Game of Thrones star surprises pub locals after sailing into Shetland for a night out

SOURCE: The Press and Journal
AUTHOR: Alistair Munro
DATE: 19 May 2019
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Fans of smash hit TV show Game of Thrones in Shetland got a surprise on Friday night when actor Rory McCann visited the capital Lerwick to take in the town’s nightlife.

The Scottish actor headed to harbour-side pub Captain Flints where a heavy metal gig was taking place, while he was later spotted in the Marlex bar about a half a mile away.

His visit came just a couple of days before the final episode of Game of Thrones is aired, with social media across the world seemingly flooded with anticipation.

Game of Thrones fan James Anderson met McCann in the Marlex pub and got a photo taken with the actor.

He said afterwards: “I’m still buzzing, it was unreal.

“Walk into the Marlex for quiet Friday night pint and meet the Hound from Game of Thrones. Superb.”

The eighth and final season of the award-winning Game of Thrones premiered in April, with the show again becoming one of the most talked-about programmes around.

The last episode was is due to air over the weekend and in the early hours of this morning. McCann has also appeared in films like Hot Fuzz and Clash of the Titans, while he also donned a kilt and vest for the memorable Scott’s Porage Oats advertising campaign of the 1990s.

He is known to enjoy sailing and spending time away from the limelight in his yacht.

The American fantasy drama Game of Thrones television series was created by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss for HBO.

The show is filmed in various locations around the world, including Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The series premiered on HBO in the United States in 2011, and will conclude with its eighth season.

Game of Thrones actor ‘a true gentleman’ on night out in Lerwick

SOURCE: The Shetland Times
AUTHOR: Unknown (credit to The Shetland Times)
DATE: 18 May 2019
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NOTE: Related photos here. There are photos on the original article here that are not present on the other article I’ve mirrored as well.


Punters at a Lerwick pub got a surprise on Friday night when a Game of Thrones actor popped in for a drink.

Rory McCann, who plays Sandor “The Hound” Clegane, was spotted in the Douglas Arms (Marlex). And far from living up to his character’s fearsome reputation in the HBO series the actor was happy to pose for photographs.

One of those who chatted to McCann was Stuart Nicolson from Lerwick. He said it was an otherwise quiet night in the pub on Commercial Road and described the Scottish actor as “a true gentleman”.

Mr Nicolson posted on Facebook, “Can’t believe I’ve met the hound at the marlex #GOT #healive”. The actor was also spotted in Captain Flint’s bar.

The Game of Thrones finale will be shown in the UK in the early hours of Monday – one of the most highly-anticipated television events of this year.

Like Us, Rory McCann Has Been Thinking About “Clegane Bowl” for Years

SOURCE: HBO: Making Game Of Thrones
AUTHOR: Ashley Morton/HBO
DATE: 15 May 2019
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The actor behind fan-favorite The Hound discusses the epic showdown between the Clegane brothers in “The Bells”, reuniting with Maisie Williams, and why he brought a trumpet to the final read-through.

HBO: The cast sat down for a big final read-through of the last season — what was that like?

Rory McCann: I’m probably the same as most actors [when we get scripts]. First thing we do is find our bits — to hell with everyone else, when am I going to die? What the hell is going to go on? — but I was aware of quite a few actors who said they didn’t do that. I didn’t actually believe them, but when we got together for the read-through I could see by the tears and shock some of them really didn’t know what was going on. Particularly Kit Harington [who plays Jon Snow]. That was funny. He had no idea, he was just in shock. But I’d read my bits, so it was very exciting. I remember bringing a big trumpet and keeping it underneath the table; I told [writer] Bryan Cogman, who usually does all the narration in between the dialogue with great passion, to take a pause when Gregor and Sandor meet for the final showdown. I brought the trumpet out and blew it with the whole cast in the room. I don’t think they knew what was going on but it was me pretending that Clegane Bowl is on.

HBO: Had you been looking forward to that fight as much as the fans?

Rory McCann: Absolutely. I’ve been thinking about it for years, honestly. We had this sparring session in Season 1 all those years ago, and this was the end of the journey, a completion. I’m so grateful they decided to write that in. It was a lot of fun.

