Let’s face it’ ‘Game of Thrones’ was – and still is – one of the most popular TV shows. The fantasy series first aired in 2011 and ran all the way through to May 2019. The eight seasons of the show had a lot of the world on the edge of their seats, as everyone wanted to see how the story would come to an end. Who would survive? Would the Night King ever take control? Who would get the throne? There were so many questions that needed answers.
‘Game of Thrones’ helped to propel many of the stars’ careers to new levels as their talents were showcased on screens across the world. Have you ever found yourself wondering what your favorite stars were up to before the series? It turns out that many of the actors already had healthy careers before they brought the hit show to life.
Jonathan Pryce in ‘Doctor Who’
There are sci-fi shows, and then there’s ‘Doctor Who.’ The legendary British series has been on our screens since 1963. Although there was a break for a few decades, the show returned in 2005 and has since grown to become bigger than ever. In fact, ‘Doctor Who’ is such a popular series that it has formed a cult following all around the world.
It turns out that Jonathan Pryce, famous for playing The High Sparrow in ‘GOT,’ once played a villain of The Doctor. Jonathan took part in a TV short that was made for the charity event Comic Relief where The Doctor was played by Rowan Atkinson, and Jonathan took the role of The Master – a recurring nemesis of the time lord.
Alfie Allen in ‘Elizabeth’
Alfie Allen has been acting since he was just 12 years old, thanks to his appearance in ‘You Are Here.’ The comedy was a one-off and was written by comedians David Walliams and Matt Lucas, and was Alfie’s first professional acting role. However, the more significant role that saw Alfie further his acting talents was his appearance in ‘Elizabeth.’
The 1998 movie was produced by Alfie’s mom and also featured his sister, Lily Allen. The film is based on Queen Elizabeth I’s reign, including her early years and plots to have her taken down from the throne. Alfie played Arundel’s son, but the production had a host of all-star cast. The likes of Cate Blanchett, Christopher Eccleston, and Daniel Craig also appeared in the movie.
David Bradley in ‘Harry Potter’
David Bradley isn’t the only actor that appeared in the ‘Harry Potter’ franchise and ‘GOT.’ However, he often stole the show when he was a part of the magical world as David was the face of Filch, the caretaker of Hogwarts. He was moody, hated Harry, and always knew when someone was up to no good. Filch was always spotted with his cat, Mrs.
Norris, and loved to make sure that the students got into trouble if they broke the rules. Although he wasn’t everyone’s favorite character in the franchise, Filch did help to get everyone evacuated from Hogwarts and even took part in the battle at the end of the movies. David has been acting since the 1970s, and playing Filch was just one stepping stone on his way to bringing Walder Frey to life.
Sean Bean in a Barbican Lager commercial
Would you believe that Sean Bean was actually born as Shaun? The actor only opted to switch to the Irish spelling of his name as he started to build a reputation for himself in the world of acting. The switch came before his first national exposure as Sean appeared in a Barbican Lager commercial. The ad had everything that any ‘80s-lover needed in their life as Sean’s mullet and leather jacket combination screams that it was made in the decade.
The commercial features Sean on a plane where one can of the drink means he’s ready to fly a plane. He then woos some of the flight attendants and finishes the entire ad as the hero of the moment. Thankfully, Sean went on to have a successful career before he appeared as Ned Stark in ‘GOT.’
Max von Sydow in ‘Flash Gordon’
It can be hard to pick just one of the late Max von Sydow’s roles before he appeared in ‘Game of Thrones.’ However, we’ve settled on ‘Flash Gordon,’ the space opera movie that saw Max take on the role of the villain, Ming the Merciless. The film grew a massive cult following thanks to the storyline, characters, and soundtrack that featured work from the legendary band, Queen.
Ming decides that he’s bored and wants to play with Earth by wreaking havoc through natural disasters. We won’t spoil the movie for you as it really is as good as it sounds, and it’s worth a view if you want to see Max in one of his earlier – and most iconic – roles of his career.
Gwendoline Christie in ‘The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus’
Gwendoline Christie’s height was enough to grab the attention of many as she brought the legendary Brienne of Tarth to life on ‘GOT.’ Believe it or not, but Gwendoline only made her film debut three years before joining the show – a moment that helped to propel the actress’ career to new levels.
