Pilou Asbæk on his casting as Euron Greyjoy

Pilou

Pilou Asbæk speaks! The newest star of Game of Thrones tells us about his audition and what he thinks about his bosses in an interview with Danish site Soundvenue.

Asbæk visits with Soundvenue to promote his new film, A War, and naturally the conversation turns to his casting as Euron Greyjoy for season six of GoT.

Asbæk confirms that he is indeed playing Euron, and says it was his work in Borgen that caught the attention of Game of Thrones.

“I can tell you that I met the two writers for a coffee,” he says. Executive producers and writers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss apparently told the actor that Borgen was “some of the best television drama” that’s been on in years.

It’s no surprise Benioff and Weiss are big fans of the show; they also cast star Birgitte Hjort Sørensen as wildling chieftainess Karsi in last season’s “Hardhome.”

The actor says that he auditioned for Euron with a newly written not-from-the-show piece (to prevent auditions leaking a scene).

On Benioff and Weiss, he says, “They’re fucking cool guys. They are so little Hollywood-style as one can be, and suddenly you find out, we’re all just nerds. Film Nerds who are passionate about it. So they talked about ‘Borgen’, I talked a bit about ‘Game of Thrones’, which I really love.”

He’s cagier with Soundvenue when discussing how much he’ll be in season 6, since us fans pay quite close attention to every detail. “I can’t tell. People can figure everything out. The only reason that it came out is because I was spotted on location in Ireland.” He explains, “We’re talking a telephoto lens that captures a scene where people stand and shout ‘EURON, EURON.'”

Asbæk is referring to the breaking of his casting news by this site, where our sources spotted him filming at Ballintoy Harbour. We didn’t mention specifically people shouting his character name in the cheering, but hey, good to know.

71 responses

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    1. Ha! There is another thrones actor on one of the photos in the interview: Dar Salim, who played Qotho in S01.

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    2. Interesting that he auditioned with a piece not from the show, but sensible really given the leaks in previous years. I’m not really surprising though as they are trying to be more secretive this year.

      It’s a long way off, but I do wonder what the trailers will be like this year. We’re all in the dark now, and I would hope that they will reveal as little as possible, unlike last year where the harpy’s attack in Daznak’s was given away.

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    3. Nice. Nice. I like this guy already. The age difference between he and Patrick Malahide is a bit jarring, but really, if that’s all I have to go on, whatever.

      Also, hearing that Aeron was also cast means that Tyrion’s words to Theon in “Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things” ends up staying within show continuity, even if Victarion has been jettisoned.

      “Tell me, how do you think Balon Greyjoy would feel if he could see his only surviving son has turned lackey? I still remember seeing my father’s fleet burn in Lannisport. I believe your uncles were responsible?”

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    4. Undead Ice Kraken,

      That’s cool. And he was in Borgen. He was cast in GoT around that time. Don’t think Borgen had anything to do with a S1 casting (guessing based on the timeline) but it’s cool 3 actors have come from the show.

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    5. My page a day calendar quote for 9-sept.:

      Remember who you are, Daenerys…The dragons know. Do you?

      Quaithe
      A Dance with Dragons

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    6. Jeb:

      It’s a long way off, but I do wonder what the trailers will be like this year. We’re all in the dark now, and I would hope that they will reveal as little as possible, unlike last year where the harpy’s attack in Daznak’s was given away.

      This!
      My Unsullied friends were all spoiled by the trailer and all during the scene they kept asking me when will the Sons of the Harpy show up. :/

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    7. “Meanwhile, Victarion Greyjoy sails for Meereen, to save Daenerys by attacking the slavers’ alliance besieging Meereen. Victarion’s hope is that in gratitude, Daenerys will marry him, and with the aid of her dragons he will overthrow his brother King Euron.”

      Pretty sure this confirms that Euron will piss over both of them. That’s why Victarion was cut.

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    8. I wonder how the show will spell “Euron”… the way I think it sounds too much like “urine”… but perhaps é – hu – ron could do, or just e -ron, dunno…

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    9. Greatjon of Slumber,

      That wouldn’t have caused continuity problems unless for some reason they had gone out of their way to say Euron was Theon’s only uncle. There can be assumed to be other Greyjoy uncles that we don’t meet, if they aren’t narratively important.

      If they wrote a new Euron scene for auditions only, I wonder if that means the Kinvara audition we saw is also not from the show. Granted, they probably didn’t make up all-new scenes for every single role, so it may be a matter of whether they thought the role was important enough to merit that kind of attention.

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    10. Thank you Sue as usual for the updates and the splendid job you are doing; you really have been spoiling us recently.

