What made you sign up for the drama Klondike?
It was about my character (19th century adventurer Bill Haskell) to be honest. Like Game Of Thrones, it was about this intense situation that people put themselves in and the decisions they make - with Klondike [about the gold rush in the Yukon] you couldn’t get a more extreme situation. I started reading the script, and I kept expecting everyone to slit each other’s throats and stab each other in the back just to survive. People have nothing and it’s life or death; they’re going to die either because they’re so cold or there’s no money, no food, no gold. What fascinated me was time and time again, Bill wouldn’t choose that route; he would choose the humane route. It was human kindness that prevailed.
As a youngster, did making the Iain Banks film Complicity give you the acting bug?
I had read that book when I was 11 so I was a bit young. I didn’t start off thinking, ‘I’m going to be an actor’. I went to youth theatre to get confidence, because I was really shy. Then I got scouted for Complicity and got the part.
Your final Game of Thrones episode was shockingly brutal. How did you prepare for that?
It was one of those things where I read the script over and over, so I knew it inside out, and I had lots of meetings with the director David Nutter to look at how we were going to shoot it. I remember the start of that week of filming; we all got together and talked through it; about how I was going to be murdered, how the arrows were going to hit me. In order to play that whole season, I was very aware of not pre-empting the fact that Walder Frey was going to kill me at the end, so I think a part of my own brain shut down and pretended it wasn’t going to happen.
What’s it like working with Kenneth Branagh on his film version of Cinderella?
Brilliant. He’s another person that I’ve watched for years and can’t help but look up to, so getting to work with one of your heroes is something I’m very grateful for. To be directed by an actor is always interesting. They just do it in a different way. I don’t know if it’s better or worse, so I had an absolute ball working with Ken, and I don’t think I’d be able to pull off a character such as the Prince [Charming] if Sir Kenneth Branagh wasn’t guiding me through it.
How was it working on the medical comedy Sirens?
I had a great time in Leeds. I love Kayvan [Novak]. That’s what’s great - I get to work with these cool people and stay friends with them afterwards.