Liam Cunningham: Game of Thrones season 8 will “make epic seem small”


Liam Cunningham (Davos Seaworth) has been out and about talking up Game of Thrones season 8. Recently, the actor joined host Ryan Tubridy on RTÉ One’s The Late Late Show and stoked the hype fires:

“We normally took about six months to shoot 10 episodes,” Cunningham remembers. “And on the six episodes that we’ve done for the last season, it has taken us nearly a year. So the budgets, the scale is absolutely extraordinary.”

"I can also repeat what the head of HBO said — Richard Plepler, he’s seen them, they’re not finished yet, there’s still a lot of CGI and stuff to do on them — he’s seen the six episodes twice, he said, and it’s like watching six movies. It’ll be a different style; it’ll make epic seem small, this season."

Cunningham says that people will try and trick him into revealing the secrets of the season when they find him drinking at a pub, but he finds ways to avoid telling them. As for whether Davos makes it through the series, Cunningham isn’t saying. “Don’t forget, ‘Valar Morghulis,'” he says. He was similarly stingy with the details when talking to The Independent. “I am alive going into the start of Season 8, because I was alive at the end of Season 7.” Well played, Cunningham.

The actor also joined the Ireland Unfiltered podcast and gushed about working on the show. What will he miss most? “I’ll miss the money (laughs). No, I will, of course, miss it. I’ll miss the perfect storm. The best crews, the best costume people, the best prop people, the beautiful scripts, the attention to detail, the wonderful casting, all that. You could get a sense of that when you’re doing it.”

"It’s kind of very unusual. Even when you’re working on a practical level, you walk onto a set that’s incredibly quiet, incredibly together, people working, there’s no headless chicken stuff and you just go in and it’s like a flick of a switch when you’re going for a take. Everybody comes together. And that’s kind of magical, it’s what every production aims for but very few productions actually hit."

Over the years, Cunningham has amassed a large number of photographs he’s taken on set since joining the show in season 2. “I’m kind of the only one apart from the official photographer that has been, I’ve been taking photographs for years on Game of Thrones,” he said. “So I’ve probably got about three or four coffee table books, able to do that. It might be a little pension down the line. But I do have lots and lots of photographs of Game of Thrones that I haven’t shown anybody.”

Let’s hope HBO allows him to publish those coffee table books sometime. I will happily contribute to that pension.

But is Cunningham hurting for money? He talked to The Independent about whether he got “massively wealthy” doing the show:

"My hole! [Laughs] You must be joking. No, no. A few of them [the actors] are because they started in Season 1. I started in Season 2. I didn’t earn the big bucks."

The Independent got Cunningham’s take on a bunch of Davos’ key scenes, including the one from “The Queen’s Justice” where Davos speaks to Daenerys Targaryen on Jon Snow’s behalf:

“I had the pleasure of speaking beautifully written words,” he said. “It’s all an actor can hope for. You just hope you can do them justice.

Another great Davos scenes comes in “Home,” when Davos talks Melisandre into resurrecting Jon Snow:

“Davos is a very practical man, full of common sense,” Cunningham said of the scene. “Acting-wise, I didn’t have to dig; just say simple truths.”


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The interview is long and worth a read. Here are a few more Game of Thrones-related takeaways:

  • Cunningham compares Davos to another right-hand man in film: “Somebody described Game Of Thrones as Lord Of The Rings meets The Sopranos but I have thought Davos is a little like Robert Duval’s Tom Hagen character in The Godfather.
  • “The show has been incredibly positive for everyone involved but it’s important not to over-stay your welcome,” Cunningham said. “The story had a beginning, a middle and an end. It wouldn’t be right to push it further than that. It was an unrepeatable experience, I miss it with a smile.”
  • What has he learned from the show? “If you build it, they will come.”
  • Cunningham sometimes gets bored with other television and movie scripts and will leave the project. Not so with Game of Thrones. “I consider myself a character actor. I have done a few leads. They don’t really interest me that much, to be honest. I get bored very easily, with that sort of carry-on.  But the writing on Game Of Thrones is f***ing beautiful. We get those scripts and there is virtually no re-writing of anything, which is virtually unheard of when you are doing drama, where everything seems to be a work-in-progress.”
  • Cunningham’s mother will be 84 in February and has never seen an episode of the show. “I don’t think she watches it. I don’t think she’s seen it. I don’t think me ma watches it. Which is kind of weird. I don’t think she has Sky.”
  • Cunningham firmly believes he will forever be known as the guy who played Davos Seaworth, and he’s okay with that. “I will be known forever as Davos Seaworth. It will be Liam ‘Game of Thrones’ Cunningham for the rest of my f***ing life…I’ll just have to shave the beard off and play someone else!”

He’ll certainly always be Davos to me. Let’s hope he makes to the end of season 8 and returns to that wife he left way back in season 2. She has to be wondering what in the world he’s doing by now.

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h/t Joe