      Just read a preview about BBC series starting in October (8 episodes) called ‘the Last Kingdom’ based on the Bernard Cornwell’ Saxon stories (not read them and apologies if it has already been mentioned)

      Seems to have a good cast with people like Matthew Macfadyen, Jason Fleming and Rutger Hauer in it. The cast list also has some European actors in it; one especially who would a good candidate for Smalljon Umber (Ole Christoffer Ervaag) bar the likely accent issues.

      Obviously the BBC can’t replicate the budget and the amount of gore/sex they can show is limited but it should be a worthwhile watch and filler till GOT season six begins. It has been done in conjunction with BBC America so it should on your side of the world quite soon.

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    11. Chekhov’sOlly,

      Me too. The other way I considered was Oy-ron, like Euler is pronounced Oyler. But Oy-ron and Aeron (which I pronounce éy-ron) are too similar, so I always used You-ron for Euron. Didn’t consider its similarity with urine till saw it on internet.

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    12. Sai,

      Good books, looking forward to that. FX is also coming out with some kind of gritty medieval drama this month. Hopefully at least one of them will succeed as filler between GoT seasons.

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    13. I for one say Aeron “A – é – ron”, I like how it sounds… as for Euron, most likely will be “Your – on” in the end, yeah, which is the way I more or less always thought it… until a few days ago, when I thought about spelling it “é – u – ron” which isnt that bad, imo, as well.

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    14. Sean C.,

      All true. Just that it’s a nice bit that they were able to return to that little mention. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it turn up during the “Previously On…” bits.

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    15. I’ll start by saying I really enjoyed Asbaek in Borgen and I think he will do a great job, but man…. His look is so different from how I pictured Euron! I have a hard time getting past that feeling at times.

      It’s that damned Hulihee beard!
      It’s somewhere between Franz Joseph and Lemmy from Motorhead… It screams Old-timey tycoon or motorcycle gang member to me – not Ironborn. Maybe just me?

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    16. Rodrick the Reader has not paid the Iron price nor honored the drowned God by being consumed by his salty sea. He hides on land refusing to pillage and plunder and drink and roll dice and make an asshole of himself.

      I say bugger off with Rodrick and let’s have more dusky woman!

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    17. And not that it I think this guess will come to fruition but they could call him Eye-ron. As in Iron throne, iron isle, tough as mutha fuckin iron

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    18. harma dogememe:

      FX is also coming out with some kind of gritty medieval drama this month.

      That’s The Bastard Executioner, from Kurt Sutter, creator of Sons of Anarchy. The promos are interesting, I hope it’s good.

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    19. Euron! Euron! URINE KING!!!

      (Pronounced “yur-ron”)

      Those giant mutton chops (book Tywin is jealous) are his current look so they must be for the character. Interesting choice.

      What I can’t figure is how if Euron is blended w/ Vic then how do the Ironborn have presence in both Oldtown & Mereen? I feel they need both. Ironborn vs. the Reach is pretty much confirmed (nerf the Reach!) but I feel the Dragonhorn & control of the other two dragons muct be a plot point so who does that?

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    20. Darquemode,

      Maybe they will darken his hair and roughen his look up somewhat. I know they play female characters but Gemma Whelan and Gwendoline Christie are made harder looking than in real life for the show.

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    21. Surely I can’t be the only one who thinks he kind of looks like Russel Crowe. I’m not sure what ist is, it might be the eyes.

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    22. I think he will do a great job portraying the character and, as others have mentioned, he has the looks of a show-greyjoy.
      Seeing english-speaking people explaining the pronunciation of something is always amusing. I have no idea what most of these were supposed to sound like to you guys; english is such an inconsistent language pronunciation-wise that it makes things very difficult. Using the lovely IPA: In my language, his name comes out as /’eu.ɾõŋ/ and I always thought that it was pronounced /’jɘ.ɹɔn/ in english (which, I suppose you guys would say it’s something like YUH-ron).

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    23. I’m still seeing Pacey (Joshua Jackson), to be honest. Would bang.

      I’m guessing they’re not going to pronounce Euron “Urine.” Regardless of entertainment value. My guess would be “Yur-rawn” (I’m hopeless with IPA), rhyming with “Theon” and “Bronn.” It will no doubt lead to a bunch of “Euron first” jokes, but oh well.

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    24. Ravyn,

      True enough.
      I’m not worried exactly….. Just having an unusual feeling for me.
      Generally I can envision things fairly easily, but for whatever reason this time I cannot. In the end I’m sure the crew will do their job and I will have no issues….

      Plus, I’m sure that when the next big casting or production leak comes out I will move onto the next distraction and not think about Asbaek nearly as much! XD

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    25. Dame of Mercia:
      Darquemode,
      Maybe they will darken his hair and roughen his look up somewhat.I know they play female characters but Gemma Whelan and Gwendoline Christie are made harder looking than in real life for the show.

