Ian Beattie Exclusive Interview
I recently had the honour of an exclusive catchup with Ian Beattie, who played the role of Meryn Trant in the hit TV show Game of Thrones while he was visiting Newcastle for NFCC – he was a true gentleman (a real family man) and a pleasure to talk to.
Firstly, I asked Ian what he felt about spoilers, knowing this would likely strike a nerve after he mentioned this in his guest talk (discussed in our review article). He immediately responded with a simple statement of “why do people feel the need to gain a spoiler for themselves, then spoil it for everyone else?!”. Since we here at SetBeyond.TV also loathe spoilers and endeavour never to ruin a TV show for our readers, we certainly shared Ian’s feelings on this one. He went on to talk about one of the worst spoilers of his time involved in Game of Thrones history when BBC Online broke the news of Jon Snow’s untimely demise to fans before they had a chance to watch the episode (“Mother’s Mercy” – Season 5, episode 10) – he described it as “despicable journalism”. He told us he often avoids social media to steer clear of any spoilers that might ruin shows for him.
I couldn’t resist asking what Ian’s worst personal spoiler had been (using my example of ‘The Sixth Sense’ which I still haven’t watched since a friend of mine ruined the end, grumble) – he quickly responded, almost as though he had been saving it: “on my first date with my beautiful wife we went to the movies to see Angel Heart. Half way through the movie she turned to me and said De Niro was the devil” (she had seen the movie before and was scared, wanting to hold his hand). Several curse words later he went on to say that it was a good job he completely adored her and was able to see past the initial hiccup!
Ian told me he had never been to Newcastle, though his son is a regular visitor and loves the area, and now he knew why. “People in Newcastle remind me of those from Belfast – down to earth, with a great sense of humour and are genuinely pleased to meet you and chat with you – I’ll be back.”
Despite playing a role within the show, Ian told me that Game of Thrones is actually his favourite TV show to date, though he does also enjoy House of Cards and was sad to see the end of shows like Breaking Bad and the Sopranos. He said that Game of Thrones has “changed the game” and that we are now entering a “Golden Age of Television”, where TV is the new cinema. He sees more and more film-based actors looking to work in TV within these shows and things are only going to get better from now.
On the subject of Game of Thrones Ian said that he has a male and female favourite character – Tyrion and Cersei Lannister. “I absolutely adore Peter and Lena – love or hate these characters you just cannot wait to see them on screen. That should be the benchmark for favourite characters in TV.” His favourite line from Cersei was between her and Margaery, discussing the future of their relationship, when Cersei says “If you ever call me sister again, I’ll have you strangled in your sleep.” This seen can also be viewed here on YouTube. It is one of my favourite scenes too – the bitterness from Lena’s character is astounding.
Bringing our interview to a close I was keen to find out what new ventures were on the horizon for Ian, who told me he had finished filming of a new show called Barbarians Rising where he plays General Varus. This show charts the Roman Empire’s battles against various barbarian groups over 400 years. He was also working on a film called The Journey where he plays the role of Gerry Adams, a man who becomes friends with a rival politician in Northern Ireland. We look forward to seeing them!
Ian’s passion for Game of Thrones was so striking throughout his time at NFCC this year and he was clearly proud of his efforts in the show – with good reason too. He told us that GoT has put him in the rooms he would never have got into 5 years ago, and with acting and casting as good as it is in the show people always know how strong the acting ability of a person is if they have Game of Thrones on their resume. Speaking of resume – if you yourself fancy trying out in the acting world, why not check out our top tips article?
Thanks for the interview Ian – I hope we cross paths again soon.