Over his two-decade profession, Paddy Considine has performed cops, ex-cons, monks, architects, struggling actors, union organizers and rock band managers. However when his agent informed him that Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik wished him to play King Viserys I Targaryen in HBO’s “Recreation of Thrones” prequel sequence, “Home of the Dragon,” he couldn’t fairly imagine it was actual.
“I mentioned, ‘Who’s turned this down?’ As a result of I’m cynical that manner,” he says. “My agent was like, ‘I guarantee you, they’re simply coming to you for it.’”
A part of Considine’s disbelief was attributable to his feeling that the business at giant had solely ever seen him because the working-class striver he made his identify taking part in within the 2000s, in movies equivalent to “In America,” “My Summer season of Love” and “Cinderella Man.”
“I felt like I couldn’t break away from it,” he says. “I used to be joyful to behave. However I simply felt like I used to be able to a lot greater than what I used to be being given to play with.”
In Viserys, Considine felt he may lastly showcase the total breadth of his expertise. The primary season covers 20 years of in-fighting and betrayal inside the Targaryen dynasty, as Viserys defends his choice to call his daughter Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock within the first half of the season, Emma D’Arcy within the second half) as his inheritor to the Iron Throne, fairly than his youthful brother, Daemon (Matt Smith), or his kids by his second spouse, Alicent (Emily Carey within the first half, Olivia Cooke within the second). That battle grows much more troublesome after Rhaenyra’s kids are fathered by a person who isn’t her husband, an voiceless scandal that Viserys refuses to acknowledge.
In the meantime, all through the season, Viserys’ physique wastes away from an undiagnosed degenerative illness (that Considine says was probably “a type of leprosy”) — till the monarch lastly perishes in Episode 8. The character’s excessive bodily decline, nonetheless, wasn’t the first draw for the actor.
“I beloved his virtues,” he says. “In that world the place everyone’s combating over this seat, he was any person who wasn’t corrupted by it. I believed it will work if I could make him human.”
The 49-year-old talked with Selection about a few of his favourite moments over the course of the season, and the way taking part in the king of Westeros enabled him to ship a few of his most susceptible work so far.
Do you know from the beginning that he would solely final for one season?
Yeah, I used to be informed that. That was the primary tiny little bit of disappointment. However then I noticed the character arc and his demise, and I believed he was a present. Typically issues simply come to you on the proper moments. I really feel like I used to be prepared for him. A few years earlier, I wouldn’t have performed him so nicely, bizarrely. However I’ve finished a giant theater run within the West Finish and New York. As a result of I wasn’t skilled in appearing, I felt like, by some means, I lastly finished my college and realized one thing in regards to the craft.
What do you suppose you probably did in a different way, having had that have?
I realized a way of freedom. There’s nowhere to cover on stage. Typically in characters, I’d hidden in them, as an alternative of categorical them, if that is smart. A few of my performances through the years have been: “How fantastically restrained by Considine.” However I’d see somebody who’s scared to do something, to actually bounce the fences and dive in there. Viserys gave me the chance to try this. I noticed all this battle in him. I noticed all this dignity. These have been actually attention-grabbing issues to play, to be a dignified man in that cutthroat world.
Do you are feeling just like the stress to observe “Recreation of Thrones” was not as nice for you since you knew the character’s full arc?
Yeah — and I simply had a way that it was going to be good. I simply did. You recognize, Matt [Smith] mentioned to me at some point, and it wasn’t in a derogatory manner: “You actually imply this, don’t you?” Yeah, in fact. That’s why I’m right here. I wasn’t simply there doing a gig. However very early on, I mentioned to myself, “If this present fails, it’s not my drawback. I’m not taking that on.” So I by no means felt stress in that manner. I simply felt a way of accountability to that character.
How did you put together to play Viserys?
Lots of it was emotional stuff that I may relate to. I’ve received teenage daughters; I may relate to that facet of it. I’ve misplaced individuals in my life that I really like; I may relate to that. After which the primary factor was to plot his bodily demise. We truly began taking pictures Episode 7 first, and he’s very far down the road by that point. So we needed to map out the place I believed he was going to be. He’s struggling badly. He’s sort of rotting. He smells.
So how did you type out the place Viserys was in time as you have been taking pictures?
There was certain quantity of, like, in Episode 2, he’s received half a finger. Episode 3, his fingers are beginning to go. By 4, he’s misplaced half of his arm. That needed to be labored out due to the VFX work for lacking digits and issues like that. The one factor that modified was how dangerous he received in Episode 8. My father died of most cancers, and that gradual decline, with that weight reduction, it’s simply an terrible factor to see. That got here in once we have been nicely into taking pictures, so there was no world through which I may shed pounds. I used to be taking pictures different episodes and we have been leaping round an excessive amount of. Then the concept he’d misplaced an eye fixed. Then the concept his cheek had rotted. After which he wears this masks. To me it was identical to, yeah, give me all of it. There was one thing about taking part in any person sympathetic and delightful who’s nonetheless attempting to carry on to their dignity, however additionally they very disfigured by all of it.
What have been some sequences or scenes from the season that introduced the character to life for you?
