Bronn Casting Speculation

Casting Bronn

With the first season getting the green light, now I can do these casting speculation posts with the knowledge that we will eventually get to see these roles filled. With the exception of Sam, Littlefinger, and Tywin (I suppose Varys as well) the remaining roles yet to be cast are relatively minor. Which means the chance of them getting well-known actors in those roles is slim. Unless there is a minor character that is a borderline cameo but would be fun for an established actor to play. Someone like, say, Bronn. Let’s take a look at some popular fan suggestions for the role of the sardonic sellsword.

James Purefoy – Purefoy has been talked about in Game of Thrones casting discussions since the series was first announced. Most likely due to his role as Marc Antony in HBO’s Rome. He can be seen more recently in the Brit action thriller Solomon Kane. He has got the kind of look and coolly confident attitude you would want in a potential Bronn. Plus his role in Rome means he has been cast by Nina Gold before. A possible issue might be the planned filming of a Rome feature film which may get in the way of shooting for Thrones. Though Bronn’s role is small enough that they may be able to fit it in.
Dominic West – Like Purefoy, West is also a veteran of an HBO production, in this case The Wire, and his name has come up before in Thrones casting discussions. In addition to his role as Det. McNulty on The Wire, West is best known for his role in 300, where he ended up molesting Cersei (Lena Headey). Something I’m sure Bronn wouldn’t mind doing himself. His schedule doesn’t look too packed and he certainly seems to like playing the scoundrel. Another reason West might get the role? He was cast by Nina Gold before in The Devil’s Whore.
Garrett Dillahunt – Despite being an American, Dillahunt seems like he would have a better shot than most Yanks at landing a role in Game of Thrones. One, because he is an HBO fixture, starring in Deadwood and John From Cincinatti. And two, he is reportedly a huge fan of the books and has sought a part in the show. Bronn might be a good fit for him since he wouldn’t need to stay in Northern Ireland for 30 weeks of filming straight. Of course, HBO has shown an unwillingness to cast American actors with only two exceptions (down to just Dinklage and Momoa now).
Richard Armitage – Because of his height (he’s listed as 6’2″) Armitage is a name that came up as a possible Hound, a role that eventually went to Scot Rory McCann. He’s essentially an unknown in the States but those across the pond might recognize him from BBC’s Robin Hood and Spooks. I love his look. I’ve never had a clear mental image of Bronn in my head, but Armitage seems to encompass everything you would want in a potential Bronn. He could become Bronn, in a way these three other more well-known actors could not. And with Robin Hood canceled and his role in Spooks at an end, this could be a great next step for his career.


  • It may be a minor role in A Game of Thrones, but as I recall Bronn becomes a more established character later on. Generally teamed up with Tyrion's mountain men whenever 'persuasion' is needed. The character might have to commit to something more than a cameo should the series progress.

    • He has more appearances in ACOK than the other three books combined. But most of them are just him in the background while Tyrion is doing something. He isn't integral to the scene. They could easily work around that if need be.

  • I have always been a champion of "outside the box" thinking for Bronn; I like the idea of someone like a Michael K. Williams (best known as Omar from The Wire), or another non-white actor in the role.

    Now I am the first to decry the breaking of canon, but it wouldn't even really be that for Bronn – dude is never even described as Caucasian, merely "Black-haired and wiry," and "Lean and wolfish." They don't even put his origins in Westeros, so Bronn could be a mix-blooded mongrel of any sort.

    Tragically, Michael K. Williams looks as though he will be busy in the HBO production of Boardwalk Empire, but I would still hope HBO takes the opportunity to explore a little creativity in the casting.

    Most important of all, the man needs to know how to smirk.

    • Hey, that´s a good idea. Me, too, would like to see some non-caucasian people in this, and I think that role would be a good opportunity to break away from the typical eurocentric fantasy casting. I wouldn´t mind at all if they changed some other potentially foreign characters into non-whites, too, even if they were originally described to be white.

    • I'm not so sure I like this idea. I hope HBO doesn't feel they need to fill some sort of diversity 'quota' with this production, because, frankly, changing some minor characters black just to add some color is almost more insulting than having an all white production.

      Plus, there is already some more logical diversity throughout the book, with Tyrion, the Summer Islanders (more prominent in AFFC), the Dothraki, and maybe even the Dornish.

      I think Bronn is pretty clearly Westerosi, despite the books never telling us. And I think that the common folk of Westeros should appear European. If anything, I'd have preferred to see someone like Illyrio Mopatis being cast as a black man, as that is more justifiable without a long backstory.

      I don't hate the idea, but if HBO does do it, I hope they do it for the right reasons.

