Test for Eko: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje talks Thrones Casting

936full-adewale-akinnuoye--agbajeMalko speaks!

Freshly-cast Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje spoke to Vulture about the (not quite) auditioning process that landed him the role of Malko for the upcoming fifth season of Game of Thrones.

Thrones loyalist Marcelo Córdova alerted me to the Vulture interview on Twitter. Here is the interview in its entirety.

A few interesting tidbits after the break:

Akinnuoye-Agbaje says that he didn’t even have to audition; they already knew they wanted him:

“The producers had seen some of the work I’ve done before and invited me to be a part of it. It was that simple,” Akinnuoye-Agbaje told Vulture at the premiere of his latest film Annie on Sunday. “There wasn’t an audition process. It was just, Would you like to do this? And Yes! Thank you very much!

When I heard he was cast I did a mental backflip. He was far and away one of the best things to come out of LOST. He can do slow-burning fury as easily as eloquent gravitas, and I can’t wait to see him chew through some Thrones scenery.

Adewale-Akinnuoye-Agbaje-and-Kit-Harington-in-Pompeii-2014-Movie-Image(In my view, Akinnuoye-Agbaje was also one of the best things to come out of the Kit Harington sand-and-sandals disaster epic Pompeii. Kit, yoked to the nines, certainly held his own, and in 3D it was certainly nice eye-candy… but the script–and Kiefer Sutherland’s vague somethingsomewhere accent–needed some serious work.)

Akinnuoye-Agbaje added this little nugget in the interview:

“The character that I play, it’s actually advantageous to me not to actually know too much. That’s all I’m going to say,”

Curious. Perhaps someone who is not what they appear to be? My first thought is a Faceless Man… but I’m probably waaaay off.

So who the hell is Malko? He’s not a canon character, and Akinnuoye-Agbaje hasn’t even been seen filming with anyone yet, as far as I know.

The name certainly has a Essosesque ring to it, which would put him in Jorah’s storyline, Dany’s storyline… hell, even in Varys, or Tyrion, or Arya’s storylines for all we know.

(If he’s accompanying an Iron Banker, he could literally be anywhere.)

I want to say he’s like… Brown Ben Plumm’s fitter replacement, or reprising a gladiatorial flex-your-biceps-in-the-sand kinda thing… but I keep going back to thinking of him as a Faceless Man. And I’ve got nothing to support it. Quick, someone talk me out of it!




  1. He’ll probably have a role to play similar to Ben Gurman’s Karl Tanner. He’ll be in new show only material in season 5 in Essos or Braavos

  2. Laurence,

    That’s my thought, too. Odd that we don’t have any filming reports for him yet.

    And Axey, I completely agree…he was one of the best characters on LOST even though his time there was brief. He was terrifying on OZ. I am a huge fan of his and thrilled to have him on GOT.

  3. He becomes the second actor on the show – after Yuriy Kolokolnikov – who should just be allowed to keep his own name.

  4. He’d honestly be such a perfect Moqorro, and the name is so similar, it’s hard not to think it’s connected. A heavily altered Moqorro (he would have to be, since there’s no Victarion) is still my guess.

  5. I’ll always think that one of the worst decision made in LOST was ‘eliminating’ Eko. I think he would have been a great full series character. I also thought he was very good in Pompeii and I look forward to seeing his GoT performance.

  6. Yeah me too, I loved the Eko character but I think he had some personal shit at the time that meant he had to be home in England and these things happen.

    When I first read the character Moqorro though I actually envisaged him as AAA. Even though he’s described as potbellied and midnight black, he just oozes control, power, knowledge, spirituality and self assurance as well as being physically imposing and that is something AAA can do in spades.

  7. Clob,

    In defense of the producers of LOST it wasn’t their choice to make. Adewale asked to be written off the show because of a personal tragedy in his life. His character was planned to be in most of the show.