Her height also helped Gwendoline land some early roles in her career as she became the subject of a photographer’s series titled ‘Bunny.’ Gwendoline’s part in ‘The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus’ wasn’t huge as the actress was named as Classy Shopper 2, but it was a start. It’s been onwards and upwards for the actress ever since as Gwendoline has appeared in not one, but two ‘Star Wars’ movies as the first on-screen female villain in the entire franchise.
Rory McCann in ‘The Book Group’
Some characters have been able to turn themselves throughout their time on our screens. The Hound was one of those as he started out as a bad guy before flipping his character on his head. The Hound was played by Rory McCann, who had been acting for many years before the role and even landed some pretty significant parts.
Rory appeared in the comedy movie ‘Hot Fuzz’ that premiered in 2007, a few years before ‘GOT.’ However, the actor’s first notable role was in the comedy-drama show ‘The Book Group.’ Here, Rory played one of the main characters Kenny McLeod who appeared in 12 episodes of the show. It follows a book club where we soon learn there is a lot more to the characters than meets the eye.
Lena Headey in ‘MacGyver: Trail to Doomsday’
Fans of ‘GOT’ should recognize Lena Headey from her time as Cersei Lannister. You know, the one that had a relationship with her twin brother and tried to get the throne for herself throughout the series? That’s the one. It turns out that Lena wasn’t always playing such heartless characters as she was once cast in the TV movie ‘MacGyver: Trail to Doomsday.’
The short film came after a successful series. Lena plays Elise Moran in ‘MacGyver,’ the daughter of a man who loses his life. The event sparks a series of events that eventually lead Elise and MacGyver to share the last on-screen moment the leading character ever has before the film comes to an end. Apparently, Lena has always been in the middle of defining TV moments.
Iain Glen in ‘Gorillas in the Mist’
Ser Jorah Mormont – played by Iain Glen – had plenty of roles before he appeared on ‘GOT.’ He had a long career on stage and on the small screen before his starring role, including an appearance in ‘Gorillas in the Mist.’ The part was Iain’s first movie appearance and gave him a chance to act alongside the legend that is Sigourney Weaver. Iain played the part of Brendan, who worked as Sigourney’s research assistant in the movie.
Brandan was self-interested and cowardly. However, the role did put Iain’s acting skills to the test as he had to act terrified of some questionable-looking gorillas and often had to brood when he was reprimanded by Sigourney. While he might not have found the gorillas that he was looking for, Iain did earn himself some reputation points in Hollywood.
Nathalie Emmanuel in ‘Hollyoaks’
Many actors have started their careers in soap operas. Nathalie Emmanuel was no exception as the actress played Sasha Valentine in ‘Hollyoaks’ before appearing as Daenarys’ right-hand woman, Missanderi, in ‘GOT.’ Nathalie’s character, Sasha, was at the center of many hard-hitting storylines throughout her time on the soap, including stories involving illegal substances, drinking, and working as a lady of the night.
Amazingly, Nathalie worked on the show for four years before she moved on to new productions, including her time in ‘GOT.’ That’s not her only significant role. Nathalie has also appeared in the likes of the ‘Maze Runner’ franchise and the ‘Fast and Furious’ franchise. It looks as though there’s still more work to come as Nathalie is set to appear in the newest ‘Fast and Furious’ movie that’s set to hit the big screen in 2021.
Conleth Hill in ‘Blue Heaven
There have been plenty of British sitcoms over the years, and ‘Blue Heaven’ was one of the many that graced our screens back in the mid-1990s. The show followed two characters, Frank, played by Frank Skinner, and Roache, played by Conleth Hill. The ‘GOT’ actor looked pretty different back in the show as he had a head full of dark hair compared to the bald look that we grew so used to while Conleth was playing Lord Varys.
Conleth was at the center of the storylines as he and his on-screen friend tried hard to create a career as a cabaret duo. However, the pair can only land gigs at the worst music venues in the area while they constantly dream about hitting the big time.
Harry Lloyd in ‘Robin Hood’
Not all of us can say that we’ve worked in legendary worlds such as ‘GOT’ and ‘Robin Hood,’ but that’s where things are very different for actor Harry Lloyd. The actor played the villain Viserys Targaryen, and if you’ve seen ‘GOT,’ then it’s pretty hard to forget the king getting his golden crown. Years before he was “crowned,” Harry acted in the show ‘Robin Hood’ where he played Will Scarlett.