HBO: Were you satisfied with that being your character’s ending?

Rory McCann: I’d written myself off once the fight started — there’s a chance by the end of it that Sandor is probably blinded and he’s pretty broken up. But he had enough energy to complete his mission and stuff his brother’s face in the fire, even if it meant ending his own life. I think the Hound would have been quite happy with that. I think he knew when he rode out with Arya and said, “I don’t plan on coming back.”

HBO: The fight looks pretty brutal. What was performing it like?

Rory McCann: Well training-wise, I started to work out, and then I thought, “What is the point of putting on any muscle at all when you are fighting the officially strongest man in the world?” It’s going to make no difference at all. So I could relax there. The fight was brutal. The set had been built for that one purpose alone, for Clegane Bowl, and took months of building: It was absolutely incredible. But when we heard it was all going to be on stairs — it’s the last thing big men want to do, go up and down on a set of stairs — that was quite worrying. There was worry of twisting our ankles or hurting ourselves. But it was an amazing experience. My sister, who was also with me for that fight all those years ago, was there with me pouring a bottle of water down my back in between takes. It was wonderful.

We lost our swords after a few moves, and then it just got down and dirty. I had the stuntmen saying to the strongest man in the world “When you pick up Rory, just throw him at half strength onto the wall over there” and I’m going, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, that’s still a lot of brute force, can we go down to 10 percent maybe?” So I was a bit battered and bruised. But Hafþór [Júlíus Björnsson, who plays the Mountain] was suffering big time as well. He had a prosthetic in which he could barely drink, never mind eat, and was extremely hot as well. But he did fantastically. He’s actually a gentle soul. I had to encourage him to strangle me more, to press into my eyes more; he’s absolutely a big gentle man and aware of his strength, thank God. He’s a great guy, and it was a legendary fight.

HBO: Before your final showdown you have a wonderful little moment with Arya, played by Maisie Williams. What was it like being reunited with her again this season?

Rory McCann: We’ve been on a hell of a road trip together. Arya’s completely different from the little girl the Hound first met. There’s a real respect for her. In that scene, there’s a dragon above us, things are tumbling down, but he’s trying to get one last message through to her: she doesn’t need to live her life full of hate and anger, there can be another way. It’s too late for the Hound, he’s decided.

Working with Maisie has been magical. I still can’t quite believe that amongst all the politics of this big story we were almost allowed our little road trip on the side. It’s definitely one of the happiest jobs I’ve ever had. I love working outside. So it brought back great memories working with her. She’s a fantastic actress and she kept me on my tip-toes that’s for sure.

HBO: What will you miss the most about working on this series?

Rory McCann: Am I going to ever have a greater written story or character that’s so perfect for me? The amount of different directors was a great opportunity too. Working with the best of the best. They all work differently, so I learned a lot from that. I still haven’t watched the whole show, but I may try to set up a projector on my boat and play Game of Thrones on my main sail as I go. One of my sails has a dog on it as well. It’s just a little nod.

I felt like [creators] David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] knew me so well that when I opened up the scripts in the last few years it was almost the way I talk, and my mannerisms. They used parts of me big time. It’s never going to be the same again. They understood us. We were having dinner at David and Dan’s house in Belfast and I cracked open a beautiful bottle of whiskey. And it was late, and I was doing the main part of my fight with the Mountain the next day and Dan stood up and said, “You have a big day tomorrow,” and took my glass away. And I sounded like a little boy saying, “But I don’t want to go home!” I had to leave the party early. It was like a family thing. Course, the next day when I was getting tossed down the stairs I said to him, “Do you not think it would have been better if I had been still drunk?”

I’ll miss all of that, but I’m glad it’s over as well. I won’t miss the hours of makeup and hulking around the armor, I can see myself when we started, I’ve got no gray in my beard, and now I do and I’m hobbling around like an old man. But happy memories. I’ll heal soon. It’s never going to be as good as Game of Thrones, it can’t be, but boy were we lucky.

