Paddy Considine got the shock of his life when he was offered the role of King Viserys I in House of the Dragon, but it's certainly not an opportunity he was going to pass up.
The Targaryen ruler, the British star — whose previous credits include Peaky Blinders and Hot Fuzz — finds himself at the center of a bitter family dispute that triggers the downfall of one of Westeros' most powerful dynasties.
Yet when HBO first contacted him about being in the highly-anticipated 10-part Game of Thrones spin-off, he almost rejected it out of hand as he didn't realize what a large part he'd been offered.
'I've been offered parts in big projects in the past and been very excited,' he says. 'But then I read the scripts and I'm only in a couple of scenes. I don't take them because I'm not prepared to sign my life away to stand in the background.
'So when they asked me to play Viserys I was expecting to another one of those, but when I read it I realised it wasn't. My first question was: "Who's turned this down?" but no one had and I was the first actor to be cast in the show, which was really flattering. Oddly enough, I felt like I'd been waiting for a part like this to come along because I loved Viserys immediately.'
With no son and heir to secure his legacy, Viserys' reign is soon engulfed by a succession crisis as his volatile younger brother, Prince Daemon (Matt Smith) and his teenage daughter Princess Rhynaera (Milly Alcock and later Emma D'Arcy) jostle for position.
Rhynaera is a more suitable candidate, but she would be the first woman in history to ascend the Iron Throne and Viserys knows overturning centuries of history could plunge the Targaryen dynasty into turmoil.
'People say he's a good man and a good man can't be a good king, but I think that's a bit derivative,' explains Paddy. 'He’s a good man and he wants to be a peaceful King, so he's perceived as weak or not doing his job, but just because he’s a good man, doesn’t mean he’s not a wise man. In reality, he has a lot of weight on his shoulders.
'As I play a character during a long shoot, you start to bring elements of yourself into it and it used to secretly annoy me that people perceived him as being weak and vulnerable because he's not. It made me a bit angry. That was something that struck a chord in Paddy, not Viserys, I'm not f*****g weak. I'll show you that. I'm not weak. I can't cut your head off. But I'm going to show you that I'm not weak."
More House of the Dragon
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Sean has been writing about all things telly for over 10 years and in that time he's been lucky enough to interview stars like Ian McKellen, Tom Hardy and Kate Winslet. His favourite shows are The Great British Bake-Off, People Just Do Nothing and Succession and in his spare time he enjoys drinking tea, doing crosswords and watching football.
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