Over his two-decade profession, Paddy Considine has performed cops, ex-cons, clergymen, architects, struggling actors, union organizers and rock band managers. However when his agent instructed him that Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik needed him to play King Viserys I Targaryen in HBO’s “Recreation of Thrones” prequel collection, “Home of the Dragon,” he couldn’t fairly consider 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 on account of his feeling that the trade at massive had solely ever seen him because the working-class striver he made his title taking part in within the 2000s, in movies akin to “In America,” “My Summer time of Love” and “Cinderella Man.”
“I felt like I couldn’t break away from it,” he says. “I used to be completely satisfied 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 throughout the Targaryen dynasty, as Viserys defends his resolution 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, moderately than his youthful brother, Daemon (Matt Smith), or his youngsters 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 youngsters 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 almost certainly “a type of leprosy”) — till the monarch lastly perishes in Episode 8. The character’s excessive bodily decline, nevertheless, wasn’t the first draw for the actor.
“I cherished his virtues,” he says. “In that world the place all people’s combating over this seat, he was anyone who wasn’t corrupted by it. I believed this can 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 weak work thus far.
Do you know from the beginning that he would solely final for one season?
Yeah, I used to be instructed 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. Generally 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 executed an enormous theater run within the West Finish and New York. As a result of I wasn’t educated in performing, I felt like, someway, I lastly executed my college and discovered one thing concerning the craft.
What do you assume you probably did in another way, having had that have?
I discovered a way of freedom. There’s nowhere to cover on stage. Generally in characters, I’d hidden in them, as a substitute of categorical them, if that is smart. A few of my performances over time have been: “How superbly restrained by Considine.” However I’d see somebody who’s scared to do something, to actually soar the fences and dive in there. Viserys gave me the chance to do 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 strain to comply with “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 already know, Matt [Smith] mentioned to me someday, 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 strain in that manner. I simply felt a way of duty to that character.
How did you put together to play Viserys?
A variety of it was emotional stuff that I may relate to. I’ve bought teenage daughters; I may relate to that facet of it. I’ve misplaced individuals in my life that I like; I may relate to that. After which the principle 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 type of rotting. He smells.
So how did you kind out the place Viserys was in time as you have been taking pictures?
There was specific amount of, like, in Episode 2, he’s bought 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 unhealthy he bought in Episode 8. My father died of most cancers, and that sluggish 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 during which I may reduce weight. I used to be taking pictures different episodes and we have been leaping round an excessive amount of. Then the concept that he’d misplaced a watch. Then the concept that 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 anyone sympathetic and delightful who’s nonetheless attempting to carry on to their dignity, however in addition 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 concerning the [Song of Ice and Fire] prophecy. We shot that twice. To be honest, it was Milly’s first day, and regardless that I’m doing all of the speaking, it’s an enormous quantity to place anyone 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 kind of dialogue —it doesn’t come straightforward. So I used to be actually placing that perception in it, just like the world itself relied on 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 folks preserve coming as much as me and I needed to play all these totally different scenes with totally different individuals. He’s slowly getting extra drunk, and all of it will get an excessive amount of for him. I simply cherished taking part in that construct up till ultimately he goes exterior and breaks down, as a result of he is likely to be incorrect concerning the prophecy.
In these scenes, I may see how Viserys was actually beginning to hate the job of being king.
Yeah. I believe he noticed via it. He noticed via individuals. He was rather a lot wiser than individuals give him credit score for. He’s not silly. The state of affairs with Rhaenyra and her youngsters, he was very alive to that. That’s how I at all times performed it. But it surely’s like all 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 demise of Viserys’ first spouse, Aemma (Sian Brooke), from a botched C-section delivery — was so formative to your conception of your character.
Whenever you’re engaged on one thing like that, you possibly can nonetheless be type of fluid. That demise scene was a tricky couple of days work, notably for Sian. It was so emotional, that it actually cemented the love that Viserys felt for her. You already know, individuals misunderstood and thought that he’d determined to kill his spouse. However that wasn’t the case. She and the newborn 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 become 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 into sick early on, it was virtually a manifestation of the guilt that he felt over Aemma’s demise. 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 virtually accepted his destiny, actually, as punishment.
How did it really feel to play somebody who grew to become so infirm and weak 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 look at. Additionally, my spouse and daughter watched Episode 8 when it aired within the U.Ok. I used to be in one other room as a result of I didn’t wish to see it. My spouse says, “You’ve executed the work. It’s essential to see it,” and he or she 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 anyone who’s dying is an odd factor, particularly a chronic demise. Whenever 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 contemporary air, as a result of I used to be almost passing out. It’s virtually 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 serious about your father whenever you have been filming Viserys’ deathbed scenes?
Yeah, I undoubtedly was. My father was actually combating. The nurses got here round, they mentioned he has 24 hours. Then it was three days later, and so they’re taking a look at you going, I don’t know what’s conserving him going. I bear in mind someday trying 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 already know, that is huge stuff, however occasions in his life, he’d tried to take his personal life. After which after I see him dying, I wasn’t certain 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 go, 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 assume a part of why this function was so significant to is as a result of it assist you to entry this connection to your mother and father?
I do. Yeah. I believe that was most likely 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 understand how I really feel about it now. However I used to be undoubtedly taking part in each of them at occasions, simply because I’d skilled it, if that is smart.
It makes complete sense. Was it difficult in any respect to shake that off when you have been executed?
No, it wasn’t. I prefer to assume I’m fairly good at it. On the finish of the day, it’s executed and the garments are off. We have been additionally exhausted from the shoot and I believe I used to be able to get out of there. However I actually cherished 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 not less than I bought 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