The Hound actor Rory McCann breaks down that Game of Thrones Cleganebowl fight

SOURCE: Entertainment Weekly
AUTHOR: James Hibberd
DATE: 13 May 2019
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Note: This post contains spoilers for Game of Thrones season 8, episode 5, “The Bells”

Cleganebowl happened. The Hound vs. The Mountain. Sandor took on his ghoulish undead murderous older brother Gregor in a long-awaited fight that’s seemingly been destined since they were children. Did you bet on The Hound to win? The Mountain? Turns out, the correct answer — appropriately enough for Game of Thrones — was “neither.” Both men perished. Yet The Hound was victorious on a personal level, confronting his terror of fire and concluding the fight on his own terms, carrying his brother into the flames, a literal pyrrhic victory.

On the set of Game of Thrones last spring, EW spoke to The Hound actor Rory McCann about the show and his character’s exit. Getting McCann for an interview was never a sure thing during our years of visits to the Northern Ireland production. The 50-year-old Scottish actor, like The Hound, isn’t much of a talker. Many GoT actors are entirely different from the characters they so convincingly portray (Lena Headey, for example, is nothing like Cersei Lannister). Yet McCann is similar to The Hound in rather likable ways. The man is a quiet, gruff outdoorsman who keeps to himself, yet is totally straightforward when he has something to say. “I’m very close to being The Hound,” McCann notes at one point. Thankfully, for the final season, McCann opened up to lend some insight into his experience and his character. What’s below are the most words we’ve ever gotten out of him.

During the interview, McCann sat in his trailer on the Belfast set. He seemed to fill the entire space. It’s difficult to not to be unnerved by his elaborate and convincing prosthetics for that “scar” on half his head. Our discussion opened with a reference to a scene McCann had just shot, fighting by the fire trench during the Battle of Winterfell…

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I hope don’t hate fire in real life because you have to be around a lot of it on this set.
RORY MCCANN: I’m staring into fire most nights now. It doesn’t help having half your face in latex and you just have a pool of sweat underneath. But I maybe have 20 more days to go. No point in complaining about it now.

What did you think of the scripts this year?
Really good. I’m very happy with the way The Hound’s story ends, thank you very much. I love all the endings. I don’t know how they managed to sew it all together. I don’t know how it goes with George R.R. Martin’s ending, if it’s the same or no. I haven’t watched the series much. Only watched a few episodes. I don’t watch the telly. And when the show’s on I’m usually out in the wild sailing or something. I’m looking forward to getting the whole box set and then I’ll watch it when I get the flu.

What was the table read like for you?
It was quite emotional. You’re seeing deaths and it’s all happening in front of you and you’re seeing people get upset and then you get to your bit. It was quite funny when the so-called Cleganebowl started. I secretly brought a trumpet with me. [Co-executive producer Bryan Cogman] is reading [the stage directions] and I’m like, “Can you pause right before I say one of my last lines?” He did and I brought out this trumpet and [blew it]. I got butterflies in my stomach over that fight.

You haven’t shot it yet.
No. I’m getting the fear with that.

The Mountain [actor Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson] is truly huge. He’s kind of staggering.
I hope he knows his f—ing strength. I’m just going to have to go into Glasgow bar fight mode if it goes the wrong way because he’s a big big boy. One time he ordered chicken and they gave him two breasts of chicken and he just looked up and said, “No, a chicken. Not just chicken. A chicken.” Then he’d be eating again a couple hours later. He’s a beast.

That almost sounds like The Hound’s lines from the tavern scene with the chickens.
Yeah. There have been some great lines for The Hound. I’ve enjoyed all the Arya/Hound road trip stuff. Those were my fondest memories. Anything outside usually because I’m so hot that I’m more comfortable.

What’s the scene you’re most proud of?
I loved doing the Brienne fight. That was great fun. But I loved some of the dialogue scenes with Maisie and myself. It came at the right time when I was just starting to relax. The first couple years on the show I was very nervous all the time. And then I found the character after a couple years. Sometimes I just look in the mirror and go, “F—, there’s no reason to play scary, no wonder that little girl is frightened of me. Less Is more.”