    • I don't think this should happen just for political correctness. I mean it often kills the immersion when you see a 'token' member of an ethnic minority where they don't seem to fit culturally. However, I would be open to the idea if the decision was made based on acting ability and suitability for the character, rather than "where can we throw in a black guy so people don't say we're racist".

      • The primary thing needs to be acting ability. On the Showtime hit Nurse Jackie, Merritt Wever was ultimately cast in the role of Zoe, which was originally written for a black woman. But Merritt won the role on, well, merit; producers say she literally stole the character and after her audition they couldn't imagine anyone else in the role. And I have to agree; her Zoe is fantastically and realistically scatterbrained, almost with a weird self-awareness and acceptance of herself, and one of the best parts of a very entertaining show.

        If Bronn comes off as dead-faced or grim, HBO missed the mark. There has to be a little Han Solo in him (the Han that shot first, mind you), and he needs to be able to go toe-to-toe with Peter Dinklage in the charisma department.

        Of all the casting to come, save for maybe Littlefinger, I'm most curious about Bronn.

        • We've talked before about the common phenomenon of white folks reading, "a man" and then imagine a white man unless told otherwise. However, we don't have to worry about that ambiguity here, as the producers are working closely with the author. Wondering where Bronn is from? All they have to do is ask GRRM, "Where's Bronn from?" and he can tell them. As he's demonstrated several times on his blog, GRRM has a strong sense of cultural sensitivity and awareness, so I'm of the opinion that his choices of the races for his characters are thoughtful and intentional. If HBO treats the events of the book as real, and then adapts them as one would a historical event (although it's fantasy, it's a cohesive fantasy that's been meticulously thought out) I don't think they'd feel any need to deviate from the source material.

          With that in mind, the question would be not whether or not Bronn *could* be black, but did/would/might GRRM consider him black. None of us can answer that question without asking, which I'm sure D&D will have done by the time casting happens.

          I agree with you, though. Bronn is the Han Solo of this piece.

          • do black folks not read "a man" and imagine a black man unless told otherwise? i'm familiar with the phenomenon, but i always figured it also applied to whichever race/culture the reader was most familiar.

            i dunno…just sayin

          • That's a really good question. I only noticed it myself when writing a play and changing the races of two characters I did a "find/replace" for "black" and "white" and came up with the following phrase:

            "A man is sitting on a bench. A white man comes and sits next to him."

            I'm wondering if someone of another race, who grew up in the USA when I did, where not all, but a majority of the main characters on TV and in movies were white men, might be inclined to suppose that the writer was talking about a white man, too.

            I'll ask around, and come back to you with what I find out.

          • Well, one interesting note already:

            "From what I understand, in the Zimbabwean language, Shona, a "person" is presumed black."

            Still no indication of whether that's the experience of non-whites living in the USA, but interesting for sure.

            And another friend mentioned that she assumes a person whose sex is unknown is assumed to be a woman unless it says otherwise.

          • I don't really think that you can divide it on racial lines. It seems more cultural and contextual to me. There's the race and culture of the author to consider. If I'm reading a Toni Morrison book, for instance, am I more likely to assume that a character is a black American?

            Also if there is a known or understood setting, then I'd be more likely to follow what was perceived as the norm for that setting. Overall, I think that good authors hate ambiguity unless it's intentional, so I'd expect that minorities would be described as such. It's justifiable too, since, for example, if it's Tyrion's POV then he would be more likely to notice someone's race if they weren't white, so the descriptions in his chapters would follow suit.

          • That's a good point. If I were reading a Murakami book set in Japan, I think I would assume a character introduced as "a man" was Japanese, unless stated otherwise.

    • Another possible good justification for choosing a non-Caucasian actor for Bronn is that it will be easier for the audience to tell the characters apart. Apparently the members of the "houses" are going to have somewhat color-coded costumes, but Bronn's not part of a house, he's just this grungy armed guy– and the series is going to be full of grungy armed guys.

  • Man, I would have killed for Armitage as Sandor. Although the fangirling of the character would be upped to scary, scary levels.

    • That's true!
      I prefer Purefoy as the Red Viper, although watching that photo of him, I think that he would be quite good as Bronn.

      Anyway, I voted for him in the poll

  • I think Dominic West should get the part, I've always thought he was perfect for the role of Bronn. He has that smugness about him and I think he'd have good chemistry with Peter Dinklage on screen. James Purefoy should definitely be involved though, he's one of the guys I've always thought would be great in the series in some form or another. I've seen his name thrown in for the Red Viper, which would be cool. I don't mind really, but I hope he gets a role.

