Interviews

Published on March 3rd, 2015 | by admin

ISAAC HEMPSTEAD-WRIGHT (Bran Stark from Game of Thrones)

Where did we leave Bran at the end of season three?

At the end of season three, Bran had just headed beyond the Wall. In the first season, he was in Winterfell. Second season, he leaves. Third season he’s finally left and he’s actually following his own quest and his own destiny, if you will, and season four, he gets there.

Is Jojen still guiding him?

Absolutely, yeah. Jojen is an integral part of Bran’s storyline, and really helps guide Bran to what his destiny is, and what this huge drive inside him is.

Do you ever ask the writers what Bran’s destiny might be?

I’d love to know. I’ll always say, ‘Go on, tell me a bit.’ Because of Bran’s prophetic dreams, who’s to say he wouldn’t know what’s going to happen?

So do you know?

Not really. I need to work on that (laughs).

What lays ahead for Bran in season four?

So in season four, not only did we get captured by the Night’s Watch mutineers, and have a bit of trouble with them, we then get attacked by a group of un-dead Wights as we’re trying to finally finish this four season long quest to make it to where I’ve been pulled to. It’s full of action, really. All my seasons have gradually got slightly more exciting in terms of action, and this is finally the pinnacle of awesomeness.

What’s it like playing a disabled character in those action scenes?

You just sit down really. You want to get up and you want to help, but you have to just try and move without moving.

Did you do more dream sequences where Bran can walk?

There are, sort of, but they’re becoming less dream sequences and more visions through the wolves, or through trees, and it’s getting much more mystical. It’s always been hinting at this mystical edge, but finally we’re actually seeing it for what it is.

Have you read the books?

I haven’t read them. When I became a part of this, I was ten, so to read the books would have been fairly inappropriate (laughs). Just a teensy bit! Also, Bran is only a ten year-old kid, and he is naïve, and he wouldn’t know all the complexities of the kingdom of Westeros, that you would see through the book, so I suppose it’s a combination of not being allowed to read them, and the fact that Bran is a kid and he wouldn’t understand about all the political turmoil.

You’re not interested in seeing what happens to Bran later on?

I’ve looked at the Internet and found out. I guess it’s because the books are quite long, as well. They’re a commitment. The scripts are very much your bible, and you follow them. David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] and Bryan [Cogman] have extracted the story and condensed it. Everything is there for a reason and you follow that rather than the books, where there might be things that are completely different, or that have not happened at all.

Have you met George R.R. Martin?

I’ve met George a number of times. Usually it’s at an event or a premiere or something, because he’s busy writing. He’s a lovely fellow – larger than life and sort of big and jolly.

Have you asked him about Bran?

I have asked him about Bran and what happens. ’Tell me what’s happening! Who’s on the Iron Throne at the end?’ But he’s not going to tell me. Dan and David know – we’ll have to extract it from them [laughs].

Who’s your favourite character?

All the characters have something very intriguing about them. There’s no one character that completely stands out as the ultimate. Even Joffrey I find very interesting: this really irritating kid who’s given absolute power; an angry pubescent teen with control of a kingdom. So I would say he is probably the most fascinating. He’s so different from Jack [Gleeson] – absolute polar opposite. Jack is the friendliest, kindest, academic guy, not this insane leader.

How many years have you been on the show now?

Five.

How does it work with school?

I have a tutor while I’m out there, and my school are really nice about it. I just missed two days to come off for press interviews and they were like, ‘Absolutely fine!’ They’ll give me work to do, and I like to get it all done, and make sure I’m up to date. When it started it was always really cool missing school, but now there’s a lot to catch up on, and I really enjoy school.

Do you think your future will be in acting?

I’d definitely like to go to university. I’m not sure if acting will be what I will do. I first started off at ten saying this is what I wanted to do, but then I started saying, ‘No, I don’t really want to do it.’ Now I’m starting to think, it’s such a wonderful opportunity, and I’ve got my foot in the door, so why not? But for now, it’s school and university.

Do you get fan feedback?

I have Twitter and people tweet me, and I get fan mail sent to me. It’s nice because the fans really are what make the show. Without them it wouldn’t be half the show it is. We even had the fans of the books before the show was even dreamt of and they’ve been carried over to the show. The hype they create, and how enthusiastic they are – there’s not a fan base like it.

Have you watched the Red Wedding reaction videos?

(Laughs) Yeah! It was great when you could see people who had read the books just getting ready and smiling, and the people who hadn’t just screaming and paralysed with fear.

Do you think season four has a similar climax?

Each season, as every character develops, and the storyline develops, there’s bound to be more and more intense and crazy climaxes, and I think season four is no different. We’re reaching these points where you can’t see how it could get any worse, or any more exciting, but it does. It gets more and more, until whenever down the road, season whatever, we’ll finally reach a conclusion, and it’ll be so epic and incredible.

