Pilou Asbæk talks Game of Thrones season 8, playing a Nazi Zombie


Pilou Asbæk burst on to the scene as Euron Greyjoy in Game of Thrones season 6. He swaggered his way through season 7, and will have the good fortune to appear in what will probably be the most widely seen season of television in decades when Game of Thrones season 8 premieres next year. While out promoting his role as yet another villain — Wafner, a Nazi turned zombie in Bad Robot’s Overlord, Asbæk discussed his impact on Thrones with SyFy Wire.

"I came on board in Season 6, so I had two seasons, mostly. Like Stanislavski, the father of all theater, said, “There are no small roles, only small actors.” It doesn’t matter the size of a character, it matters how you do it. And you can see in Season 7, [Euron’s] impact. I have three or four scenes, but I’m driving them. I love him. I got some great scenes next season as well."

Asbæk did indeed steal the show a couple times in season 7 — just ask poor Jaime Lannister — and we’re eager to see what he brings to the table in season 8.

Asbæk’s role on Thrones led to other high-profile gigs; in addition to his role in Overlord, he starred alongside Scarlett Ingrid Johansson in Ghost in the Shell. But while Asbæk  appreciates the career bump Thrones has given him, it’s had an even bigger effect on his personal life.

"Ghost in a Shell changed a lot of things, and so did Game of Thrones. Game of Thrones is so massive. I was in Chile, and I got pulled over in security. I was like, “Holy s**t!” I felt like a criminal, I hadn’t done anything, but I felt like a criminal. And then they just said, “We love you in Game of Thrones. Can we have a photo with you?” They closed the whole border! No one came into the Chile airport for 10 minutes while I was taking photos. [Laughs] It just tells you, it travels everywhere. Game of Thrones is the biggest show on Earth. Probably the biggest show there’s ever been. But that was the moment where I was really like, “Holy f**king s**t, man.”"

So that’s why I missed my connecting flight in Chile…

Asbæk also revealed how his relationship to the show changed after he became part of it. “I used to be a very, very big fan of Thrones,’ he said. “I’d seen all of it. And the moment I became a part of it, I have not seen one second since. Yes. Not one.”

Whatever works for you. But will he watch the rest when season 8 is good and aired? “Maybe I’m going to be one of those selfish actors that’s just going to watch my own scenes because I’m too lazy. [Laughs]”

As for Overlord, Asbæk shared a unique acting technique: doing the exact opposite of what’s written in the script. “There’s a reason why a cliché is a cliché, there’s some truth to it, we had to turn it upside down. We had to make him charming and fun, not like [Euron] in Game of Thrones.”  Personally, I always found Euron quite fun, but that’s me.

For help turning into a zombie, Asbæk had help from an authority: Andy Serkis, famous for his motion capture roles in Lord of the Rings, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Planet of the Apes and more.

"He was like, “Okay Pilou, what is it you want?” And I was like, “Andy, I’ve never done this kind of transformation, and you did all these incredible films.” He was like, “It’s all about decisions. The more decisions you make, the more freedom you’re going to have.”"

You can find out more about Asbæk’s Overlord transformation below. It’s looking like a pretty good time:

Overlord opens in theaters November 9th. Game of Thrones season 8 is expected to debut sometime in the first half of 2019.

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