  • Richard Armitage is Bronn, he looks like him and has that insolent look that I always imagined Bronn has, and besides, the other three are to big of an actors to be cast for such a minor role.

  • Nah, you cannot cast Richard Armitage, that would be such a sneaky estrogen bait. I can hear the dissapointed potential female watchers already: hey, who´s this guy? Cool, I´m totally watching this showWHAT THAT WAS ONLY A CAMEO?? XP

    But I voted for him anyway. Really interested in how he would play that role.

  • I'd be pretty surprised if Bronn's role goes to a known actor. Especially since after the Mountains of the Moon his role is really just a glorified extra. Not all the details from the book can fit in the series, and *SPOILER* Bronn marrying Lollys, naming her bastard Tyrion, and then evicting the Darrys is something you really only hear about anyway.

    My vote is for Richard Armitage, but that's mostly because he seems the most realistic choice.

    • I think this is a good point. If there is any room to shave some people out of this already huge cast, Bronn being downgraded to "glorified extra" status is definitely one possibility.

  • I voted for Armitage just because he fits my image of Bronn best.
    West has done a brilliant job as McNulty and that is also his downfall, I can't really see him in any other roles now.

  • I don't know about Bronn being a glorified extra. He has quite a few interactions with Tyrion in ACOK and is basically his 'hand'. He's the one who basically brings him up to speed (SPOILER) after Tyrion almost gets his face hacked off.

    • Yeah I know. But I felt that those scenes with Bronn were much more likely candidates for being edited out than those with Shae or Varys.

  • Purefoy won't be required for the potential Rome movie, I assure you. I don't think I would waste him or West on Bronn, but I would love for both of them to play some part in the series.

  • Armitage, plz. He perfectly fits my mental image for the role, with a little more scruff. And get Purefoy in there for Oberyn. *fans self*

    However, I think Bronn is likely to be an unknown actor, myself.

  • 'He has got the kind of look and coolly confident attitude you wouldn’t want in a potential Bronn.


    Shouldn't that be 'would want'?

  • Ugh. I'm sorry, but I would _not_ want to see Purefoy in GoT, no matter the role. I know lots of people seem to really like him, so I mean no disrepect towards them and their opinions, but I've always found him terribly irritating ;P

  • Purefoy's annoyance factor is why I think he would do well as Bronn. Bronn, as I read it, is a character who comes with a certain measure of discomfort. IMHO, it *should* be played by an actor who looks like he doesn't belong there. Bronn really never belonged there to begin with, something Catelyn made painfully aware in her POV chapters. His displacement and Tyrion's … Tyrion-ness, would really make for powerful scenes. I voted Purefoy, as convinced as I am that he won't get cast.

  • Armitage would play it well, and might be up for a small part to break America.

    West I want for Littlefinger to be honest.

    If they do decide to break from book descriptions to get some non-whites in, I go back to what I said last year (doesn't time fly, crikey!) and say Melisandre is the best choice for that. I always imagined her as black and looking like Grace Jones in her red outfit from the Bond film she was in, obviously she's too old now, but I could still see that working for Melisandre.

    • I always thought Melisandre could be asian. I don't remember the description of her character though, now I'll have to go re-read it. Doesn't she come from "Asshai"? Am I the only one who thinks Asshai is similar in sound to 'Asia' on purpose? I always felt that GRRM was making the analogy "Westeros is to Asshai as Medieval Europe is to Medieval Asia".

  • My vote's for West. True, there's a risk of McNulty shining through a bit, but with a relatively minor character like Bronn, I don't think that's a huge problem. Plus he'd be using his natural accent, which combined with costume would go a long way to cancel that out. Hypothetically, my second choice is Ray Stevenson, but if the Rome movie makes Purefoy iffy, it makes Stevenson out of the question. He'd also be a lot more likely to seem like he's rehashing his other character (More similar in profession, no change in accent).

    For the rest:
    I like Dillahunt, but can't quite imagine him in this role. I wouldn't be worried if he were cast, though.
    Purefoy… In every way I can think of, he seems to fit the role fine, but for some reason I don't like him for it. Nothing against the guy.
    Armitage I have no familiarity with, though he doesn't look like Bronn to me.

    I'd also be interested in seeing Michael K. Williams or some other non-caucasian actor in the role, basically following with all the stuff Fire and Blood said about going with the best actor, regardless of race, etc. Someone should really write up a comprehensive list of characters whose race should be left open by the casting director…

  • Purefoy's character in Rome–Antony–was killed off…McKidd and Stevenson said the movie will take place after the series ended, chronologically speaking…that shouldn't be an issue.

