Paddy Considine soars as House of the Dragon ‘s King Viserys Interview by Gerrad Hall Cover illustration by Abigail Giuseppe Paddy...
Paddy Considine soars as House of the Dragon‘s King Viserys
Interview by Gerrad Hall
Cover illustration by Abigail Giuseppe
Paddy Considine was “completely at peace,” he says, with the fact that his time as King Viserys on HBO’s Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon was going to be short-lived.
“When I’d read all the scripts, I just thought there was such a fantastic arc, and I thought his death was perfect,” Considine says on the season premiere episode of EW’s The Awardist podcast. “He was one of those guys that, once he’d gone, everybody realized how valuable he was.”
Sure, Viserys wasn’t riding dragons or engaged in battle — those were being fought by people hoping to occupy the Iron Throne after him — but Considine proved there was power in the alternative, steadfastly leading his people and maintaining calm in his kingdom.
Below, Considine looks back on a reign that was full of grief, love, and nobility — but lacking in dragon-riding (and he’s okay with that!) — and the very personal reason for why he finds it so tough to watch his on-screen death.
Photograph by Ollie Upton / HBO Paddy Considine HBO House of the Dragon Season 1 – Episode 8
Paddy Considine on ‘House of the Dragon’
| Credit: Ollie Upton/HBO
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: It’s really nice seeing you healthy and with hair and your full face.
PADDY CONSIDINE: Yeah. [Laughs]
That must have been a process. How much of it was practical? How much of those final couple episodes when we saw King Viserys dying was practical, what was CGI?
A huge percentage of it was practical. It was about four and a half hours, probably a tiny bit longer. It was a long time in the makeup chair for the episode 8 look which was my final look. There was a lot of that work going on with the prosthetics and the finishing touches with the CGI, like the holes in the cheek and the eye socket and things like that. Also a thinning of the face because we shot so much out of story order when we were making the show, I couldn’t go on some crazy crash diet.
We know that these shows are about who is going to ascend to the throne and what was going to happen to King Viserys. But I don’t think anyone really wanted him to die — we heard so many characters talk about how good of a man he is. So in those regards, it was painful to see such a good king have this fate.
I had to make him interesting. That was the job, really, when I read it. I was offered the part [without auditioning], and because I really was a fan of the original show, I felt a sense of duty. I saw a really great character there and a really great opportunity to bring something special to it. I didn’t realize that in the books it was only a very small part of the history, so when we were arriving at Comic-Con, there’s no “wooo-woos” ’cause I think people were very much like, “Oh, he’s that king dude that just sits around being a good guy.”
But I saw all the different aspects to him. I saw all the different struggles and the things that he was dealing with. I think from the moment that his wife died in the first episode, when he started to become ill, particularly after that, I think he was somebody that wasn’t looking for a cure at all. He was the only one that wasn’t asking to be healed in any way. And so he began this very physical decline, which sort of represented his role as King, really, and the effect that the grief was having on him, and the responsibility of being king was having on him. He became a physical manifestation of all those different struggles. So it was an interesting thing to play.
Photograph by Ollie Upton / HBO Paddy Considine, Milly Alcock HBO House of the Dragon Season 1 – Episode 3
Paddy Considine and Milly Alcock on ‘House of the Dragon’
| Credit: Ollie Upton/HBO
I couldn’t help while watching, thinking, “Is there gonna be some kind of Jon Snow moment here? Can be healed? He’s not actually going to die. Maybe the writers will throw out the window what people know from the book.” But were you secretly hoping for anything like that, or you were at peace with what was going to happen?
I was completely at peace with it because when I’d read all the scripts, I just thought there was such a fantastic arc, and I thought his death was perfect. He was one of those guys that, once he’d gone, everybody realized how valuable he was. So there was a lot of mixed emotions in hindsight about him. And I took exception to being called weak by Daemon, by [Matt Smith]’s character. That rankled me, not just as Viserys but as Paddy. I thought, this guy isn’t weak, he’s just trying to do the right thing. The real good guys suffer in those kind of situations. He wasn’t Machiavellian enough to sit on the throne and exploit it. He wanted to do the right thing by everybody but couldn’t.
