He’s known as Varys, the enigmatic Master of Whispers on HBO’s hit fantasy drama Game of Thrones but Conleth Hill could have been a much different, more short-lived character at the outset of the series. In an interview with The Huffington Post (via Watchers on the Wall) to promote his upcoming drama A Patch of Fog (on VOD and iTunes on January 24), Hill confirmed that, in addition to Varys, he also auditioned for the role of King Robert Baratheon, the portly drunkard played by Mark Addy in the first season. Turns out, Addy auditioned for the role right after him.
“It is true, to be honest, but I have to say that I came out of the meeting, which went all right, and looked who was in after me, saw who it was, and went, “Well, he’d be all right for it,” and he was, and he got it. You know, that’s showbiz . . . I read for [Varys], parts of the dungeon scene with Ned and the chest scene where he explains how he was made from sort of a slave to the security of Westeros, and I think once I had already accepted the part, they said, “How do you feel about shaving your head?””
Gotta admire a man’s commitment to head-shaving. Hill turned out to be right. Addy was a great Robert while his slithery Varys has survived and entertained for going on seven seasons now. It’s the most famous role of his career (and the focus of half the questions in an interview ostensibly about A Patch of Fog). Thankfully, his relationship with the fans hasn’t exceeded anything more than bizarre.
“I’ve been very lucky. Most “Game of Thrones” fans are well-mannered and courteous. I have no trouble taking photos with people if they want it. I think the weirdest one was someone came running toward me with their hand in my crotch area, saying, “I wanted to see if something’s really there.””
Game of Thrones is currently in production on its seventh season consisting of seven episodes (and Conleth Hill’s bald dome) for premiere this summer.