Jack Gleeson, the actor who plays King Joffrey on Game of Thrones, sat down to talk with Entertainment Weekly magazine about last night’s season 4, episode 2 titled The Lion and the Rose … and to avoid potentially spoiling anything for anyone who has yet to see the episode, I’ll keep all further information about this interview behind the cut. Read on to hear what Gleeson has to say about this latest episode of Game of Thrones.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So you just shot your death scene. How was that?
Jack Gleeson: It’s relieving, in a way. You want to do the scene and character justice. It’s a complicated scene; I’ve never had a death on screen before. You want it to look believable — the choking and the coughing. It’s calming to know I’m in the great hands of [director] Alex Graves.
How did it feel to go through those motions?
Gleeson: It was tough. I suppose it’s one of those things that you have no prior experience in. I’ve never seen anyone die. It’s hard to imagine what it would be like. But Alex very kindly walked me through it. It was fun in the end, but kind of stressful to be so focused, but acting like you’re completely unfocused. Difficult, but exciting.
I’ve been surprised how long it’s taken certain actors to hear about their character’s fate in the books. When did you know yours?
Gleeson: I knew from Day 1. When I got the part, I read the first book. And before that, I Googled the character summaries.
Did you expect Joffrey to last this long, or stick around longer, in the TV version?
Gleeson: I didn’t really think about it. I knew it was coming. I would have been surprised if it didn’t come in season 4. I was just like, whatever.
You’ve played a character fans love to hate for so long. How do you think fans will react?
Gleeson: I think it will be 50-50. There will be a delight that the person tormenting their favorite characters is gone, but I would like to think there’s a certain sadness at the loss of the delight people take in hating a character like Joffrey.
What was your favorite scene to shoot on the show?
Gleeson: Certainly the death scene is pretty cool. And [in next week’s episode] we did the funeral scene where I was on a cliff with stones in my eyes and I just got to sleep all day, and [spoiler happened]. So that was fun.
Was there anything Joffrey ever did that made you uncomfortable to perform?
Gleeson: No, I don’t think so. Oh, certainly the obvious answer — the two prostitutes and forcing one of them to beat and kill the other one. But I don’t remember it being awkward or uncomfortable to film.
And that, folks, is that. Not only has King Joffery been killed off GoT but Jack Gleeson is now ready to retire from acting at the ripe ol’ age of 21:
Now you’re giving us another twist in this story by retiring at the age of 21. Why?
Gleeson: The answer isn’t interesting or long-winded. I’ve been acting since age 8. I just stopped enjoying it as much as I used to. And now there’s the prospect of doing it for a living, whereas up until now it was always something I did for recreation with my friends, or in the summer for some fun. I enjoyed it. When you make a living from something, it changes your relationship with it. It’s not like I hate it, it’s just not what I want to do.
What do you want to do instead?
Gleeson: I don’t know. Yeah. No idea. I have one year left in college. After that, I might do a post-graduate of some kind, but I don’t know in what.
So after this airs, Hollywood shouldn’t send you any scripts to try to lure you back?
Gleeson: Not for now. When I’m destitute in 10 years time, I’ll accept any script! No. As long as I’m in the not-ungrateful-but-perhaps-happy place where I can say “No” to whatever, I’m going to do that.
Many who follow entertainment in Hollywood will have a tough time wrapping their head around you–
Gleeson: Deal with it.
Because I had read the book prior to seasons 3 and 4, I was well prepared for both the Red Wedding and the Purple Wedding. All I will say is keep watching, you ain’t seen nothing yet :D