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Nikolaj Coster-Waldau:Fame and Game

陈溪 Cecilia Chan 2017-08-31 14:11

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau came out dressed in the latest design of AK Club’s white T-shirt and beige trousers. The style was simple, but it did nothing to help Coster-Waldau go unnoticed at this year’s Shanghai Fashion Week. With a height of 1.88metres and a gym-toned physique, the handsome Danish actor naturally attracted attention. A fan shouted out: “You are so sexy”, to which he responded that the word “sexy” is not best suited to describe men, it is more appropriate to say a man is “attractive.” “The attractiveness should come from within a man himself—it is the most comfortable state,” he explained. Coster-Waldau has an interesting habit when he smiles—he often bites his lower lip, a small action that made his fans at Shanghai Fashion Week go crazy for him. 


The fans bombarded the actor with questions about the popular TV show Game of Thrones, wanting to know such potential plot points such as “What kind of ending will Jaime Lannister have in the show?” and “Will Jaime kill Cersei if she is as crazy as the Mad King?”. Coster-Waldau responded to all the questions with a smile, deftly dodging questions that would give away any details of upcoming storylines. He answered that one of the best parts of Game of Thrones is for audience to experience and interpret the show for themselves. 

The lively “Jaime Lannister” 

Speaking about the show, Coster-Waldau recalls that he was instantly drawn to the character of Jaime Lannister after reading the script for the pilot episode. “The core of the show is about ‘people’ and Jaime is a great example of it.” “The character’s personal growth is a very interesting topic, his story is full of ups and downs, and his evolution is also a fascinating journey of character development. He earned the title of ‘kingslayer’ after killing the Mad King, whom he had sworn to defend with his life. But he killed the king to protect and save Kings’ Landing, the capital of Westeros.” The actor paused and continued, “When Jaime tried to save Brienne from the captors at House Bolton, he ended up losing his right hand, and from there the role of Lannister started to change again—before then, he never had more than five minutes of interaction with another female besides (his twin sister) Cersei, but the loss of his sword hand made him more empathetic, and he started to discover a new self instead of only living up to Cersei’s expectations.” 


We have to give Coster-Waldau credit for a great performance – to pull off the kind of redemption arc that his character went through, and to do it in a truly believable manner is not simple task. He tells the story of a time he had a “conflict” with the show’s production team over how to portray Jaime after he was told that the character was due for a hairstyle change. “On a Friday, I wrote the production team an angry email, stating that as an actor, I have the right to control my own image; I am a soldier, the long and blonde hair was not me, so I decided to cut it short. I have made my decisions, you can’t stop me.” Following the email, he sent the production team a photo of himself with a shaved head - the haircut that, he wrote, best represented Jaime. “The entire production team went crazy! The assistant producer called me and asked if I really had shaved my hair off; he said the news had reached the management of HBO, they were angry and wanted to fire me, but it was too late to find a new actor. When I flew to Belfast (the capital of Northern Ireland, one of the shooting scenes of Game of Thrones.) for work, everybody was able to let out a sigh of relief when they saw that I still had my long hair.” Coster-Waldau recalled the practical joke with a cheeky smile, revealing that he’d actually sent the producers an old photo of himself from years ago. 


Perhaps it is because of his unique interpretation of the role that allowed him to present audience such a conflicted character that is both loathsome and yet sympathetic at the same time. “The show does not have black and white values, everything is grey.” It is also the nature of the show’s story design that put him at ease during every performance so he can depict the contradictions of human nature most vividly. 

The Big Star Aura 

Along with the huge success of the fantasy TV series, many of the show’s actresses and actors, including Coster-Waldau, found themselves launched into international stardom. When it comes to the fame brought by his role as Jaime Lannister, the 47-year-old Danish actor is full of gratitude, though he professes to care little about fame. Surprisingly, he told the audience that his family hardly watches his shows. “They never watch my shows,” he said, “my daughters think it is very strange that their dad is playing someone else. One time, my younger daughter saw me crying in a movie and she felt very sorry for me. So, she decided not to watch any shows that had me in them. My wife is in acting too, whenever I see her kissing another actor, I would feel very uncomfortable. So, I never watch any of her shows either. Ha!” 


“Game of Thrones is an excellent TV show that I got to be part of, but it is not my only show,” Coster-Waldau continued. In fact, the god of destiny had quietly favored the talented actor prior to Game of Thrones. In 1993, he graduated from the Danish National School of Theatre in Copenhagen; two years after his graduation, he gained national fame with a role in the movie Nightwatch. In the following years, he continued performing in many classic movies. Coster-Waldau said that he is very lucky to always be able to get scripts he likes and play characters he enjoys, it might also have something to do with his background as a screenwriter and producer. 

Outside of Acting 

Game of Thrones propelled Coster-Waldau’s career to a new level, but it did not bring much change to his family life. As the father of two daughters, whenever he has time, the actor would always go home to spend time with them. 

His caring nature is also apparent from his charity involvement. As one of the ambassadors for the United Nations Development Program, he promotes awareness on issues such as climate change and gender equality. Both of these issues are deeply personal to him; the former because his wife’s homeland of Greenland has been noticeably affected by climate change; while through the latter, he hopes that his two daughters will live in a society with gender equality. 


This is the first time he visits China, and therefore also his first time in Shanghai. He feels that China is quite different from what he imagined. “China is one of the countries in the world with a large territory, and its global influence is growing daily, I look forward to visiting China again with my family and to explore the whole country,” the Danish actor said. 

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