Game of Thrones is currently one of television's most ubiquitous series and has seen a number of high profile actors come in (and sometimes go out just as quickly) throughout its six increasingly powerful seasons so far. There's one prominent face who we have yet to see make a cameo, though: Scottish actor Brian Cox. He has starred in a number of fellow fantasy and historical fiction epics on both the big and small screens, like Troy and Braveheart and HBO's own Deadwood.
His absence, while curious given his precise fit for this genre, has not been for lack of effort on the showrunners' parts. In fact, he once had a chance to suit up as an unnamed character in Game of Thrones and turned it down. Yes, really.
Cox, who has consistently vacillated between TV and film sets throughout his more than 50 years in show business, admitted in an interview with Vodzilla that he was approached about joining the Westerosian bunch early on in the cable series' history, but he declined the offer to star in the show because it didn't pay well enough at the time. Now that he's seen what's become of Game of Thrones -- and, more importantly, how many of his respected contemporaries have had their big moments on it -- it seems he'd definitely like another shot at a spot on the show before it's done.
While speaking about his recent film Forsaken, which features Cox alongside father-son duo Donald and Kiefer Sutherland, he shed light on what made him say no to joining the A Song of Ice and Fire adaptation back when it was still new:
"Well, stupidly, I turned it down in the early days because they didn’t pay enough money. Now they have more money. And I was silly. I was silly, it was silly, because I’m a complete addict now."
He points to his former Deadwood co-star Ian McShane's one-episode cameo role on the show in season 6 (as the short-lived character Brother Ray opposite Rory McCann's Sandor Clegane) as evidence that the series must have a higher budget than when they'd first approached him about joining the original cast:
"I just watched my friend Ian McShane, and I thought, ‘Ooh, Ian’s in it’, so I settled down to watch him. And I thought, ‘Ian did that?’ and immediately I thought, ‘God, they must have paid him well’, because I know Ian!"
Others of his ilk who he name-checked for having observed enjoying "a great time" as part of the show cavalcade that he missed the boat on are Max von Sydow (who played the Three-Eyed Raven), Clive Russell (Bryndyn "the Blackfish" Tully), Liam Cunningham (Ser Davos Seaworth), and Charlie Dance (Tywin Lannister). Cox seems to regret not joining Game of Thrones especially now that the visual effects team has had the resources to make episodes like the penultimate 'Battle of the Bastards' as epic as they deserved to be:
"It was just phenomenal in terms of – it beat out – you know, if you think of The Hobbit or you think of The Lord of the Rings, the battle sequence in Game of Thrones was a lot more modest, but much more brilliant than any of the battle sequences in any of those movies and all those kind of CGI characters doing their bit, whereas this was real people, I mean, the CGI was just brilliantly done and clearly there was a bit of green screen, but it’s astonishing. For television, it is truly astonishing."
All hope of the Penny Dreadful star suiting up as one of Thrones' many memorable cameo characters may not be lost just yet. While he has no idea what character he might be able to play in the final seasons, he said he's open to negotiations about a role on the show: "I'm still waiting on the call for Game of Thrones and if they've got more decent money, I'll be there!"
Now that Game of Thrones has passed George R.R. Martin's source material, the sky's the limits on what new characters could be introduced. Given Cox's history of playing strong (and, let's face it, kind of scary) authoritative types, maybe he could come in as a surprise challenge to Queen Cersei Lannister or Queen/Khaleesi Daenerys Targaryen or even Jon Snow, the new King in the North. Would you like to see Brian Cox get a second chance at a role on Game of Thrones? Let us know in the comments!
Game of Thrones will return to HBO for season 7 in 2017.