Matt Smith is no stranger to stepping into highly scrutinized roles, having played the Eleventh Doctor on “Doctor Who” and emerging unscathed despite having to follow the beloved David Tennant. But when faced with the opportunity to play Prince Daemon Targaryen in “House of the Dragon,” he was still a bit intimidated. In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Smith recalled his initial hesitation about joining the high profile spin-off.
“I was in a car park and my agent said, ‘There’s this part in this new show that is a prequel to ‘Game of Thrones.’ And I was like, ‘Ohhh. I don’t know. It’s a tough one, isn’t it? It’s a tough one to follow. Haven’t we seen this before?'” Smith said. “But then [the offer] sort of didn’t go away. Then it came up again, and then I went in for a screen test, and then that was that.”
One of the main selling points for Smith was the opportunity to work with Paddy Considine, who plays King Viserys on “House of the Dragon.” Considine was one of the first cast members announced, having joined the spin-off after turning down a role on “Game of Thrones.”
“I became aware that Paddy Considine was doing the show as well,” Smith said. “He’d already been offered the role of King Viserys, and I was such a huge admirer of Paddy’s and I’d always wanted to work with him. So that was a real draw.”
After Smith was able to get over his initial fear of following “Game of Thrones,” he ultimately found a lot to love about the character of Daemon Targaryen.
“And then there are so many elements to Daemon,” he said. “I love the relationship with his brother. He’s a brilliant character because you never quite know what he’s thinking. I liked the ambiguity of that. There’s a ruthlessness in his personality that I thought was really interesting, to see characters who behave that badly. But in many ways, he comes from what he thinks is quite a genuine place.”
New episodes of “House of the Dragon” air Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.