Header photograph: Lena Headey as Kate in the 2008 action-adventure movie “The Red Baron.”
Did you ever wonder where else you might have seen members of the Game of Thrones cast? Some of them, like Sean Bean and Diana Rigg, are well-established veterans with huge lists of credits, while others, like Kit Harington and John Bradley-West, landed their roles right after they graduated acting school. Others never had any acting experience whatsoever before joining the cast, but almost all of them have some small, oddball, or even leading performances that most of us aren’t aware of.
Let’s go digging to see what we can find.
1. SEAN BEAN
Over the course of a long career, Sean Bean (Eddard Stark) is well-known for 1) playing a lot of bad guys and 2) dying onscreen. Bean was one of the easily recognizable faces when Game of Thrones first hit the air. Audiences might have known him from his roles as Alec Trevelyan in GoldenEye, Boromir in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and Odysseus in Troy. He’s also voiced a number of video games, including Civilization IV and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.
Bean has also starred in many TV productions, one of his most successful being the Napoleonic-era Richard Sharpe TV movie series from the UK. In fact, it may have been his portrayal of the dashing Sharpe that got him the part of Ned Stark. At least, that’s when A Song of Ice and Fire George R.R. Martin became a fan of his. When Bean was doing an interview with Hero Complex in 2011, George R.R. Martin dropped by tell Bean: “It was a terrific series,” he told Bean in a conversation recorded right around the time the first season was premiering. “That’s when I became a fan of yours.”
We went digging for one of Bean’s earliest cinematic efforts. Above, he’s looking sufficiently street tough/80s hip in his first onscreen role as Horace Clark on the The Bill TV series in the 1984 episode “Long Odds.” The Bill was the longest-running police procedural drama (1984-2010) in the history of British TV.
The Bill wasn’t Bean’s first professional gig, however: after graduating from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, he starred in a theatrical production of Romeo and Juliet in 1983. What’s next for the always busy Bean? He’s slated to appear in the TV series Broken and two features, Drone and Dark River, in 2017.