“I like to be busy. I once shared an agent with the late Sir John Gielgud, who, at 96, was apparently still ringing up, saying, ‘Hello, Gielgud here, any work?’ Good on him. We’ve got to keep working. If we retire, there’ll be nobody to play the old wrinklies, and that would be a dreadful shame.”–British character actor Charles Dance, age 65, talking about his philosophy of work
Despite my best efforts, I have become hooked on Game of Thrones, the HBO adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s epic fantasy saga. Great characters like Tyrion and Daenarys sucked me in, but I have also become very fond of Tywin Lannister played by Charles Dance. I have a weakness for men in chainmail and British character actors so Tywin works for me on both levels.
If you think that Dance looks familiar, you’re probably right. He’s knocked around for 40 years playing characters on the stage and the screen, most often suave villains. In Game of Thrones, he plays Lord Tywin, the ruthless head of the dysfunctional Lannister clan. Here’s a clip where he harangues his son, Jaime:
Skinning an elk is a very Arnorian thing to do which is perhaps why I like this scene. Dance himself hadn’t skinned any animal before and a butcher was brought in to show him how to do it. Here’s the interview where he talks about the scene above and about his character:
I also think that Dance makes a great Havelock Vetinari. Vetinari is the Patrician of Ankh-Morkpork in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. Here’s a clip of Dance talking about his role in the new adaptation of Going Postal:
Finally, here’s a link to a fun article in the London Evening Standard, “Charles Dance’s Diary”, which talks about his life as an actor. Among the tidbits revealed, he enjoys going for an early morning swim at the Hampton Lido which is an outdoor swimming pool in London and he likes to play the ukulele.
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