    • Wargh, just starting season 2 of Rome this week haha. Well, you can't spoiler warning everything. (loved the family guy joke when Stewie looks into the camera and says SPOILER before he announces Darth Vader is Luke's dad)

        • Well, I didn't pay much attention at high school (I did remember from history/latin lessons how the first season would end though). And I'm not like my dad, who 10 seconds after the season 1 finale was on the internet googling the words: Caesar, murder, revenge.

  • I'm voting Dominic West out of the actors listed.

    Still, I'm of the opinion that Bronn is going to be a relatively unknown actor, and that the role will make his career.

  • If HBO were to cast a role with someone of African heritage my thoughts were Bronn as he is not described much except for tall, dark, rugged, handsome, clever and dangerous. Plenty of actors to choose from there, but I would think HBO would try to find such an actor to draw in young males who like a certain type of music and lifestyle. Probably add lines for him and a sex scene.

    My choices would be and here is a good one too

  • Armitage gets my vote- although I am a huge fan of James purefoy (loved him as Marc Antony), Richard armitage completely encompasses bronn, and not just in the looks department (which match bronns description to a tee, IMO). He played his role in BBC s robin hood with a really rough edge that brought depth as well as humor to his character. I think he could pull off bronns sarcasm as well as his brutality easily. His clothes in RH and character design are so similar to GRRMs descriptions of bronn it’s uncanny.

  • It pretty much has to Armitage, as the others are all well too high-profile to play a glorified extra (no matter how cool and badass). Even Armitage might balk at it after a high-profile role on ROBIN HOOD.

    David Simon has also apparently asked Dominic West to appear in TREME's second season (if picked up) which would likely film alongside the end of GoT's first season or the start of the second, likely making him unavailable. Purefoy is way out of the running for this type of role now, although I think he could still be tempted with the Red Viper (maybe three episodes max, some great lines and memorable moments, dies).

  • Oh, and in case I didn't spell this out clearly, *I* certainly don't know the answer to that question either. I always assumed he was a Caucasian, but that's simply based on the phenomenon mentioned above.

  • I voted for Dominic West, but any of those 4 would be good choices in my opinion. I have to admit that I really can't see James Purefoy as the Red Viper though. I always imagined the Dhornish, and Oberyn Martel in particular, to be much more middle-eastern or mediterranean looking.

    Alexander Siddig would make an awesome Red Viper.

  • Well, when I read the books I actually pictured Sean Bean when I thought of Bronn. It was probably because his (Bean's) cunning, mischievous aura.

    And since Bean will play Ned, if I had to choose out of those four, I'll probably pick Dominic West.

  • Ok let's try that again without the typo and screwed up hyperlinks. Shouldn't the poster be able to delete a comment? Anyway, maybe WIC will get rid of the screwy one.

    Shane Brolly. He is from Belfast.

    And I don't care what roll he plays but I want to see James Nesbitt as somebody in the show. If you'd seen him in the BBC Mini-series Jekyll you'd agree.

  • Ok let's try that again without the typo and screwed up hyperlinks. Shouldn't the poster be able to delete a comment? Anyway, maybe WIC will get rid of the screwy one.

    Shane Brolly. He is from Belfast.

    And I don't care what roll he plays but I want to see James Nesbitt as somebody in the show. If you'd seen him in the BBC Mini-series Jekyll you'd agree.

    • Never heard of Brolly (refreshing–I get tired of trying to squeeze known faces into each and every role) and he has the "lean and wolfish" look all right . Interesting pick.

    • It would be cool if the series had gained some accolades and a large fan base by the time the Red Viper appears. Then we could maybe see a well-known guest star as the Red Viper, *SPOILER* because (1) it's a short role, but one that requires some good acting and charisma, and (2) we will have lost Sean Bean by then.

  • I'm not sure why people think that Armitage would be perfect as Bronn….as much as I love the guy (he is gorgeous and was fantastic as Mr Thornton in North & South) he's far too skinny! And the acting in Robin Hood (as well as the script) was awful!
    Purefoy would be fantastic – he was amazing as Marc Antony – and he has the butch ruggedness that would pull off a character like Bronn, who is supposed to be a mercenary – he's not supposed to be conventionally pretty, or slim/lean. I always saw him as being quite a stocky guy.
    I haven't really seen West in anything, but he looks right. And Dillahunt – well he would be better as another character rather than Bronn – odd thought – but he seems a bit tall to me, but maybe I'm still seeing him as a robot rather than a person! lol

    • Really? Bronn has always in my mind been very lean. Not skinny, but more wiry than stocky. That's why I was so taken aback to see some of these suggestions – Armitage is the only one who looks remotely like my image of Bronn.

