The Hound
By Winter Is Coming on in Casting, Speculation.

With David Benioff addressing the casting of Sandor, I figured it is time to do a casting post on The Hound. Sandor, despite not (as of yet) having his own POV chapters, is still a very complex and well-developed character. One could make the argument that he is the most developed non-POV character in the series. So getting a quality actor here is key. Another challenge for the future casting director is finding a good actor of Sandor’s size. Though not quite as big as his brother, he is described as quite tall and muscular. Here is a short list of popular candidates (Benioff excluded).

Ray Stevenson – One of the most popular choices to play Sandor, Stevenson is an Irish actor most well-known for his role as Titus Pullo in HBO’s series Rome. He has also starred in King Arthur and the most recent Punisher movie. At 6’4′” he certainly has the size. He is, however, much older than Sandor is described as in the book (later 20s/early 30s). This certainly isn’t a deal-breaker as they could be flexible with the ages in the series if need be.
Richard Armitage – With credits primarily in television, Armitage would be the level of actor this series probably needs. His biggest role to date is Guy of Gisborne in BBC’s Robin Hood. Although not as tall or burly as Stevenson, he is however tall enough and he plays dark, brooding characters well. He is also a few years younger. The one major drawback is his current commitment to the Robin Hood series. Assuming that that series is picked up for a fourth season, he would probably be out of the running.
Callum Keith Rennie – An experienced character actor, with almost 100 credits to his name. Born in England and raised in Canada, Rennie has done mostly television work. His most recent, and probably most well known role is as Leoben Conoy in Battlestar Galactica. Rennie doesn’t have the physical presence that the others have, but he has experience on his side. With Battlestar Galactica coming to an end his schedule has been freed up, so he is a possibility however I think his age and physical appearance are working against him.
Kevin Durand – Another experienced character actor, Canadian actor Durand has a mix of television and film work. Most people would recognize him as Martin Keamy, the Marine sent to capture Ben in season four of Lost. He is also appearing as The Blob in the upcoming X-Men Origins: Wolverine. At 6’6″ he is the biggest actor on this list and will tower over most other cast members. With that kind of size he certainly fits the physical description of Sandor. His role in the David Benioff penned Wolverine film may also give him an inside track for the role.

The biggest question with The Hound is whether they attempt to stay more true to his physical description in the book in regards to size and age or if they fudge it a bit to get an actor that can do justice to the role. In my opinion you always want to go with acting ability first, especially for a role as deep as this one. Obviously the hope is to find someone that can embody both the physical and emotional aspects of The Hound, but that is easier said than done.


43 Comments

  1. SPQRDECIUS
    Posted January 26, 2009 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Ray Stevenson hands down ( just watch ROME and you will know )has to be Sandor. He can be made to look a little younger what with half his face burned and some longer hair. Kevin Durand a close second have not seen much of his acting.

  2. dizzy
    Posted January 26, 2009 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    I think Stevenson is great but I don’t think they would go with him because of the age and the similarities to Rome. Durand would be my choice. He was good in 3:10 to Yuma as well as Lost.

  3. LeftHanded Matt
    Posted January 26, 2009 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    I read once that Martin wrote the hound with Ron Perlman in mind, and that has always been who I have seen in the role.

  4. T.D. Newton
    Posted January 26, 2009 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    I’d pick either Ray Stevenson (LOVED him in Rome) or Kevin Durand. Both seem suited for it.

  5. sara-rojo
    Posted January 26, 2009 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Stevenson and Durand are way too attractive. The others look very nice
    I’d say it’s a bit of a stretch saying Sandor is the most developed non-POV character, with Stannis, Tywin, Robb and Robert without a POV as well ^^

  6. sara-rojo
    Posted January 26, 2009 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    Sorry, I meant to say Durand and ArmitageXD

  7. Anonymous
    Posted January 26, 2009 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    Durand, the guys huge. Decent actor. And hes muscled like a bull. He makes Stevenson look like the chubby kid who gets picked last in gym class. Dont get me wrong I like Stevenson Pullo was my favorite character in Rome, next to Anthony but this guys fits the part better.
    -J-

  8. Anonymous
    Posted January 26, 2009 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    I think that Stevenson would be a better Robert Baratheon.

