Posts Tagged ‘interviews’

Game of Thrones Q&A: Rory McCann/The Hound

Monday, April 7th, 2014

You guys are shooting in Iceland this year — where you used to live, right?

I hadn’t shot in Iceland with Game of Thrones before — I’d always shot in Malta or Croatia, and [I] was far too hot in that armor. When I was told I was going to Iceland, I couldn’t believe it. Six or seven years ago I went there to do a Viking film, and at the end of it they were like, “You’re going now?” “No, I’m staying.” “No, no, the job’s over.” [firmly] “No. I’ve got my tent. And I’m staying. Thank you very much.” I phoned my agent and went “Don’t phone me unless I’ve definitely got a job.” He didn’t phone me for a year. [Laughs] “Hello? Anything?” I ended up being a carpenter, building houses. Then their whole market crashed, and I borrowed some money off an actor pal that I met up there and hitched out of the place.

I got there last year to do [this season of] Game of Thrones. I’d hitched out of the place on borrowed money, and suddenly there’s this beautiful blonde driver beside this white Range Rover, all smoked out, going [in Scandinavian accent] “Hello, my name is Herta. Should we go skinny dipping before we go to the hotel?” [Laughs] “That would be lovely, Herta.”

Then I was meeting people over there that still didn’t know me as an actor, they just knew me as the guy who used to go to the library. Some still thought I was a local there. I met old friends again, had my bicycle again, did all my old things again. I only partied on the last night, because I was behaving myself. I thought I was gonna have to get my top off for a scene, so I was working out — I mean, I didn’t even drink water for the last 24 hours. On the day, the director comes up to me, and I’ve got dumbells on set, like [makes weightlifting motions] “YEAH! UHHH! FUCKIN’ READY!!!” He touches me on the shoulder and goes “Rory, I was thinking about it last night — I think we’ll just keep the top on,” and leaves me. “Fucking…I haven’t been out for fucking four months! I haven’t had a beer in fucking three months!”

So that night, Maisie was there, it was our last night in Iceland, it was my one night out…and we got stopped by the police. [Laughs] We were all in a van, we had a designated driver, and we were all drunk — but for Maisie, of course — and singing. The police stopped us, he had his hand on the holster, and the driver went “It’s the cast of Game of Thrones.” “Oh yeah? Open up.” I had the nearest seat. I’ve obviously had a few drinks, and I’m very excited. He looks at me, and I go [booming voice] “Hello! I’m the Hound!” And he looks and says “…Hello, Hound! You enjoy Iceland?” I said a few things in Icelandic, and he’s like “Fuck yeah! Well, you have a good time!” And we went on singing. [Laughs]

I interviewed Rory McCann, aka Sandor Clegane, aka the Hound, for Rolling Stone, and it was my favorite interview ever.


Q&A: Darren Aronofsky on “Noah”

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

I interviewed director Darren Aronofsky about his upcoming Biblical epic Noah, which is set in a timeless non-Biblical fantasy world, interestingly. Key concepts: “this isn’t your grandmother’s Bible,” giant monsters, theodicy, Patti Smith writing a lullaby for Russell Crowe to sing to Emma Watson and recording it with the Kronos Quartet and Clint Mansell.


Spurgeon/McCulloch/Collins

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

Over at The Comics Reporter, Joe “Jog” McCulloch and I talked about the year in the alternative comics business (as opposed to the art form) with Tom Spurgeon. Note: The end of the interview was cut off—it should read “we cannot get out. The end comes soon. We hear drums, drums in the deep. THEY ARE COMING”


Comics Criticism

Friday, November 8th, 2013

Last week, Frank Santoro interviewed me about the state of comics criticism for his column in The Comics Journal. Frank and I were concerned about the seemingly dwindling pool of people writing substantial reviews of alternative/art comics and all the attendant problems — the still smaller number of women writing about them despite the huge number of women making and reading them, the lack of critical evaluation provided to the newest generation of artcomix makers, the outsize influence of the foibles of those of us who are left, and so on. The interview sparked responses from Ng Suat Tong, Heidi MacDonald, and Frank himself that are worth reading, as are the comment threads attached to all those posts (particularly this comment by Peggy Burns); I also got a lot out of the twitter exchange I had with Sarah Horrocks.


Breaking Bad Q&A: Betsy Brandt

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

I interviewed Betsy Brandt, aka Marie Schrader from Breaking Bad, for Rolling Stone. I got to use the phrase “purple reign,” which is my all-time favorite pun.


