It took a season longer than most fans expected for the Reed siblings — Jojen and Meera — to enter the “Game of Thrones” world, but now that they have, they’ve given a mysterious twist to Bran Stark’s journey.
It’s British actor Thomas Brodie-Sangster who plays the wise Jojen Reed, a character not physically domineering, but a master of the mind, who has been serving as a guide and teacher as the young Bran steps into the minds of animals and has visions of his family.
Although the 22-year-old actor — an alum of 2003’s “Love Actually” and 2009’s John Lennon early years biopic, “Nowhere Boy” (he played Paul) — hadn’t seen the series when he first came on board the project, Thomas was well aware of it.
After powering through the first two seasons, Thomas was more than impressed. “‘This is fantastic!’” he told AccessHollywood.com of his early thoughts of the show. “It’s such a pleasure to be part of something that’s such good quality and [has a] really good story as well. And I like my character. I think he’s an interesting character. I think the Reeds are both really interesting.”
In a new interview with Access, the actor opened up about joining the franchise, hinted at what’s ahead for The Reeds and Bran, and revealed a unique encounter he had with a fan, who managed to recognize him after only seeing his eyes!
AccessHollywood.com: Jojen Reed’s power comes from his mind, not his physicality. That has to be interesting for you as an actor.
Thomas Brodie-Sangster Yeah, it is. When I first found out I was a little bit disappointed that I don’t get to do any sword fighting or bows and arrows or anything like that (laughs), but in some ways it’s kind of cool, that [although] I’m [the] male character, my sister carries all the weapons and does all that side of things. In a show that’s full of a lot of blood, a lot of violence, a lot of sword wielding and a lot of death, my character is actually equally as strong, but much more spiritual and in control through his mind. It’s a much more interesting path.
Access: So far, Jojen revealed that he and Meera came ‘a long way’ to find Bran. Osha had been leading Bran and Rickon Stark North, hoping to go beyond The Wall. What’s coming up? Are fans going to find out more about why The Reeds came to find Bran?
Thomas: Yes, the series continues and the story advances and you learn slowly more and more about these two strange characters that have come into the world of Bran, and how they affect him and how they teach him and help him grow and understand his abilities. And yeah, you get an idea of why the idea is to go North and head up that way.
Access: Isaac, who plays Bran, he’s a young actor. You too were young when you started acting. Did you feel a little bit like – not like an older a brother, but…
Thomas: I know what you mean. He’s a lovely guy, really, really sweet… and so is his mother who’s there chaperoning him, and it did — it reminded me of me because he has this very mature and professional attitude when he’s on set, which I always tried to have when I was younger. I never wanted to be the annoying kid on set. I always wanted to be treated like an adult and to do that, you have to behave like an adult and he does when he’s on set. It’s really nice to see and he is talented, so I don’t know whether I felt like a brother to him, but I certainly felt close to [him], especially because our characters have to interact quite a bit. It was really lovely to work with him and watch this very young person slowly growing up and it did, for a moment, [remind] a bit of me. It’s kind of strange.
Access: Do you remember when you first started hearing from people — when the secret was finally out that you were part of the ‘Game of Thrones’ cast?
Thomas: Yeah, I had to wait a little while before I told anyone that I was cast. … But then, once it was out, it was great. It was nice just to go tell people that I was going to be part of the show. I know a lot of people who are friends of mine who are big, big fans of the show and when they saw my face pop up on that little montage clip of all the new cast, they shrieked. It was quite funny.
Access: Have you experienced some of the fandom yet? Have people come up to you about this?
Thomas: Yes, they have. … I ride a motorbike and I have a full-face helmet on, which covers pretty much everything other than your eyes. … I was sat at the traffic lights and a cyclist came up to me, looked at me and somehow — I don’t know how — it was the day after my first episode aired and he just [said], ‘I loved you last night in ‘Game of Thrones.’ Well done, mate.’ I turned around and said, ‘How the hell did you recognize me?’ All he saw was my eyes.
Access: Being in films like ‘Nowhere Boy’ can take you to film festivals, but ‘Game of Thrones’ opens you up to the world of ‘Cons’ like Comic-Con. Are you interested at all in those sorts of things?
Thomas: Yeah! From what I’ve seen and heard from other people who’ve been, it sounds like a mad, mad place, but I’d love to experience that and see those kind of hard core fans who are so passionate about all things to do with comics and TV shows and cartoons and that’s stuff I loved when I was younger as well. It looks wonderful and fantastic and it’s great to be part of a show that’s appreciated by that massive, massive crowd. … I was in ‘Doctor Who,’ quite a few years ago…
Access: With Harry Lloyd [who played Viserys Targaryen in ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 1].
Thomas: Yeah, with Harry Lloyd, yeah, so I kind of got a sense of that and went to a few conventions and things, but I think ‘Game of Thrones’ is on a whole new level.
Access: We went to the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences event for ‘Game of Thrones’ a few weeks back and they asked all your castmates there a fun question, which I’ll put to you — if gender, age, size, all that didn’t matter, what character from this universe would you want to play? There are some fun parts.
Thomas: There are a lot of fun parts. I would say, either Khaleesi, because she’s got some dragons and she’s a very powerful woman, and there’s something very cool about that, [or] Tyrion. Tyrion — he’s just a really cool character. He’s very sussed [Editor’s note: British speak for having it all figured out] and I think that would be very fun to play.
Access: Did you actually end up reading the books? Or as an actor, do you not want to inform yourself about what’s ahead?
Thomas: In some ways, I really don’t want to. Because I’m a fan of the show, I want to actually know as little about it as possible. Even when I was shooting it, I tried to hear as little about all the other characters that had nothing to do with my character development as possible. … I try to keep as out of the loop as possible just so I can have the pleasure of watching it and finding out what happens.
Access: You were in ‘Love Actually’ when you were younger. It still follows you like it does Andrew Lincoln from ‘The Walking Dead.’ What is it about that movie that still resonates with people? Is it because it’s played every Christmas, or because it’s just a sweet series of tales? It seems like a wonderful project to have been involved in.
Thomas: Oh yeah… it’s brilliant. I’m still very proud of it, although it does follow me an awful lot even today (laughs). It’s a lovely thing to be attached with. I think the reason it’s so successful, people love it so much, is it doesn’t try anything more than be a film that was designed to make you feel good. … It’s very easy to watch and it’s a love story, all set around Christmas. It just makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that at all and people love that. They sit down every Christmas and I know a lot of guys that love the film and sit down and watch it with their girlfriends or their mothers. It just appeals to a very, very large audience and people seem to love it.
Access: You’ve got some new projects in the works…
Thomas: I am attached for a project called ‘Maze Runner.’ It’s supposed to be going out to Louisiana, [at the] end of this month, actually, to start shooting that, which should be great fun. [It’s] based on three books. It should be good.
Access: Is it spoiler-y just like ‘Thrones’ [for those who haven’t read the books] to talk about?
Thomas: This is kind of a long a similar vein, yeah. They’re being very secretive about it. I don’t even know the full plotline yet, but I think it’s going to be quite good fun.
“Game of Thrones” airs Sunday nights at 9 PM on HBO.
-- Jolie Lash