  9. Anonymous
    Posted January 26, 2009 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    My vote would go for Armitage or Stevenson. For Armitage, all he has to do is grow out his hair a little bit and apply latex and makeup on his face.

  10. Michael Natale
    Posted January 26, 2009 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    Stevenson would be GREAT as Sandor.

    I also could see him as the Greatjon.

  11. Anonymous
    Posted January 26, 2009 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    How about Mickey Rourke as Sandor Clegane. He has played many bad guy type roles, with enough character depth. I’ve heard he is up for an oscar nomination in The Wrestler which my be his best acting role.

    I think he can pull of this character. A bad boy, foul mouthed, tells it like he sees it; like Sandor he doesn’t seem to realize his potential of how good a guy he his. How about his role in Sin City as Marv? Can that be a good character to compare to him having potential to play the Hound?

    Thoughts? Comments?

  12. Lordnedshead
    Posted January 26, 2009 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    Nice topic Winter. Finally something I can sink my teeth into a little. Ray Stevenson was my choice for the longest while. Pullo is probably my favorite character ever to grace the screen. Upon further consideration though I think that Kevin Durand would make an even better Hound. He’s taller and more muscular looking than Stevenson. Ray is probably a little more capable of pulling off Sandor’s depth though. Someone on the boards mentioned Stevenson for the role of Bronn and I really think that it could be an intereswting match.
    By the by, was the Hound considered ugly before he was burnt? I can’t remember if there was a pre-burn description of him. I’ve always kind of pictured him as rugged and decent looking apart from his disfigurment.
    I think Ray as the Greatjon would be a miscast. I want someone Grisly Adams looking for that part. Or maybe the big guy from Happy Gilmore. I also don’t see Ray as Robert. He’s too old now, but I somehow always saw John rhys Davies in my head as Robert when I read the books. You need someone with a bloated, yet muscular look to him to play Robert and Ray isn’t very bloated at all.

  13. Anonymous
    Posted January 26, 2009 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    stevenson by far the best choice there, a good actor who shines in the rough and tumble character roles, has experience with HBO productions through Rome, and also fits the profile of a big strong guy

  14. Adam Whitehead
    Posted January 26, 2009 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    Durand’s biggest recent screen exposure was in Season 4 of LOST, in which he played the particularly unpleasent Keamey (the first person in the history of the show to be attacked by the smoke monster that had the audience cheering) who go to perform the most jaw-dropping, GRRM-esque thing the show ever did. And he worked quite well at that.

    However, whilst he was good in LOST he wasn’t outstanding, and showed little of the depth Sandor needs. To this end Stevenson becomes my first choice. Stevenson is a reasonably big actor now and probably wouldn’t settle for a role with very little screen time (compared to a lot of characters, Bronn is hardly in the story) or a really meaty storyline. Plus there is the advantage that if he decided to leave after the third season, they could just write him out at that point with little problem.

    That reminds me that he had a good rapport with Vorenus’ kids in the show as well. She may be a little too old now, but the actress who played Vorena the Elder could have made a decent Sansa.

  15. Anonymous
    Posted January 26, 2009 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    Stevenson played Titus Pullo, a brigand with redeeming qualities quite well. Sandor’s character is very much like Pullo.

  16. Anonymous
    Posted January 26, 2009 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    Durand would be perfect. He is the best built of the 4. Stevenson could be used for other characters. What about Gregor? Tyler Mane might work, he played Sabretooth if X-MEN and Ajax in Troy. There is also a guy named Nathan Jones, he was in Troy and in The Condemned. The man is massive. 7 ft tall. he would be a perfect Gregor. He even looks mean.

    David

  17. SteppeMerc
    Posted January 27, 2009 at 12:00 am | Permalink

    Durand. Steveson’s to old and nott enough of a badass for the Hound.

  18. ÁREA 51 Cómics
    Posted January 27, 2009 at 1:34 am | Permalink

    What about Clancy Brown… He’s a little bit older but I think he’d be great for the role

  19. Anonymous
    Posted January 27, 2009 at 1:43 am | Permalink

    Lordnedshead: tho I agree Durand would make a good Hound, I’d rather see Armitage as Bronn then Stevenson. Bronn is thin and narly, not huge and matching the mountain in strength.