Breaking Bad Q&A: Dean Norris / Breaking Bad Thoughts, Season Five, Episode Ten: “Buried”

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Last week I interviewed Dean Norris, aka Hank Schrader, for Rolling Stone. This week I reviewed the latest episode of the show. Usually I post quotes from these things but we’re so close to the end now that I’m afraid to screw anything up for anyone, so take my word that they’re worth reading, I guess.


Under the Dome with Brian K. Vaughan

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Over at Rolling Stone, I spoke with writer/showrunner Brian K. Vaughan about Under the Dome, his ambitious summertime 13-episode adaptation of the Stephen King novel of the same name. I’ve interviewed Brian for a pretty wide range of publications — Wizard, Maxim, a cover story for The Comics Journal, and now RS — and the local-boy-made-good feeling I got when I saw his name listed right after Stephen King and Steven Spielberg in the executive-producer credits was pretty delightful.


“Disgusting Creatures”: The Simon Hanselmann interview

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

I interviewed Simon Hanselmann, creator of Megg, Mogg, and Owl, for The Comics Journal. We’ve both been looking forward to this for a long time, and I’m as proud of it as I’ve ever been of an interview I’ve done. Please check it out.


“Game of Thrones” Q&A: Joe Dempsie on Gendry’s long, strange trip

Thursday, June 6th, 2013


This is awkward to bring up, but youre a good-looking guy. I think that’s safe to say.

[Laughs] Thanks, Sean.

My pleasure! There’s a sense that with your character, and then this season also with Robb and Jon and Jamie, that theres now a movement within the show to show off the male characters the way the female characters have been shown off. When you have those scenes where you take your tunic or whatever off, people go berserk. Im curious what thats like as an actor.

It’s kind of weird, because from my personal point of view, you don’t really want to do nudity unless it’s appropriate, and unless it’s relevant to the storyline and it makes sense to do it in the scene. There’s a scene in Season Two where I’m forging a sword with no top on for no apparent reason. It’s amazing what a bit of soot and shaving can do for muscle definition, honestly. I didn’t recognize that torso.

I think David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss, the showrunners] still try to … there is a bit of a responsibility to try and even up the balance a little bit. You can’t let the ladies do it all. But I think they do try and keep it within reasonable parameters. That scene where I’m forging the sword, I’m saying that it’s gratuitous, but the idea they wanted to convey was that … it was more for Arya than anything to do with my character. It was them trying to imply that Arya’s becoming a woman now and she’s dealing with feelings that she’s maybe not experienced before. I think they just want to hint at that – I’m saying “subtly,” but … [Laughs] But it’s not something I want to make a particular habit of.

When I was cast as Gendry, I didn’t have any of the physical attributes the part required. I was astounded that I got the role, to be honest. But David and Dan said, “We need to die his hair black … and it’d be great you hit the gym before we start filming.” So I was told to get in shape. I suppose you’ve got to look like you’re made of steel for nudity. You’ve got to get some arms on you. The reaction is not something I pay too much attention to. You don’t want to be a torso. You don’t want that to be what you’re known for. I think if it’s overshadowing your acting, you need to up your game a little bit.

I interviewed Joe Dempsie, aka Gendry, for Rolling Stone. Another thoughtful, insightful, articulate, engaging actor from this cast. It’s really been eye-opening, talking to these people.


Bloggingheads: Game of Thrones and Mad Men

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

I had a nice long conversation about two of my favorite shows with one of my favorite critics, Alyssa Rosenberg, on her Bloggingheads.tv show Critic Proof. Topics include the Red Wedding (of course), Catelyn Stark, spectacle and gore, the horrors of war, world-historical events as “monster of the week,” whether character growth is necessary, repetition vs. novelty, and much more. At the link, you can even download an mp3 version if you don’t feel like watching it as a video. Enjoy!


“Game of Thrones” Q&A: Gwendoline Christie on the Education of Brienne of Tarth

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013


You’ve spoken very frankly about how your unusual height has affected your life, and some of your modeling work seems to touch on this as well – taking ownership of your physical body. Brienne has struggled with her physicality as well. She’s gone a different road, obviously – she’s a warrior, not an actor – but I wonder if you see overlap between her and yourself.

