“No one wanted to take a chance” on John Bradley after Game of Thrones

John Bradley is the Game of Thrones alum of the moment, doing press tours galore and spilling on everything from his thoughts on the spinoff show House of the Dragon to his hope that disillusioned fans will give Thrones another chance one day. We may know him best from his time as Samwell Tarley, the bookish Night’s Watchmen who went on to become Grand Maester to King Bran the Broken, but these days Bradley is up to quite a few other things. He has not one but two films coming out this month, which means that even beyond Game of Thrones he has an awful lot to talk about.

The first of those films is Moonfall, the new movie from disaster expert Roland Emmerich. Bradley plays a conspiracy theorist whose wild ideas about the moon attacking the Earth prove more true than expected. That one is currently in theaters. Bradley’s other upcoming project, the Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson fronted romcom Marry Me, comes out today. That means two straight weekends of John Bradley crushing it at the cinemas, and we couldn’t be happier for him.

Bradley recently sat down with NME to talk about his movies and how hard it was to move on from Game of Thrones. “Nobody seemed to want to take a chance on me, and my confidence began to suffer,” he said. “I wanted something different… Every time you have a show as successful as Game of Thrones, loads of [similar characters] follow. But I thought: ‘I’ll resist them’.”

And resist he did. Bradley waited nearly two years after Game of Thrones ended in 2019 to commit to another acting gig. It helped him avoid being typecast playing the same kind of role over and over, but had the adverse effect of leaving him hanging without the stability of the series that had been his home for over a decade. “It was a strange thing to get to grips with,” Bradley said. “Game of Thrones was always in the future and then it wasn’t.”

Jennifer Lopez saved John Bradley’s confidence

Though Moonfall technically released in theaters first, it was the Jennifer Lopez romcom Marry Me that marked Bradley’s first time signing on to a major role since his days as Samwell Tarley. He was hand-picked for the part by Lopez, and it meant that his long wait paid off big.

“I got a phone call from my agent and he says Jennifer Lopez is doing a film in New York and she wants you to play her manager,” Bradley recalled. “I said: ‘Send me the audition script.’ But [my agent] replied: ‘There’s no audition, she wants you. She’s a fan of the show and seen you in interviews.’ Now a romcom couldn’t be more different to Game of Thrones! It was the reset I needed.”

“She’s so amazing,” he continued. “I’ve worked with many wonderful actors like Jim Broadbent [Archmaester Ebrose on Game of Thrones] and Peter Dinklage who I admire, but then you work with [Lopez] and she’s not only a good actor but also a singer and a dancer and she’s respected in the fashion world too. She’s reached the top of so many forms of entertainment, you can’t help but be inspired by her.”

Marry Me has a very different tone from Bradley’s work on either Game of Thrones or Moonfall, which gave him room to explore a much broader range as an actor. Considering how difficult it was to play the long game in hopes of landing parts beyond “bumbling-but-good-hearted-bloke,” it’s great to see Bradley get a happy ending. Bradley claims that Lopez “pulled him out of a nightmare time.”

“I’m always going to be very grateful,” Bradley said. He credits Lopez with “saving my confidence.”

It was “brave” of Roland Emmerich to give Bradley a romance in Moonfall

Bradley also talked a bit about Moonfall, which came out in theaters last weekend. He explained why he thought it was “brave” of Roland Emmerich to cast him for it, as opposed to some Hollywood model chosen for their looks.

“It feels like there are very few romantic leads that are people of a certain body shape,” Bradley said. “You rarely see a couple that are that shape functioning with each other and if they are, they’re the butt of the joke and their romantic life won’t be explored. I don’t know why that is the case.”

Bradley is hopeful that that trend is changing. He credits the pandemic with helping people to realize that “…everyday people can be heroes. Everyday people have the ability to impact the world around them and to make sacrifices, to make changes with wider humanity in mind.”

John Bradley teases The Three-Body Problem

Lastly, Bradley talked briefly about his other other project: Netflix’s highly ambitious adaptation of The Three-Body Problem, based on the hugely influential sci-fi novels by Chinese author Cixin Liu. The show is being helmed by Game of Thrones bosses David Benioff and Dan Weiss, and has the makings of yet another groundbreaking work. Bradley is one of two Game of Thrones alums slated to appear in it (Davos Seaworth actor Liam Cunningham is the other), and apparently it’s going to be pretty nuts.

“If David and Dan pull this off, it will change the rules of TV again,” Bradley said. “Fingers crossed, it will have the impact they want. I’ve never read a script so ambitious. I’ve never wanted something to succeed so much because, if it does, the game is changed.”

Whether Bradley’s prediction is fulfilled, we’ll have to wait and see. It’ll likely be a while before we see anything for The Three-Body Problem, but we’ll be keeping a sharp eye out for any news.

You can see John Bradley in Marry Me this weekend. Moonfall is out in theaters now, and also stars Halle Berry, Patrick Wilson, Donald Sutherland and Michael Peña. Bradley may no longer have his brothers in the Night’s Watch, but he’s clearly keeping with some pretty good company.

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