Max von Sydow. Jonathan Pryce. Charles Dance. Iain Glen. Sean Bean. Everyone’s been on Game of Thrones. You might well wonder, then, why someone like Brian Cox – who is so easy to imagine donning furs and a sword and hopping on a horse – hasn’t been in the show. It turns out that he was, in fact, offered a part when the show was starting out – but he turned them down.
The actor told our own Matthew Turner about his almost-casting in HBO’s epic in an interview discussing his latest film, Forsaken (out this week). He described himself as a “great Game of Thrones fanatic” and a “complete addict”, adding that he regretted the decision.
Why did he say no? Money, he admitted.
“Stupidly, I turned it down in the early days because they didn’t pay enough money,” he revealed, laughing. “Now they have more money. And I was silly. I was silly, it was silly, because I’m a complete addict now. But I don’t know what I could play.”
“I just watched my friend Ian McShane and I thought, ‘Ooh, Ian’s in it’, so I settled down to watch him. And I thought, ‘Ian did that?’ and immediately I thought, ‘God, they must have paid him well’, because I know Ian!” he joked.
“And there was Max von Sydow doing that character that he did, so in a way, it’s attracting certain people who do film, and, of course, I’ve got friends like Clive Russell and Liam Cunningham and Charlie Dance is an old pal, being in it, and they had a great time in it.”
He spoke to us just ahead of the show’s Season 6 finale and praised Episode 9, Battle of the Bastards.
“Now I know what they spend on it, in terms of the visual aspect of it… Last week’s episode was phenomenal… If you think of The Hobbit or you think of The Lord of the Rings, the battle sequence in Game of Thrones was a lot more modest, but much more brilliant than any of the battle sequences in any of those movies and all those kind of CGI characters doing their bit, whereas this was real people, I mean, the CGI was just brilliantly done and clearly there was a bit of green screen, but it’s astonishing. For television, it is truly astonishing.”
“I’m still waiting for the call for Game of Thrones and if they’ve got more decent money, I’ll be there!” he added.
Cox didn’t tell us what part he was originally offered, but our money is on Robert Baratheon, who went on to be played brilliantly by Mark Addy. What Game of Thrones character do you think he would suit?
You can read our full interview Brian Cox here.