  8. I’m desperately hoping he’s an aliased or name-changed version of Moqorro (he’s younger than I imagined reading the books but jeez, he’s so friggin handsome who could even complain about that???)

  9. Clob:
    I’ll always think that one of the worst decision made in LOST was ‘eliminating’ Eko.I think he would have been a great full series character.I also thought he was very good in Pompeii and I look forward to seeing his GoT performance.

    It wasn’t the producers’ decision to write Eko off LOST. As said, he wanted off the island (the real life island) for personal reasons, so they wrote him out and gave various parts of his story to Ben. He was planned to be a big part of revealing the nature of the smoke monster for example.

    You know that scene where Ben has a trial by smoke monster in the last season, and the faces from his past come out and judge him? That was originally envisioned as being the end of Eko’s arc.

  10. Screw “Malko.” I WANT MOQORRO. I need more Moqorro in my life.

    Moqorro & Vic on the high seas in a boat full of monkeys.

  11. A Moqorro/Benrro hybrid certainly seems the most likely, although I wouln’t rule out a Brown Ben/Tattered Prince hybrid and would be happy with either. Always been a fan of Adewale’s, really like this casting.

  12. Substitutions/Amalgamations:

    JeyneW -> Talisa
    V Hoat/BraveC -> Locke
    Chataya/Alayaya -> Ros
    Moqorro/BBP -> Malko

    Prediction: Dead man walking

  13. Euron’s Blue Lips:
    Screw “Malko.” I WANT MOQORRO. I need more Moqorro in my life.

    Moqorro & Vic on the high seas in a boat full of monkeys.

    Anything that recalls Aguirre, the Wrath of God is something I’m good with. I still imagine he’s a Moqorro/Benerro hybrid…of course if they’re doing this plot, he could command the Cinnamon Wind…

  14. I just hope he’s not anywhere Jon Snow is… I’ll be honest, I was kinda hoping we’d stick with this guy in Pompeii, not Kit… he was that good 🙂 Don’t make me choose again, Kit is adorable… but…

  15. This one’s a real long shot- perhaps Malko’s been created to carry out Mero’s assassination attempt on Dany while she’s visiting the Pale Mare refugees that Barristan thwarts.
    Like I said it’s a real long shot but it could make for an effective early- midseason action scene.

  16. greywind’s ghost:
    This one’s a real long shot- perhaps Malko’s been created to carry out Mero’s assassination attempt on Dany while she’s visiting the Pale Mare refugees that Barristan thwarts.
    Like I said it’s a real long shot but it could make for an effective early- midseason action scene.

    Why would they waste someone as good of an actor as AAA on something like that?

  17. Streiker2,

    Because if he’s been cast in a cameo role, rather than a reccuring role such a show version of Moquorro ,this could be an extremely memorable scene and I really don’t think there are going to be that many major action scenes In the first half of the season-I think season 5 will be paced in a similar way to season 1 and having an action scene where Dany does something other than sitting on her throne could add a lot to the show. I definately think that the pale mare/refugee storyline needs to be in the show.As I said before- it’s an extremely long shot but you never know.

  18. greywind’s ghost,

    Where did you get the idea that it’s a cameo role and not a recurring one? I’m sure it’ll be a relatively small role, but it may be a recurring one, right? Was it confirmed that it was a cameo?

  19. When several of us were discussing Adewale’s potential role on the show a couple months ago, my best guess was that he would be playing a version of the Moqorro role, perhaps with certain elements of the High Priest Bennero mixed in (other likely possibilities were a version of Brown Ben Plumm or the Fighting Pit Announcer since confirmed to be Nicolas Boulton). The fact that he’s not playing a character from the books is well-established, but that doesn’t mean that his role needs to be a completely original creation (although I’ll cast a vote of support for Axechucker’s theory here. Mr. Eko as a Faceless Man? Sign me the hell up).

