Daario Naharis Game of Thrones Interview

Ed Skrein talks about leaving the role of Daario Naharis

By this point, most Game of Thrones fans have gotten so used to seeing Michiel Huisman in the role of Daario Naharis (Daenerys Targaryen’s adviser, bodyguard, and part-time lover) that they don’t even call him “Daario 2.0” anymore. However, there was a time not so long ago when Huisman was seen as an interloper, the guy who replaced actor Ed Skrein after Skrein abandoned the role for a shot at movie stardom.

Skrein will soon be headlining The Transporter Refueled, so it seems that his choice to walk away paid off. (Ironically, he’ll be stepping in to a role originated by Transporter franchise mainstay Jason Statham, and so the cycle of life and recasting continues.) The 32-year-old Skrein recently sat down with Digital Spy to discuss his decision to leave HBO’s mega-franchise after its third season.


Daario Naharis through the ages.

“It wasn’t as straightforward a decision as it’s been made out in the press,” Skrein said. “In a lot of ways I would have loved to have carried on and stayed working on that, because it’s a fantastic TV series.”

Skrein doesn’t actually give many details on why he didn’t carry on with Game of Thrones, but many outlets assume he left specifically so he could become the new face of the Transporter series. Skrein also says that “the most important thing in my life is my family, so each project is important but only to a point.” So maybe Game of Thrones would have forced him to spend too much time away from his wife and son? Or maybe the extra money from starring in a big action movie franchise could help his family prosper? It’s all about reading between the lines here.

Still, Skrein didn’t leave Game of Thrones empty-handed. Apparently, he forged a lasting friendship with Jacob “Grey Worm” Anderson, and he’s at peace with his decision to leave Daario behind. “I never really look back,” he said, “so if I do look back, I look back with such fondness and great memories of working with an incredible team.”

I feel like this is basically another way of saying “If I look back, I am lost,” one of Daenerys’ favorite aphorisms from A Dance with Dragons. If anything, that kind of coincidence makes it seem like Skrein would have been the perfect long-term Daario, but there’s no use wondering about it now.

Finally, Skrein admitted that he hasn’t been keeping up with the series—he’s on a movie star’s schedule now—but he plans to buy the complete boxset and binge the show after it concludes. Then he’ll be sorry he left. THEN HE’LL BE SORRY.


  • I like the new guy better but yeah, recasting sucks … I’d rather see a worse actor play the part all the way, than a recast.

  • when the new transporter movie without Stathom fails, then he’l realize. THEN HE’LL BE SORRY. The trailer sucks btw for the new Transporter coming out.

    • Yeah I watched The Northmen movie he was in. Not impressive. I think he should have stuck with GoT.

    • Only a fool who was actor would turn down being the face of a movie franchise just to play a bit part on Game Of Thrones. He’s getting more money, more opportunities to actually have a lot of screentime AND on top of that he still has Game OfThrones on his resume. Actors want to progress, not regress and stay stagnant just to say they had small part’s on a TV show, even if it is popular to the fantasy and mainstream cable community. He’s got TV and movies on his resume. He totally won by leaving. For every person that laughs if the movie doesn’t do well, he’ll be walking past them laughing all the way to the bank.

      • A good actor could juggle many projects. I personally think he didn’t like the wig. Lol. What gets me is that the show runners take a lot of flack for recasts but in this case it was all due to the actor. Good riddance. I never liked him as Daario.

        • So Tom Hardy is a bad actor because he dropped out of Suicide Squad to finish filming The Revenant. Great logic.

          Talent of an actor has nothing to do with “juggling schedule.” GoT films several months out of the year which would most likely have conflicted with the Transporter schedule, not to mention that being the face of a franchise, he’ll also get the opportunity to star in other films. Imagine if he’d turned Transporter down and was killed off in GoT. Then he’d be an out of work actor.

      • This is the kind of mindset those only think about money transporter is a terrible movie fyi don’t talk like u know what a good movie is that a bad movie to give up your game of thrones role to

  • I really liked Ed Skein better. Too me he had a certain snarkyness and dangerous edge about him that Michael Huisman just doesn’t have in my opinion.

