Over the past six years, HBO's Game of Thrones has grown from merely a hit series to becoming a full-fledged cultural phenomenon. The show has turned actors such as Kit Harington (Jon Snow) and Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen) into household names, while growing significantly in scope throughout its run. The cast has often been a revolving door of talent, with just a handful of characters still alive from the first season, and as it turns out, the cast could have been much different, had Bryan Cox not turned down the show's offer for an unspecified role.
Bryan Cox recently spoke with Vodzilla for his new movie Forsaken, where he revealed that he's a huge Game of Thrones fan. When asked if he would ever consider taking a role on the HBO series, the actor admitted that he "stupidly" turned down a role on the show, purely for financial reasons. Here's what he had to say below, hinting that the casting of his former Deadwood co-star Ian McShane certainly means the show is paying their actors much more than they used to.
"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. Maybe I could do - I mean, 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!"
He went on to add how he has had several friends on the show, such as Clive Russell (Blackfish), Liam Cunningham (Davos Seaworth) and Charles Dance (Tywin Lannister) who all "had a great time in it." He went on to talk about how "astonishing" the Battle of the Bastards episode was, adding it was more brilliant than battle sequences in box office blockbusters like The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. He also added that he would now love to join the show, "if they've got more decent money."
While the show is nearing the end of its run, it's still possible that Bryan Cox could come aboard the show at some point in Season 7, or possibly the much-rumored final installment, Season 8. HBO has issued a Season 7 renewal, but they haven't specified how many episodes will air next year. Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss confirmed that Season 7 would be shorter, seemingly confirming rumors that Season 7 would be seven episodes long and the eighth and final season would span six episodes. Production will begin sometime this month on Season 7, so we'll have to wait and see if Bryan Cox is asked once again to join the ensemble cast.