    Hodor’s Bastard:

    JeyneW -> Talisa
    V Hoat/BraveC->Locke
    Chataya/Alayaya -> Ros
    Moqorro/BBP ->Malko

    Prediction: Dead man walking

    I think that this is a good potential parallel to consider. Each of the characters cited by Hodor’s Bastard meets the strict definition of not being from the books – so reading them wouldn’t have helped much the actors in their portrayal (of course, many of the actors who are playing characters from the novels choose not to read them as well. Good for them, as far as I’m concerned). However, each of them fulfills a role very similar to that of their book counterpart. Robb marries Talisa instead of Jeyne. Locke chops off Jaime’s hand instead of Vargo (well, Zollo, but whatever). Ros is mistaken for Tyrion’s lover by Cersei and taken hostage instead of Alayaya. But their back stories are different – Locke is a Bolton vassal instead of a slobbering mercenary from Qohor, Talisa is from Volantis instead of an impoverished house in the Westerlands, and Ros is a Northern commoner instead of a Summer Islander and long-time resident of the capital. And their fates are different as well. Instead of being butchered by the Mountain, Locke goes to the Wall to hunt down the Stark boys, and is killed by Bran-as-Hodor. Instead of living and becoming the subject of numerous half-baked conspiracy theories, Talisa actually gets pregnant and then dies at the Red Wedding. And instead of fading into the background, Ros falls victim to Joffery’s sadistic whims.

    If he is subbing in for Moqorro/Bennero, then Malko could be in line to follow a similar track.

    We know that Victarion is almost certainly cut, so Moqorro won’t be catching a ride with him to Meereen, nor will be spend any time stoking the Iron Captain’s ego and fostering his ill-fated delusions of grandeur. But even if the character has to end up in Meereen, how he gets there really doesn’t matter. Tyrion could encounter Malko (as he does Bennero) in Volantis to establish his character, so he doesn’t emerge completely out of nowhere. Then he can make his way to Meereen offscreen and do whatever he needs to do – say, filling Daenerys in with some crucial information about her dragons. Once that purpose has been fulfilled, Malko could do any number of other things, fade into the background, or die – without needing to contend with whatever Moqorro does later in the books.

    It likely depends on how long and how big of a role Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje was willing to sign up for. I could see him having a Ciaran Hinds-type profile – appearing briefly and intermittently for a few memorable and high-impact scenes. But he works enough in movies that I doubt that he’d be willing to sign on for a role that would require him to shoot for months. Given how quickly and discretely he seems to have filmed his scenes, I doubt that’s the case.

  20. I pictured him as Moqorro long before this casting was announced. I’m joining the bandwagon and guessing/hoping that he’s a Moqorro/Benerro mix. How great would he be opposite Peter Dinklage?

    He’s too much of a name actor to be a random slave or pit announcer.

  21. greywind’s ghost,

    Brown Ben maybe but the Tattered Prince? There’s rumours that he is a Targaryen and some interesting theories of him being the mummers dragon that’s spoken of. Either way…his appearance is nothing like AAA. If he becomes a major player his Targ connections would be quite prominent so they’d need an actor who was both older and more Targ looking!
    With the Brown Ben Plumm thing (if he is him) all I can think of is someone assumed (incorrectly) people may get offended by the “Brown” part so they changed it.
    I , at the moment, subscribe to the Benerro/Moqorro theory as would make sense with the Volantis stuff. But not sure why they need to change his name from either of those two? How he comes into the story if the Greyjoys aren’t featuring…or coming later ( everything crossed!) is the only thing that needs to change.

  22. Annara Snow: He said nothing about how far he is. “I’m in the middle” simply means “I am working on it but I’m not at the point where it’s almost over” or “It’s a work in progress”.

    Agreed completely. “In the middle” could really mean just about anything other than “I just started” or “I’m almost done”.

  23. In ADWD Barriston is training people for Dany’s QG. He talks about a black man that is the most naturally skilled swordsman he’s seen since Jaime.

