Game of Thrones is a very popular show — possibly the most popular show — to the point where it’s inspired a rash of upcoming high-priced fantasy dramas we’ll see blink onto our screens over the next several years. Only it ends up that not all of them want to be associated with Thrones, as former cast member Ian Beattie (Meryn Trant) explained to Digital Spy.
If you don’t recall, Meryn Trant was the loathsome Kingsguard knight who beat Sansa on Joffrey’s command. Arya killed Trant while she was training at the House of Black and White in what may be the most brutal death scene on the show so far:
To this day, it’s like…damn, Arya.
Anyway, Trant spoke to fans at MCM Comic-Con Birmingham about a recent, very unusual audition experience. “It’s quite unusual because there was another show, that I’d rather not name if you don’t mind, which was auditioning,” he said. “It’s based on a video game and I can’t remember if Amazon or Netflix were doing it. But at the bottom of the casting call: ‘No Game of Thrones actors’.”
And that’s not the first time that’s happened. And I’m thinking, there’s some pretty bloody good actors in Game of Thrones. What the heck? But they did not want any form of brand recognition. That’s to do with the identity of the show. This is obviously a show that sees itself as a Game of Thrones-type show. It isn’t out yet, it’s being made I think as we speak. So they obviously don’t want any crossover whatsoever, which is fair enough. I won’t be watching it, but OK.
“I won’t be watching it, but OK.” The shade of it all.
Anyway, although I can’t say this with absolute certainly, the show Beattie is talking about is probably The Witcher, an upcoming Netflix series based on author Andrzej Sapkowski’s novels, which were themselves turned into a series of very popular video games. The show will star Henry “Superman” Cavill as lead character Geralt of Rivia, a superhuman monster hunter who must navigate a medieval-ish world “where people often prove more wicked than beasts.” It is, as Beattie says, being made as we speak.
As for The Witcher (and possibly other shows, if we can take Beattie at his word) not employing Game of Thrones actors, I think it’s dumb. I guess I understand Netflix not wanting people to associate The Witcher with Thrones, but it’s fighting a losing battle. The Witcher and several other upcoming fantasy shows straight-up would not be getting made if not for the success of Game of Thrones. There’s a connection whether Netflix wants it or not, so why not just accept it?
Plus, banning Game of Thrones actors cuts Netflix off from a deep pool of talent; a lot of excellent people have appeared on that show. And what’s wrong with being associated with the hottest thing on TV right now, anyway?
That’s what I think, anyway. Lemme know your thoughts.
In other Beattie news, the actor also talked about the time Charles Dance (Tywin Lannister) spoiled the end of season 4 for him. “At the start of season three, I actually phoned the production office and said, ‘Don’t send me the scripts. Just send me my scenes,'” he rcalled. “They said, ‘Why?’ I said, ‘Because I don’t want to know what happens! I’m a fan.’ All the way through season 4, I told everybody, ‘Don’t tell me. Don’t tell me, I don’t want to know.’
The last day of filming in Belfast, the season’s wrapping up, and I’m doing a scene with Nikolai [Coster-Waldau] and Jack [Gleeson], where Joffrey is slagging off his uncle. So we finish that scene, I’m standing outside having a cigarette, and Charles Dance walks up and he’s in a dressing gown. ‘Well…’ he says, ‘the little bastard finally killed me.’
After that, Beattie jokingly told Dance that “I’m glad you’re dead!” Presumably, he then laughed the hollow laugh of the damned, locked himself in his trailer, and screamed.