Jared Harris reveals who was first choice for his part in Chernobyl

Laura Harding, PA Deputy Entertainment Editor
·1-min read

Jared Haris has revealed he was not the first choice for his Bafta-winning role in Chernobyl and bosses had wanted Daniel Day-Lewis instead.

The actor picked up the best actor prize for his turn as Valery Legasov, the real-life scientist the Soviet government called after the nuclear accident.

Speaking during the virtual ceremony, he said: “Bafta you have ruined my losing streak. I am annoyed at you.”

He offered thanks to the shows creatives, director and executives, including former HBO miniseries president Kary Antholis, saying: “I think he was the first person who said yes to Chernobyl and was actually the first person that I met after I had been cast.

“And about 10 minutes into our meeting he looked at me and he said ‘Jared, I hope you don’t mind me telling you this but you were not our first choice,’ and then he said ‘Would you like to know who was?’

“And I said ‘Oh I would, yes, very much.’ Daniel Day-Lewis! But he retired from acting.

“I would just like to say quickly to Daniel, don’t stay away too long. I miss seeing you up there.”

Day-Lewis, the star of films including Last Of The Mohicans, There Will Be Blood and Gangs Of New York, announced his retirement from acting in 2017.

His final film was 2018’s Phantom Thread, for which he was nominated for an Oscar.