Aside from his wife’s death, is there a defining moment that you feel like, when you watch, points to who he is in his heart and at his core?
There was a few. And I only say that because I’ve had a strange journey with acting, and there’s times that I’ve wanted to quit acting because I’ve never felt good enough as an actor, but I was always searching for something — something kept me in the game and wouldn’t allow me to quit. I just wanted to sort of transcend; sometimes you go, “I want to touch the gods, too… I want to be as good as that guy.” Whether I was good or not, I don’t know, but there was just something about my final speech in episode 8 around the table… maybe the best bits didn’t even make it into the cut. I don’t know. But there was just something walking away from that scene. I left the building before they’d even… well, they said, “That’s a wrap” and “Thanks, Paddy. Where’s Paddy?” And I’d gone. I could just hear them at the door and I was just like…
That was production wrap for you?
Yeah, yeah. And I just walked out of the building and I went, “I think I did it.” I had to shed a lot of things to get there, a lot of nonsense, a lot of fog. [Laughs] And I think for the first time I’d managed to make it work.
Photograph by Ollie Upton / HBO Emma D’Arcy, Paddy Considine HBO House of the Dragon Season 1 – Episode 6
Emma D’Arcy and Paddy Considine on ‘House of the Dragon’
| Credit: Ollie Upton/HBO
So in those regards, this role must mean a lot to you.
Yeah, I love him. I don’t think I’ve ever loved a character as much as I’ve loved him. I think it was an honor to have been offered him, and it gave me a fantastic opportunity, that character. He was for me, he was meant for me. That final death scene, I never watched it, and I was sitting in another room and my wife knocked on the door and she went, “You have to come and watch this.” And I went, “I can’t… I don’t want to see that I’m s—.” And she played it to me. She played me the key bits of that episode 8, the walk into the throne room. And I went, “Okay, okay.” And there’s something about that final moment that just shocked me because I looked like my father looked when he was dying. It didn’t just remind me of him, I looked the image of my father when he died. It was really tough [to watch].
And the moment you say “My love” when he dies was improvised, correct? Meaning you had thought about it and knew you wanted to say something more than what was scripted, or it just happened organically in the moment?
[Viserys] never got over the death of Aemma. And when he’s deteriorating, it’s almost like he is just accepting his death. He’s not the one saying to the Maesters, “Help me, help me. My arm’s falling off.” He’s just accepting it as a kind of punishment for putting his wife through that butchery. And her last moments in that world were very, very brutal ones, but he thought he was doing right by the realm. A lot of people confused it and thought he’d chosen to kill her; he didn’t. He never ever recovered from it, and I carried that with me all the way. I remember speaking to [episode director Geeta Vasant Patel] about it when we were talking about his death scene, and I wouldn’t even tell her. I said, “He sees something just before he dies,” and she was like, “What’s that?” I said, “Ah, I’m not telling you.” It just felt so personal. I’m not giving everybody my secrets…. When he dies you see his fingers reach above him, like he’s touching somebody’s face, and then the lights start to dim and he closes his eyes and says, “My love.” And that was improvised. And they left it in. I thought that was really great of them because it really honored that character and the work I’d done in the show.
Let’s turn the conversation here a little… were you jealous that you never got to get in the dragon saddle?
[Laughs] I was. I was jealous early on. I’ve got a little nephew and he loves dragons. This was his thing. And when [news] it broke, “Your uncle Paddy’s gonna be the king of the dragons,” his face was like, “Oh, great!” And he starts asking questions: “Do you have a sword? Do you fight?” “No. No, I don’t fight.” “Do you fly dragons?” “No.” And you see his face like going, “What do you do?” I’m like, “Well, I just sit on my ass all day on a spiky chair.” [Laughs] But I was envious until I heard what an absolute drag is sitting up on that thing for 12 hours a day.
Hear our full conversation with Considine on the new episode of EW’s The Awardist podcast, below.