What interests have you got away from acting?

I love music. I love the piano. I’ve been playing for about four or five years. A couple years ago I used to hate it and I would never play it, but just recently I’ve become absolutely obsessed with it. I’m a huge fan of classical music.

What about school?

I love physics and maths. Particularly particle physics I find really fascinating. I’d love to do particle physics at university.

How did you get the part of Bran?

It was completely by accident, really. I went to a local drama group in our town, near Canterbury, and Game of Thrones were doing an open casting call. They were sending a wide call out, so anybody could really go up for it. I found football too cold on a Saturday [laughs], so I went to a drama group, and I went for an audition, just thinking, ‘This is really cool! I get to go up to London, and I really get to be a film person.’ I got recalled, and they did one more [audition]. But then it was a long wait, and you sort of forget about it – ‘Oh okay, let’s move on. Get back to normal life.’ And then they said, ‘Yeah, we’ll give you the part. Come and do the pilot.’ And so I did the pilot, and didn’t even think it would get picked up. I sort of trained myself not to get too excited. Look at how many pilots get made and look at how many get made into series. Not that many. But then it got made into a series, and it was really fun to go back and do it again, and it just shot up. It was suddenly this huge phenomenon, which I didn’t even really understand, because I live in a very rural part of the world, with lots of old people, and you don’t really see people coming along and going, ‘Oh yes! Great murders!’ But then you go to America or you go to London and then you see that it’s become huge. It’s insane.

When you were younger did they try to keep you away from some of the more adult themes of the show?

The thing with the violence was, you’re on set and you see a decapitated prosthetic head, or dead bodies just lying around, and buckets of blood, and it’s debunked really. When you’re watching the TV and you see the sword coming down on someone’s head, you know that there’s a guy behind the pedestal pumping blood out, and you just go, ‘Oh, that’s not real.’ You work out that it’s just film. The sex was a bit harder to debunk. It was a process, with watching it, and I would get taken out of the read-throughs when they were doing the raunchy stuff.

Do you film the stuff beyond the Wall in Iceland?

Yeah, we do, but I didn’t get to go to Iceland (laughs). Because this year – the one year we might be able to go to Iceland and do a bit of fun stuff – it turns out they switch it to a summer location, so instead of using the winters there, they switch it to a summer backdrop, without any ice, because they’d used Ireland too much.

So where did you do your stuff?

Northern Ireland, in Belfast. Everyone else is going off to Croatia, or Iceland, or Los Angeles [laughs].

What are the sets like? Do they help you get into character?

Oh, they’re unreal. And the art department is incredible. Absolutely everything is thought out, from the script – every single word in the script will have a meaning – all the way to how much grass is where, or what kind of tree this is, or the kind of scenery, or the amount of light, or the dagger, or the pin on your costume. It just makes this spectacular realism. It’s really as if you’ve walked into some medieval re-enactment, or back into medieval times themselves. You arrive and you’ve got this incredible costume, and none of it’s Velcro or fake – it’s all legitimately tied as if it were medieval times. These beautiful Italian boots. Then you walk in and you see all of the leaves on the floor, perfectly done. The trees are painted white for the weirwoods with their eyes carved out, all the daggers, the rocks, and it feels like a real world. The second you’ve stepped onto set, you’ve left Belfast and the construction site, and you’re in Westeros.

How do they do the direwolves?

They’re CGI’d now. We did have real wolves in season one, and in fact Sophie [Turner], who plays Sansa, adopted her wolf, so she’s got Zuni.

What happened to yours?

I’m not sure! I think they just moved on to bigger and better things. What they do now is they have a big stuffed dog, which they use for the effects stuff, and then they have the tennis balls, and all that. But what they do in LA is they use real wolves in front of a green screen, and then they scale them up and do more CGI onto them, and that’s the final product you see.

Are David and Dan always on set?

Yeah, there’s always usually one of them on set, because they really are the big brains behind the operation. They know precisely what has to happen, and Dan will come in and say, ‘Can we just change the hair a little bit?’ They’ll check everything is exactly as it has to be, because you never know when one tiny seemingly insignificant scene will be the crucial point three seasons later.

Do the cast have bets on who is going to survive?

The thing about it is nobody knows, because, as you’ve seen, you can go from one minute having a nice feast, to, three seconds later, slaughtering the Starks. You really don’t know whether finally you’ll see X or Y on the throne and you’ll think, ‘This is it!’ And then suddenly they’ll have their throat slit.

Has Bran’s story line on the show caught up with the books now?

I think they’ve all gone a bit convoluted in the sense that some storylines are accelerating. I’m pretty much at the end of where I am in the books now. I’m almost there, and other people are miles behind. It’s becoming a bit of a mish-mash of storylines.


About the Author

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