The show started with Will about to lose his life. That is until he’s saved by Robin and decides to join his group. Will is a skilled locksmith and carpenter, meaning he often helps the group in many ways and grows close to Robin along the way. That is until he meets and falls for Djaq, and the pair decide to stay in the Hold Land.
Jerome Flynn in the music video for ‘Up on the Roof’
It turns out that our favorite ‘GOT’ characters lived varied lives before they appeared on the show. Jerome Flynn is no exception. If you hear his voice and suddenly get transported back to the mid-’90s, then you might be alone. Robson and Jerome were a popular British duo that covered a host of songs and reached number one on the music charts with three of their singles.
The music video for ‘Up on the Roof’ was one of the trio that made it to the top spot and featured Jerome giving it his all. While we’re still wondering how a guy closing his eyes in an elevator wouldn’t notice if you changed his entire outfit, we can overlook the confusion with this legendary cover.
Natalie Dormer in ‘Casanova’
She might have played Margaery Tyrell in ‘GOT,’ but Natalie Dormer already had a vast acting career before her by the time she signed up to the show. One of her earliest roles was the part of Victoria in the movie ‘Casanova.’ It turns out that Natalie was such a hit, and the director was so impressed with her comedic timing that he had the scriptwriter expand her part.
Natalie Dormer quickly became a household name as she moved onto bigger and better things. The actress landed one of the leading roles in the show ‘The Tudors’ as well as parts in ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’ and ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Parts one and two’ where she played the character Cressida.
Hannah Murray in ‘Skins’
The British show ‘Skins’ was controversial when it first hit the air as it focused on taboo storylines. However, it wasn’t long before people fell for the series, and it gained a cult following. The show was picked up by MTV and remade into an American series. Unfortunately, it didn’t have the same effect that they had hoped for, and it was quickly pulled from the air.
In the British version of the show, Hannah Murray played the part of Cassie Ainsworth. The character is plagued with issues, such as thoughts of taking her own life and an eating disorder, but we get to watch her grow and blossom as the series goes on. This was a significant role for Hannah and help give her a step into the world of acting.
Jonathan Pryce in ‘Brazil’
It turns out that Jonathan Pryce has enjoyed a long and prosperous career that started all the way back in the 1970s. It wasn’t until 1985 that Jonathan got his breakthrough movie role when he was cast in ‘Brazil.’ Apparently, Tom Cruise was considered to play the part of Sam Lowry before it was ultimately handed to Jonathan instead.
The actor has said that this was the highlight of his career and a moment that he will never forget. The film follows the story of Sam as he searches high and low for a woman that appears in his dreams. As if landing a role that was destined for Tom Cruise wasn’t enough, Jonathan also got to act alongside the likes of Michael Palin and Robert De Niro.
Peter Dinklage in ‘Tiptoes’
The Sundance Film Festival has hosted some legendary movies over the years – including ‘Tiptoes.’ Everyone wondered how the team managed to land such an all-star cast and cast them in a pretty confusing film. The film followed the lives of Steven, played by Matthew McConaughey, and Carol, played by Kate Beckinsale, as they discover they are having a baby.
This forces Steven to confess that he is the only average-sized person in a family of little people. That’s where Peter Dinklage comes in. Gary Oldman plays Steven’s twin brother while Peter plays Gary’s best friend. Peter spends the entire film talking with a French accent and saying obscene things as loudly as he can. However, the movie caused a lot of controversies when Gary Oldman was cast to play a little person despite the fact he doesn’t have dwarfism.
Liam Cunningham in ‘Sweety Barrett’
Davos Seaworth was one of the many characters in the most epic fight that ‘GOT’ – and TV – has ever seen. Without Davos, Jon Snow might not have won the fight, and the story could have been very different. However, helping to win a battle wasn’t Liam Cunningham’s first role – and it wasn’t his last.
One of Liam’s previous characters included a part in ‘Sweety Barrett’ where the actor played a crooked cop. He might have been a hardened man of the law, but Liam’s character met his end when the title character got one up on him. The fight was criticized for looking pretty staged, which surprised many as they know that Liam is a talented actor, but it was released in 1998, so we think that we can cut the film some slack.
Julian Glover in ‘Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back’
Julian Glover is much more than an actor who has appeared in ‘GOT.’ This legendary star has appeared in a host of movies over the years and worked with some of the biggest names in the business. One of his most prominent film roles came in 1980 when Julian starred as General Maximilian Veers in ‘Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.’
