Stephen Dillane (Stannis) admits he didn’t really enjoy being on Game of Thrones

Stephen Dillane is one of Game of Thrones major “gets” from Season 2. He’s known to others in the business as “an actor’s actor.” Although Dillane has plenty of film and TV credits, his real passion is for the stage, and he has a long litany of nominations for Tony, Olivier (the UK version of the Tonys), and Drama Desk Awards to prove it. One of the few actors to consistently refuse to do press for Game of Thrones, even after his character was killed off at the end of last season, he admits in a new interview that it was because the show really wasn’t his cup of tea.

Speaking to the French outlet Libération, Dillane, who is doing press for his new UK/France crime drama The Tunnel, where he stars alongside Harry Potter alum Clémence Poésy, admits that he really didn’t enjoy the show very much.

I do not regret having done Game of Thrones, but I have nothing to say about it either. I understood neither the series nor its success when I was a part of it.

Dillane said that he basically tried to stay out of the hoopla and away the fans.

The experience was very strange, it passed under my nose. For a role like it to me, I must get interested…which was not really the case. I was a bit overwhelmed.

Spoken like an artist who found himself cast in the biggest show on television. For some people, the business of being a celebrity is part and parcel of the job—think of Emilia Clarke, who is now the face of Dior, and using the platform the show gave her to headline blockbuster movies, or Kit Harington, who models watches while trying to find a movie he can star in that won’t be a box office disaster. Dillane is not someone who used his success in that manner, even before he was cast on Game of Thrones, and probably found himself a little at sea being surrounded by actors for whom that was always part of the equation. He speaks of his place in the production as one tiny part of a big machine, which is accurate.

Libération asked Dillane why he took the part if he didn’t understand the show. After a long silence, the actor replied that he did it “among other things, for the money.” He’s certainly not the first actor who took a role for money so he’d be able to afford to take roles for love. (I’ll note that many of the actors in the Marvel movies sign up for that very reason.)

At least Dillane was a good sport about it while being on the show, and never came out and spoiled plotlines or denigrated the show while he was a part of it. He still doesn’t in the interview, either, despite it not having been the role of his lifetime.