John Bradley discusses Game of Thrones’ impact and wanting to play The Penguin


John Bradley answered fan questions yesterday, addressing everything from mundane personal preferences to professional insights and dishing on his experience on Game of Thrones. The actor participated in a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) to promote his latest film, Traders.

In response to one fan’s question about Traders, John Bradley discussed the appeal of taking on a villainous role. Bradley says, “[It] was kind of fun. It was just the kind of refresher I needed after being entrenched in GOT for four years. It was nice to get to touch upon a few colors from my palette that I hadn’t explored before.”

Speaking of baddies, when asked which character he’d love to play, Bradley replied that he’d love to tackle a “psychologically valid” portrayal of the Penguin in a Batman film.

There were other similarly light-hearted questions, such as “nuggets vs. drumsticks” (nuggets), “who’s your favorite stand up comedian (Louis C.K) and “is Kit Harington really that attractive in real life?” (Yes. Even more so when you factor in how he smells).

However, he also addressed the challenges of working with a different director in nearly every episode of Game of Thrones. “It keeps you rooted and and it keeps your feet planted on the ground because you always have to surrender a little bit of control,” he wrote. “Directors influence you in different ways and you’re putting together a buffet of experience which you can pick your favorite parts from and add to your own process to take into your future work.”

In response to another question, he said that he values directors who remain in control on set, rather than those who opt for a more collaborative approach. “I don’t like a director that lets us try and go as far as they think I can go with it. If it were left to me, I’d also be tempted to stop at about 90% of the way but a great director knows you well enough to know when you won’t be offended and go a little further with it – and establish right now that it’s not as good as it could be.”

He described filming the scene between Sam and Stannis Baratheon in season 5 as a “privilege and an education” as Stephen Dillane is “one of [his] favorite actors period” and named “Battle of the Bastards” his favorite Game of Thrones episode, calling it, “cinematic TV at its finest.”

Sam libraryBradley praised David Benioff and D.B Weiss‘ aptitude for writing to actors’ individual strengths. “We know that anything they’re giving us to do, they’re doing for the good of the show. They’re so approachable that you could go to them with any concerns … they know their actors’ strengths and will always write to make them look as good as they possibly can. They never fail to both challenge and support.”

Bradley admitted that he’s only begun reading for pleasure relatively recently and largely because of Game of Thrones. “I think that when you get a show that’s as popular as GOT that’s based on a series of books, it encourages a lot of other people to read, and read Fantasy especially. I think one of the great legacies of GOT is to encourage people to read things that they wouldn’t have thought were in their interest before. That’s certainly the case with me.”

However, when he was asked what it’s like to be part of a social phenomenon like Game of Thrones, Bradley answered that, that component of the job doesn’t really sink in until he attends press junkets and receives fan feedback long after production on a season has ended.

“We just have to focus on making it good and there is a whole army of people who deal with it being big. We should keep to our respective jobs and try to make it good – they can’t make it big if we don’t make it good.”

20 responses

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    1. Such a humble and sweet guy. And a great actor as well! I’ll definitely check out his new film. Really excited for whatever Sam discovers in Hoghwarts uhh sorry the Citadel xD

      Edit: The King in the North!

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    2. Sam… I mean John as a villain… I just can’t see it 🙂 will need to check out the movie and see if the actor can be convincing enough to shed his ‘nice guy’ persona.

      I always find it interesting to see what else actors decide to do (especially when they have gained some notoriety/fame in a role) , it says a lot about their acting goals and mindsets. Nice to hear he is looking to expanding his ‘palette.’ The young actors in GOT especially, since they probably have more options and opportunities than the average actor of the same age – they can afford to pick and choose a bit and not stress about $ so much.

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    3. So… kit Harington is not only that gorgeous in real life, he also smells damn like something that makes his looks even more ridiculous.
      oh well, damn…

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    4. I so love his character in the books, and was thrilled with how John portrays him in the show. Also love how humble and down to earth he seems. Check out the trailer for Traders – wow talk about a different role for him!

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    5. I’d definitely want to see his portrayal of Penguin!

      I really hope the GOT actors continue to find success after the series ends. They’re a bunch of very talented performers. Kudos to the casting director and staff!

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    6. “Yes. Even more so when you factor in how he smells”


      Maybe Penguin will be in the new Batman movie that’s coming out. Ben said it will feature iconic villains.

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    7. John has brought Sam to life and I have become very attached to his character. I wish we had seen more of him in S6, but I understand. He seems so down to earth every time he is interviewed! Great comments.

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    8. It’s a tribute to John Bradley’s acting abilities that the notion of him not being a voracious reader by nature comes as rather a shock! He certainly did a fine job of miming a bookworm nerdgasm at Sam’s first glimpse of the Citadel’s awesome library, with naught but a green screen to work with. I know that moment had a lot of us book fiends misty-eyed. He does such a terrific job of bringing this endearingly awkward, unconventionally courageous character to life.

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    9. Mag,

      That’s funny but I hope doesn’t really happen in show! Not a shipper but I’m one of those who did catch romantic vibes set up between them for whatever reason and I wasn’t too fond of it. Came out of nowhere really. A little sister I’d heard from book readers did not care for him much nor treat him well and all of a sudden they act like long lost love when they reunite. Sansa annoys me with Jon, I think is her voice and haughty manner. But if she softens up a bit and especially if she saves him from LF next season I could be ok with it if they go that route.

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    10. Mag:
      For the Jonsa shippers …funny with that song.

      That made me laugh out loud. Now everyone is looking at me funny, or at least funnier than usual.

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    11. ygritte,

      I also found Sansa a bit annoying this season and even though I caught the vibes I don’t think they are going that route.But I have to disagree on the reunion.It was good.Even though they weren’t close as children they were still family and after having gone through so much and having lost everybody I would react the same way.And in the books they don’t think badly of each other at all.They weren’t close at all and Sansa was influenced by her mother and society and called him half brother but they didn’t have an antagonistic relationship.Jon mentions that he even missed Sansa,remembers that she taught him how to talk to girls lol and before he dies when he is remembering his family he mentions Sansa singing brushing lady’s coat as one of the images.And she mentions him in her prayers and by a feast for crows understands his position and says it would be sweet to see him again.So I don’t think it was out of place for them to hug.

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    12. I just love John and Sam is probably my favourite character, but John really has to lose some weight. This is not bodyshaming or whatever, it is a question of health. Just 10 kilos down would improve his life enormously.

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    13. Jenny,

      I know Sansa annoys many people, but I would be very disappointed if she dies after all her journey. There are four Starks left and she is the most normal of them, among a resurrected Jesus with plot armour, a greenseer with a mission and a trained assassin that is the favourite character of GRRM’s wife. I’m very worried about Sansa. And as much as I would like to watch her marry someone like Jon in Season 7, I fear she would be doomed. She would become Nissa Nissa and die in Season 8… If they get together, I hope it’s in the endgame.

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    14. Mag,

      Nah don’t worry Sansa will literally outlive them all.I’m willing to bet on this.She ain’t dying anytime soon.And yeah the only way Jon and Sansa could ever happen is as a political match at the very very end if Jon survives but even there the chance is small

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    15. Sorry Jenny, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Sansa maybe a casualty next season with her and Littlefinger plotting against Jon there needs to be a big death in the North and it won’t be Jon (or Bran).

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    16. Jon Snowed,

      I wouldn’t mind it if she died next season that’s not why I’m saying it.She has never been one of my favourite characters I wouldn’t care.The big death in the north will be LF.But I would eat my sock if Sansa doesn’t survive the whole series.Not only she will survive but she will be in a better position than all my favourite characters combined lol

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