He led the Empire’s attack on Hoth, but this was just the beginning of a long career for the actor. Julian went on to appear as Walter Donovan in ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’ and even voiced the spider Aragog in ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.’ Playing Grand Maester Pycelle was just another stepping stone in Julian’s impressive career.
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in ‘Nightwatch’
Some thrillers keep us on the edge of our seats, and it seems that ‘Nightwatch’ was such a hit that it saw the star of the movie, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, up for an award and got a lot of recognition from critics. The Danish film focuses on Nikolaj’s character, Martin, who lands a student job at the Forensic Medical Institute.
Here, Martin works as a night watchman, tasked with patrolling the area where the people who have lost their lives are kept. However, strange things start to happen around the city as women have their lives ended, and bizarre things begin to occur in the medical department. The film was praised for its suspense while the role helped to catapult Nikolaj to new levels.
Peter Dinklage in ‘The Station Agent’
It appears that Peter Dinklage had a lot under his belt before he became Tyrion Lannister. He was once a part of a punk rap band before he turned his attention to acting. Peter had a small number of roles before he landed a breakthrough part in ‘The Station Agent.’ The film wasn’t initially written with Peter in mind for the leading role, but as soon as the creator started to put their pen to paper, they realized that the budding actor was the perfect choice.
The movie follows the life of Fin, played by Peter, who loves everything to do with trains and train stations. He eventually ends up moving to an abandoned train station where he hopes to live out his life in peace.
Charles Dance in ‘Last Action Hero’
‘Last Action Hero’ was supposed to be Arnold Schwarzenegger’s movie, but Charles Dance stole every scene thanks to his incredible acting talents. The film was branded as a commercial flop, but it became a cult classic for many fans. Charles plays Benedict, an assassin and one-eyed villain in the movie who delivers some of the most memorable lines.
It can be tough for some to see how ‘Last Action Hero’ never became a huge success as the movie focuses on cliches from other action movies and sees the main character jump between films. While it might not be at the top of everyone’s list, the all-star cast sure helped it become a favorite for many. Thankfully, this wasn’t the last that we saw of Charles Dance.
Michael McElhatton in ‘Spin the Bottle
Roose Bolton was the ruthless Lord of the Dreadfort who caused mayhem in ‘GOT.’ That was until he lost his life at the hands of his son. Apparently, you have to watch your back – or your chest in this case – if you want to make it to the top in ‘GOT.’ It turns out that the actor behind Roose, Michael McElhatton, wasn’t always playing such serious roles.
In fact, his time in the movie ‘Spin the Bottle’ was the complete opposite as the comedy film saw Michael take on the part of Rat. He had just been released from prison only to learn that things have changed quite a bit since he has been behind bars. Rat has to try and get his band back together so they can earn enough money to fund Rat’s aunt’s weight loss trip. Yes, really.
Lena Headey in ‘Waterland’
Lena Headey is now mainly recognized for her time as Cersei Lannister in the hit show, but things weren’t always that way. The actress was actually handed a huge opportunity after a one-off show. A casting agent wanted to take Lena’s picture. The moment eventually led the actress to appear as a supporting character in the movie ‘Waterland.’
It is a film filled with heavy themes as a teacher describes events from his life to a class of students. There are all kinds of twists and turns throughout the storyline. Lena is cast as a young version of the teacher’s wife, Mary. It wasn’t just the role that helped Lena’s career – she also got to meet plenty of seasoned professionals on set, too.
Charles Dance in ‘James Bond: For Your Eyes Only’
Only a handful of actors have ever been lucky enough to play the 007 agent. Of course, it’s not just James Bond that brings the franchise to life. The agent would be nothing without a host of villains trying to take him down and pull off their dastardly plans at every turn. While Charles Dance might not have been handed the role of Bond, the actor did once get to play one of the villains in ‘For Your Eyes Only.’
He played Claus, who appears at various points throughout the movie. Sadly, he doesn’t make it all the way to the end credits as Claus is harpooned by one of Milos Columbo’s henchmen. He might have come close to capturing bond, but Claus couldn’t quite pull off his plan.