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A star-filled spring
Dead Ringers Rachel Weisz
BUPKIS — “Show Me The Way To Go Home” Episode 108 — Pictured: (l-r) Pete Davidson as Pete Davidson, Edie Falco as Amy Davidson — (Photo by: Heidi Gutman/Peacock)
Joshua Jackson in Fatal Attraction
Left: Rachel Weisz as Elliot Mantle in ‘Dead Ringers’ | Credit: NIKO TAVERNISE/Amazon Prime
Center: Pete Davidson and Edie Falco on ‘Bupkis’ | Credit: Heidi Gutman/Peacock
Right: Joshua Jackson in ‘Fatal Attraction’ | Credit: Michael Moriatis/Paramount+
Some series are 99.8% locks, others are putting up a fight for attention and votes in hopes of being announced as nominees on July 12. Here are our early predictions in three major categories. By Gerrad Hall
Outstanding Drama Series
The White Lotus: Sicily
Better Call Saul
The Last of Us
House of the Dragon
This is really a race between HBO and HBO … and HBO. The premium cable network has three very strong contenders in Succession, The White Lotus: Sicily, and The Last of Us. If the final season of the two-time-winning Succession maintains what it’s already delivered in just the first three episodes (especially the third), this one is a no-brainer.
A photo from the production of episode 403 of “Succession”. Photo: David M. Russell/HBO ©2022 HBO. All Rights Reserved.
Brian Cox and Matthew Macfadyen on ‘Succession’
| Credit: David M. Russell/HBO
Outstanding Comedy Series
Only Murders in the Building
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Several dramedies, frustratingly, end up in this category — they’re great shows, but when put side-by-side with truly comedic material like that on Abbott and Only Murders and Maisel, it’s hard to compare. And yet, we have to. That said, Abbott has a lot going for it: critical praise and a loving, loyal audience; an outstanding ensemble cast that delivers the laughs (and fills us with heart) at every turn; a formula that proves network shows can thrive in the crowded landscape.
The cast of ‘Abbott Elementary’
| Credit: Pamela Littky/ABC
Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series
Dahmer — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story
Fleishman Is in Trouble
George and Tammy
White House Plumbers
With The White Lotus now competing in the main drama category, there’s no obvious winner here — not yet anyway. Dahmer seems like a sure bet for a nomination, as does Fleishman. A couple dozen other series are fighting for spots here, some of which haven’t even debuted yet — White House Plumbers among them. But on the strength of its chilling lead performance by Evan Peters and a tormented yet heroic supporting turn from Niecy Nash, Dahmer currently feels like the one to beat.
Evan Peters as Jeffrey Dahmer in DAHMER
Evan Peters as Jeffrey Dahmer in ‘Dahmer’
| Credit: Netflix
Oughta Get a Nod
On the season premiere episode of The Awardist podcast, EW editor in chief Patrick Gomez and Sr. TV editor Samantha Highfill make the case for the actor or series they think should be getting attention this award season.
Patrick’s Pick: For All Mankind
Joel Kinnaman in “For All Mankind,” now streaming on Apple TV+.
Joel Kinnaman on “For All Mankind”
| Credit: Apple TV+
“People are sleeping on the show. Although I will tell you, I play dodge ball and [after the game] last night, I got a friend to start watching it and he’s in the middle of season 3 — he only has, like, two episodes left — and he was just talking about it, someone else walked by and they were like, “Oh my God, are you talking about For All Mankind? I just started it.” I do feel like there’s finally this momentum here for this fantastic Apple TV+ show that everyone should be watching. So anyway, this is my, this is my putting it out in the universe.”
Sam’s Pick: Meghann Fahy in The White Lotus: Sicily
PHOTO October 29, 2022 Photograph by Fabio Lovino/HBO Meghann Fahy HBO The White Lotus Season 2 – Episode 1
Meghann Fahy on ‘The White Lotus: Sicily’
| Credit: Fabio Lovino/HBO
“Sometimes I go with a show that I love so, so much that I know will never in a million years get a nomination. And so this year I’m doing it differently. I’m going with a show that will absolutely get nominated, but a person that I think maybe won’t get the credit that she deserves. And that’s Meghann Fahy for White Lotus. I think Jennifer Coolidge is a lock. I think what Fahy did on that season was so incredible, and anyone who watched her on The Bold Type knew she was a freaking star. I thought she was the absolute breakout of that season, and I think a lot of people did. And I would just love if she had her moment.”