    Just re-read the two chapters that introduce Sandor yesterday, and I have to say I’d forgotten just how great he is. I’ve always seem him as badly scarred with long black hair. What I read now was that he actually has no hair at all on one side of his head, and that he pulls the hair from the other side over the scarred side.

    As for the mountain, they will probatly use special effects to make him bigger. How many people are almost 8 feet tall?

  20. Anonymous
    Posted January 27, 2009 at 2:43 am | Permalink

    I won’t be able to pinpoint an exact quote here, but I remember reading somewhere on the westeros forum that Martin said that were it not for the burning Sandor would look plain. Neither ugly, nor handsome. Which is a good thing, since, honestly it’s all a matter of taste. I never thought Pullo to be handsome (though not ugly) so that should be no obstacle for Stevenson to play. However, what I with all the makeup/silicon that will have to be applied looks shouldn’t be a citeria at all (and by looks I mean the face, not size).

    From the above mentioned I’d go for Durand, but I have seen his acting only in Lost (and it was decent). Maybe he just didn’t have the chance to create a deep character (as Stevenson had).

  21. tom
    Posted January 27, 2009 at 3:29 am | Permalink

    love Callum Keith Rennie, but he is currently doing a pilot called Shattered, and don’t think he’d be a good match for this particular role anyway.

  22. red snow
    Posted January 27, 2009 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    They have just finished filming the final series of Robin Hood, unless they decide to go without the actor who plays Robin Hood, so Armitage would be free – except for the fact he is now the lead in “spooks” (MI5 overseas). As both shows are relatively short in season length he may be able to juggle both. That said, I think he’d make a good Ned rather than the hound.

    I read on Tower of the hand forums that Clancy Brown is allergic to make-up so that sadly rules him out as he is who i picture reading the books.

    Ray stephenson is the best choice on the list but I think they may avoid him or limit him to a guest star role if he was to be in the show.

    So I’d go for Durand – hopefully he can show more range as the hound than he did in Lost.

  23. Anonymous
    Posted January 27, 2009 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    There’s no question about it, it’s got to be Stevenson. His age doesn’t matter that much when you consider that the Hound probably looks pretty old for his age too. Ray could pass for a man in his late twenties who’s seen a harsh life.

  24. Sally
    Posted January 27, 2009 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    There’s no question about it, it’s got to be Richard Armitage. He has the skills to portray layered and complex caracters, the right age and look – beefing up should be no problem. With Marian dead and Robin out of Robin Hood I doubt there will be a fourth series…”Spooks” might get in the way, but as far as I know Armitage has only signed on for 2 seasons.

  25. dizzy
    Posted January 27, 2009 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    I hope Martin can shed some more light on the state of all things concerning ASoIaF at the con he’s going to this weekend. It’s been a while since we’ve had some real news. Anyone from Colorado Springs going?

  26. Anonymous
    Posted January 27, 2009 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Did anybody see my suggestion for Mickey Rourke as the Hound? I was wondering who might have an opinion whether he would be a good hoice to play this role.

  27. Anonymous
    Posted January 27, 2009 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    Mickey Rourke is an oscar-nominated film actor. He would be amazing, no doubt about it, but unless he owes Benioff a favor, he’d be about as likely to be casted for Sandor as Angelina Jolie would be for Cersei.

  28. JohnnyXeo
    Posted January 27, 2009 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    I always pictured the Hound more like Christopher Eccleston. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001172/

  29. Anonymous
    Posted January 27, 2009 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    Responding to:

    ————————————————
    Mickey Rourke is an oscar-nominated film actor. He would be amazing, no doubt about it, but unless he owes Benioff a favor, he’d be about as likely to be casted for Sandor as Angelina Jolie would be for Cersei.
    ————————————————

    That was not me answering my own question. Maybe I shouldn’t be posting as “anonymous” so there isn’t any confusion who is asking the questions and who is giving the responses.

    But, back to topic. Rourke would be good, but I guess oscar nominated actors are too expensive maybe?

