Joe Dempsie has opened up about returning to Game Of Thrones as Gendry for its final seasons, revealing that the biggest difference between his original run and now is the security.
“There are some parts that do feel different,” Dempsie told me over the phone earlier this month. “Funnily enough, the most palpable difference is just in terms of security.”
“I mean security in terms of plot and scripts and any information pertaining to where we might be shooting at any given time. During the whole course of season 7 and season 8 I have never laid eyes on a shooting schedule.”
“Your filming dates are on a need to know basis. You don’t get hard copies of scripts anymore. They are all on this special app. Which are triple locked. The level of security has upped massively.”
“It is also clear just how much people’s lives have changed, for certain cast members that is,” Dempsie continued. “In terms of going out and about in Belfast just for a bite to eat.”
“We were just out in Seville filming. We were staying in this beautiful hotel in the middle of town. Within two days of being there, obviously word had spread that we were there, and just arriving back from work in the car it was like a film premiere.”
“Every night. Just a hoard of people trying to get a glimpse of some of the actors. We never had to contend with any of that before. But then on the flip side, especially in Belfast. So much of it felt like I had never been gone.”
“So many of the crew had been there since day one, staying in the same hotels, the people of Belfast were just as friendly as they always were. So, yeah, it was strange.”
“There were parts that were different, but in general it felt like 3 years had just sped by and I was just picking up where I had left off.”
When it came to coming back for the seventh season of “Game Of Thrones,” Dempsie recalled that it was always the plan for him to return. Although the call to do so came when he least expected it.
“Funnily enough when I left the show after season 3 the plan was always to bring him back at some point. We just weren’t sure when. With every passing year it just goes further and further to the back of your mind really.”
“I was getting on with other stuff. I was enjoying watching the show as a fan. I was actually enjoying watching the show grow. It seemed like from seasons 4 to 6 that that was when it really became this juggernaut.”
“It was this well liked and well watched show before, but it hadn’t become this cultural phenomenon. I liked watching that from a distance, because if you are in the eye of the storm it is hard to appreciate it.”
“So then to get the call to get back in, it actually came when I was least expecting it, but it was great. It was like having an entirely new job. Even though I was eager to work on HBO when I originally got the job, you still never know how it is going to turn out.”
“So when I got the call to come back it was basically, ‘Hey do you want to join the biggest show on the planet?’ So I was like, ‘Yeah, go on then.’”
With the end of “Game Of Thrones” now firmly in sight, Dempsie also opened up about its legacy, as he insisted it “seems to have become an emblem of peak TV.”
“There’s even a lyric in the new Arctic Monkey’s album about the endless stream of great TV. We are living through an age of amazing drama and high production values, and ‘Thrones’ is the show with the highest production values of all.”
“I think that’s meant that TV in general has really had to up its game. All across the world really. Even shows at the BBC. You have to compete. Because everyone has Netflix. And all it takes is the push of a button to find stuff on there instead.”
“The lasting legacy of ‘Game Of Thrones’ is a real blurring of the lines of traditional views of TV and cinema. I think that really suits actors. It just means that concept is everything now.”
“If your script is good enough you can legitimately take it to George Clooney. And he might do it. There’s no barrier to the caliber of actor that you can get for these things. They look pretty indistinguishable from one another.”
“That episode in ‘Game Of Thrones,’ ‘The Battle Of The Bastards,’ I just thought that was stunning. I had never seen anything like that before. Whether on the big screen or the small screen.”
“The blurring of the lines and just the desire for great content, to use an annoyingly modern word, is what it is all about. And that suits writers and directors as well, because they can tell their stories over 8 hours or 10 hours rather than an hour and a half.”
I was actually talking to Dempsie ahead of the premiere of “Deep State,” a spy-thriller that he hopes will ultimately match the reputation of “Game Of Thrones.”
And as he outlined just how he was able to work on both shows at the same time he also revealed that he had been working on “Game Of Thrones” season 8 for 8 months, which suggests he will be playing a rather prominent role.
“The offer for ‘Deep State’ didn’t come too long after I had finished season 7. In between I went to do a little indie job in London. Then went straight onto ‘Deep State.’ Then ‘Deep State’ went all the way through to September of last year.”
“So I had a few weeks after before starting on season 8 of ‘Game Of Thrones.’ I only wrapped on that 3 weeks ago.”
We’ll find out just how much Dempsie’s Gendry is in “Game Of Thrones” season 8 when it premieres at some point in 2019, while “Deep State” airs on Epix on Sundays at 9pm EST.