Brian Cox Regrets Passing on ‘Game of Thrones’

By July 6, 2016

Over the past six years, it feels like a significant percentage of talented British actors have appeared in HBO’s Game of Thrones, whether popping in for a single episode, like the legendary Ian McShane, or scowling and soliloquizing through a few seasons like Tywin Lannister himself, Charles Dance. But there’s one actor in particular who I’m legitimately surprised we haven’t seen yet, especially when you factor in his previous history with HBO.

Brian Cox, who played traveling theater performer Jack Langrishe in the third (but perhaps not final) season of Deadwood, seems like a perfect choice for a supporting role in the hit fantasy drama series. He could easily play the pompous Lord of some lesser House, a wise old maester or maybe even a grizzled commander – so why hasn’t this happened yet?

As it turns out, Cox himself is to blame. During a recent chat with Vodzilla, he revealed that he passed on a role in Game of Thrones, a decision he wishes he could go back and change:

“Well, stupidly, I turned it down in the early days because they didn’t pay enough money [laughs]. Now they have more money. And I was silly. I was silly, it was silly, because I’m a complete addict now. But I don’t know what I could play… I just watched my friend Ian McShane, and I thought, ‘Ooh, Ian’s in it’, so I settled down to watch him. And I thought, ‘Ian did that?’ and immediately I thought, ‘God, they must have paid him well’, because I know Ian! [laughs]

And there was Max von Sydow doing that character that he did, so in a way, it’s attracting certain people who do film, and, of course, I’ve got friends – like Clive Russell and Liam Cunningham and Charlie Dance is an old pal – being in it and they had a great time in it. But now I know what they spend on it, in terms of the visual aspect of it, like in last week’s episode… Last week’s episode was phenomenal… For television, it is truly astonishing… But I’m still waiting for the call for Game of Thrones and if they’ve got more decent money, I’ll be there!”

Cox didn’t reveal what role he was offered, or how long ago those negotiations took place. Personally, I think he would have been a solid choice for somebody like Mace Tyrell, or maybe even Jeor Mormont. Chances are, we’ll never know the truth, unless Cox decides to spill the beans, but it’s fun to think about what might have been, and how different our feelings toward a particular character would be if they were brought to life by someone else.

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Brent Hankins

Brent Hankins

Contributing Writer at GeekNation
Brent Hankins is a member of the Phoenix Critics Circle and co-host of the Drinks and Discourse podcast. He's also the proud owner of an Italian Greyhound named Sullivan. He's adorable (the dog, not the author).