Q&A: Game of ThronesFeatures
Jason Momoa, Josef Altin and Finn Jones answer the fans questions at Collectormania 18.
Last month we headed to Milton Keynes for Collectormania 18 and were lucky enough to attend a highly entertaining talk featuring three of the stars of Game of Thrones; the enormous in every way Jason Momoa (Khal Drogo), brother of the Night’s Watch Pyp (Josef Altin) and the dashing Knight of Flower’s, Ser Loras Tyrell (Finn Jones).
It took a little coaxing from a laughing Jason Momoa to get the shy crowd to summon up the courage to ask questions; maybe they were just terrified of him - he is HUGE - but eventually they hit their stride.
Jason: So, a lot of Game of Thrones fans in the house? So I'm gonna let them [Finn and Josef] talk because I'm dead. So Season 2? How did that go?
Finn: Yeah, pretty nice, it's been ok. It was good. [laughs]
Jason: Season finale's coming up - everyone excited?
[Big YES! from the crowd]
Jason: A lot of good stuff coming up. I wish you guys had seen it already, would make things a lot easier! But hey what else? This works really well when you guys ask US questions. My favourite colour is blue. Anyone? Please ask away!
[To Jason]: Hello! You were in Stargate - sci-fi with spaceships, aliens, guns and technology. Then Game of Thrones - fantasy with horse riding, sword fighting and magic. Which of those worlds do you feel more comfortable with and was it very different shooting wise?
Jason: Yeah I mean I think Game of Thrones is probably the easiest because Stargate you were fighting imaginary things, and then in space getting pretend shot at which was always annoying. So Game of Thrones was easy - I got to have sex a lot, kill people, and you don't have to pretend as much. So I'd say Game of Thrones is probably the best, and he's the best character because he's so far from myself - I'm a nice guy, I sit and cross my legs like this, and I wear good shoes. Drogo wouldn't be caught dead in this.
Jason: Come on guys, you have to ask more fucking questions or this will be the longest half hour ever!
[To Jason]: In the books, Drogo had bells [in his hair and beard]. What happened to them?
Jason: It's a noise, that's a fucking nightmare! I was walking round like "we gotta get rid of these bells!" Just sounding like Santa Claus was coming. Wasn't very scary. "Jingle jingle jingle!"
Jason [to Josef]: How’re the pigs Pyp?
Josef: Pigs are alright actually! Getting fed by the boys. Coming back soon. So I get to see the boys again soon.
Jason: You start up again in like September?
Finn: July I think.
Jason: You know the one thing that sucks about Game of Thrones? That we have to wait until next April to see 10 more episodes! They need a few more episodes a season, am I right?
[Loud agreement from the crowd]
Jason: And they also need to bring Drogo back..
[Even louder agreement!]
Jason: Alright! Start writing those letters!
How do you guys rehearse to get into character? I assume it's not like theatre work with cast sessions? Is it more individual? Do you meet with the director?
Finn: This season we had a director who was really good, and we were able to rehearse before we shot the scenes. But usually we don't get any rehearsals in, we maybe get a few minutes to get the lines together. That's where it's different for us.
Josef: Exactly what he said! Nah, learn the lines and know exactly who you are and who you're playing. The backstory and all that. When everyone's setting up, just go over your lines. It's so fast you ain't got time.
Finn: With the amazing sets and the amazing costumes, and the amazing writing, you know, it's all there. So much of it is already realised. Your rehearsal comes from all the hard work around you.
Josef: And to get in character for me was really easy. It was so cold when I filmed two years ago. Obviously winter. Rotting carcasses hanging up and the field was horrible. So getting into character for me - it was all already there. Walking through the gates, with the wall and everything there. It was good in a way that you had that, you didn't have to make believe everything.
Jason: It was pretty easy to get into character because no one could really tell me what to say. You're the king and no-one's gonna say anything about it! Just go out there and go "ahlalalalala!" Take your shirt off and bam! Instant Drogo.
What's the worst disaster that happened to you on set? Is there one day that something went spectacularly wrong and you thought "I can't wait to get out of here!"?
Finn: I mean every time I needed to pee, that was pretty bad. Being stuck in this crazy armour and going into the tiny portaloo cabins. Honestly, you try to squeeze yourself in there, have a fiddle around and, yeah, that was probably the biggest disaster for me anyway!
Josef: Umm yeah, it was the weeing!
Jason: Try having a ponytail down to your asscrack..
Josef: Nothing really happened to me, but there was a point where we were all filming at Castle Black. It was John Bradley who plays Samwell, and Kit Harington. Obviously Kit plays Jon Snow. They were doing their scene in the lift while we were eating dinner, and everyone was suddenly like "THE LIFT'S STOPPED!" So I was like "what do you mean the lift's stopped?" so the lift's sort of going sidewards and everything's thinking Kit's gonna die. It was just quite scary! These people came in because they were stuck, the stunt guys I think, and one had to climb up and grab something to make the lift work again. I was shitting myself.
