Game Of Thrones is one of the most successful TV shows of the past decade, loved by millions of people. But would it be the same if our favorite characters were played by other popular actors? Bright Side found out which stars it was that turned down probably a life-changing role, and regret making this decision. How would the show’s characters have looked if they had been played by different people?
15. Cersei Lannister (Tricia Helfer)
Tricia Helfer, best known for her major role in the Battlestar Galactica television series, auditioned for the part of Cersei. She revealed this in a post on her Twitter account for her curious fans. She says she really enjoys reading the books and is genuinely convinced that George R. R. Martin will soon publish the next instalment. Tricia currently plays the wife of God in Lucifer.
14. King-Beyond-the-Wall (Dominic West)
Dominic West turned down the part of Mance Rayder because he was not enthusiastic about leaving his family for a long period of time. However, Dominic regretted this decision when his nephew said that Game of Thrones was the only great show on TV. By then it was too late — the part had already been given to Ciarán Hinds.
13. Stannis Baratheon (Mark Strong)
Strong hasn’t commented on his possible participation in the series, but many people seem to believe he turned down a role in Low Winter Sun. Unfortunately, this show was cut after the 1st season. We think that Mark should’ve chosen Game Of Thrones instead, because Stephen Dillane understood neither the series nor its success.
12. Daenerys Targaryen (Tamzin Merchant)
Tamzin Merchant was cast in the role of Daenerys Targaryen in August 2009, and was even filmed for the original pilot episode. She later refused to be the Dragon Queen, offering no comment as to why she decided to leave the project; we can only guess whether it was the low quality of the first episode or her new role in The Tudors. Interestingly, George R.R. Martin liked her performance in this show.
11. Sansa Stark (Izzy Meikle-Small)
British actress Izzy Meikle-Small at one time had almost secured the role of Sansa, but HBO ultimately put down Sophie Turner for the part. She said that she wasn’t that unhappy about this decision, because there’s a lot of nudity and her parents would not appreciate that. Let’s face it, a role in such a huge project like this virtually guarantees a major career breakthrough for any young actor. For example, after Game of Thrones Sophie Turner successfully performed in the superhero movie X-Men: Apocalypse.
10. Catelyn Stark (Jennifer Ehle)
HBO originally cast Jennifer Ehle as Catelyn Stark. Just like Tamzin Merchant, Ehle left the project right after the shooting of the original pilot episode. Later she revealed that, despite her love for the books, it was too soon after the birth of her daughter to take part in such a long-running project. She chose real-life motherhood over being someone’s mother on screen.
9. High Sparrow (Jared Harris)
British actor Jared Harris was really upset that the auditions for roles in Game Of Thrones and Westworld weren’t very successful for him. The HBO producers preferred someone older instead, but we believe Jared still has plenty of time to get his key role.
8. Renly Baratheon / Loras Tyrell (Sam Heughan)
Scottish actor Sam Heughan stars in the TV series Outlander. He auditioned 7 times for different roles in Game Of Thrones — as Renly Baratheon, Loras Tyrell, and several members of the Night’s Watch. Every time he was very close, but not close enough to get the part. Sam is a big fan of the world of Westeros and eagerly awaits every new episode. Practice makes perfect, and his auditions were not in vain — Sam got the lead in the popular Sony Pictures Television drama series.
7. Pypar (Danny Dyer)
One of the most popular Cockney actors, Danny Dyer was up for the role of Pypar three times, but never made it to Westeros. His voice was reportedly the main issue; however, among the rest of the British actors in the show, his accent surely wouldn’t even have been noticed. Who knows, maybe if Dyer played Pypar, the character wouldn’t have died in the Battle of Castle Black.
6. Xaro Xhoan Daxos (Mahershala Ali)
“Wow, how could I have ever turned down Mahershala Ali?” said Nina Gold, the Game Of Thrones casting director. The Oscar Winning actor really wanted to make it in the project and auditioned for the role of Qarthian merchant Xaro Xhoan Daxos. In his interview with Jimmy Kimmel, Ali said that those auditions were the worst ones of his career because they didn’t give him a proper stool.
5. Waymar Royce (Jamie Campbell Bower)
Jamie Campbell Bower, best known for his role as Caius in The Twilight Saga, was confirmed in the role of the brother of the Night’s Watch but left the project after the pilot episode. We can only guess what made him leave — maybe it was the bad quality of the pilot, or perhaps the fact that his character was the first to die in the series.
4. Roslin Tully (Perdita Weeks)
Perdita Weeks easily got the part of Roslin Tully thanks to her experience with The Tudors. She was also cast to play in The Heretics in Romania for 6 months, and turned down a part in Game Of Thrones due to her busy schedule. Soon her project was postponed, and she begged the Game Of Thrones producers to take her back but it was too late — Alexandra Dowling had already joined the cast.
3. Melisandre, Red Priestess (Gillian Anderson)
Gillian Anderson never let on as to what part she declined, but many people seem to believe it was none other than Cersei Lannister. But we’re certain that the X-Files experience could’ve helped her to perform the supernatural abilities of Melisandre extremely vividly. Her daughter couldn’t believe she turned down Game Of Thrones. “But if I’m going to be spending that amount of time working on something, I would rather be working with a director like Martin Scorsese”, Anderson replied.
2. Jonathan Pryce
Jonathan Pryce was brilliant in his performance as High Sparrow, the religious zealot. He was offered the chance to join the series in the beginning, but he didn’t feel like being a part of the “dragons, dungeons and fantasy stuff“. The growing popularity of Game Of Thrones made Pryce change his mind. The actor said ”I’m still glad I said no the first time round. I waited for High Sparrow.”
1. Brian Cox
Scottish actor Brian Cox turned down a part in GoT in the early days because they weren’t prepared to pay enough money. “Now they have more money. And I was silly. I was silly, it was silly, because I’m a complete addict now”, says the actor. Now greedy Brian only watches his friends’ acting in the show.
You can also take a look at what characters could’ve been played by Viggo Mortensen, Tim Roth, Sam Claflin and Lily Allen.
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