Conleth Hill originally auditioned for a different role on Game of Thrones


Conleth Hill has masterfully portrayed Varys the Spider of Westeros in Game of Thrones, but what if we’d only had him for one season instead of six? In an interview with The Huffington Post, Hill reveals the role he first auditioned for and discusses his upcoming film “A Patch of Fog.”

Hill tells Huffington Post that he rarely likes repeating roles and enjoys variety when performing. That may be why he was so ready to take on another role drastically different than the one he’d intended.

In fact, he read first for King Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy) and even went in right before Addy!

It is true, to be honest, but I have to say that I came out of the meeting, which went all right, and looked who was in after me, saw who it was, and went, “Well, he’d be all right for it,” and he was, and he got it. You know, that’s showbiz.


And “all right” for it he was; we couldn’t imagine a better Robert or Varys! Luckily, Hill had also read for Varys and began collecting whispers for Westeros.

I read for it, parts of the dungeon scene with Ned and the chest scene where he explains how he was made from sort of a slave to the security of Westeros, and I think once I had already accepted the part, they said, “How do you feel about shaving your head?”

His new film focuses on an obsessed fan interacting with his idol so Hill reminisced his past Thrones fan moments:

I’ve been very lucky. Most “Game of Thrones” fans are well-mannered and courteous. I have no trouble taking photos with people if they want it. I think the weirdest one was someone came running toward me with their hand in my crotch area, saying, “I wanted to see if something’s really there.”

Be sure to check out The Huffington Post where Hill delves more into his role in “A Patch of Fog” which is available on VOD and iTunes January 24th! Would you have liked to see Hill as Robert? Will you be watching his new film? Leave a comment letting us know below!

31 responses

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    1. He totally made the role of Varys his own, to the point where I would have difficulty imagining anyone else in that part.

      I think his tenor vocal range would’ve been wrong for gruff Robby B.

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    2. Mr Derp:
      Still would be interested to know if there is a specific reason why Varys’ head is shaved in the first place.

      That’s obvious: to minimize hydraulic drag when he’s in merman mode!

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    3. I couldn’t imagine anyone but him playing Varys.
      God some fans are literally mental both actors who have played eunuch’s have had people coming up to them thinking the actors are too.

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    4. I can’t imagine any other actors instead of those chosen by fabulous Nina Gold, that lady is really good at her job. True, many of them are really versatile, just remember that Mark Addy was one of the Full Monty dancers! I would very much like to see Conleth Hill playing some contemporary characters.

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    5. This reminds me of the famous report that Iwan Rheon was the runner-up to Kit Harington for the role of Jon Snow. It might have been plausible at the time, but given how entrenched those two actors have become in their respective roles, it seems almost unthinkable now.

      Conleth Hill is an exceptional actor, and the idea of him playing Robert Baratheon is intriguing; I have little doubt would have been excellent in the role. However, he’s proven to be absolutely perfect as Varys, as Mark Addy did for Robert. And while it was regrettable that the story demanded the loss of Addy after one season, being able to retain Hill’s services for six seasons and counting has been a remarkable blessing for the show.

      When you have a casting director of Nina Gold’s caliber, these things have a way of working themselves out!

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    6. Catspaw Assassin,

      I call him Cheeto McGropey, but my favorite description (seen a few months ago) is Mangled Apricot Hellbeast.

      I’m watching “The Dark Knight Rises” tonight (seems fitting, for some reason), and am going to try really, really hard to get Other Half to start watching GoT with me this weekend. He’s never seen it, and is balking… the gods know why.

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    7. Conleth Hill is a great actor and one of the symbols of this show. There are no that many actors now who were in GoT since S1.

      I think we fans often take him for granted.

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    8. According to Wikipedia, Conley was a fisherman prior to becoming an actor, apparently at his wife’s instigation. So he’s actually a real butch man’s man type, which is made all the weirder for me by the fact that the only other thing I’ve seen him in is BBC comedy/horror/drama Inside No. 9, where he played a very camp teacher.

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    9. Mr Derp:
      Still would be interested to know if there is a specific reason why Varys’ head is shaved in the first place.

      Well he is allegedly an eunuch after all. But I don’t believe he is (at least in the books). I reckon he has both pillar and stones and shaves his head. It’s heavily foreshadowed in the books not to mention the Dunk and Egg novellas.

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    10. Rob,

      It says in the original article linked that his wikipedia entry full of crap actually. 🙂 I guess someone was having fun. It’s not mentioned in this post but they did cover the fisherman bit. It’s funny- check out the HuffPo piece.

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    11. ? Mangled apricot hellbeast. Hmmmm. I like it. It certainly paints an accurate picture, but it is too melodic for him. He needs something harsher sounding.

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    12. Conleth could have played Robert, but I’m so glad he ended up being Varys. I’ve seen lots of his work (including A Patch of Fog) and Varys seems like a perfect character for him. And luckily he has a nice looking head under all the hair.

      Look up pics of him as Macbeth to see how he looks with full beard and armor!

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    13. Mr Derp,

      Varys wears a lot of wigs for his disguises. I assume it’s just easier with a shaved head.
      He’s not one to care about appearance much I think, only practicality.

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    14. Nina Gold knows her stuff. Conleth makes a fabulous Varys. Nina did pick them right as all the actors have made their roles theirs. I too can’t see anyone else playing Varys or Jon or Cersei. Dany is the one character that did get recast and I am curious to see how Tamzin Merchant played her. But Emilia has made Dany a beloved character and I can only see her playing Dany now.

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    15. Apollo: Well he is allegedly an eunuch after all. But I don’t believe he is (at least in the books). I reckon he has both pillar and stones and shaves his head. It’s heavily foreshadowed in the books not to mention the Dunk and Egg novellas.


      Apologies for the late reply.

      Very interesting. I haven’t read the books, so I’m rather unsullied there. All I know is that he’s definitely a eunuch in the show because Ros reached up in his business and came away empty-handed back in season 3. Unless of course he was doing some kind of elaborate tucking to hide the pillar and stones 😉

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    16. She didn’t even touch the one side of his leg though…
      I think it’s very possible that book Varys is hiding something (there are a few theories). He is much more complex than the show version, in my opinion.
      As much as I love the performance, I’m not expecting much in the way of surprises and secrets being revealed for show Varys. They kind of turned him into a predictable character. I would love to be wrong about that though!

      Speaking of…I still have my fingers crossed for a certain book epilogue scene. I’m hoping they can fit it in somehow. For those who know what I’m talking about, how cool would it be to see Conleth do THAT??

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