      They didn’t really do much to Gemma Whelan. The transformation with Gwendoline Christie was more striking because not only because she put on a lot of muscle on for the part, but also because her presentation seems to be very feminine and glamorous outside the show (very 1940s film star): beautiful gowns and dresses, high heels, dramatic makeup, etc. If her preferred mode of presentation were more tomboyish or androgynous outside the show (like Ellen Page or Kristen Stewart), I don’t think the transformation would be as dramatic.

      Short of messing with his hair or adding some interesting makeup or prosthetics, there’s not that much the showrunners can do on that level with Pilou Asbaek. On the other hand, why would they? He looks credibly related to Alfie Allen, and if he’s really the Euron they want, he won’t need all the visual bells and whistles (blue lips, etc.) to make Euron a sufficiently chilling presence.

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    26. aabe:
      Chekhov’sOlly,

      Me too. The other way I considered was Oy-ron, like Euler is pronounced Oyler. But Oy-ron and Aeron (which I pronounce éy-ron) are too similar, so I always used You-ron for Euron. Didn’t consider its similarity with urine till saw it on internet.

      “Oy-ron” would be the pronunciation if we were speaking German (Euler was Swiss, for instance). I can’t think of any reason why GRRM would give an Iron Islands character a name spelled in the German way.

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    27. I haven’t watched “Borgen” but D&D seem to be huge fans. For those who have watched, any other actors from it you would fan-cast in GoT?

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    28. M,

      Breaking out those million dollar words. I had to Google androgynous. Very good use of it, kudos

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    29. I always read his name as Eur- as in “Europe” and -ron as in… well, Ron. Like the name.

      And I’m kinda digging the “biker” look actually. It makes him look a bit older and more seasoned than other shots I’ve seen of him.

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    30. Flora Linden,

      So was a fun watch from start to finish. Sutter plays otto, a club member that’s incarcerated. Idk about bastard executioner, seems to me he’s just trying to ride the coattails of GoT. We’ll see….

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    31. Kay:
      I haven’t watched “Borgen” but D&D seem to be huge fans. For those who have watched, any other actors from it you would fan-cast in GoT?

      I was proposing Sidse Babett Knudsen, who played the protagonist (female PM Birgitte Nyborg) for Sam’s Mother when the casting calls came in. Someone mentioned she speaks eccellent English as well, I didn’t remember this from the show (I saw all but the last season the time they were broadcasted the first time, and I’m now waiting for reruns of the last season). And, if we are going to see Howland Reed anytime, I think Søren Malling has the look. Both were with Pilou Asbæk in 1864 , and Søren Malling will be with him in War.

      And, of course, Borgen isn’t the only to top notch series to come out of The Nordic Countries in the past couple of years. Dar Salim was in Broen II . Broen is probably my very favorite TV series, I kept on seeing Kim Bodnia, who played the Danish policeman Martin Rohde in two first installments as a Northern/Wilding character in the show. Damn, even as a Grayjoy.

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    32. Darquemode,

      Also, a lot of times, the final phase of an audition usually has the actor putting on the costume (or a close facsimile of it) before a decision is made. I don’t know how GoT does it, if they have the time for that, but it’s more than likely they saw him in costume before hiring him.

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    33. As long as they keep the O broad, as in Theon, and don’t turn it into a schwa, I see no reason why it would be reminiscent of ‘urine.’ -ahn is clearly different from -ihn. And I never imagined the first syllable being pronounced any differently from the Eur- in Europe.

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    34. Watch the Danish movie titled ‘R’. It’s a prison movie with Asbæk as the lead. A great movie though very depressing, and he is really good in it. A brutally honest portrayal of a man in over his head, that actually very fittingly reminds me of Alfie Allens Theon.

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    35. Talvivaara: I was proposing Sidse Babett Knudsen, who played the protagonist (female PM Birgitte Nyborg) for Sam’s Mother

      Wow, I just looked her up – I would love to see her in US series TV! Sam’s mother would be nice, or with a blond wig Rhaella Targaryen or Joanna Lanister, if flashbacks ever needed those two. Hopefully D&D, from their familiarity with Borgen, will keep her in mind for a future role (S7, 8?)

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    36. Sai:
      Thank you Sue as usual for the updates and the splendid job you are doing; you really have been spoiling us recently.

      Just read a preview about BBC series starting in October (8 episodes) called ‘the Last Kingdom’ based on the Bernard Cornwell’ Saxon stories (not read them and apologies if it has already been mentioned)

      Seems to have a good cast with people like Matthew Macfadyen, Jason Fleming and Rutger Hauer

      Sai… you bloody legend. This will make my autumn for sure. I knew nothing about this series being filmed, but I LOVE the series of books. Cornwell is a fantastic military writer (also much beloved by Forces personnel) and this series is gripping, but so well-researched. A few years back now, I did part of my degree on the literary legacy of the Vikings, and yeah, the story definitely lives up to the reality. I loved the backstory that Cornwell invented for a certain blonde female character, but I won’t spoil it for any unsullied of the novel series.

