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When Game of Thrones star John Bradley closed that massive chapter of his career, fans of the HBO hit may have been surprised to see his next project be the rom-com Marry Me, alongside Jennifer Lopez, but Bradley maintains it was exactly the “reset” he needed.
“It was the first part that really came to me since I left Game of Thrones,” Bradley explained. “I'd been in Game of Thrones for 10 years and when you played…a specific part with specific psychology, and specific character traits for such a long time, you're just desperate for something different.”
“It didn't feel like anybody was really going to offer me anything different to that. I got a lot of very similar parts, really, and then one day this script came through for this ever so slightly bumbling but also quite confident and quite sharp and quite capable music manager, operating at the top of that kind of entertainment pyramid. I just thought that would have given me so much scope to play a lot of different aspects of my own personality that I've never played before.”
Ultimately, the actor identifies that doing Marry Me (now available on digital, DVD and Blu-ray) is what pushed him away from that concern of being stuck playing the same character over and over again, including taking on the role of KC Houseman in space adventure film Moonfall.
“Because enough people have seen Marry Me now, I feel comfortable to play some of the old favourites again,” Bradley said. “My character in Moonfall, it's kind of similar to my character in Game of Thrones, I suppose, in terms of somebody that’s very smart, but somebody who nobody will listen to, and the frustrations of knowing you're right and nobody giving you the time of day, I played similar things like that before.”
“Ever since Marry Me…I don't feel the pressure to necessarily shy away from similar parts to what I played before because I feel I operated in Marry Me in a completely different atmosphere, a completely different environment and a completely different type of film.”
'Her work ethic puts pretty much anybody I've ever worked with before to shame'
Of course, coming onto Marry Me also meant he was able to act alongside Jennifer Lopez, who has done a long string of rom-coms in her career, including Maid in Manhattan and Monster-in-Law, and Owen Wilson, who has led iconic comedy movies like Wedding Crashers and Starsky & Hutch.
“There aren't many people like Jennifer in terms of reaching the pinnacle of so many different areas of entertainment,...so working with somebody that capable and [has] achieved that much is always going to be daunting before you start working with them,” Bradley said. “The thing about her, which I found totally mind-blowing, was just how hard she still wants to work,...her work ethic puts pretty much anybody I've ever worked with before to shame.”
“You meet [Owen Wilson] and you realize that he is exactly what you want him to be… He's just so charming, he's just so laid back and so open and so giving of himself… I've been watching Owen Wilson in movies since I was sort of six, seven years old and when you're confronted with that face, and that face is saying words back at you, and you're working together, it feels like you've stepped into your own childhood sometimes.”
For Bradley, part of why working on films appeals to him is that he has the ability to know the “complete arc” of the character, especially after working on Game of Thrones where there were particular mysteries about how long a character will actually last on the show.
“After being left so uncertain with Game of Thrones and every time a new script came through, looking at it with one eye open just in case you got killed...it's nice to be able to see a character in one block and really get to know them quite intensively over a period of six weeks," he said.
Preparing for 'unnecessary' comparisons of 'Game of Thrones' and 'House of the Dragon'
Speaking of Game of Thrones, with the prequel House of the Dragon set to be released in August, Bradley is looking forward to watching it as a viewer, not as someone intimately involved in the story, but is also aware that people will want to make comparisons to the original series.
“I'm preparing myself for the completely unnecessary and unwarranted and unasked for comparisons that are bound to be made,” Bradley said. “Some people saying they prefer it to our show, some people saying that our show was better than theirs, I don't think that needs to happen but it's bound to happen because people can't resist that kind of thing.”
“I'm just going to stay completely out of that discourse and just make my own opinions on it. It's part of an actor's ego that we want it to be good and we want it to do well, because I've got lots of friends in it… but don't be so good that everybody agrees that you're better than us… I'm very very excited to watch it and not be worried that my scene’s next, not be worried that I'm going to ruin it for everybody, and I can just completely take a backseat and watch it the way everybody else used to watch Game of Thrones.”