Conversation with Tom Wlaschiha

Tom Wlaschiha, who plays Jaqen H’ghar in the TV show « Game of Thrones » was one of the main guests at the Digital Game Manga Show in Strasbourg from May 7-8, 2016. The German born actor talked about his mysterious character and how « Game of Thrones » changed his life.

Tom Wlaschiha @ Digital Game Show Strasbourg 08.05.2016 (8)

Were you afraid that your character Jaqen H’ghar would die in the show ?
No, not really… I think that Jaqen H’ghar is already dead ! He has the face of a dead man. If the producers would chose to kill me, someone else would take my face.

How did the other actors react when they realized that their characters would die, especially Kit Harington ?
I don’t know how Kit reacted. He is still alive, I met him recently ! It’s pretty cool that in this show anything can happen, especially when you don’t expect it… But it’s not a problem for me that people die !

In how many countries did you travel for the show ?
Most of the show is shot in Ireland, the studios are in Belfast and there is always a set in the South. During season 6, it was in the South of Spain and for seasons 4 and 5, it was in Croatia. But my parts are mainly in a studio, because Jaqen H’ghar likes to be inside.

Tom Wlaschiha @ Digital Game Show Strasbourg 08.05.2016 (4)

Do you have any expectation for your character in the future ?
Like I said, with Game of Thrones, you can not have any expectations ! And if you have some, then you can be sure that they will not happen because the producers and George R.R. Martin are totally unpredictable and whatever you think will happen… does not happen. But of course, I expect to see Jaqen H’ghar on the iron throne at the end.

You’re German, and live in Berlin. How did you end up playing in Game of Thrones ?
First, I did a lot of theatre in Germany, then I did movies and TV shows, also in Germany. I don’t know how many of you watch German TV… Somehow, I got bored in Germany and then I looked for a UK agency, because I wanted to do more international stuff. I was lucky to get a role in Game of Thrones, that became such a big success everywhere. But for an actor, it doesn’t matter where you shoot : Germany, USA, UK… The most important is the script. And at the moment, I think the best ones come from USA and UK.

Tom Wlaschiha @ Digital Game Show Strasbourg 08.05.2016 (3)

How many other seasons of Game of Thrones will we have ?
I don’t know… I think the producers said that there would be 2 more seasons after season 6. That’s the only thing I know.

Can we expect to see you in a movie in a near future ?
I hope so. Actually I don’t know yet, because for as long as Game of Thrones is running, I have a contract, but I don’t know if I would be on the next season. I will only find out in a few weeks if I’m going to be on the next season, so I have to keep the time free for this. And if I die, then I can do other stuff, yeah…

How often do you see George R.R. Martin ?
I have only met George once, he’s usually not on the set. I met him at the premiere of season 5. He’s very funny.

Tom Wlaschiha @ Digital Game Show Strasbourg 08.05.2016 (7)

Would you like to play in a French movie ?
Yes, I would love to ! I already had two opportunities that I had to decline, because Game of Thrones didn’t allow me to do it. Well, maybe Game of Thrones isn’t such a good thing…

What do you think of the French cinema ?
The French cinema is very special in Europe, because it’s a total different style. I love French cinema… I’m not a fan of blockbusters or action movies. I love French movies where two characters can talk for hours, sitting at a table ! I’m also an fan of Isabelle Huppert, I would love to do a movie with her.

Tom Wlaschiha @ Digital Game Show Strasbourg 08.05.2016 (6)

You play a dark and cold murderer in Game of Thrones. How do you get prepared for your role ?
I don’t need to get prepared, that’s how I am in real life ! I don’t find it that difficult… What is interesting in Game of Thrones, is that the caracters are very complex. There are very human, nothing is black or white. The all have secrets, that’s what makes the story so interesting for the viewers. I don’t think it’s really Fantasy, I would say it’s more like… Shakespeare.

What is your favourite character in the show ?
Well, I have to say Arya and Tyrion. But I especially like twisted characters like Joffrey and Ramsay Bolton.

Do you have any funny story from the set ?
Nothing funny happens… Most of the time, all my scenes are with Arya, so we’re sitting backstage. As an actor, you wait most of the time : 80 % of your time is waiting. So, we sit and play videogames and we try to beat each other. Of course, I win ! We have to concentrate on our work. It’s great to act with Arya (Maisie Williams), she’s really a natural. When I first met her, she was 13 years old and now she’s 18. So she’s growing with her character, which is pretty cool.

Talking about video games…. What kind of games do you play ?
I was sure that you would ask that question ! I usually play games on my phone, like 2084. It’s very boring as I told you !

What’s your favourite death in the show ?
My favourite death scene is definitely « The Red Wedding » at the end of season 3, because it came so unexpected. Even if I had read the books before. Also, speaking of films… For television it is a great sequence, the way it’s filmed – visually and dramatically – it’s pretty unique.

Tom Wlaschiha @ Digital Game Show Strasbourg 08.05.2016 (2)

Are there other German actors on the set of Game of Thrones ?
Right now, I’m the only one but Sibel Kekilli played Shae. She’s also from Germany but unfortunately… dead now.

You have a little accent in the show. Do you have a coach on set who helps you ?
The producers of the show do not want any American actor because it’s a middle-age story. An American accent wouldn’t fit. That’s why most of the actors are English, Irish or from other European countries. But we have some languages coaches on set who are here to check if there is any mistake.

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