Game of Thrones might have the most solid cast on television. From top to bottom, these people are some of the most fascinating actors on the small screen right now — and many of them have a pretty fascinating genre pedigree. Here are the most random or remarkable genre roles each of the stars had before Thrones.
The other day, we reminded you that Jaime Lannister actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau was a space captain in the abortive TV show Virtuality — and you reminded us in turn that he also was great in New Amsterdam. Here are some more uncanny roles the Game of Thrones cast took on.
Peter Dinklage: Underdog
It is hard working with animals, I've got to say. We did the same thing with Underdog. Your pockets are filled with bacon, there's meat dangling above your head so the dog looks like it's looking in your eyes, there are trainers standing by who have to shout commands before you say your lines. It's slow going. That's what they say: "Don't work with children or animals." I've done a couple of movies where I've done both, and, especially with the animals, it's slow going. But the end result has worked out somehow.
Sean Bean: The Percy Jackson Films
This was a tough one — Bean has been in so many genre classics, including a certain massive fantasy trilogy and two Silent Hill films. But in terms of wacky or off-beat roles, it came down to the evil doctor in Michael Bay's The Island, or Zeus in the Percy Jackson films. And Zeus wins, partly because it's such a dementedly over the top franchise. And partly because Bean is the only one of the Greek gods from the first movie to return for the second. Here's a glimpse of him wearing his muscley breastplate and brandishing his big lightning bolt.
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau: My Name is Modesty
We already covered his roles in Virtuality and New Amsterdam — but here's the young Coster-Waldau playing a thug named Miklos, in the Modesty Blaise movie from 2004. He's sort of playing your standard gun-toting bad guy, but with just a hint of the Lannister smirk in there.
Lena Headey: The Jungle Book
Headey has played an insane number of genre roles, including Sarah Connor and the evil Ma-Ma in Dredd. Just this year, she's co-starring in The Purge and Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. But back in 1994, she played Kitty in the Jungle Book movie, and here she is teaching Mowgli how to be civilized, with the help of John Cleese.
Emilia Clarke: Triassic Attack
Around the same time she started appearing as Danaerys Targaryen, Clarke also co-starred in this classic Syfy original movie about dinosaur skeletons that come to life and bite people, directed by Eureka's Colin Morgan. Here's the entire movie, badly dubbed in Polish — you can still hear Clarke saying things like, "He's communing with the spirit world!"
Kit Harington: Silent Hill Revelation
The Jon Snow actor also has a role in the upcoming witchy movie The Seventh Son, with Jeff Bridges. But he's also pretty memorable in this video game movie, where's basically the dude in distress, getting menaced by bandage-faced nurses and stuff.
Richard Madden: Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate
We're stoked to see the Robb Stark actor play Prince Charming in the new Cinderella movie — but meanwhile, here he is voicing Alucard in this awesome vampire video game. Here's the ending of the game (sorry about the picture quality) after Alucard and Simon have defeated Dracula.
Iain Glen: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
The Jorah Mormont actor was Father Octavian on Doctor Who, Dr. Isaacs in the Resident Evil movies, and a few other great genre characters. But here he is as Manfred Powell, the villain in the first Tomb Raider movie, joining forces with Angelina Jolie to fight an army of statues come to life. He has a lovely evil sneer in this film.
Michelle Fairley: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
She's Hermione's mum, who was proud of her daughter being a witch — until Hermione was forced to change her memories to protect her from the Death Eaters.
Aidan Gillen: The Darkling
The Littlefinger actor had a memorable role in The Dark Knight Rises, plus of course he was great in The Wire. And a ton of other great roles — but here he is in The Darkling, a 2000 made-for-TV movie about a mechanic who meets a wealthy, powerful man who's made a deal with a demon. Aidan Gillen is tempted by demonic forces. Brief snippet above.
Charles Dance: Space Truckers
Really hard to figure out which great Charles Dance genre performance to highlight. Underworld: Awakening? Your Highness? Merlin? Last Action Hero? His unbelievably sexy turn in Alien3? But no. We have to go with the role which this Youtube uploader calls "Cyborg Tywin," from the little-known Space Truckers. Watch a partially reconstructed Tywin do a strip tease to impress a space babe and then explain "I emit a low-amp electrical pulse designed to drive women wild with pleasure." Your life won't be quite the same afterwards.
Liam Cunningham: Outcasts
He was great in Doctor Who recently. And he was in three different Arthurian productions: Merlin, Camelot and First Knight — but Cunningham was one of the best things about this BBC show about colonists on a brand new planet, which only lasted one season.
Jack Gleeson: Batman Begins
And finally, here's the bit where Joffrey meets Batman!