      • I suppose everyone has different images in their heads of what each character should look like – but I've always been one who thinks – 'good fighter = lots of muscle' – maybe I need my brain re-wired!

  • Aren't all these guys way too old? I know they're ageing up everyone, but I never pictured Bronn as being 40…..

  • I've always thought of the Dornish as being pretty far from the rest of Westeros. Darker skin, different accents, etc. I've always thought of them as Spanish.

    This is all just to justify my picturing Antonio Banderas as the Red Viper. Tell me that wouldn't be badass.

    • Agreed on all counts, though I think there might be a few things in the books that support the idea of Spanish Dornishmen a little better than the sheer awesome of Oberyn Banderas. (Spicy food, desert climate, etc.)

  • My vote is for Richard Armitage. You should post a pic from Series 3 of Robin Hood and there would be no question.

  • My vote goes to Purefoy, only because I'd love to see Armitage in the show but in a bigger role (can't think of anything now). No that Bronn isn't a great character. As for Purefoy, actually I'd like to see him in a bigger role too… dang. Well, they're both great actors and aesthetically very pleasing :)
    The other choices don't really appeal to me, but as many have pointed out, I wouldn't expect a big name in this case, or for that matter, in many other cases. Which is a not a bad thing.

  • Armitage is not a minor actor. He's in the latest season of Spooks (MI-5 here in the US). In fact this discussion made me think to look and add to my Netflix queue. Yay, I've been waiting. And for those of you here in the US, MI-5 is cut to hell on TV.

    Anyway, there's no one who can pull off sneering and snarky like Purefoy. Armitage can do attitude as well. I would be happy with either for either Bronn or the Viper.

  • Purefoy, sans some of the hair, would make a much better Stannis. Moreover, a far more important role for an actor of his calibre, too.

  • I'd like to suggest Max Beesley for a role. He is absolutely phenomenal on the BBC remake of 'Survivors'. You want an ice cold opportunistic mercenary warrior? This dude is it.

  • I think Purefoy would make a decent Euron Greyjoy, im not sure, mabye Euron should be much older but i can kinda see it… if the series got that far…thats probably just me though, As for Bronn however i think west or armitage would be suitable, both have a rather sellsword-ish look about them, although West is the stronger actor, armitage would probably look better in the part, either way nice suggestions :)

  • Of the names listed I would like to see James Purefoy cast, but like many other comments here, I believe it will be a relatively unknown actor playing the role. But when I was reading the novels I always imagined someone like Vinnie Jones in the role, but again he hir probably too high profile for this minor part.

  • I can't read a Bronn scene without thinking of Aidan Turner (the Irish vampire from Being Human, not the American soap opera star whose name is spelled with an e).

  • Save Purefoy for Oberyn. He fits the role perfectly, and he'll frankly be much better at that than at being Dinklage's snarky sidekick. Bronn should be an unknown.

  • I like Purefoy of Dailihunt for their look. I don't like the looks of West at all. Maybe Littlefinger, but not Bronn.

    Armitage I'd want to see a different picture of. My image of Bronn as a sellsword is that he's scruffy for books 1-3.

    On important minor roles to be cast, how about Tywin's brother and companion in battle? I forget his name off hand, but I think his role might actually be larger than Tywin's in fact and possibly in importance. Tywin just seems important because Cersai, Jaime, and Tyrion spend their time thinking about him, while the brother is a reliable background counselor.

  • I think it is a role that should be given to an unknown, good way to keep costs down. Biggest requirement is to be able to convincingly execute fight choreography. BTW was there any word on the hiring a fight choreographer? Whoever did the Pullo vs Gladiators fight in Rome would be perfect btw

  • Ugh Bronn is such a boring character. Couldn't care less who plays him, or Shae for that matter. Richard Armitage is super hot though. :)

  • I think James Purefoy is a great choice – he has the sneer and the arrogance to play Bronn while still seeming dangerous enough to back it up.

  • I nominate Domenick Lombadorzzi from the Wire and Entourage.

    He won't fit the physical profile but I think we can let that go. He fits the persona though. Tough, street-wise, complete disregard for authority.

    That's my 2 cents.

  • I don't know of Armitage but I'm a big fan of the other three actors so I had to think about it a while. They would all do a great job but the idea of Dillahunt and Dinklage sharing so many scenes and zinging off each other makes me excited. Dillahunt is such a great character actor. He can do scruffy and witty, so I love the idea of him as Bronn.

  • Bronn is supposed to be a seasoned warrior,so how about casting someone who looks like he`s actually been in a scap!
    Gary Stretch the bad guy from ‘Dead Man`s Shoes’ would be my shout.