    • I agree, Ed Skrein played a better Daario in my opinion though neither of them had the flamboyance and swagger the part required. Skrein at least had more of ‘an edge’ as you pointed out.

    • My one problem with the recast is that daario 1 looks more like the exotic type, where daario 2 had the looks of a westerosi knight which he is not

    • I agree. I like Skrein better. Huisman is like your boy next door boring model type, which is totally not Daario.

        • I think the gist is… very ordinary. Good Looking, but nothing striking or unusual about him. Generic.

        • One more vote on Daario 2.0 being generic, next~door, and as someone else has pointed out, westerosi knight~type. Dull, blah.
          (Sorry you fans out there.)

  • I prefer Skrein. While I like Huisman, he’s the consummate “nice guy.” I don’t view his version of Daario as particularly dangerous or mysterious…he’s just “there.” Skrein had a more unconventional look and had the swagger I associate with Daario.

    • Absolutely! I like Huisman a lot. He’s got sex-appeal to be a viable paramour to Dany but what’s missing is the smarmy swagger. I lay a lot of that at the writer’s table because I don’t think they have written Daario as very compelling, not that he really has to be considering Danys story is chock-full of characters. Skrein had an unfortunate wig to deal with but still gave some dangerous edge. The knowing grin and dimples didn’t hurt, either.
      Maybe it’s the way they have fashioned him but Huisman looks like you could plop him down in any show, maybe minus the armor, and he would blend into the wallpaper.

  • I’m so disappointed! It messes the “feel” of the show up :( boo!! They need to contract these actors for a longer time.

  • Skrein’s Daario was a mess. I cringed every time he was on screen. That Fabio look and his awful smile was too much to bear. I’m forever thankful for the recast. I just wished they had cast Huisman in season 3 too. Love his sexiness and humor in this role. And he was very brave to take on a recast.

  • I like the new Daario much better. So glad they didn’t give him the blue hair, blue three pronged beard and gold mustache. That would of been jus

    • Totally agree on staying away from the book Daario look. Especially the gold tooth. So Captain Jack Sparrow. That would have been a mistake.

  • Huisman is a handsome guy but I feel like he’s a boring Dario and the chemistry with Dany is flat in comparison. Skrein may not be as good an actor but the more exotic look and mysterious demeanor fit the character better. Makes Huisman seem like the boy next door, not a guy who would totally captivate the Mother of Dragons.

  • They played completely different characters. Skrein´s approach was a little more interesting, sexy bad boy, mysterious, I did not trust him, etc. Huisman is a nice guy and his Daario is more likeable IMO. I would be surprised if he betrays Danny.
    Regarding the hair, Skrein looks much better with short hair, glad they did not make Huisman use a wig.

  • i think he saw the way his character wasn’t making him comfortable in his role. Could you imagine that actor walking into the frame nude and pouring himself a drink while Dany lays bundled up in bed during the scene? It’s not in him to play it like that.

    • That’s exactly what I was thinking. Huisman has what it takes to do the sexy bedroom scenes. He’s done it many times before. No way on wanting to see Skrein do those scenes, he just could not pull them off. And let’s be honest, that’s what Daario is all about. So Huisman is a much better fit.

  • Why is this article assuming he quit? What about the possibility that he was fired because the producers wanted someone else in that role?

    Roles get recast all the time because the original want good enough.

    • I totally agree. I suspect they just replaced him and it wasn’t his decision. If you look at the timeline, the recast happened in June/July before shooting for season 4 began. Shooting ran through December. Transporter casting happened in January and didn’t start shooting until later. Skrein did nothing of note during the entire GOT shooting. I always suspected he was canned. I don’t think he could do the sexy scenes and I never once thought he had any chemistry with Dany. And they needed that. Glad they recast either way.