Absolutely. That’s why I wanted to play the part so much. I never thought I’d ever come across a part like this. I was always told about this in drama school, that occasionally you might come across a part where you say, “Yeah, I know that. I know it. I don’t have to pretend to try and get there. I know this.” As soon as I read about the character, I had to play it.

And it’s a character that we don’t see that often. I’m certainly really rather tall at 6 foot 3, and I’ve been this way since I was 14, but for years women who are even 5 foot 10 have come up to me in the street and said, “Oh, it’s so nice to see a woman who is taller than me. I’ve always felt like a giant.” They describe it to me like outsiders. It sounds a bit worthy, but I genuinely feel that as an actor part of my job is to highlight those recesses of human life and human psychology that we don’t see that often. And if I have the opportunity, which I very luckily have, to play the part of an outsider, then I felt like I might be doing some good. Occasionally I get messages from women saying that I’ve brought them some joy, and that’s unbelievably thrilling.

An additional wrinkle for Brienne is that she’s pretty much universally seen as ugly. When you’re made up to look that way, when you change your hair and your demeanor and your physicality to look that way, does it change how you feel?

Yeah, totally. As a woman, we all want to feel attractive. We all want to feel that we’re making the very best of ourselves so we can accept ourselves. It’s like all of these gorgeous, devastatingly beautiful actresses in the show, and then there’s me harrumphing around. [Laughs] So it can be tough to look like that.

But you have to step outside of that and think about what these things really mean. I am still a person with a sense of superficiality that I’m trying to challenge. I hope that it makes us examine exactly what “unattractive” is. Perhaps it’s not the conventions that we have or the blueprint in our minds. And if it makes people question for a minute what unattractive is, and the way in which we may respond as people to what we think unattractive is, then it’s worthwhile.

I interviewed Gwendoline Christie, aka Brienne of Tarth, for Rolling Stone. Man, this interview. Even by the high standards of this (in my experience) extraordinarily insightful cast, this was something.


“Game of Thrones” Q&A: Aidan Gillen on the Life of Littlefinger

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

How do you avoid mustache-twirling supervillain stereotypes while performing [Littlefinger's malevolent monologues]?

Keep the mustache short. That helps.

I interviewed Aidan Gillen, aka Lord Petyr Baelish, aka Littlefinger, for Rolling Stone. This was a fun one.


“Game of Thrones” Q&A: Maisie Williams on Arya Stark’s trial by fire

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

She obviously has family on her mind in this episode. But when she tells Gendry “I can be your family,” it sounds like she might mean something very different – even if she herself barely realizes it yet.

When I first read that scene, it really got to me. I always knew that Arya and Gendry were going to take separate paths, but when you actually see it… I was really getting on well with Joe [Dempsie], and it was just like “Oh, this is going to end now.” Then you go in do it. At first I read it as “You can come to Winterfell, I’ll show you how everything goes, and you can come and sit at the table with us.” I thought it would be a bit like Theon. But when I was doing the scene, [director] Alex Graves said “When you say that last line, ‘I can be your family,’ say it like ‘I love you.’” And that’s the take that they used. On the day, we didn’t cut in between. We kept going, and going, and going again, which I really liked; otherwise, you get out of it and you have to try and build yourself back up to that point again. Sometimes I was really crying, and then we’d pull it back. I don’t know how many we did, but the last one we did…We settled on the one when I said it like “I love you,” and it really works.

I interviewed Maisie Williams about her amazing work as Arya Stark in this past weekend’s Game of Thrones.


“Game of Thrones” Q&A: Alfie Allen on the Passion of Theon Greyjoy

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

When you look at Theon’s situation, where do you come down on what he wound up doing? Do you find fault with it? Aside from the child-murdering, of course, which I’d hope you do.

I would say that the worse thing he does is the kids, yeah, but I definitely think he’s just trying to prove himself in a really fucked-up way. With the child-murdering … I’ll be honest with you, mate. When I was shooting it, I had a bit of a problem. There’s this look of regret that I gave when the bodies of the two children bodies get raised on the ropes. I look torn about it. And I always thought Theon would just enjoy playing the trick on the whole village. That’s how I would’ve liked to have played it. Then we sat down with David and Dan and [director] David Nutter and decided that there needed to be some sort of regret there, to make it morally correct. But I always thought for Theon that he would just sort of enjoy playing the trick on Winterfell.

I interviewed Alfie Allen about playing Theon Greyjoy in Game of Thrones for Rolling Stone. It got kind of dark.