Maisie Williams (Arya) and Joe Dempsie (Gendry) are just trying to survive
The GoT cast has been touring about, promoting the show, and Joe Dempsie, the one who plays former King Robert Baratheon’s surviving bastard son Gendry, talks a little about his character.
Joe, as it turns out, actually has a much lighter color to his hair than the character he portrays on the show.
Gone too are the jet black locks that helped him look like the illegitimate son of the late King Robert Baratheon. Instead, Joe is sporting his natural color, a blond hue more befitting the Lannisters, the very family whose armies just made Gendry and Arya prisoners at Harrenhal.
“When I was cast, the character description was, ‘tall, muscular, with thick black hair.’ I was none of those three at that time,” he tells AccessHollywood.com’s Laura Saltman as he sits down for a chat. “I kind of thought, ‘I can die my hair and hit the gym, but I can’t do much about the shortness.’ So two out of three ain’t bad.
That wasn’t the only changes he’s had to make in regards to shaping Gendry:
“In terms of playing the character, though, I had to sort of do a lot of my own thinking and there wasn’t much information to go on about his past or anything that really shaped him into the person that he kind of is,” Joe continues. “So I just kind of wanted to make him a nice guy, who was a man of principle… more than anything.”
Joe also finds it quite interesting that he’s become such a popular character, so much that Gendry has been a trending Twitter topic:
He may not have physically resembled the part, but it’s easy to see why Joe was given the role of Gendry. In just a few scenes at the start of the Season 2, his performances – humorous, delightful and full of chemistry with co-star Maisie Williams (who plays Arya) – quickly made him a fan favorite. In recent weeks, #Gendry even became a top trending topic on Twitter, but the popularity of his character still came as a bit of a surprise.
“Oh yeah, definitely,” he says. “I think it’s strange, ‘cause he was quite a minor character in [Season] 1, but you definitely got the impression that there was more to come, that there was kind of something… like a deeper story to be told.”
He goes on to explain more of what Gendry knows and doesn’t know:
These days, on “Game of Thrones,” his first project for American audiences, Joe is once again playing a young person, and while his character, Gendry, is smart enough to know Arya is a girl in disguise, he hasn’t quite made the connection that King Robert was his father.
“He knows that there’s something up because obviously he knows that Jon Arryn came to see him, as Hand of the King and then Ned Stark, and the same thing happened [to them]. And now, knowing he’s kind of a wanted man, it is kind of strange that he’s not asked anyone. I have to admit,” Joe notes of his character. “But I think his world has been so far removed from anything that could even compare to being the son of the king… If he discovered his true parentage, I think he would be shocked, but… I think he would believe it.”
What does he think about what his character is having to go through and what he has to go through himself to make it all work?
For now, Joe’s character has other things to focus on instead of unlocking that mystery — like surviving. In Sunday’s episode, just before Gendry was about to undergo torture at the mouth of a rat fleeing a burning bucket, Tywin Lannister stepped in and told his troops to put the prisoners to work. According to Joe, for Gendry, that means making armor — and in true “Game of Thrones” fashion, some of that work will be shirtless.
“Yeah, there was a complete – I mean it was completely gratuitous. I obviously have no dignity,” he laughs, after a discussion of the “Saturday Night Live” “GOT” parody (he loved it) prompts the revelation he’s about to show off the work of many hours in the gym.
“But, yeah, I’m forging a sword. In the script it says he’s forging a sword in the baking heat. Belfast, [where the show is partially shot] in November, doesn’t really do baking heat. So I’m kind of like, forging a sword. Topless. In drizzle,” he adds.
And here’s what Joe has to say about the competitive spirit of his co-stars:
Knowing he had the scene coming up last year lead the actor to consuming “a lot of protein shakes” and into a bit of competition with some of his fellow cast mates.
“It got quite competitive on set — to the extent of complete body fascism on set,” he laughs. “Alfie Allen [Theon Greyjoy], Richard Madden [Robb Stark] – we were all trying to get in the best shape possible.”
“So who’s winning that war – who’s winning the best body on ‘Game of Thrones?’” Laura chimes in.
“You know what? I don’t know. I have not seen the stuff that they have shot. We don’t all really show each other,” he laughs. “I will have to wait and see.”
You can read the full article on AccessHollywood, where he talks about his work on other shows.