It’s early February and British actor Alfie Allen is spending a few morning minutes curled up on a couch inside a beach-area home in Los Angeles. He’s only in town for a few days and with a movie shoot looming, he has a hectic pace awaiting him when he returns home. But things are also about to heat up stateside for the 20-something actor. Come April 1, with the Season 2 premiere of “Game of Thrones,” Alfie’s star continues its rise as he breaks out and goes from Stark sidekick to drama-driving leading man.
As Theon Greyjoy, Alfie started out Season 1 of the HBO fantasy series as Ned Stark’s ward (or, as Tyrion Lannister put it, a hostage), a young man the Lord of Winterfell looked after from youth to near adulthood, in order to keep Balon Greyjoy (Theon’s father) from staging any more rebellions against King Robert Baratheon.
As the weeks went by, fans saw his character react to some situations with veiled anger over his reduced place in society alongside Robb Stark (Richard Madden) and Jon Snow (Kit Harington), and in others - like with curvy lady of the night Ros (Esme Bianco) — he sought the only type of love he could get.
Theon ended the season pledging his loyalty to the young man he grew up with – the newly-crowned King of the North, Robb, but in Season 2 – as AccessHollywood.com continues our countdown series to Season 2 — Alfie reveals his character becomes much more than just battlefield brawn.
AccessHollywood.com: When you auditioned for this, did you have any idea that this was going to turn into a lead role?
Alfie Allen: I didn’t, no. When I auditioned for it, [I thought it was] just great to be part of an HBO show… I hadn’t heard much about the books before I got the part. Once I got the part, I just delved into the books straight away and by the time we started shooting the pilot, I think I’d nearly finished the first book, so it was great. I just love being part of it and when I realized my part gets a lot bigger in the second series, it was definitely a positive. I was just happy that I got loads more meaty stuff to do in the second series.
Access: Theon’s a bit similar to Kit Harington’s character, Jon Snow. He’s a guy who doesn’t really fit in anywhere. That must be really interesting to play. How did you approach that?
Alfie: You just kind of have to find out why — why he’s like that and why he has those sorts of feelings. And obviously there were researchers on the show who kind of helped me get my head around that, but it was, yeah — you’re the first person that’s actually said that, who said it’s kind of similar to Jon Snow — how he feels like he doesn’t belong, because I kind of realized that early on… Me and Kit sort of had chats about that… But I think Kit, his character, deals with it a bit better than I do – his dealing with not belonging. So it was cool being able to dive into that. I love dark stuff, the darker the better for me, to be honest.
Access: You’re spotted a bit by photographers out with Kit, someone you haven’t had scenes with in a while. Is it easy to spend time with him because you don’t have to create tension with him on screen? CLICK HERE to see Alfie & Jon on the red carpet.
Alfie: No, weirdly enough he helped me out with an audition yesterday, so we kind of have been doing acting together, but not “Game of Thrones.” So that was kind of cool… It’s just funny ‘cause you said I don’t have to act with him and yesterday I did an audition and he had to play a 45-year-old woman and I was a 25-year-old love interest. It was quite funny to… audition like that together… Quite funny — and awkward at times — but we got over it. He’s just a really nice fellow and we get along. I’m sure if we were doing scenes together we’d still sort of hang out anyway, but the whole cast is just great and there’s not one bad egg in there. Everyone is lovely. I know it sounds cheesy and cliche, but it really is like a big family on set.
Access: Theon’s going home this season, tell us about heading to the Iron Islands. It’s your own storyline!
Alfie: Yeah, it’s great. I go back to the Iron Islands to see my dad after people have decided to send me there… When he gets there… his dad doesn’t really give him the homecoming that he wants, so he feels like he has to prove more and more that he is a Greyjoy and not a Stark. It really kind of messes with his head. He’s just got a massive identity crisis, which is cool to play with, definitely. But it’s dark, and like I said, I really like dark stuff.
Access: It’s like you’re walking into an entirely new cast when you go to the Iron Islands. Did you feel like the old guy on set – been there, done that?
Alfie: In a way, yeah. It was really strange… People were like, ‘Oh my God! I can’t believe I’m here doing this HBO show, it’s incredible.’ I had to kind of put a hand on people’s shoulders and be like, ‘It’s fine, I was like that last year.’ It was a bit weird sort of being the one who was like, ‘Yes, I’ve done this before.’ It was good being that person.
Access: How about with Patrick Malahide, who plays your dad, Lord Balon Greyjoy?
Alfie: He’s a vet, so he knows what he’s doing. I don’t think he was that nervous. He just sort of dives straight in there. He’s a great actor, so it was good working with him.
Access: The first lengthy trailer came out recently. People were so excited over seeing a Season 2 Theon. There was a lot of chatter and someone even turned you into an animated GIF using the brief glimpse of you with water being poured on your head.
Alfie: Oh yeah! They love that scene! They love it!
Access: Did you have any idea there would be that sort of reaction from a trailer?
Alfie: Not at all, not at all. What do you mean? What sort of reaction? Why? What’s happened with this?
Access: I’m seeing a lot of people online – particularly women – who are really, really, really excited over that brief glimpse. Are cougars reaching out with marriage proposals yet?
Alfie: Ha ha ha! That’s cool. I like that. I’m definitely a fan of that… It’s great. That shot is pretty beautiful and when we did it, David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] were just raving about it. They were just like, ‘It looks so good, Alf.’ So, I always knew that maybe — maybe — that was gonna get used for something. But I just want to see it in its entirety. I’m a fan. I want to see all of it. They just keep teasing people with it and I’m definitely feeling that frustration of ‘Come on! I want to see it!’
Access: When we were at the Emmys, we ran into Rainn Wilson from “The Office” who told us he was a fan of your show. When we asked him which family he’d want to join if there was a role available – he said the Greyjoys. Click HERE to watch that interview.
Alfie: What? No way. Did he really say that?
Access: He did. So do you need any (fantasy casting) Greyjoy brothers?
Alfie: Awww! Definitely, I think I need some sort of, some help. I think Theon always needs a little bit of help and guidance from an older brother… and I will put a word in for him.
Access: And his “The Office” character, Dwight, is good with weapons, so that could be helpful this season.
Alfie: Definitely. I need a bit of sword training, ‘cause I’m only really good with a bow and arrow, so some sword training would do me good.
Access: You’ve got a movie coming up, “Confine,” which you’re shooting next month with Daisy Lowe. Are you playing the sociopath or the boyfriend?
Alfie: I’m playing the boyfriend and it’s a really cool part actually… I’m the boyfriend and Daisy Lowe is the tortured model in it and when I say tortured, I mean like mentally tortured. She’s great – Dais. I can’t wait to work with her actually, because I know her as a friend, but I don’t know her as an actress, so I’m looking forward to working with her. I’m doing that when I go home and then hopefully that audition that I did with Kit will materialize into something as well.
Access: Although hopefully not Kit playing your 45 year old female love interest?
Alfie: Yeah, hopefully not, but that was funny actually. That was a good audition.
“Game of Thrones” returns for Season 2 on April 1 on HBO.