This is the way every conversation should start:
I heard about Reddit from my good friend Karyn Parsons, who played Hilary Banks on the Fresh Prince. (Via)
It works for all topics. For instance, replace “Reddit” with “corgis,” and boom, I heard about corgis from my good friend Karyn Parsons, who played Hilary Banks on the Fresh Prince. It doesn’t matter that you’re not actually good friends with Karyn Parsons — if it’s good enough for Peter Dinklage, it’s good enough for us. Tyrion Lannister himself held a Reddit AMA earlier today to raise money for a Kickstarter film, and he fielded questions about everything from Game of Thrones to…Game of Thrones. Also, Death at a Funeral, but mostly Game of Thrones. Here are some highlights.
How did the Game of Thrones showrunners describe/pitch the role of Tyrion to you? What factors/concerns did you consider before accepting the part? Was it a difficult decision?
That was many years ago now, strange enough, time has gone by so quickly it was about 7 years ago, oh boy! I have known David Benioff, he was an acquaintance, and I was a huge fan of his writing, so that really got me inquisitive about the project, that and HBO.
I had one hesitation, because of the fantasy genre, I told him I didn’t want a really long beard and pointy shoes, and they assured me this character and this world wasn’t that. They told me about his complexity, the fact that he wasn’t a hero or a villain, that he was a womanizer and a drinker, and they painted a flawed and beautiful portrait of him, so i signed on.
Does it suck being so well known and living in NYC? Do you ever have any privacy?
Yeah, I mean, it’s a little tricky. I’m sort of a private person and people are very well-meaning, but the one thing that sort of gets to you are the cameras/cellphones. People try to be sneaky and try to get your picture without coming up to you or asking, and that’s what kind of gets to me.
I don’t even know why they do that, isn’t the joy of meeting somebody better than taking a picture from down the street? I’ve seen every combination too, some people will even send their kids over to ask for directions, haha! But for the most part people are very nice and I’m not moving out of NY just because of that at this point. It’s just important to me to feel safe and keep my family safe as well.
Question: with GOT popularity increasing, do you fear the stigma as only being known for your character Tyrion? Sort of like Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter?
Well, that’s a great question. I feel like that can go both ways. You can take that as a compliment and think about it like you’ve done a great job with the role, and you’re sort of in people’s conscience as that character.
On the other hand, the joy of this TV show is that you can take time off and do other characters. A couple of years after this hopefully I’ll also do some good work. I know Daniel Radcliffe has been doing a couple of plays in New York right now, and probably in a way attempting to blow his Harry Potter image. If people really can’t disassociate me from Tyrion then I’ll try to take it like, hey, I probably did something right with that role.
My question is what has been your favourite interaction with a fan that has come from your work on Game of Thrones, or any of your other work? The fanbase is pretty insatiable, and I can imagine you’ve had a ton of crazy ones.
I’ve met some people who have dogs named Tyrion. And met a woman who had children named Arya and Sansa!
But for the most part the fans are just super enthusiastic and really helpful to me because they’re just so much more knowledgeable about the material than I am, they’ve read the books, they’ve researched everything, they know all the lineages of these characters, so every time they want to talk it’s really helpful to me. Nothing really stands out as a peculiarity but they’re completely sweet and very good-natured. I don’t know…They like to play dress up!
What is the best advice ever given to you?
Hmm… I know the worst advice ever given to me was “do it right”. As an actor you don’t really know what to do without that bit of direction.
The best of advice, I love a quote from Steven Soderbergh. I read some advice he gave in an interview: Perseverance + talent= luck. There’s no such thing as pure luck, you just have to persevere and hopefully you have a modicum of talent. I love that quote, I think it really says it all.
Thank you for playing Tyrion so perfectly! Would you ever want to get a beer in Chicago?
A bunch of people have asked for beers. But the first one I saw was from some guy in Chicago named treehugger. It was awhile ago now and impossible to find. But: sure, treehugger. I’ll look for you under the trees.
Could you give us a good story that was pulled on either sets of Death at a Funeral?
Oh god, people love stories but my memories…that was like five years ago! It wasn’t so much Chris Rock since he was producing the movie so he had a lot of pressure on him. It was more Tracy Morgan who kept the cast entertained. He just kept repeating that Ernest Borgnine was his father. And for some reason him repeating that to everyone, the craft service, everyone, the more he said it the funnier it got. Tracy Morgan is a lot of fun to be around!
Which cast member on Game of Thrones is the funniest off screen? What’s a little known fact about you?
-Conleth Hill! He’s a dear friend and fortunately I have a lot of scenes with him. And Lena, she’s also a dear friend and all we ever do is laugh together. When the three of us get together it’s a lot of fun.
-I love hummus?
Also, I’m not a cat person but I had a cat for ten years. Because I had a rat in my apartment and I don’t like killing creatures. So I got a cat. I thought my roommate was going to take the cat but he moved out with his girlfriend and left the cat there. So I have this cat.
I’ve heard that you and Lena Headey are good friends outside of acting together. Due to the intensity of Cersei and Tyrion’s relationship, and the wicked gut slashing dialogue between the two, do either of you need to do anything to get into that mindset of mutual hatred? Or do you just have a smashing good time playing with the characters’ relationship?
Sometimes we have to avoid eye contact so we don’t crack up!! It’s funny that sometimes people think with these serious scenes, people think the mood on set is very serious, but sometimes the most serious scenes can produce the most laughter on set.
I miss working with Lena. We didn’t have as much as I’m used to this year. In the second season we had a lot of scenes together.
What kind of toppings do you like on your pizza?
Peppers and onions. Although I was once at a restaurant in Los Angeles where someone ordered a pizza that didn’t have any cheese on it. It was a gluten-free bread that didn’t have any cheese, so I don’t even know what pizza is anymore.
When did you realize that the show was going to be huge? Could you tell from the script when you first auditioned? After meeting with D&D? After the first season? It’s forward momentum is incredible, and well deserved.
Thanks! Unfortunately, I never know what’s going to be popular and what isn’t. This show was a big gamble for HBO and everyone involved. People usually associate fantasy TV with Xena and Hercules and those sort of things. No offense to them, but they’re a bit lighter around the edges. This show wasn’t that.
What I love isn’t usually a barometer of how popular it will be with audiences. Some things that I was a part of that I loved and thought would be big hits are things that nobody ever saw. But yeah, mostly it was the Internet’s reaction to Sean Bean getting his head cut off. That’s when I knew we were getting big!
Do you have any hilarious behind the scenes stories about Game of Thrones?
There was one scene I was doing with Jerome Flynn, who plays Bronn. It was in season 1 I think, when I say something to a crazy woodsman guy. He asks “How do you want to die?” and the line in the script was like, “At the age of 80 with wine in my belly and a girl’s mouth around my cock.” And I said… “Age of 80 and a girl’s cock around my mouth!” I inverted a couple of the words, and when I said that my friend Jerome couldn’t stop laughing, so we had to stop filming for the day.
If you could take one souvenir away with you on your final season of Game of Thrones, what would it be?
I’ve got a lion ring that’s pretty cool. And my scar.
What are the top 5 things on your bucket list?
Really? I’m not that old guys!
Hmm, maybe go to Peru as my #1…I heard that’s incredible.
I’m taking suggestions for 2 through 5.
If you could have a superpower, what would you choose and why?
Flying, of COURSE. Totally flying. It would be so much fun. And terrifying.