Ahead of the Game of Thrones season 8 premiere, Joe Dempsie appeared on stage at the BFI & Radio Times Television Festival to chat about his role as Gendry in HBO’s hit fantasy series. As it turns out, Dempsie told fans at the London’s BFI Imax cinema, Gendry wasn’t the first role that he auditioned for in show.
“I auditioned for like three or four different parts before getting the part of Gendry,” the actor revealed. Jamie East, who was hosting the event, then asked Dempsie which other roles he had gone up for. Here’s what Dempsie said in response:
“Jon Snow, initially, because when they were casting for the pilot I think pretty much every actor of a certain age, that was white, probably went in for it. And then, yeah, it was about eighteen months after that they got commissioned for a full series. So then I auditioned for Pip and Gren, Jon’s mates at the Wall. Didn’t get either of them.”
This rejection, naturally, got inside Dempsie’s head. As the actor puts it:
“I was just thinking, ‘They are convinced I am the worst actor on the planet. I dunno why.’ And when then I auditioned… my final audition, for Gendry, was potentially the worst audition I’ve ever done, because it was with [producer] Frank Doelger, and [showrunners] David and Dan, and the other producers. And every time I finished a reading of the scene, there’d be like three seconds of silence. And then, Frank would say, ‘Yeah, can we try that… one more time… um… just a bit concerned that some Americans aren’t gonna understand a word you’re saying.’ Which basically was code for: Frank Doelger couldn’t understand a word I was saying.”
That got a laugh from the audience, and then Dempsie continued recounting his experiences as Gendry:
“And so, I just forgot about it, and then when it [the part of Gendry] came through… it was season one, it was a small part in a TV show that no-one really knew anything about. Um, so I didn’t have a clue [that Gendry would be a big deal]. Although, at the end of season three, when they said that Gendry was going to disappear for a while, they did say, ‘Look, the plan is to bring him back at some point.'”
Gendry came back in Game of Thrones season seven, of course, and will presumably play an important role in season 8, the first episode of which premiered on HBO last night (read our review here).
Keep up with all our Game of Thrones Season 8 news and reviews right here. You can also read up on our Game of Thrones Season 8 Predictions and Theories.