    If Barriston dies this season or early in season 6 I can see AAA taking Barristons place as Dany’s best fighter and a very loyal advisor. They would obviously have to do the QG storyline but with Jorah gone they might see the need for another protector for Dany. He would get good screen time later in this season and into season 6.

    That would be my out there theory as to who he is. I do hope he is Morqqoro however. He could just show up in Meereen saying he’s been trying to find Dany. That way he could use his flames to tell Dany the things Quathie (? sp) does in the books.

  24. Ryan,

    Tumco Lho? AAA is too old to play that young guy. I also sense Selmy’s squires will be cut as they don’t seem to want Barristan doing any of the cool stuff he does in the books! 😛

  25. The Hound,

    It should be noted that’s the Top 10 list for Dan Fienberg, one of HitFix’s two in-house TV critics (the other being Alan Sepinwall, who didn’t have Game of Thrones in his Top 10 at all this year).

    On a related note, HitFix just released their Third Annual TV Critics poll today, compromised of the Top 10 lists from 52 TV critics throughout the United States and Canada. Game of Thrones came in third on that aggregate list – exactly the same spot as last year (Fargo and The Good Wife were the two shows that beat it out).


    28 of the 52 critics polled for that list had Game of Thrones in their Top 10 for the year, and five of those critics had it as their #1 show overall. If you want to see who all voted for what (and get links to their full lists), just click on “Game on Thrones” at the link above.

    Incidentally, HitFix also asked those critics to rank their Top 10 performances of the year. Peter Dinklage came in 11th (Matthew McConaughey won). Just from scanning a few of the critics’ lists, it looks like Maisie Williams also picked up a few votes (although she didn’t make the Top 25).

  26. TheTouchOfFrost,

    Exactly. I’m pretty sure he’s not Moqorro… because, well, why change the name? The way in which he arrives at Meereen, considering the lack of Victarion, changes nothing about the character. It’s not an Asha/Yara situation, which happened because it sounded similar to Osha; or like Vargo Hoat/Locke or Jayne/Talisa, in which the background (and hence name) of the character had to change because of story changes; the former went from foreign to Westerosi, and the latter the other way around. In this case, Malko and Moqorro sound equally foreign, and none of the necessary story changes beg for a name change.

    Unless I’m missing something here, I’m pretty sure people are just grasping at straws, in the hopes of seeing a character they like on-screen. Malko may just be what it looks like; an invented character.

  27. Jared,

    That’s pretty cool, Game of Thrones in the top 3
    Fargo is a masterpiece but I don’t care about The Good Wife
    I’m surprised that Orange Is The New Black is only 8th

  28. For an actor of Adewale’s stature, I’m hoping he’s the Sealord of Braavos, or some other prominent “board member” of the Iron Bank.

    ….then again, Braavosi usually have surnames.

  29. Luka Nieto:
    greywind’s ghost,

    Where did you get the idea that it’s a cameo role and not a recurring one? I’m sure it’ll be a relatively small role, but it may be a recurring one, right? Was it confirmed that it was a cameo?

    I have no idea if AAA is doing a cameo role or will be a recurring character, I’m simply guessing. I do think however that the pale mare refugee storyline needs to be in the show. I would be a relatively easy scene and inexpensive to shoot and having AAA as Dany’s attacker and then have Barristan actually showing how good a swordsman he is could make the scene even more memorable than it was in the book. But like I said; I’m simply guessing!!
    As for Malko being a possible Brown Ben/ Tattered Prince hybrid, I don’t believe that he is a secret Targ, Viserion is simply the most docile/friendly of the three dragons and Dany needs another Sellsword company on her side, at the moment all she has are the 8000 unsullied 2000 Second Sons minus the ones that have already been killed in the previous battles- it’s not enough. Plus they are both such great characters it would be a shame if there was no references to them in the show.
    I think the first half of the season will be slowly paced like season 1 with a lot of exposition, with not many action scenes except for Edd fetching a block, a possible attack on Myrcella, Jaime and Bronn vs Sandsnakes and Daario executing the SOH. Dany has so many enemies yet none of them have gotten near her since the season 3 opener, I think it would be a great scene that would make the early part of the season more exciting and would be a great reminder of the perilous situation that Dany is in.