Mark Addy in ‘The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas’
There are some characters that have gone down in Hollywood history. Fred Flintstone is one of the many on the list. The character has appeared in many productions over the years, including the movie ‘The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas.’ The film follows the family as they head to Rock Vegas, but Fred must use all of his charm and – little – brains to try and win back Wilma before she falls in love with a casino owner.
Although it was a box office bomb as it raked in a fraction of the budget spent to bring it to life, the movie has gathered a handful of fans over the years. Thankfully, Mark has grown his career and built a huge fan base for himself after playing Robert Baratheon in ‘GOT.’
Richard Madden in ‘Complicity’
There have been plenty of novel movie adaptations over the years, and it was one of these that first saw Richard Madden on our screens. The actor appeared in ‘Complicity’ back in 2000 long before he played Robb Stark in ‘GOT.’ However, the film was pretty controversial thanks to the intense scenes and storyline. Thankfully, Richard’s Scottish accent is so strong during his time as Young Andy that many people outside of the UK don’t always keep up.
If you do, then you get to witness Richard offering to show his friend how he is feeling and apparently beating the life out of someone with a branch. It later turns out that the person out of shot was someone that behaved inappropriately. We did say it was controversial.
Jack Gleeson in ‘Batman Begins
Many of us need a character to loathe in a TV show, and that’s where Joffrey Baratheon stepped in. The character was liked by practically no one and hated by everyone, thanks to his villainous actions. However, the actor behind the character, Jack Gleeson, wasn’t always playing the villain. In fact, he was sometimes rubbing shoulders with heroes instead, like the time he appeared in ‘Batman Begins.’ Jack played Little Boy.
Ok, he didn’t have a huge role, but Jack did get to meet Christian Bale. His character is handed a souvenir by The Dark Knight himself before he later appears in the scene that unfolds after Scarecrow’s attack on the city. Although it wasn’t a huge role, it did allow Jack a chance to meet some famous Hollywood stars.
Isaac Hempstead Wright in ‘The Awakening’
Although he technically appeared in ‘GOT’ before he hit the big screen in ‘The Awakening,’ Isaac Hempstead Wright had been working on the movie at the same time as the show. The thriller film is set in 1921 as Britain is still trying to come to terms with all of the loss and devastation left from World War I.
The main character, Florence, hunts ghosts to try and debunk any hoaxes, but it’s not until she visits a boarding school that we are introduced to Isaac, who plays Tom in the film. As the story unfolds, we learn all about Tom and the rest of his life, but don’t worry; we won’t spoil anything for you. All we do know is 2011 was a huge year for this young actor.
Jason Momoa in ‘Baywatch Hawaii’
Would you believe that Jason Momoa’s first acting role was in ‘Baywatch Hawaii’? That’s right; the Hollywood legend was once one of the leading cast in the show as he took on the role of Jason Ioane. The character was just 19 years old, making him the youngest of all the lifeguards. This was no small role either as Jason appeared in a whopping 38 episodes.
It wasn’t just his acting that got put to the test. Jason also had to put his singing skills to good use but was quickly overshadowed when it came to vocal range. It was no worry for Jason, who has since gone on to appear as Khal Drogo in ‘GOT’ and even played Aquaman in the DC Extended Universe.
Emilia Clark in ‘Triassic Attack’
Emilia Clark was one of the leading cast members of ‘GOT’ thanks to her time as Daenerys Targaryen. She was the Mother of Dragons thanks to her links to the mythical beasts and became a fan favorite for many. Emilia got to work alongside the rest of the leading cast and was almost always involved in the main storylines of the show.
Before her time on ‘GOT,’ Emilia had little on-screen acting experience, but she did appear in the movie ‘Triassic Attack.’ It appears that Emilia has been working with giant reptiles for years, just of a different kind. Who would have known that her appearance in the film would help her so much in her later role? Thankfully, ‘GOT’ was a bit more of a hit.
Kit Harington in ‘War Horse’
He might know nothing, Jon Snow, but Kit Harington sure does know how to act. Before he was cast as the leading character in ‘GOT,’ the actor appeared as Albert in the National Theater and West End performance of ‘War Horse.’ This was Kit’s first acting credit and came just a few years before he landed the role of Jon.
Albert trains and raises a horse, Joey, and builds an incredible bond with him. However, when the war comes around, Joey is taken to help fight with the troops on the frontlines. Arthur never gives up hope that his horse is out there as ‘War Horse’ follows the heart-wrenching and touching story of one man and his journey to track down his horse.