Your very early 2024 Oscar predictions
An early look at five films already getting buzz. By Joey Nolfi
Only one month out from Everything Everywhere All at Once‘s historic Best Picture victory and a crop of new contenders have already entered the awards multiverse to kick off another hunt for Oscars gold. Here are five (super early) contenders to watch as the new season takes shape.
Killers of the Flower Moon
Killers of the Flower Moon
Lily Gladstone and Leonardo DiCaprio in ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’
| Credit: Melinda Sue Gordon/Apple TV +
Some legends never miss, and that’s the case when it comes to Martin Scorsese, who, over the last 20 years, has only directed one movie (Shutter Island) that hasn’t received at least one Oscar nod. With the filmmaker’s modern muse, Leonardo DiCaprio, and reigning Best Actor winner Brendan Fraser at the center of his new western-tinged thriller, expect signature Scorsese as the Hollywood vet continues pushing boundaries to new frontiers with this Apple streaming venture.
BARBIE Copyright: © 2023 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved. Photo Credit: Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures Caption: (L-r) RYAN GOSLING as Ken and MARGOT ROBBIE as Barbie in Warner Bros. Pictures’ “BARBIE,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.
Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie in ‘Barbie’
| Credit: Warner Bros.
Four years after her last movie, Greta Gerwig looks to continue her Oscars hot streak after directing two consecutive Best Picture nominees in Lady Bird and Little Women. Though Barbie is based on the beloved line of children’s dolls, there’s zero chance that Gerwig’s take is a lifeless, generic commercial mannequin out of the box. With an ensemble cast and dazzling technical elements on display in the film’s first trailer, Barbie is shaping up to be one of the first across-the-board contenders of the summer season.
Oppenheimer, Cillian Murphy
Cillian Murphy in ‘Oppenheimer’
| Credit: Universal Pictures
At this early stage, always assume that the most traditional Oscar fare is already on voters’ radars — and it doesn’t get much safer than a new Christopher Nolan spectacle based on real-life historical events behind the man credited with creating the atomic bomb.
Bradley Cooper as Leonard Bernstein in ‘Maestro’
| Credit: Netflix
Bradley Cooper is music to the Academy’s ears, with nine nominations across a wealth of categories, from Best Picture (as a producer) to the leading man in A Star Is Born and Silver Linings Playbook. Their affection for him has yet to crescendo into a victory, though that could change as he transforms body and soul to portray the late composer Leonard Bernstein in a tale about his marriage to Felicia Montealegre (Carey Mulligan), which many believed to be a cover-up for his sexuality. All other elements aside, it’s an industry-tackles-industry project anchored by a straight actor portraying a queer man — otherwise known as pure Oscars gold.
The Color Purple
Taraji P. Henson attends Dinner with Taraji P. Henson hosted by the BET Awards at Citizen News Hollywood on June 25, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images); Danielle Brooks attends ‘Black Women On Broadway’ at Empire Hotel Rooftop on June 06, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for CRM Mgmt); Halle Bailey attends the 95th Annual Academy Awards on March 12, 2023 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images); Fantasia Barrino and Clive Davis attend “Whitney Houston: I Want To Dance With Somebody” World Premiere at AMC Lincoln Square Theater on December 13, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)
Taraji P. Henson; Danielle Brooks; Halle Bailey; Fantasia Barrino
| Credit: Rodin Eckenroth/Getty; Bennett Raglin/Getty; Kevin Mazur/Getty; Jamie McCarthy/Getty
Steven Spielberg’s 1985 adaptation of Alice Walker’s The Color Purple holds a distinct record as the most-nominated — yet undecorated — film in Oscars history, with 11 nods that didn’t translate to a single victory. The film’s upcoming revival, however, stands to course-correct more than just that project’s awards narrative, as Spielberg (who returns to produce alongside OG star Oprah Winfrey) received criticism for helming a story about a predominantly Black cast of characters. Now, with Blitz Bazawule (and a wealth of recording industry talent including Fantasia Barrino, H.E.R., and Ciara) driving the story, the revival could bring Purple to new heights on screen and the awards trail.
Other possible contenders:
The Piano Lesson
Dune: Part Two
The Book of Clarence