  30. greywind’s ghost,

    Still think the book Tattered Prince is a much more interesting character. If we’re looking for long shots, maybe an amalgamation of all the pit fighters ( or mainly an extended Khrazz) who work for Hizdahr zo Loraq (although again why do they need to change the name?!). Would give Loraq some muscle, another character to interact with and would look forward to an epic showdown between

    him and Barristen at the start of next season when Selmy goes to arrest Loraq. Really hope they include in some way how Barristen takes over Mereen and marshals the defences when they’re under siege whilst Dany is pissing about with Drogon.
  31. Thanks for the reminder; since he was never spotted on set I forgot he’d even been cast. I hope some other people we haven’t seen in set photos are also cast (like the LORD OF WHITE HARBOR)

  32. I was first introduced to AAA as Mr. Eko on lost, and I loved him. I kept hearing I needed to watch Oz, but didn’t get around to it until the last month. Wow. He’s extraordinary in it.
    On a side note: As I’ve been watching Oz, I keep thinking of the folks who complain about all the female nudity in GoT. Yes, there’s a lot of it, but, imo, it has nothing on all the dangling dongs in Oz.

  33. TheTouchOfFrost:
    greywind’s ghost,

    Still think the book Tattered Prince is a much more interesting character. If we’re looking for long shots, maybe an amalgamation of all the pit fighters ( or mainly an extended Khrazz) who work for Hizdahr zo Loraq (although again why do they need to change the name?!). Would give Loraq some muscle, another character to interact with and would look forward to an epic showdown between

    I agree with pretty much all of that – maybe he’s the one who keeps hassling Dany to open the fighting pits and perhaps he could be the the one Jorah fights in the pit before Drogon’s barbeque! Or maybe he’s Hizdahr’s bodyguard/confidant, I’m hoping for Hizdahr’s character to be expanded somewhat as I thought Joel Fry was quite impressive last season .
    We definately need to see Barristan doing more than being a glorified extra. I’ve loved almost everything aboot the show but I really think they’ve done him a bit of a disservice so for, I do think we’ll see him do something good early in the season and I think in episode 10, which I think will begin with the aftermath in Meereen will be Barristan ‘s moment to shine, particularly if the have a scene where someone tries tfree/kill Viserion and Rhaegal and they escape- is it possible that this would be the final scene of the season? Perhaps it’s Hizdahr and/ Malko that try to free / kill them- Viserion and Rhaegal burning and eating their attackers then escaping and flying over Meereen would be a great final visual- think the wall situation could be resolved in the scene before this one.

  34. he could be the TV series version of strong belwas???
    just skinny or maybe same size this would put him in a decent storyline as well as jorah/dany storyline.
    he could be tyrion’s guard instead of danys which would be a nod to the character from the books and still have a decent reason for tyrion getting so close to dany as we see him in the leaked pics so far and for adding a new character.

  35. Ghost’s Lunch,

    Although that would be a fun role for him to play, I think that it’s unlikely. Remember that in 4×05, Jorah tells Daenerys that Astapor has taken over by “a butcher king named Cleon”. In addition to being in the books, Cleon’s now in the Game of Thrones canon, even if he never appears on screen. No reason to change his name at this point.

  36. greywind’s ghost,

    Careful with those spoilers fella! 😛

    I think the ship has sailed on him being in the pit for that scene as it’s already been filmed (No Selmy was seen either) which is why I think if he does take that role the duel will take place elsewhere (perhaps why they were both missing?) or be put off until next season. I guess we shall see!