      Between this and the forthcoming ‘Man in the High Castle’, there’s going to be a lot on the box as the nights draw in… 😀

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    37. Regarding the age problem, I believe it’s gonna be a non-issue. The show has a tendency to overstate certain aspects of characters. They pic and choose from the book descriptions, and the ones they choose they exagirate. Mace Tyrell was pompourous and not the sharpest tool in the shed. So in the show they made him a full blown idiot. Raff the sweetling was a vile man who didnt Care if Arya was way too young. In the tv-version his substitute was an all out paedofile. The waif had a very subtle competition thing going with Arya, so they made her completely jealous and antagonistic in the show. My point has to do with the fact that in AFFC Euron has been away for 4 years and it’s noted that he has no aged. So my guess is that, in the show, Euron has been away ever since the greyjoy rebellion, and still hasn’t aged. That way this aspect of his character (not having aged) is exagerated to make it more obvious to viewers. After all, what distinquishes Euron from the series’ other main villains (Joffrey, Ramsay) is that he plays with magic. So I would think they delliberately cast a younger actor, in order to emphazise that even more.

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    38. Talvivaara,

      The shows you mention are indeed very good. I also liked the Arne Dahl “Mysterioso” Swedish series (called “Arne Dahl”) in the UK. Magnus Samuelson from that series might have made a good Mountain (though I am not criticising the person who plays the Mountain in GoT). I saw an interview on British breakfast TV with the two leads from “The Bridge”. Sophia who played Saga seemed very nice – very jokey, quite different from the character she played. She might have made a suitable Val but the character has (seemingly) been cut. I wondered if Malin Arvidsson had the right look for Lyanna – but she is mid 30s (though she looks younger). Anyway it looks as though Lyanna has already been cast though we don’t know who will be playing her. I also like the French series “Engrenages” – Audrey Fleurot (Maitre Karlsson) has something of the Melisandre look, I think, though she is not super-tall like book Melisandre. I don’t know what her English is like. Mind you I think Carice van Houten is doing splendidly as Melisandre – one just loves to hate her.

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    39. Philemon the Jamaicon:
      True King,

      Combining Victarion and Euron.

      Glad that someone else thinks this! I’ve a feeling that Euron/Victarion character/plot will be combined and that the most likely result is that he’ll take the IF to Mereen. That’s more established than the Reach. Even though we have the Tarlys appearing this season, I really don’t see much action in the Reach with the Tyrell forces in KL.

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    40. The Greyjoy Rebellion really didn’t happen that long ago. About a decade before the War of the Five Kings began I think, so Euron would’ve been in his 20s just going by Pilou’s age (Euron himself will probably be in or near his 40s).

      I’ve also known siblings so far apart in age that they could be parent and child, and I always assumed Balon was in his 50s, early 60s tops. You can’t really go by the actor’s age either because Stephen Dillane is actually older than Mark Addy by around 7 years, despite him playing Robert’s younger brother, so Patrick Malahide’s age is not really an issue either.

      That beard also makes Pilou look a bit older (big thick beards tend to do that to us men). So I could buy that Pilou (and thus Euron) is in his late 30s/early 40s easily… no offense to Pilou.

      I also think the fact that they did hire someone younger than who they were looking for in their casting call is probably a good sign. Perhaps the casting people were so impressed with Pilou’s audition that they decided to totally forego the listed age range and hire him anyway.

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    41. I highly recommend Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon Series, which begins with “The Last Kingdom.” Cornwell is a fantastic historical fiction writer, I’ve read the entire Saxon series and several others. Looking forward to the next installment of the Saxon Series due out in January, and most certainly the upcoming BBC show, although by the look of it, they may not have nailed the “look” of the main character Uhtred.
      Sai,

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    42. Oh, so it wasn’t just me that was having a fun time reading comments!

      It’s in times loike this when I really feel lucky for my Spanish almost 1 / 1 phonetics.

      I still cannot figure out how you guys go from /on/ to /in/. But, well, I’m not that good with English to begin with.

      RandomSand:
      I think he will do a great job portraying the character and, as others have mentioned, he has the looks of a show-greyjoy.
      Seeing english-speaking people explaining the pronunciation of something is always amusing. I have no idea what most of these were supposed to sound like to you guys; english is such an inconsistent language pronunciation-wise that it makes things very difficult. Using the lovely IPA: In my language, his name comes out as /’eu.ɾõŋ/ and I always thought that it was pronounced /’jɘ.ɹɔn/ in english (which, I suppose you guys would say it’s something like YUH-ron).

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    43. I’ve both read and listened to the books multiple times and now whenever I read the books, I hear Roy Dotrice’s Euron in my head. I can’t wait to hear Pilou’s version.

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