Entertainment TV What it’s like to work on Game of Thrones

What it’s like to work on Game of Thrones

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You do know Liam Cunningham. No, really, you know him.

If not for his role as Ser Davos Seaworth, Stannis Baratheon’s right hand man in HBO’s Game of Thrones, then surely in the almost 100 acting credits he has notched up in his 30 years as an actor.

The 53-year-old Irishman, hailing from Dublin, is in Australia this week to open the five day Game of Thrones Exhibition in Sydney.

 The New Daily has 3 Google Play vouchers to give away, valued at $50 each. Email us your details to win.

His enthusiasm for the show, in which he stars as a weather-beaten knight with morals of steel, has meant he is in the happiest moment of his working life, Cunningham says.

There is nothing else like it, and I don’t think they’re will be anything else like it ever again.

“It’s turned into something that’s beyond everybody’s control,” Cunningham tells The New Daily.

“There is nothing else like it, and I don’t think they’re will be anything else like it ever again.

“It challenges you and it messes with your head. It confuses you, it makes you laugh, it scares you sometimes and it’s fantastic grown up entertainment.”

Game of Thrones
Cunningham as Ser Davos with Melisandre, played by Dutch actor Carice van Houten. Photo: HBO

Quick flashback:

When we left Game of Thrones at the end of season four, Ser Davos had just rode into battle with the wildlings at the northern foot of ‘The Wall’ by the side of Stannis (who he believes is the one true King of Westeros).

For most of seasons two, three and four Ser Davos had been working hard to steer his master in the right direction and, in any way he could, away from Milesandre.

It’s clear, as you can ever be with this unpredictable show, that Ser Davos has a bigger role to play in season five.

So what’s it actually like living your life by the sword of Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin and the HBO show’s creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss?

Getting the gig:

Cunningham was asked to visit HBO’s Benioff and Weiss in Northern Ireland before season one kicked off in 2011.

He didn’t get a gig for the first run but he says they “kept him in their back pocket” until the right role came up.

“Of course, being the cynic that I am, I thought they were letting me down gently, but true to their word I came up for another meeting in Belfast.”

The rest is history.

Was he already fan?

As part of his preparation for his role the creators gave him 10 DVDs of the first season to watch.

Game of Thrones
Liam Cunningham off-set. Photo: Getty

“Genuinely, this is what happened. I put on the first one at about eight or nine in the evening and I thought I’d watch two every day,” he remembers.

“I watched six back-to-back and I got up the next morning and watched the other four.”

He said being a fan of the show is as big as being in it.

“Because the cast is so big, myself and most of the cast that I know, quite a few of them I’ve worked with before, we all watch it like fans.

“It’s one of those unique shows that is going to come along once in a lifetime and you’ve just got to enjoy the ride while you’re on it.”


Cast on the show adhere to an incredibly tight schedule. Season five will commence filming later this month and will wind up in December.

“From day one when we start filming it goes straight into production for editing purposes and all the computer generated stuff,” Cunningham tells.

“By the time it gets to December, when all the principle shooting is done, they have four months to get it ready to go out to the US.

“It’s not something that they’re shovelling out to keep people’s retinas busy, there’s a lot of thought that goes into it.”

So who does he think is going to be the last man or woman standing? 

Given George R.R. Martin’s penchant for killing off high profile characters as the books and TV show have unfolded, it’s a fair enough question to ask who Cunningham thinks will be sitting on the Iron Throne when the show comes to a close.  

“I think it’s highly unlikely that it’s going to be Tyrion. It’s too obvious, ” he says, referring to his co-star Peter Dinklage’s star character.

“I don’t think it’s going to be me. (laughing)

” I have this vision, and I hope I haven’t got it right because the producers would f****en kill me, of a white walker sitting on the Iron Throne with one leg thrown over the arm sucking on a Cohiba cigar.”

The Exhibition:

So, if you’re in Sydney this week and you still haven’t had enough of Game of Thrones, head to the free exhibition at The Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney.

As well as a ‘virtual reality wall’ experience, visitors can also see more than 100 original pieces from production and wardrobe departments.

The Game of Thrones Exhibition opens in Sydney on July 1 and runs to July 5, 2014.

Game of Thrones: Season 4 is now available on Google Play.

The New Daily has 3 Google Play vouchers to give away, valued at $50 each. Email us your details to win.

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