The Tully family is growing. “Game of Thrones” is introducing Catelyn Stark’s younger brother this season — Edmure Tully — played by British actor and “Rome” star Tobias Menzies.
But while Edmure certainly will likely make a more presentable impression than Lysa Arryn (the Tully sister who lives in the Eyrie and, in Season 1, happened to nurse her prepubescent son in front of guests), Tobias said his character too has some issues of his own.
“He’s a bit — as comic — as ‘Game of Thrones’ gets, really,” the actor told AccessHollywood.com, hinting at how fans will find Edmure, who dips into the returning HBO drama later on in the season. “He’s a little flawed.”
Tobias, who played the young Marcus Brutus in “Rome,” (alongside fellow “GOT” Season 3 newcomer Ciaran Hinds, who played Julius Caesar), joined “Game of Thrones” fairly close to filming. But while there wasn’t time to put in a Kit Harington style research effort (Kit poured through George R.R. Martin’s novels prior to filming Season 1), Tobias was able to hit the set with comfort, already knowing his on-screen kin, played by Michelle Fairley. The two were co-stars in the 2010 film, “Anton Chekhov’s The Duel.”
In a new interview, the second in AccessHollywood.com’s Countdown to “Game of Thrones” Season 3 Q&A series, Tobias explains how he came to join the fold, drops hints at the drama ahead, and admits he’s not quite ready to hear fans of the show shouting his name.
AccessHollywood.com: Had you seen the show when they contacted you about Edmure?
Tobias Menzies: No, I hadn’t seen actually. I sort of knew of it. But no, I didn’t get to see the show until I got out to Belfast and started to work on it.
Access: How did you prepare for this audition? There’s a huge amount you can research – the books, the online fan sites – before you go in there.
Tobias: To be honest, as always with auditions… it tends to be, you have a day to prepare, at maximum, so it was a question really, of learning the lines and taking direction from them… of what they were looking for. I did look at some stuff on YouTube to get a sort of flavor of the world, but then it’s just… It was a kind of different character, I think, than they had before. He’s a bit – as comic – as ‘Game of Thrones’ gets really. You know, he’s a little flawed (laughs).
Access: Does that means he’s a little bit of a — can I use the word doofus?
Tobias: Yes. He’s kind of a sap… He was really fun to do. Some really nice writing for him. It was fun.
Access: In the books, Catelyn gets in trouble with your character for letting Jaime Lannister go (under the guard of Brienne – as an attempted trade with the Lannisters for her daughters). But, obviously that happened in the last season with Robb. So how are we going to find you?
Tobias: A big family event for the Tully clan and you get a strong sense that he is [the] heir apparent.
Access: In the photos fans posted online, you’re holding a bow and arrow. Did you learn some new skills then?
Tobias: Yes, I took some archery lessons, which is great fun. It’s one of the perks of the job — getting asked to [learn] sort of new things, some horse riding, whatever it is, that’s great.
Access: Do we get to see you on battlefields on horses doing those sorts of things?
Tobias: I think there was gonna be some horse stuff but that ended up not materializing so no, the archery is the only kind of butch thing I do.
Access: How did making ‘Game of Thrones’ compare to the scale of ‘Rome’? I think there are reports that they spent over a million on every episode of ‘Rome.’
Tobias: ‘Rome’ was just before the crash and [it] seems like a bit of a golden age now, in terms of budgets. I feel like ‘Game of Thrones’ is very similar in terms of the sheer size of the project. I think ‘Rome’ probably just outbid it a little. But, to no effect. I thought the sets and stuff — the look of ‘Game of Thrones’ — is second to none. It’s great.
Access: ‘Game of Thrones’ seems very different to a lot of your other work.
Tobias: Yes, completely different sort of standalone world. You very rarely get to [explore] that sort of thing, which makes it very exciting to work on, and that’s what’s great about working with HBO is the ambitiousness of their project, they don’t [stop] until it’s right. It makes a big difference.
Access: Your ‘Rome’ Julius Caesar is also in the project. Did you and Ciaran Hinds, who now plays ‘GOT’s’ Mance Rayder, the King Beyond the Wall, talk about it all?
Tobias: Yes, he came on sort of towards the end of my stint and we crossed paths. It was lovely to see him. We didn’t film together, but he was just on set having some makeup or something done. It’s always great to see Ciaran. He’s a big hero of mine.
Access: Your storylines are separate. Will you be watching the show to see those other storylines, some of which were filmed in other countries like Iceland for Ciaran?
Tobias: In many ways, I think I’ll be able to watch it [with] a lot of enjoyment because of the nature of the structure. There’s whole chunks of it that you know nothing about!
Access: Being in a show like ‘Game of Thrones,’ you now have the whole world of ‘Cons’ to go to – Comic-Con, etc. if you want. Are you excited?
Tobias: I’ve heard about it in slightly infamous terms. So all the sci-fi fans go there and dress up and they get your signature?
Access: Yes. Last year, ‘Game of Thrones’ had a session in a giant hall in front of 5,000-6,000 fans – with a Q&A session [moderated by George R.R. Martin]. It was a bit like a polite rock concert.
Tobias: I guess I’m about to find out.
Access: Would that be weird for you to hear people screaming your name?
Tobias: We’re quite a way off that yet, but… I don’t think I would deal well with that very well at all. I quite like sort of being able to walk down the street with no one noticing.
“Game of Thrones” Season 3 premieres March 31 at 9 PM on HBO.
-- Jolie Lash
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