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Liam Cunningham used ‘24 Hours to Live’ as therapy to ‘Game Of Thrones’

“There’s something therapeutic about playing a pig.”
Ethan Hawke and Liam Cunningham
[Images: Saban Films/HBO]

As Davos Seaworth’s presence in Game Of Thrones has grown more and more prominent over the years, it has left Liam Cunningham with less time to dabble with other characters and projects.

But after wrapping up work as the beloved smuggler, and Jon Snow’s closest confidant, on another season of the hit HBO show the Irish actor told me that the appeal of playing a “self-serving capitalist bad guy” in “24 Hours To Live” instantly appealed to him. Especially as he saw it as a form of therapy to “Game Of Thrones.”

“You can be a bit more in your face as a villain. The bad roles are usually the more fun ones to play. There’s something therapeutic about playing a pig. You get home in the evening with a smile on your face because you have got the badness out of you. It was fun. It was great fun.”

"24 Hours To Live" revolves around a career assassin, played by Ethan Hawke, who is temporarily brought back to life and given one chance at redemption after being killed on the job.

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For Cunningham, who first came to prominence for his supporting role in Steve McQueen’s "Hunger" opposite Michael Fassbender, the chance to work with Hawke, and the the fact it was a “completely different thing to ‘Game Of Thrones’” ultimately convinced him to sign up.  

“Obviously your attention gets piqued when you see Ethan Hawke’s name on it. I’ve had a lot of respect for him for a number of years and his body of work speaks for itself.”

“It was just really nice to do an action thriller, to get away from ‘Game Of Thrones.’ That’s long-form storytelling and it has huge complications. This was a straightforward, knock them about, car chase sort of things. I like them. When they’re done well, they’re really good.”

Cunningham saw that potential in “24 Hours To Live” and the character of Wetzler. Particularly because he was able to draw on his own experiences as he had actually met members of the “mercenary companies” that his villain is “very loosely based on.”

“I’ve met a few of these guys before that used to be regular army and are now paid to do war as a commercial exercise. Politically it was interesting to see. Because these kind of people exist in the darker areas of our world.”

“And they have a huge amount of power and cause a lot of harm. On the serious side of things, there’s no harm in shining light on them. But at the same time we are following our hero in the movie, and his attempt to get some redemption. Which dramatically is really interesting.”

Cunningham is currently entrenched in production on the final season of “Game Of Thrones.” But even though he admitted that it is “a much longer shooting period” than before, he still insisted, “I am a grafter, so I am always interested in doing something in between ‘Game Of Thrones.’ It is basically trying to fit in something.

Considering the presence that Cunningham brings to any film and role, we can only be grateful for his workmanlike approach, and even though it is depressing that “Game Of Thrones” is coming to an end it will be exciting to see what he does next.

“24 Hours To Live” is now available on Ultra VOD and is released into select cinemas across the United States on December 1. 

 
 
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