Finn: Yeah I remember we were filming at the camp, and we had a massive extras tent near the cliff. It was a super windy day and I was in the trailer and saw everyone running and in a panic, so I went outside. Literally the whole extras tent, which was about 1000 extras and all their costumes, took off into the air! It was actually terrifying with things swinging down and people getting knocked out. It was absolute chaos. So that was a real disaster but luckily everyone was ok in the end.
Jason: We had something like that with the scene where we got burned. We were in Gozo and that scene's supposed to happen at night if you've read the books. She walks into the fire and she comes back out. They shot it in the daytime because they literally lit everything on fire and the winds were so heavy and blew everything away. Hurricane winds. I was dead so I didn't give a shit but hey! I was in my trailer like "haha!"
Have any of you guys met George Martin [author of the books] and how much influence does he have over the script? And what unresolved issues does this guy have? All the best characters get killed off and all the pricks keep living!
Finn: Well I can't speak for the man himself, but I met him during the first season in Belfast. We had a little conversation and he's a really, really great guy. He's very humble, very easy to speak to and cares SO much about the books and the franchise. It was a great experience talking to him about the characters and stuff, but he doesn't give ANYTHING away. That's the most annoying thing. You're kinda going "so errr what's going to happen with...?" and he's like "I'm not gonna tell you!" It's probably because he doesn't know.
Josef: The first time was probably the first time we arrived at Belfast, in the hotel at breakfast. He was like "hey you're gonna be Pyp!" - I hadn't read the books because I'm dyslexic and so I had to ask him about stuff. I didn't just want to learn the lines. There are so many books and fans of them too.
Jason: Pyp's on the throne, you know that right? Pyp's gonna end up on the throne. You should probably read the books bro.
Josef: Nah I'm really dyslexic, it's difficult.
Jason: If you drink enough, it'll straighten it out!
Josef: So yeah, he's got a lot of involvement but he's not allowed too much. I'd say like 80%.
If you could play a different character, who would it be?
Jason: These guys? They wanna play Drogo. Me? Tyrion. Tallest guy playing the shortest guy, you know what I mean.
Finn: I don't know. Probably .. I don't know .. err, Sansa maybe? Didn't want to say that! Good character though, I'd get to wear dresses..
Josef: I would have loved to play Joffrey but I think he does such a better job than what I would of done. Just so much width to his character. Really fun to play.
Did any of you read the books before getting a part in the show? And if not, when you were reading the scripts, did anything take you by surprise?
Finn: I think the chest shaving scene surprised me quite a bit! I was given that script maybe a couple of days before. It was written in, not originally in the script. They were just kinda like "oh hey, we've got an extra little scene for you," and I thought "oh great!" So they were like "yeah so you'll be half naked, shaving Gethin's chest," and I was just like "okaaaay!" I didn't read the books beforehand, but I did look up things on Wikipedia beforehand. Then obviously as soon as I was cast I got through the books. They're great, REALLY good.
Josef: The books for me are really hard. One - they're really massive with so much going on. I can read a normal book, but the Game of Thrones ones are too much. I just try to depend on asking people who do read the books, and learn more about the character and stuff like that.
Finn: That's the great thing about the Internet. You're all so obsessed with it, so it's great that there are Wikipedia pages and all that kinda stuff. You can just Google your character and without too much effort it's just all there. It's an actor's dream really.
Jason: I don't know about you but when I get a part I usually think I should research it! I'm not a big fan of reading either BUT I said "I should probably read this book.” So I did, and it took a while, and it was the biggest book I've ever read and it was called an accomplishment! It was fun, and I became a big fan. Then I knew I had to have the role.
Which one is your favourite book?
Finn: I really like A Clash of Kings. I've only read up to the first part of A Storm Of Swords, so I've still got to read the rest of it but yeah A Clash of Kings.
Josef: I don't know!
Jason: I died in the first one so fuck the rest of the books! I was so pissed when I read it, and I was like "NO WAY! NO WAY!" and I kept getting closer to the end, and then I looked in the next one and was like "NO YOU MOTHER---!" How do you? I was SO mad. How can you make a character so amazing and then kill him off? George! You couldn't just let him go into one battle?
What were your favourite bits to shoot or favourite episodes?
Finn: When they were fighting above my head. It was so amazing, and it was the first time where I was like "fuck! Thrones is EPIC!" These two massive guys having a sword fight above my head with the rest of the cast watching. It was really one of those moments where you think "wow I'm actually doing this!" and it was a humbling and overwhelming sensation.
Josef: Just with the Night's Watch people. Or the scene where Tyrion comes through the door. I didn't do much, it was just in the Castle Black but I enjoyed all of it. I just can't wait to do some more.
Jason: The big speech in 7 or 8 where I get a little angry. Probably the greatest experience to say those words. You don't get to say that in English - "I'm gonna take your children as my slaves and rape your dog!" It was pretty epic to say those things, and especially in a different language. I had a lot of rage, but so happy now.
On the set, did they make a pun out of the phrase "Renly's camp" as often as you might think?
Finn: No! That's the first time I've ever heard it. I remember once when Geth was trying to rally up the troops and he said "Ours is the fury!" and the extras went "Arse is the fury?" so that was a little pun that was going around.