  • Girls dig the new Daario! I get it, hes a handsome dude, but as an actor he hasnt brought anything special to this character. Maybe its partly due to writing but not once I have thought about or cared about Daario.
    He is just there! Very forgettable.
    The old Daario was not the greatest actor either but at least you could notice his presence and he mattered a bit! I watch/re-watch every episode multiple times and yet I cant even think of 1 scene from season 4-5 with new Daario that stands out to me !

    • Forgettable? No. The scenes where he took out the champion of mereen (that wink, the flirting, the toughness), the ass scene (will never forget that one, and yes it’s ok to not remember any dialogue from that scene), the fighting pits (cmon he was magnificent in his flirting and fighting), naked Daario, his pillow talk is awesome… He doesn’t get many scenes but he makes the best of them!!!!

  • Too bad you’re not gonna get the old guy back so really, deal with it, the first actor chose to leave, nobody made him do it or steal the role from him, he chose to leave and the show had to get on without him and they did, the second actor is just fine in the role and at least he cared enough to stay and not mess up the proceedings by making things more difficult on a production that’s already running a tight schedule – and speaking of someone mentioning actors broadening their opportunities so Ed Skrein somehow already wins by having GOT and doing movies, technically then, Michiel Huisman won more because not only was he in two well received movies this year, he also guest starred on other TV shows while staying on for more than a few episodes in the show, in fact becoming a series regular – if they were looking at resume, the fact that someone left GOT after a few eps to do movies compares to someone who has remained with GOT, getting to be series regular, and all the while doing movies, then the latter actor becomes far more desirable for their consistency – you hire the dependable actor, not one you’d risk possibly leaving something in the middle of it and unfinished

  • Think both Daarios were terrible casting choices. Why did Nina Gold fail at finding someone hot like Momoa? What hot guys suddenly bailed out on her? Huisman i definitely better looking but boring as hell. Skrein was horrible Daario though, the looks, the stupid wig, the crooked teeth, the lack of chemistry… What the hell happened with the casting the last sexy character on the show?
    This was their chance to redeem the loss of Momoa…

    • While good actors both Skrein and Huisman lack the necessary flair and flamboyance needed to bring Daario to life. I think they should have cast Ricky Jarvis or Russel Brand. Both actors would have pulled off the blue beard and gold ‘stache without it seeming weird and i couldnt begin to describe the sex appeal with Dany – Rowwwwr ;d

      All in all a missed opportunity.

  • I much preferred Skrein’s Daario – he didn’t look like book Daario but he still looked flamboyant at least, and different from other characters on the show. His acting (at least the little we saw of it) was fine, too. I’ve warmed to Huisman a bit, but I still find his acting and appearance pretty bland – he looks like a standard Westerosi sellsword and he doesn’t make much of an impact in his scenes.

    Good on Skrein for getting out while the show was still decent, though.

    • Hahaha…
      Best show on TV and you say Skrein got out when the show was still decent!!!
      Got me rolling on the floor with that one!

      • I’m truly sorry to hear that you’re so developmentally stunted that a simple difference of opinion causes you to have a bout of hysteria. I hope that whoever looks after you is kind and understanding.

        In my opinion it was the best show on TV until Season 4. Now it’s not even in the top 10.

  • The word “sexy” is overused, overrated and needs to be banned! WTF! You needed a “sexy”actor to play this role? What does that mean? Maybe a “good” actor ??

    Both these actors are decent looking, second one more “liked” by girls audience! Both are just meh actors! Second one definitely very forgettable, borderline boring!

    • I thought Huisman was a better actor but Skrein looked better for the part…
      I just think the character is not a very interesting one and the show hasn’t improved on the books in this case.

  • My man has a strong-ass face! Crack walnuts on that dome! I rarely like recasts so I’m gonna say he should’ve stayed onboard

  • Okay, I gotta wonder. WHY did The Transporter need a reboot? It’s not like Statham is too old for the role, he’s still pretty active. Point in case, Furious 7.

    Like, I mean, I guess I’m glad Skrein got the role, but my question is why was the role available in the first place?

    As to Daario, I can’t say I hate the recast, I like Michiel Huisman a lot. As long as at some point he shows up on Orphan Black again, I’ll be happy.