthofen’s nurse and the two, of course, fall in love.

2008 The Red Baron

Ho hum!

2008 The Red Baron

Okay, that’s cute but very 1920s!


The Adventurer: the Curse of the Midas Box (2013)

A fantasy adventure film costumed in the bustle era (1870s-80s). Read Sarah’s posts about it to know more, I know nothing.

2013 The Adventurer- the Curse of the Midas Box

That is gorgeous!

2013 The Adventurer- The Curse of the Midas Box



Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2015)

The horror-light retelling of the famous Jane Austen novel. Headey plays a badass Lady Catherine de Bourgh.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2015)

Complete with eyepatch.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2015)

No sitting around bitching for this Lady Catherine!

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2015)

An excellent pelisse.

2016 Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

And I loved this hairstyle!


The White House Plumbers (coming this year)

An upcoming TV miniseries about Watergate, which is super zeitgeisty these days! Headey will play Dorothy Hunt, wife of one of the co-conspirators.

The White House Plumbers (2022)


What’s your favorite of Lena Headey’s frock flick roles? And no, Game of Thrones doesn’t count!

12 Responses

  1. Aleko

    The crown with the dangly bits in ‘Merlin’ is trying to be a Byzantine imperial crown like the ones Justinian and Theodora are wearing in the 6th-century mosaics at San Vitale in Ravenna; it’s just not quite working.

  2. Kat

    The OG live action Jungle Book definitely jumpstarted my childhood crush on both Cary Elwes and Lena Headey. Although I was never sure how her white dresses stayed so pristine while she’s romping around the jungle.

  3. Queen Eleanor's Crown on a Blustery Day

    Every time that I ever see Keira Knightley in anything, I am always wishing it was Lena Headey instead. Some actors are just too contemporary and need to stay fixed in the 20th century – to present time. Headey seems to be stellar in any century.

  4. Roxana

    Re. Queen Guinevere’s crown; it has a definite Byzantine vibe and those dangly ornaments were totally a thing on early English crowns so I’d give it a pass.
    I love Lena Headey no matter what she’s in, and she’s been in a lot of poor movies.

  5. hsc

    “What’s with all the ringlets under the dowdy caps?”

    Originally I was thinking that maybe they were going for a Staithes bonnet, which is traditional women’s work headgear linked to Yorkshire, but the images look off overall.

    Digging a little deeper in the Wikipedia entry on this long-running (1968-2002) series shows that by 1993, the series had expanded from the original “Victorian era until the early 1970s” framework it had for decades and had begun to show earlier periods like the Tudor and Stuart eras.

    The ones with Lena Headey were a three-part set of episodes titled “In Civil War,” so they’re going for 17th century rather than 19th century.

  6. MJ

    I loved her in Possession; it’s a so-so adaptation of a really good book, and Headey’s performance is amazing.

  7. Kelly

    Funny, a couple of days ago I watched a film called “Clothes in the Wardrobe” from early 1990s–it was “Introducing Lena Headey”. I’d seen it years earlier as (I think) “The Summer House”, and it stars Julie Walters, Joan Plowright and Jeanne Moreau, with Headey as a reluctant bride in 1950s Croydon, England. Great period detail of clothes and decor.

  8. Roxana

    My but she looks good in that eyepatch! I like her costumes in 300 too, but you have to be really toned to wear them!

  9. Lily Lotus Rose

    Lena Headey is awesome!! Fave FrockFlick role is her character in Possession, more so because Possession is one of my favorite movies than because of her character. She was badass in 300, and I’m think all the pics you showed were from the first movie (which I’ve seen) rather than the second (which I haven’t). She was also a badass in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but I’m pretty sure that I remember her bitching. I mean, that’s a definitive characteristic of Lady Catherine, isn’t it? Wow. She was in so much that I’ve forgotten about and/or always wanted to see but never quite got around to. I really want to see what, if any, chemistry she managed to have with Ralph Fiennes and Natasha McElhone.

    But I think my fave parts of this post are when you get relaxed and write things like, “Technically fantasy, but whatever,” and “I have no idea.” That just makes me smile! Thanks for this post.

  10. Lily Lotus Rose

    Correction: “…what, if any, chemistry she has with Joseph Fiennes…” I mean they’re both fienne but Joseph is no Ralph and vice versa.


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