The role of Eddard Stark is going to be another crucial casting decision that the producers will have to make. Ned’s role in the pilot episode will be important and whomever they get to play Ned will need to pull it off well if this series is to get past the pilot stage. Due to the nature of the role, the rest of this post is going to be spoiler-territory. Proceed at your own risk.
Due to Ned’s condition at the end of the first book (namely that he is a head shorter then when the book began) there has been talk of HBO possibly going with a big name actor for the role. Obviously he would only need to commit to one season and having a star actor in what is essentially the lead role for the first season would help attract viewers. Plus it would be all the more shocking when he is offed. With that in mind, let’s take a look at four names that are being talked about amongst the fans for the role.
– Probably the most popular choice, right now. He obviously is not averse to a role in a fantasy production. He certainly has the acting ability; but for some reason ever since he played the villain in Goldeneye
, I’ve always seen him as a better actor for evil or dubious characters. His role as Boromir certainly didn’t change that perception. Could he pull off the honest, honorable and loyal Lord Stark? Possibly, but I don’t know if he is the perfect fit. He may also turn down the role for fear of being typecast.
– A very underrated actor, in my opinion. He can certainly play the honorable Eddard Stark. I mean, if you are able to pull off Jesus, you should be able to pull off Ned. Is he a big enough name though? Also, he is an American, which probably means his chances of landing the role are seriously diminished. I think he would be a great choice, but in the end, I don’t think that he will be Ned.
– I am surprised Oldman hasn’t received more consideration. He is British, is an excellent actor and, in my opinion, has that certain Ned quality about him. Until recently he was more a character actor than anything and not that well known. His role as Sirius in the Harry Potter
films however has improved his name recognition. I believe he would bring a decent audience with him and certainly having someone associated with the worldwide phenomena that is Harry Potter would help this series.
– He is the least well-known of the actors on this list and therefore, probably has the most realistic choice of landing the role. He is most known for playing the Commodore James Norrington in the Pirates of the Carribean
films. If Benioff and Weiss decide to go with a lesser known actor, Davenport would be a good choice. He has the right look and is a talented actor. Who knows, maybe playing the character of Ned Stark could be his break-out role?
While most people are hung up on the idea of casting a big-name actor as Ned, I don’t think that Benioff and Weiss will go that route. I admit, it is a good idea and could certainly help the series attract viewers early on. But I believe HBO and the producers are going to stick to casting talented but unknown actors and use the rest of the budget on getting the highest production values they can. In the end, I think that this is the right choice.