7 Actors Who Worked Hard to Get a Role on Game of Thrones But Failed
As the Rolling Stones put it, you can't always get what you want and that also applies to famous actors trying to get much coveted roles.
As it turns out, quite a few big-ticket actors ranging from Sam Claflin to Mahershala Ali auditioned for Game of Thrones and got turned down.
Mahershala Ali – Xaro Xhoan Daxos
So much has happened on Game of Thrones since Season 2 that even the most devoted fans probably won't remember all the supporting characters who have come and gone since then. One such short-lived supporting character in season 2 was Prince Xaro Xhoan Daxos. He was played by Nonso Anozi, who had previously worked with Game of Thrones star Ian Glenn in the Last Legion. What's interesting is that Mahershala Ali, who later went on to win an Oscar for Moonlight, auditioned for the part and was turned down!
He can still remember that audition, even admitting in one interview that it was perhaps the worst audition of his entire career.
Sam Heughan – Loras Tyrell
Before getting the lead role in the popular series Outlander, Sam auditioned for the role of Loras Tyrell in Game of Thrones. So bad did the actor want to be on Game of Thrones, he actually auditioned for two parts at once: Loras Tyrell and Renly Baratheon. Sam recalls that at first, he managed to successfully clear the initial stages of the casting process, reading the lines at least seven times. In the end, though, something must have gone wrong. The part of Loras Tyrell eventually went to Finn Jones, who later became famous as Marvel's Iron Fist.
Danny Dyer – Pyp
The casting for Game of Thrones was an extremely long and tortuous process, even when it came to minor roles. Take Pyp(Pypar), for example, a rather minor character, but even in this case Game of Thrones producers went through more than a dozen candidates. They ended up picking Joseph Altin, even though originally, a far more famous actor was considered for the part: Danny Dyer, the star of the Football Factor and Fans. Speaking on the Jonathan Ross show, Danny revealed he had auditioned for three different roles on Game of Thrones, including Pyp.
Sam Claflin – Jon Snow
When casting first began for Game of Thrones, Sam Claflin had not yet made a name for himself in Hunger Games, so there was no halo effect to help him land good roles. Still, that probably wasn't the main reason the part of Jon Snow went to Keith Harington instead.
Interestingly enough, after failing to land the Jon Snow part, Sam didn't give up and tried to get on Game of Thrones again, this time auditioning for the role of Viserys Targaryen, he didn't get that one either.
Tricia Helfer – Cersei Lannister
Alongside Daenerys Targaryen, the role of Cersei Lannister was one of the most coveted female parts on the show, so it should come as no surprise that so many big-name actresses tried to get it. One of them was the Battlestar Galactica star Trisha Helfer (whom you can now see on Lucifer ). Helfer is a big fan of George R. Martin's work, so it would have been a dream come true for her to appear in a TV series based on his books. Sadly, it was not to be.
Jamie Campbell Bower – Waymar Royce
Actually, Jamie Campbell Bower is somewhat of a special case: the actor did pass his Game of Thrones audition. But he had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts. Originally, Bower was cast as Weymar Royce, one of the very first characters to appear on the show (and, unfortunately, the very first to die). But when reshoots began for the Game of Thrones pilot that already had scenes with Jamie Campbell Bower in it, it turned out the actor could not take part. So he had to be replaced with someone else.
Iwan Rheon – Jon Snow
Like Jamie Campbell Bower, Iwan Rheon is certainly a special case. Rheon eventually delivered a top-notch performance on the show as the wonderfully villainous Ramsay Bolton, memorable, convincing and at the same time revolting and menacing. But things could have been very different indeed as originally Iwan Rheon was considered for the role of Jon Snow.
Even though Game of Thrones producers eventually picked Kit Harington as Jon Snow, they were so impressed with Iwan Rheon's performance that they immediately called him when the slot for Ramsay Bolton opened up. Iwan Rheon later admitted in an interview, "I think they made the right choice, if I had played Jon Snow, he would have been completely different."