‘Game of Thrones’ PSA: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau Gets Serious and Seriously Ripped in ‘Shot Caller’

Ethan Alter
Senior Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in Shot Caller. (Photo: DirecTV)

The Season 7 premiere of Game of Thrones confirmed that Jaime Lannister (played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is living in a prison of his own making. Yoked to Queen Cersei (Lena Headey) by siblinghood and parenthood, Jaime’s only apparent way out is via death or betrayal, neither of which seems imminent. In the new film Shot Caller, Coster-Waldau confronts equally dire circumstances, this time from inside a literal prison.

Available for DirecTV subscribers on July 20, with a theatrical and VOD launch scheduled for Aug. 18, the movie casts the Danish actor as L.A. businessman Jacob Harlon, whose comfortable life is upended when he’s sent to prison after causing a traffic accident that claims the life of his best friend. His cushy job doesn’t gain him access to a white-collar lockup, either; instead, he’s tossed into the general population of an overcrowded maximum-security facility where survival hinges on deciding whether you’re going to be, as one of the inmates tells him, a victim or a warrior.

Jacob chooses the warrior route, aligning himself with a white supremacist army and rising through its ranks to becoming a respected, and feared, soldier. (It should be noted that he never becomes a believer in its Aryan dogma, though.) In the process, he goes through a remarkable physical transformation that will be of particular interest to Game of Thrones fans. Casting off the Lannister chainmail and armor that he’s required to wear when he’s in Westeros, Coster-Waldau gets to flex his physical muscles along with his dramatic muscles. Here’s how he looks when he first enters the slammer:

Photo: DirecTV

And here he is after nearly a decade on the inside:

Photo: DirecTV

The secret to his workout regimen? Doing power squats with inmates, which is great for your core. (And, let’s be honest, amazing to watch.)

Photo: DirecTV

And pacing back and forth in your cell certainly helps you make that all-important daily goal of 10,000 steps.

Photo: DirecTV

Shot Caller has more to offer than frequent Coster-Waldau shirtlessness, of course. The gritty storytelling is reminiscent of HBO’s late, great prison drama Oz, while the supporting cast includes actors from other fan-friendly TV shows such as The Punisher’s Jon Bernthal, Power’s Omari Hardwick, and Burn Notice’s Jeffrey Donovan. But we felt that Game of Thrones fans in particular had to be alerted to Shot Caller’s existence. You can all owe us a debt … of gratitude.

Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO. Shot Caller premieres July 20 on DirecTV and opens in theaters Aug. 18.

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