Q&A interview with ‘Game of Thrones’ star Tobias Menzies
With roles in HBO’s period epic ‘Rome’ and more recently ‘Game of Thrones’, Tobias Menzies is no stranger to lavish productions. However, his new play ‘The Hush’ at The Shed at the National Theatre is a million miles away from the sweeping landscapes and sword fights. Neela Debnath spoke to Menzies about working on ‘Game of Thrones’, working in The Shed and what else he’s got lined up.
What was it like working on Game of Thrones?
It was very exciting. HBO are a really exciting company to work with and it reminded me of my days on Rome and working on that scale. All the sets are magnificent, the costuming is always brilliant, so it was a really exciting show to go into. It’s not a show I knew before but I’d heard lots about it, so it was a real buzz.
Were there any memorable moments or anything that you found quite challenging?
My first day, I remember was doing this archery scene which I’d not done before but luckily I didn’t actually have to be very good at the archery. So there was no acting required.
Were you better at archery than your character Edmure Tully?
I wish I could say yes but that would be dishonest. [laughs]
What was the atmosphere like on set on the day the Red Wedding scene was shot?
Obviously a lot of those characters were key characters that were killed off in that wedding. And those actors had been through a real journey with the show. So it was an interesting moment for them and for the show as well. There was a moment of sadness but kind of excitement about it. There was a lot of anticipation about it and I know they made certain tweaks. But yeah, there was a feeling that they knew that they wanted to get it right.
Did you speak to any of the cast after the scene was shot? Either Richard Madden or Michelle Fairley?
I’ve seen both since. I think it was a huge part of their lives and I think they will both miss it. Richard’s young so he’s got plenty to move onto.
Have you watched that episode and what did you think?
I have. I think it’s really brilliantly done. I think the pregnancy and his wife being there, I think are not in the books, so I thought that really ratcheted it up. You got a real sense of a promise of the future for them and then to have that cut down. Everybody talks about the stabbing of her pregnant belly as being the most gruesome moment of all. It’s powerful.
You worked on HBO’s Rome, how does that compare to working on Game of Thrones in terms of scale and aesthetics?
I think it’s very similar, I suspect that if Rome hadn’t happened… it’s in the same lineage. The production values are equally as high, again it is a mainly British cast shooting over Europe and it’s got an amazing look to it as Rome had. Visually, really arresting and a very beautiful realisation of another world.
Tell me about your new play.
We’re doing this play at the National in this new space called The Shed which is on the Southbank and it’s this red box which has been built on the outside of the theatre. Really great new theatre and we’re doing a show called The Hush, working with a producer, a musician, a composer called Matthew Herbert. It’s all about sound, that’s the theme. It’s going to be an immersive sonic journey which will hopefully have you thinking about listening differently to when you came in. So sound is sort of a way in. An incidental sound surrounds us all the time and is actually quite a beautiful thing and we take it for granted. Trying to hear things that we hear everyday but hear them, really hear them, trying to open people’s ears up. I think it should be a little bit haunting, a little bit of a ghost story but hopefully very beautiful as well. I think it will be a very different sort of show unlike most shows you would see at the National.
What is it like working in a small setting like The Shed?
It’s really lovely. I love little theatres because it’s very intimate and you can have a very easy rapport with the audience. Everyone’s in the same room. I love the Cottesloe which is what The Shed is replacing while it’s being refurbished. You don’t have to pump it out too much. You can let the audience come to you and that’s always really nice as an actor.
What else have you got coming up?
I’m going to be working on a new Hugo Blick project called The Honourable Woman. Hugo Blick made Shadowline and the new programme he’s making which, broadly speaking, addresses the Israeli-Palestinian question. Really great script and I’m going to be shooting some of that after I’ve done the play – August, September time. That will be well worth looking out for.
Do you know if you will be returning to Game of Thrones?
I don’t know, no. I’ve not heard anything I don’t know what they’re planning.
‘The Hush’ will be running at The Shed at The National Theatre between 17 July – 3 AugustTagged in: doctor who, game of thrones, The Shadowline, Tobias Menzies
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