Was Eddie Marsan Approached for Game of Thrones?

Whenever there’s casting speculation for Varys in HBO’s upcoming “Game of Thrones” series I bring up Eddie Marsan.

He’s a great actor, very versatile, and has been cast by Nina Gold in the past. A high percentage of the current cast was cast by Nina Gold in something before:

Sean Bean (Red Riding)
Harry Lloyd (The Devil’s Whore)
Mark Addy (It’s a Wonderful Afterlife, Red Riding, Barney’s Version)
Jamie Campbell Bower (London Boulevard)
Ron Donachie (Made of Honor, Beautiful Creatures)
Michelle Fairley (Chatroom)
Iain Glen (Beautiful Creatures)
Lena Headey (Imagine Me & You)
Richard Madden (Chatroom)
Joseph Mawle (Red Riding)
Rory McCann (Hot Fuzz)
Ian McNeice (Rome, The Final Curtain)
Richard Ridings (Amazing Grace)
Donald Sumpter (Eastern Promises, London Boulevard, Einstein and Eddington )

Then, Phoenix_torn at Winter Is Coming pointed me towards this article, where Marsan states:

“I was approached to do something for seven years and it was a quality project. I did seriously think about it, but I didn’t want to be away for six months of the year. I’ve never done the LA thing where you go and have loads of meetings; I can’t say to my wife, ‘I’m going to wait by a pool for six months.'”

They’re currently casting for season one of Game of Thrones, and it would be a seven year commitment if HBO did all the projected seasons.

This seems a little too coincidental to me if it’s a different project. I don’t think the fact that Game of Thrones is shooting in Northern Ireland instead of LA rules it out. The “LA thing” could refer to the style of project rather than a location, even though the reporter seems to make an assumption otherwise.

If it is Game of Thrones, I’m a little bummed that he considered it but then decided against it. I don’t know if he was Varys or Littlefinger or who exactly, but he would have done a great job.

If it’s NOT Game of Thrones, and he really was talking about a project in LA, does this mean that he’d be open to doing a seven year project a little closer to home? Northern Ireland is only an hour and a half away by plane.

About paulgude

Paul Gude writes small books, makes stupid music, draws silly pictures, and does weird things on stage.
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5 Responses to Was Eddie Marsan Approached for Game of Thrones?

  1. Phoenix_torn says:

    Thanks for the mention 🙂

  2. It’s certainly possible, but I think there are several counter-arguments.

    First off, seven seasons was at one time considered a normal lifespan (for contract purposes anyway) for a successful TV show. It’s less regimented today, but apparently a lot of Hollywood TV shows still use seven-season contracts even if they are not expected to last that long, or if they are immensely successful and go longer (which involves expensive contract renegotiations).

    The other issue is that Marsan reports that he would not be willing to work in Hollywood due to family commitments in London, but has no problem with projects in Scotland or the Isle of Man. It’s actually much easier to fly from London to Belfast in an hour or so than getting to the Isle of Man, so I see no reason why a project in Belfast would be impossible for him.

    So, whilst the combination of the Hollywood projects comments, the seven seasons and the six month shooting schedule (which also lines up with GoT, although it would also line up with many other shows) sounds convincing, I’d be more sceptical that this project was indeed GAME OF THRONES.

    • paulgude says:

      I’ll take your word for the “five year vs. seven year” thing. Links would be nice, though, and I honestly think he’s talking about a recent project, not a past one.

      (The rest of this is cribbed from my Winter Is Coming account.)

      The fact that it’s being cast by long time associate Nina Gold is a side benefit. She’s cast him in:

      Vera Drake
      Red Riding: In the Year of Our Lord 1980
      London Boulevard
      Red Riding: In the Year of Our Lord 1974
      The Illusionist

      He first says:

      “I was approached to do something for seven years and it was a quality project. I did seriously think about it, but I didn’t want to be away for six months of the year.”

      There’s no mention of LA in this bit, just that he didn’t want to be away for six months. It’s in the next bit that he says:

      “I’ve never done the LA thing where you go and have loads of meetings,”

      Again, he’s worked in LA before, so when he says that he’s “never done the LA thing” he must be talking about a new experience. And, “loads of meetings,” would keep him from catching the next flight home whenever he wants.

      “I can’t say to my wife, ‘I’m going to wait by a pool for six months.'”

      I think, “Wait by a pool” is an exaggeration. It’s not about being in a specific location with a pool as much as it’s about “taking it easy” for six months on a shoot while she’s at home with the kids.

      He’s got three young children, and one more about to be born. I’ve got *one* kid, who’s four years years old, and it’s all my wife and I can do to take care of her and still try to work.

      He’s basically saying that he was considering taking a seven year project with a six month commitment, but eventually decided against it because he couldn’t leave his wife to take care of the kids herself while he was busy “doing the LA thing.”

      It still sounds like Game of Thrones to me.

      This isn’t wish fulfillment, it’s a sad realization. Look up a little higher and you’ll see me trying my best to NOT believe it so that there’s still a chance that he’ll be Varys. Phoenix_torn’s to blame for my shattered dreams.

      (End content from Winter Is Coming)

      It sounds like we’ve moved from “no other show on television has seven year commitments” to “every show on television has seven year commitments.”

      All things being equal, then, I still hope he isn’t talking about Game of Thrones, but suspect that he is.

      EDIT: I re-read this and realize that you used the phrase “at one time,” which indicates this isn’t the case now? Are you in the, “he’s talking about an earlier time” camp?

      My response to that on Winter Is Coming was:

      If he WERE talking about being approached for a seven season run on Lost [EDIT: or any other series from an earlier time where this was “the norm”], his three children (and another on the way) may not have been mentioned. In 2004 he would have simply had a new baby, which is a fine reason to stay away from a project as well.

  3. paulgude says:

    I guess the sad thing, for me, is that even if he *is* talking about another show his misgivings may still apply. Still hoping I’m wrong.

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