Matt Smith thinks House of the Dragon has “slightly too much” sex

House of the Dragon
House of the Dragon /

Having played the Doctor on Doctor Who and Prince Philip on The Crown, Matt Smith is the biggest name on House of the Dragon, HBO’s upcoming Game of Thrones prequel show. He plays Daemon Targaryen, the volatile younger brother of King Viserys I Targaryen and someone we’ll be spending a lot of time with throughout the story. “He’s sort of an outsider,” Smith told Rolling Stone about his character. “He’s not black and white, there are shades of grey with him, which is what interested me about him. And his relationship with his brother is really interesting.”

Based on early impressions, Daemon is going to be a fan favorite. The job is another big one for Smith, although it does come with its challenges; apparently it’s a “pain in the arse” to affix his Targaryen blonde wig every morning, for example. But on the other hand, how many actors get their own dragon? “My dragon’s called Caraxes. He’s a bit of an avatar of Daemon — he’s grumpy, sardonic, insular, volatile, chaotic,” Smith said. “There’s an actual dragon, and you sit on it and they move it around by remote control, while firing rain and all sorts of things at you.”

Overall, Smith seems happy with the show, and his coworkers. “It’s a great cast,” he said. “The characters are really, really interesting. And it’s based on George R.R. Martin’s book [Fire & Blood, 2018]. That’s one thing we’ve got going for us: we’re not just plucking fantasy out of thin air. It comes from the mind of George, who’s really clever, and has created a world that feels like it’s translatable.”

"I haven’t seen it yet — and often your experience of making it is different from your experience of watching it. But I hope it’s good. Obviously, you’re standing on the legacy of a show that had a big impact on people. And you’re never going to be able to recreate that. It’s a bit like being in a band: you’ve got to play the hits, but you’ve also got to hope the second album delivers something that moves the narrative forward."

Speaking of that legacy, Smith was a fan of Game of Thrones from the start, and was also there for its controversial ending. “I think you’re always going to disappoint some people,” he mulled. “Ultimately, the body of work they produced stands up. Was it a perfect ending? It’s a matter of opinion. It didn’t bother me, I liked it.”

Matt Smith “liked” the ending of Game of Thrones

We’ll get to watch House of the Dragon for ourselves soon enough, but until then, we have some interesting teases to sort through. For instance, a producer recently intimated that the show will take care not to depict sexual violence on screen, something the original show was criticized for. But that doesn’t mean the show won’t have sex. If fact, Smith thinks it may have “slightly too much,” at least when it comes to his love scenes:

"You do find yourself asking, ‘Do we need another sex scene?’ And they’re like, ‘Yeah, we do.’ I guess you have to ask yourself: ‘What are you doing? Are you representing the books, or are you diluting the books to represent the time [we’re living in]?’ And I actually think it’s your job to represent the books truthfully and honestly, as they were written."

Again, we can decide for ourselves how well House of the Dragon toes that line when the show premieres on HBO and HBO Max on August 21.

Matt Smith would return to Doctor Who “if it was the right script”

Like we mentioned earlier, this isn’t Matt Smith’s first time being part of a high-profile series. He played the Eleventh Doctor during a celebrated run for that show, although it wasn’t as easy as he made it look. “I was turning up to work going, ‘F**k, I can’t do this,’” he recalled. “I used to phone my dad, going ‘I can’t do this.’ And he’d be like, ‘Come on, get your head down, you can.’ The show is such a jewel in the BBC crown, and has such global appeal… if it doesn’t work, and you’re at the centre of it, then there’s nowhere to hide. I remember walking down the street around that time and someone shouting, ‘Don’t break Doctor Who!’”

He seems like he’s a bit more self-assured these days. Would he ever go back to Doctor Who? “Maybe, if it was the right script. I mean, I don’t know if I’ve got too old now. It would have to be really right.”

And then there’s Morbius, the recent Sony film where Smith played a vampire investment banker who faced off against Jared Leto’s titular bloodsucker. That movie got panned to the point where it lived a strange second life in the form of mocking memes, although many seemed to agree that Smith was the best thing about it. “Yeah, it was thrown under the bus,” Smith said. “But you just have to roll with it. What else are you gonna do? It’s a film, at the end of the day, we’re not saving lives. For whatever reason, it didn’t quite work out and… It is what it is.”

Next. Matt Smith and Paddy Considine talk playing Targaryen brothers in House of the Dragon. dark

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