Sophie Turner is best known for her role as Sansa Stark on “Game of Thrones.” With a character arc for the ages, Sansa is strong and prepared to fight for her beliefs.
Sophie is taking her capacity for strong female characters and adding archery to their skill set. A GQ interview shows Turner learning archery for her role as a young Jean Grey in “X-Men: Apocalypse.”
Famke Janssen played Jean Grey’s adult role in previous movies in the “X-Men” trilogy. Disclaimer: No staff were harmed while making this video. (The arrows she shoots are soft rubber.)
The GQ video shows Turner practicing her archery skills around the studio while trying to maintain her tough persona. She doesn’t succeed, and breaks character after every good shot to celebrate in disbelief. She even uses her poor PA (production assistant) as a target while she tries (and fails) to shoot an apple off his head. The video later shows Turner apologizing after nailing him in the face. See, she’s not a monster.
“Yeah I could take on Ygritte,” Turner says in the interview, referring to a fellow “Game of Thrones” character who’s adept at archery. Ygritte shot John Snow off a horse in Season 3. “I think I have the upper hand,” Turner said. “I mean, did you see what I just did? That was amazing. I should win the award for being the biggest boss-ass b**ch around town.”
In this movie, Jean Grey’s powers include telepathy and telekinesis. So, why add archery to her repertoire? Turner teases her answer in the video by simply saying, “It’s Jean’s hobby.”
The actress didn’t walk into this new role as an expert archer. She had to hone her skills with coaching help from “X-Men” director Bryan Singer.
Actors are often a source of idealism for the general public. We want what they have. Every time a new actor or actress tries archery, it demonstrates to fans that they can do it to. They begin to say: “if Sophie Turner can do it, so can I.” “I want to be like Sansa”, or “I want to be like Jean Grey.” Archery shown in the media can spark empowerment in the viewers. Seeing strong characters on screen sparks a desire for that strength in our own lives.
Archery training requires a full-body workout. To shoot well consistently, an archer’s muscles must be strong enough to support every movement. The more well-oiled the machine, the better it runs.
Livestrong put it this way: “Archery involves your entire body. Your arms and upper back draw the bow and hold it, but you need the rest of your body to provide support. In a proper shooting stance, you are standing upright with your feet parallel in a square stance or slightly staggered in an open stance. A long shooting session requires endurance in the muscles responsible for extension at your hips and knees. These include the gluteus maximus, semitendinosus, semimembranosus and biceps femoris for hip extension, while the quadriceps are responsible for knee extension.”
You got that, right? When learning archery, let’s hope Turner remembered not to make these archery mistakes. Archery360 reminds us: “Your foot position – your stance – provides the foundation for you entire shot. If your stance is changing, your arrows will likely hit different spots on your target.”
The article also advises: “Your anchor point – the place on your face or lower jaw where you anchor your drawn bowstring – is one of the most important parts of the shot, especially for beginning archers.”
Sophie appears to not use any particular point on her face to anchor. Maybe she adjusted that for the final cut of the film.
Either way, Sophie Turner appeared to have lots of fun learning archery for her role. Whether Jean Grey uses archery to hone her telekinesis (picture stopping a speeding arrow in mid-air), or as a way to have fun in her down time, we’re excited to see it. Welcome to the ranks of powerful female archers, Sophie. To see her hard work pay, watch “X-Men: Apocalypse” in theaters now.