  30. Anonymous
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 12:03 am | Permalink

    I am the one who mentioned Nathan Jones as Gregor. You really have to check the guy out. He is 7 ft. 350 pounds of muscle. He is Australian and was convicted of a train robbery. He was in prison for 8 years. That very experience could make him a vicious Gregor. Plus he has acting experience and Gregor doesn’t have a lot of scenes. He would definitely dwarf any other actor, 8 ft. or not.

    David

  31. Anonymous
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 12:05 am | Permalink
  32. Mr. Cereal
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 1:27 am | Permalink

    Maybe it’s because I had already set my mind on Ray Stevenson as Sandor, but the moment I saw Durand I think “the Mountain”. Why not?

  33. red snow
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    I think Eccleston would be great in the series maybe as Stannis or a short role like Halfhand as he is known to only do short stints on TV.

    Even if they could get rourke, he is not what i picture as the hound. He’d maybe make a good member of the mummers though ;)

  34. Pedro
    Posted January 30, 2009 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Need to agree with Mr Cereal. Never pictured the Hound as a giant, Durand has the ideal size to play The Mountain, IMO.

  35. Anonymous
    Posted January 31, 2009 at 1:07 am | Permalink

    I’d love to see Armitage in this part. But he’s very busy at the moment. He will be in Series 8 of Spooks (and a 4th series of Robin Hood might be in preparation)

  36. Lordnedshead
    Posted February 1, 2009 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    Durand is a big guy, but too small to play the Mountain. He’s actually about perfect for the decription of the Hound. On a side note, what about Jason Statham? Dunno if he’s available or affordable but he’s big and British. He can obviously fight. Just an idea.

  37. Anonymous
    Posted February 1, 2009 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    Can fight? I doubt that those two words could be used to describe any actor around in these times.

  38. Anonymous
    Posted February 7, 2009 at 5:28 am | Permalink

    Having read the leaked pilot and the hound having a total of 1 line, it seems like they will not get any of these actors for the pilot.

  39. nomad310
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 12:12 am | Permalink

    Ray Stevenson, hands down. This pic from King Arthur suggests the right look, although Sandor would have much more scarring.

    http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u235/NomadsPics/Dagonet/Dagonet1.jpg

    I really hate that pink shirt pic you used of Stevenson.

  40. Anonymous
    Posted March 19, 2009 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    Of the four I’d go with Armitage, he’s got the brooding look going, and I’ve seen enough episodes of Robin Hood to see that he could do Sandor’s sneer in his sleep. The Robin Hood conflict may be a problem, but then again, if the series gets picked up by HBO he might think to make a move from BBC family drama to bigger exposure in an HBO series if the conflict isn’t there (after all, the BBC is doing casting so they may have veto power on who gets what). After all, we’re now seeing Kevin McKidd on Grey’s anatomy, Pullo’s evil mistress from Rome on Lost, etc. Stevenson strikes me as a bit too gregarious for the role of Sandor, although he could definitely do SOMETHING in A Game of Thrones.

    By the way, on the subject of BBC actors, what does everyone think of John Simm (the original Sam Tyler from BBC’s Life on Mars, and the most recent Master on Doctor Who) as Littlefinger? I think that could work.

  41. Anonymous
    Posted May 15, 2009 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Richard Armitage

  42. Anonymous
    Posted August 2, 2009 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    Ray Stevenson has the right demenour, size and presence ans despite age shoudl be a hands down favourite for the Hound. Not sure any of the other suggested actors for the role can bring the right umph to role. The Hound is not a gentle person and is also very tortured. The others seem a bit pretty and on the light/thin side.

  43. Anonymous
    Posted August 11, 2009 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Richard Armitage would make a WONDERFUL Sandor. I've seen some of his work and he is a great actor and does sneering, brooding, angsty very well. Plus, though he's not a huge guy like Stevenson or Durand, he's in good physical shape. It's just too bad he's so busy and it's not likely he'll be cast.

    Stevenson would be all right, he's a good actor and I loved Titus Pullo in Rome, but I almost wish they don't cast him because I'll be sitting there watching AGOT and thinking: Titus Pullo?? WTF is he doing in here?

    Can't say much for the others as I haven't seen their work.


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