- Warning: Spoilers ahead for “Game of Thrones” season eight, episode five, “The Bells.”
- Pilou Asbæk has played Euron Greyjoy on HBO’s hit series since the sixth season.
- In an interview with INSIDER, Asbæk reflects on his “bummed” reaction to when he realised the show-version of Euron was much different, and also his gratitude for being part of such a big series.
- Asbæk also says he rooting for showrunners David Benioff and Dan “D.B.” Weiss to be “happy with what they created” because “right now people are very angry.”
- Visit INSIDER.com for more stories.
Sunday’s penultimate episode of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” brought the demise of several major characters, including the most arrogant man in Westeros: Euron Greyjoy, played by Danish actor Pilou Asbæk.
This final set of “Game of Thrones” episodes has been controversial among fans, and has record-low critical reviews. Asbæk says now that his character has been killed off, he’s throwing his support behind showrunners David Benioff and Dan “D.B.” Weiss for the final episode.
“I’m rooting for Dan and David,” Asbæk said in an interview with INSIDER. “For them to be happy with what they have created […] because right now people are very angry.”
Asbæk, who hasn’t watched a single episode of the show since he was cast as Euron, also revealed more about the strenuous final fight scene he filmed and why he was first “bummed” to realise Euron was so different from the book character.
Kim Renfro:Thanks so much for taking the time today.
Pilou Asbæk: Oh of course. I’m finally dead on “Game of Thrones,” so I’ve got all the time in the world to talk. And now I can be honest about.
Renfro: Well, great. Be honest, go nuts. How are you feeling?
Asbæk: I’m feeling great. I feel very, very thankful to be part of it. As an actor you always want more scenes, you want more stuff to work with, you want to have as much screen time as possible. But, that said, you’re also extremely thankful that you got to be a part of one of the biggest shows in the world.
Renfro: And you got to go out with a pretty epic fight. Tell me about that body slam wrestling move you pulled on Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (who plays Jaime Lannister)?
Asbæk: That was pretty intense. We might have had a little bit of help from a stunt double … I can’t remember. No, I don’t think so, I actually think we did all of it. Because you see our faces, right? I haven’t seen the episode.
Renfro: You haven’t watched any of it yet?
Asbæk: No, I haven’t watched anything since season six.
Renfro: Oh, how come?
Asbæk: I was such a big fan of “Game of Thrones,” I was a massive fan. I loved the show, it was my passion, but the moment it became my work, it became professional. So I had to detach myself a little bit from it. It was my work, and you don’t want to bring home work. You want to just focus on family and your friends and make sure you’re not working. So we had to skip it. We started watching “Modern Family,” which is a very different show, I’ll tell you that.
But it was great doing a body slam on Nikolaj. And Nikolaj, he’s a funny guy. He’s 15 years old when he’s around me. You can’t see it because I look old and he looks very young, thanks to my genes. It’s OK. I’ve had a fun, interesting life with a lot of cigarettes and a lot of alcohol and I’m not regretting it. You can hear it in my voice as well.
That said, Nikolaj is not a guy who backs down. And I’m not a guy who backs down. We’re both Danish and we’ve known each other for 20 years. So when we were doing [the fight], we had to go all in, because you don’t want to be the guy who chickens out. We got pretty bruised while filming that fight, but it was fun.
Renfro: Did anyone accidentally land a punch or something like that?
Asbæk: No, no one punched each other. But I slammed my head into a rock. That hurt … that was irritating. Because you got tired, you know? We shot it for two days. It was Nikolaj’s final scene, and then he was wrapped on “Game of Thrones” so it was also very emotional. Even though he’s super professional, you know you’re aware that when this wraps he’s done – Jaime Lannister is done on “Game of Thrones.”
Asbæk [continued]: And the final line is, “I’m the guy who got Jaime Lannister.” But I felt like I was saying “I’m the guy who got to do the final scene with Nikolaj.”
Renfro: How did it feel to get so close to being on the final-ever episode of “Game of Thrones”?
Asbæk:Seriously, I’m such a late arrival, I’m just thankful for every single second I’m getting. Because I had no idea where they wanted to go with Euron Greyjoy. I remember my first meeting with Dan [Weiss] and David [Benioff], and I was like all pumped because I’d read the books and all the sections with [Euron].
And I was like [drops voice to a whisper], “Oh my god, he has an eye patch. He’s called Crow’s Eye. Oh how f—— cool. Oh he drinks something called Nightshade? Which is some kind of weird alcohol that gives you blue lips?”
But the moment I came in they were like, “No, he doesn’t wear an eyepatch. And we don’t do the Nightshade.” And I was like, bummed, but I didn’t want to show I was bummed. So I went like, “Yeah I totally agree. Stupid. Such a cliche pirate.” You know? But I would have loved that. If they had given me a wooden leg I would have said, “Thank you.”
Renfro: In the books, Euron definitely does a lot more with magic, like he has the horn he talks about that’s going to bind a dragon to him, and it seems like he’s more deep in the mystical side of the fantasy realm.
Asbæk: 100%. It’s two very different characters. I think Dan and David wanted a not-so-mysterious villain, the way he is in the books. They wanted to do something else. But you never, never know where a character is going. So you have to go with what you get. And I was just … you know … of course you always want more screen time. Because screen time often equals character development, and motivation. You can show different sides of a character.
But at the end of the day I’m a supporting cast member. I’m not one of the main cast members. So I’m here to support, that’s my job, that’s what I get paid for.
Renfro: What was the toughest day or the biggest overall challenge on set for this season?
Asbæk: It’s always memorising those lines. I’m Danish, that’s my native tongue, so I have to remember all those British lines and it’s always difficult. So I’m always a little bit confused with that.
But it was also doing that physical fight scene at the end. That’s always tough.And when you’re shooting a dragon in a greenscreen room and this guy goes up to you and is like, “Oh, OK, so a dragon is flying just above your head and it wants to kill you with a fireball, so you have to jump.”
You’re like, “What? What do you mean? OK, where’s the dragon?”‘
That’s always difficult. Acting against greenscreens is not what you prefer the most as an actor. I love practical and when it’s as realistic as possible. That’s why when they built the whole new King’s Landing set, it was amazing.
Renfro: Now that both Euron and Cersei are gone, who are you rooting for in this final episode?
Asbæk: [long pause] Who am I rooting for? I’m rooting for Dan and David. For them to be happy with what they have created.
Renfro: And you think that they will be?
Asbæk: Yes, I think they will be, because right now, people are very angry. Some people are very angry and some people are very happy. I think, guys, just … please. Everyone has done the best work they could, under the circumstances they could, and I think it will stand the test of time. Honestly, I swear to God I think that. So I hope Dan and David are going to end up on the throne.
The series finale of “Game of Thrones” airs Sunday, May 19, at 9 p.m. ET.
- Read more:
- 17 details you might have missed on the latest episode of ‘Game of Thrones’
- Watch HBO’s teaser for the final, 80-minute long, episode of ‘Game of Thrones’
- ‘Game of Thrones’ fully leaned into ‘Mad Queen’ Daenerys, and fans are severely disappointed
- Every major character who died on Sunday’s ‘Game of Thrones’ battle in King’s Landing
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