Celeb roundup: Michelle Fairley, Hafþór Björnsson, and director Alex Graves get new gigs


You can’t keep a good Game of Thrones performer down. The International Business Times reports that Sky Atlantic, a channel that operates in the U.K. and the Republic of Ireland, is adding Michelle Fairley (Catelyn Stark) to the cast of Fortitude for the show’s second season. Fortitude is about a murder is a small, prosperous Norwegian town of the same name. It’s the most successful series Sky Atlantic has yet created, possibly due in part to the big-name acting talent involved—the shows stars such actors as Stanley Tucci, Michael “Professor Dumbledore” Gambon, and Christopher “Doctor Who” Eccleston. Fairley should fit right right in alongside those big players.

This is the trailer for the first season of Fortitude, so Fairley isn’t in it, but you may have noticed another familiar face. One of the show’s main characters is local sheriff Dan Andersen. He’s played by Richard Dormer, who played Beric Dondarrion on Season 3 of Game of Thrones. Hmm…what an interesting coincidence.*

Meanwhile, Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson (Gregor “the Mountain” Clegane) is trading in on his reputation as a guy who plays fearsome warriors with a part in the upcoming Kickboxer: Retaliation, according to ComingSoon.net. Retaliation is the as-yet-unshot sequel to Kickboxer: Vengeance, which is an as-yet-unreleased remake of Kickboxer, a 1989 movie starring Jean-Claude Van Damme as a martial artist who beats up bad guys but good. See what a complicated web Hollywood weaves?

Anyway, one look at the poster for Retaliation tells you everything you need to know about Björnsson’s role.

So he’ll play the big scary bad guy, then. Something tells me the inevitable face-off between Björnsson and the smaller guy will end better than the one between the Mountain and the Viper, but you never know.

Finally, Deadline reports that Game of Thrones director Alex Graves has signed on to helm the pilot episode of an upcoming NBC show based on the Taken movies—you know, the ones where Liam Neeson goes around foreign cities kicking the crap out of criminals with his “very particular set of skills.” The series will be a prequel to the Taken movies, and will show how Neeson’s character acquired all those skills. Well, it’ll be set in modern times, so it doesn’t sound so much like a prequel as it does a chance for NBC to slap a known name onto a bunch of fight scenes.

Graves is one of Game of Thrones’ most successful directors, having helmed tentpole episodes like “And Now His Watch Is Ended,” “The Lion and the Rose,” “The Mountain and the Viper,” and “The Children,” so I’m sure he’ll do a fine job on the show.

*SPOILER asterisk: It’s a little funny that, of all the actors on Game of Thrones, the ones behind Catelyn Stark and Beric Dondarrion will end up sharing the screen together, considering that, in the novels, Dondarrion raises Catelyn from the dead following her murder at the Red Wedding. The fact that both actors are otherwise engaged is yet another indication that Game of Thrones won’t be adapting this particular plot, but at least videographers will now have footage of the two actors in the same place—I’m betting we’ll see some cunningly recut footage of the two shows before long.