Danish actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is “proud” of being a part of the nudity and gore-laden hit TV series Game Of Thrones, but it will be a while before his daughters get to watch the show.
The hunk, who plays the despicable Jamie Lannister on the hugely popular show, has two daughters aged nine and 12 with his Greenlandic actress wife Nukaaka, 42.
Speaking in a deadpan tone, the 42-year-old hunk tells Life! in a telephone interview: “I don’t know whether my daughters want to watch Game Of Thrones, but I can tell you that they’re not going to watch it anytime soon.
“My older daughter will have to wait till she is 38 years old, and my younger one? Never.”
After a pause, he adds with a laugh: “They’ll just have to live without watching the show.”
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in Headhunters (2011); the film is screening in Singapore as part of the European Union Film Festival
He is, “of course, only kidding”, but he is serious about keeping a tight watch over his kids.
“I mean, they’re my kids and I’m their dad and, of course, I’m very serious about these types of things. They’re old enough to know I’m an actor, but still, this is a confusing situation.
“When you know someone really well, like the way they know me as their dad, you don’t want to see them do weird things. But we’ll cross that bridge when the time comes.”
Indeed, his character in the show does some pretty “weird” things. He threw a kid out of a high tower window, for one, and he also has an incestuous relationship with his twin sister Cersei (played by Lena Headey).
The actor says with a laugh: “It’s just a great character because he just doesn’t care about anything. He knows people think he’s horrible and dishonourable, but he’ll never let them have the satisfaction of bowing his head.
“In fact, he’s quite the opposite. He’ll be like, ‘Oh, you think I’m horrible? Then I’m going to be twice as arrogant and say all the things that I shouldn’t be saying’. At the core, I think he shows a great sense of humour.”
As terribly villainous as the character is, Coster-Waldau says he has heard only good things from fans of the show.
“It’s just crazy, the amount of love I’ve gotten from so many people passionate about the show. I guess what’s brilliant is that these people feel like they can relate to Jamie Lannister, though of course, it’s not like they have also thrown kids out of windows.
“It’s the fact that everyone has done stuff that they are not proud of. Like you know, having bad break-ups and over-reacting and things like that.”
Though he has been acting since 1993 in European films such as Denmark’s Nightwatch (1994), it was Game Of Thrones that propelled him to international fame.
He says: “Game Of Thrones has been really something because though I’ve been working as an actor for so many years, I’m finally in something where I feel in sync with the rest of the world, instead of being the misunderstood artist.
“I’m very grateful, but I won’t let myself get carried away. If you keep thinking about how successful you are, I would have stopped working ages ago.”
Ever since the first season of Game Of Thrones – an epic fantasy based on George R. R. Martin’s book series A Song of Ice and Fire – premiered in 2011, audiences and studio executives alike just cannot get enough of the handsome actor. Recently, he starred in the Guillermo del Toro-produced horror flick Mama (2013) opposite Jessica Chastain, as well as the blockbuster Hollywood sci-fi flick Oblivion (2013) alongside Tom Cruise.
Ask if he is starting to feel overwhelmed by the upsurge in popularity and he laughs heartily.
“I wish I could say that the scripts have piled up so much that I can barely open my door, and that I have tons of groupies and all that. It’s not like that, but obviously, Game Of Thrones has led to an increase in script offers, and there’s certainly more conversations to be had.”
In 2011, the actor also starred in Headhunters, the critically acclaimed Norwegian thriller that was nominated for a Bafta Award for Best Film Not In The English Language earlier this year.
Based on Jo Nesbo’s 2008 best-selling novel of the same name, Headhunters is about Roger Brown (Aksel Hennie) who ends up in a bloody chase when he angers the impossibly smooth executive Clas Greve (Coster-Waldau).
The film is part of the line-up for the 23rd European Union Film Festival here, which begins on Wednesday and runs till May 26. The festival will screen a total of 28 of the most acclaimed and entertaining films from across Europe in recent years (see sidebar for highlights).
Headhunters is getting a Hollywood remake, and rumour has it that actor Mark Wahlberg will take on the lead character of Roger.
Until then, the actor is enjoying each day as it comes. “When I left drama school in Denmark to go to England to look for work (in the mid-1990s), I barely spoke English, but I just wanted to work. I had a naive thought that it wouldn’t be so hard, and I had this ambition that I would be an actor.
“And that’s how I look at things now too. I’m passionate about what I do and I’m going to keep on doing it as long as I can.”
Game Of Thrones Season 3 airs on HBO (StarHub channel 601) and HBO HD (StarHub channel 655) every Saturday at 9pm.
Headhunters will be screened on May 21 at 7pm in Singapore, as part of the 23rd European Union Film Festival. Go to www.euff.sg for more information.
This article was first published in The Straits Times on May 13, 2013. Read the full article on The Straits Times.com here.