  37. TheTouchOfFrost,

    Yup I forgot to cover my spoilers again- sorry about that!! I think the reason we didn’t see Barristan or Grey Worm in the pics may be another judgment error on Dany’s part in that she wants Daario to be her last linenof defense rather than Barristan and I wouln’t be surprised if he and Grey Worm were fighting SOHs in the stands and what they were doing was simply not photographed.
  38. <a href="#comment-173372"

    I don't think Barristan is dead, do I think he's been sent to Dorne as an envoy ( what could happen in Dany's story that would cause her to send an envoy to Dorne?!!) I think sometimes the simplest explanation is the correct one. I think Barristan and Grey Worm were fighting SOHs in the stands and simply were not photographed. [ / spoiler ]

  39. I meant to say that I don’t think Barristan is dead, nor do I believe the speculation that he’s been sent to Dorne as an envoy.
  40. I don’t think they have, I just think some people have panicked and jumped to the wrong conclusion when they didn’t see him or Grey Worm in any of the leaked photos. Given that in other seasons episode 10 always picks up where episode 9 left off, we should get the Meereen aftermath straight up and I think that is where Barristan will have an extremely important scene where he takes charge – hopefully!!

  41. l plgreywind’s ghost,

    Kinda hoping they leave the siege stuff until early Season 6 and do it justice. But Selmy making his arrest and taking control of Mereen would be a nice ending for that part of the world.

  42. Actually I would like to see Dany’s fleet escape Slavers Bay relatively easily only to be caught between the Volantene and Qartheen fleet. I think an open sea battle with so many ships and 3 dragons directed by Neil Marshall of course around episodes 2-4 could be amazing!! Dany prevails but her fleet is absolutely decimated and she loses one the dragons ( unlucky arrow to the eye!) She eventually limps into Dragonstone in the finale with less than 25 ships. Total fan fiction I know but just something that I would like to see!!
  43. greywind’s ghost,

    Prefer to see the Ironborn turn up destroy the Slavers fleet and smash into the flanks of the besieging forces. The way the scene is described with the Ironborn storming the beaches , dragons flying overhead, sellswords switching sides and the actual siege iteself would make for some epic television. Plus I think the Iron Islanders deserve a little moment or two having been criminally neglected so far! Come on Euron!

  44. TheTouchOfFrost,

    I have to say that Vic and the Damphair’s omissions from the show is the first time I’ve been genuinely disappointed in the show- there better be a good reason for it!!I’m hoping that Theon’s and Yara’s storyline this season and then Euron’s next season wil more than make up for their absence. I have a crazy hunch that Cersei (in her ever increasing madness)and Euron become allies/lovers after she flees Kings Landing following Tommen’s death. With the remainder of the Lannister army, coupled with the Iron Fleet I think we may see a Blackwater 2.0 and Aegon dies without ever meeting Dany. This could also explain why Aegon has been cut from the show. Just out of interest, if you could cast any actors at all to be the Greyjoy brother’s ( without having to worry about budget constraints) who would they be?
    I would cast:;
    Damphair: Robert Carlyle
    Victarion: Eric Bana
    Euron: Christoph Waltz
    Really curious to see they cast as Euron- really hope it is somebody who is a big name as I think Euron will be a major player in Winds and Dream.[/spoiler ]

    FFS!!! Why won’t my spoiler tags work- Mods please delete if appropriate!!!

  45. greywind’s ghost,

    We’ll see. I’m not entirely sure what Yara will be doing this season if anything. I would have thought Balon would have to die this season…surely? As much as I’d love to see Vic I’d accept just having Euron. He’s a very interesting character that I hope they make use of.
    I’d go for;

    Damphair – Timothy Dalton ( imagine him with a beard!)
    Victarion – Ray Stevenson
    Euron – James Purefoy ( watch Solomon Kanes opening scenes and you’ll see why!)

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