Although it’s hard to believe now, there was a time when Game of Thrones wasn’t a monster hit. The show was an unknown quantity back when it premiered in 2011, and not every actor was eager to jump on board. Jonathan Pryce, for example, was offered a role on the show in its early days, but turned it down because “I don’t like swords and fantasy things.” Five seasons later, the show was a phenomenon, and the actor jumped at the chance to play the High Sparrow. The rest is history.
Per a recent interview with Vodzilla, storied actor Brian Cox wishes he could follow suit. Cox has been acting in film and on TV since the ’70s—some of his most prominent credits include Colonel William Stryker in X2: X-Men United, Agamemnon in Troy, and the original Hannibal Lecter in Michael Mann’s Manhunter. And he could have been on Game of Thrones.
Stupidly, I turned it down in the early days because they didn’t pay enough money. Now they have more money. And I was silly. I was silly, it was silly, because I’m a complete addict now. But I don’t know what I could play.
Hindsight is 20/20, etc, etc. Cox is regretting his choice to pass on the show acutely nowadays. He’s become a big fan, and has seen several of his colleagues pass through the program.
I just watched my friend Ian McShane (Septon Ray) and I thought, ‘Ooh, Ian’s in it’, so I settled down to watch him. And I thought, ‘Ian did that?’ and immediately I thought, ‘God, they must have paid him well’, because I know Ian! And there was Max von Sydow (the Three-Eyed Raven) doing that character that he did, so in a way, it’s attracting certain people who do film, and, of course, I’ve got friends like Clive Russell (Brynden “the Blackfish” Tully) and Liam Cunningham (Davos Seaworth) and Charlie Dance (Tywin Lannister) is an old pal, being in it, and they had a great time in it.
And considering how much the main cast members are reportedly getting paid for Season 7, money really isn’t an issue anymore.
Cox doesn’t mention what role he was offered. Vodzilla suspects it was Robert Baratheon. That’s possible, but Cox was a little old for that part at the time. With his steely demeanor, he would have made a good Tywin.
Vodzilla caught up with Cox shortly after “Battle of the Bastards” aired, and the actor was full of praise for what the showrunners pulled off there.
Now I know what they spend on it, in terms of the visual aspect of it… Last week’s episode was phenomenal… If you think of The Hobbit or you think of The Lord of the Rings, the battle sequence in Game of Thrones was a lot more modest, but much more brilliant than any of the battle sequences in any of those movies and all those kind of CGI characters doing their bit, whereas this was real people, I mean, the CGI was just brilliantly done and clearly there was a bit of green screen, but it’s astonishing. For television, it is truly astonishing.
So there you have it: Brian Cox thinks that the battle sequence in “Battle of the Bastards” was “much more brilliant” than anything in The Lord of the Rings. It’s different, certainly.
Anyway, Cox is still hoping to get cast on Game of Thrones. “I’m still waiting for the call for Game of Thrones and if they’ve got more decent money, I’ll be there!” he said. Time is running out, but the show could only benefit from an actor his ability.