Blastr has a new interview with Alexander Siddig about playing Doran Martell on Game of Thrones this season, including how he was cast, how Prince Doran is different from other rulers on the show, his “scary” nieces, and more. We’ll excerpt the non-spoilery beginning bits in case you’re trying to avoid spoilers.
How did the role of Doran Martell come to you? Any chance you reached out to showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss to remind them you are kind of perfect for the part?
It actually came across my agent’s desk. Very rarely do I ask to be on a show these days. It’s not because I’m too grand or anything but I just don’t think of it. It never occurs to me. [Laughs] Besides, I think you get more chances of getting on a show if you get asked rather than asking.
Fair point. But at least they were smart enough to make the connection themselves. Describe the process of getting the role.
I got asked to come and audition. While I was auditioning, I got to see Pedro perform as [Doran’s] brother and that gave me all the information I needed. I knew this guy was coming from a passionate family. They have a lot of Spanish in them, and obviously Pedro is Chilean. So, I unashamedly copied everything I could about him with a few of the things that are unique to my character overlaid. Doran couldn’t be quite as dramatic or quite as romantic because my character is the ruler and [Oberyn] wasn’t a ruler. Oberyn could afford to misbehave in a way that my character cannot. There’s a difference there.
Going back to your casting, the books and the series have a massive fandom and they often like to fancast upcoming roles. Was it made known to you that you were matched with Doran early on by the fans?
Yes, and I was kind of astonished. I was told by one of the producers that there was an online forum where fans suggested who they would like to play characters and I was thrilled to find out that I was one of the names on the list for Doran. It was exciting, but then terrifying, because I had to play the guy right because so many people expect me to! I was really honored they even thought of me. It’s always astonishing as an actor – especially one who operates below the radar – that anyone knows who you are at all. I generally have a career as a supporting actor and as such you tend to stay low level and unknown. Obviously, Star Trek and 24 get you out there a little bit, but I’m still trying to make my mark. But then, you don’t want to become too famous, because then you lose your life.
It’s been made very clear that Season 5 will veer away from George R.R. Martin’s novels, and a lot of fan ire has been directed at the character of Arianne Martell not making it over to the series from the books. What would you say to maybe assuage those fans?
I have to say, [David and D.B.] are pretty smart, and it’s not some divine error that they’ve hit on such a great show and done such a good job of it. I’m not going to put words in their mouth right now, but the relentless pressure for George to keep writing novels year after year is going to catch up with someone somewhere. I think it’s just a practical consideration.
By the same token, does that mean we could see more of Doran than expected?
Well, I’m looking forward to doing more if I get a chance to do more. [Laughs]