In Episode 1, the scene with Milly, the younger Rhaenyra, the place I inform her in regards to the [Song of Ice and Fire] prophecy. We shot that twice. To be truthful, it was Milly’s first day, and though I’m doing all of the speaking, it’s a giant quantity to place any person into. A scene like that’s higher when you’re established on this story a bit extra. So we went again and reshot it. Doing that form of dialogue —it doesn’t come straightforward. So I used to be actually placing that perception in it, just like the world itself trusted it — which it did. That was a scene that I used to be actually pleased with.
Episode 3 was nice on the hunt. I’m simply sitting on a chair all day and other people maintain coming as much as me and I needed to play all these completely different scenes with completely different individuals. He’s slowly getting extra drunk, and all of it will get an excessive amount of for him. I simply beloved taking part in that construct up till ultimately he goes outdoors and breaks down, as a result of he could be incorrect in regards to the prophecy.
In these scenes, I may see how Viserys was actually beginning to hate the job of being king.
Yeah. I feel he noticed by it. He noticed by individuals. He was loads wiser than individuals give him credit score for. He’s not silly. The scenario with Rhaenyra and her kids, he was very alive to that. That’s how I at all times performed it. Nevertheless it’s like several household that has these sorts of secrets and techniques: I used to be decided that it wouldn’t get out and I wouldn’t enable individuals to speak about it.
It’s exceptional to me that you simply shot Episode 7 first, since you’ve talked about how a lot the premiere episode — particularly the dying of Viserys’ first spouse, Aemma (Sian Brooke), from a botched C-section delivery — was so formative to your conception of your character.
Once you’re engaged on one thing like that, you may nonetheless be sort of fluid. That dying scene was a troublesome couple of days work, significantly for Sian. It was so emotional, that it actually cemented the love that Viserys felt for her. You recognize, individuals misunderstood and thought that he’d determined to kill his spouse. However that wasn’t the case. She and the child have been each going to die, it doesn’t matter what, however we may presumably save the kid if we carry out this process, which simply changed into butchery.
That’s the guilt that Viserys has carried with him. How she met her finish was one thing that haunted him for the remainder of his life. When he began to turn out to be sick early on, it was nearly a manifestation of the guilt that he felt over Aemma’s dying. So he simply allowed himself to get sicker and sicker. He by no means requested for a treatment. He by no means requested for assist. Viserys nearly accepted his destiny, actually, as punishment.
How did it really feel to play somebody who grew to become so infirm and susceptible and in a lot ache?
There’s a few issues in it. I’d seen sickness myself. My mother ended up blind and misplaced each of her legs to diabetes. She very a lot had these qualities that Viserys had, too. She tried to stay dignified, however there was part of her that had simply given up on herself. That was a troublesome factor as a son to observe. Additionally, my spouse and daughter watched Episode 8 when it aired within the U.Okay. I used to be in one other room as a result of I didn’t wish to see it. My spouse says, “You’ve finished the work. You want to see it,” and she or he confirmed me the episode. The top, when he lies within the mattress, it was very surprising to me, as a result of I seemed the picture of my dad when he was dying of most cancers. The picture of him.
Enjoying any person who’s dying is an odd factor, particularly a chronic dying. Once you do it over a interval of days, and your respiratory’s shallow — my oxygen degree began to go down. I needed to be taken off set and given common recent air, as a result of I used to be practically passing out. It’s nearly like your mind begins to inform your physique that you’re sick. It’s actually fairly bizarre.
If that is too private, please inform me, however have been you occupied with your father if you have been filming Viserys’ deathbed scenes?
Yeah, I positively was. My father was actually combating. The nurses got here round, they mentioned he has 24 hours. Then it was three days later, they usually’re you going, I don’t know what’s preserving him going. I keep in mind at some point wanting into his eyes, and I simply mentioned to him, “Dad…” — that is very troublesome. [Long pause.] However I mentioned, “Dad, simply let go. Simply let go, Dad.” And he couldn’t. He didn’t wish to let go. You recognize, that is large stuff, however instances in his life, he’d tried to take his personal life. After which once I see him dying, I wasn’t positive if he lastly was like, “Really, I actually wish to dwell,” or “I’m fucking frightened of dying.” I nonetheless don’t know to at the present time. However typically when individuals move, I really feel like they know. It’s like when a canine goes away to die by itself. And I felt that very a lot with Viserys.
Do you suppose a part of why this position was so significant to is as a result of it will let you entry this connection to your dad and mom?
I do. Yeah. I feel that was in all probability on the root of it. Because the character developed, it did enable me to entry that. I puzzled, was it a catharsis? I’m unsure if it even is now. I don’t know the way I really feel about it now. However I used to be positively taking part in each of them at instances, simply because I’d skilled it, if that is smart.
It makes whole sense. Was it difficult in any respect to shake that off when you have been finished?
No, it wasn’t. I prefer to suppose I’m fairly good at it. On the finish of the day, it’s finished and the garments are off. We have been additionally exhausted from the shoot and I feel I used to be able to get out of there. However I actually beloved Viserys, and I missed him. When Sequence 2 comes round, I want my comrades nicely, however there’s a touch of jealousy in there. As a result of I’m like, “Ah, I don’t get to dwell it once more.” However at the very least I received to inform a full story. He had a starting and he had an finish. And the top was fairly spectacular.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
‘Home of the Dragon’ Star Paddy Considine Particulars How His Private Loss Impressed King Viserys’ Tragic Decline