What was unique about this season for you?
The Winterfell battle … I like [director Miguel Sapochnik], I can really connect with him. There are some directors who don’t speak much and if you’re doing your job there are no words back. Younger actors will do a scene and afterwards there’s a look of “want” on their face: “Did I do good?” And with some directors, there’s not a word, not even a nod — he’s not thinking about you but his other 50 jobs. But Miguel is very personable and [fellow GoT director] David Nutter is lovely as well.

What was it like reuniting with [Arya Stark actress Maisie Williams]?
She’s all grown up now and knows everything that’s going on. It’s been great seeing her again. The last parting shot with Arya and The Hound is lovely. She calls him “Sandor” for the first time in the whole 7, 8 years. It’s a lovely moment. And the parting moment with Sansa was lovely too.

For Cleganebowl, you had figured this fight would happen.
I’m dead. It would have been nice to keep living and go on a road trip and do a spin-off. But I’m absolutely delighted. I’m blessed to be given this storyline. Blessed to be given storylines in the past seasons with all the [Westeros] politics going on — that we were able to have a Hound-Arya road trip. The Hound seems to get some great one liners. You could have a T-shirt factory with just the one-liners I’ve been given. I’ll be glad to be out of a job where I’m in hours of makeup. I’m always on set first. I’ve been trying to sleep on the floor [of the trailer which seems too small for him] for the past 6, 7 years. I’ll bring my own caravan next time. I’m due for an upgrade.

What are your thoughts on how the fight goes down?
I hope I have enough gas in the tank to do it right. It’s a massive fight. I think it’s going to take three days to film it. He’s going to be throwing me. I’m absolutely sure I’m going to be limping for months after it and that’s the reason my last filming days are the fight. It’s a glorious death. He’s laughing at it. The Hound can see that [The Mountain] can’t be killed by sticking a dagger in his eye. He has to be burnt. Of all the things Cleagane has to do, he has to go into the fire. That’s the sacrifice. But his pain is over.

It’s so right for his storyline.
Maybe he could have found peace and wandered off. But this is a fine way to go. It seems pretty beautiful to me. How lucky to be an actor who gets ends up on one of the biggest and best shows in the world. I see panic in some [fellow castmates] eyes: “What are we going to do now?” Relax. Don’t worry. We’re on the map now.

You’ll always have this. And it will always be currency to a studio or network when they can say in a press release that they cast a Game of Thrones actor.
That’s why I feel it will carry me through a few years. I’ve certainly not wanted to do a job when it’s close to time to shoot Thrones again. I’ve been pretty unavailable the last six or seven years. I’m very protective of that.

So why have you kept to yourself so much?
It’s an ongoing thing. Before each season, I phone all my friends and tell them I don’t want to speak or have any contact with anyone at all. I make myself lonely before every season, purely because I’m going onto Thrones. I don’t want contact with anyone before starting the job. It’s only been in the past couple years I’ve started to talk to people and go out to pubs and be with the other actors. Before that I was the weirdo who was going back to my room or in the gym. I was doing a scene with [Tormund Giantsbane actor Kristofer Hivju] and he went to hug me as his character and I said, “Don’t touch me.” And I’m so like that home. I’m very close to being The Hound. I’m not used to human touch. I’m a bit of a recluse. Now I’ve made some friends. I’ve started to relax. I’ve learned a lot. It’s been a hell of an education. But now I’m just itching to get the hell away in this boat I’ve been building…

What kind of boat is it?
It’s an old wooden ketch. Two masts. All wood, 45 years old. Gorgeous thing with a peat fire inside it. I’d like to go away for a couple years. Maybe I’m meant to take a nice job after this. We’ll just see.

You live a pretty rustic life.
I’m a sailor and spent all my years trying to do up boats. Now I’m thinking of finishing my last few scenes sand sailing off into the sunset. That’s my dream.

That sounds fantastic. Where are you going to go?
That’s my f—ing business.


That should be the end of this story. It’s a perfect final quote for McCann and/or The Hound. But there’s a final bit. When we spoke to Maisie Williams on the set, she had something to say about working with McCann again after they spent several seasons apart. McCann thinks being around his castmates all these years has changed him, opened him up more. But he’s not the only one who’s changed.

“Rory would always chat with me [when filming the earlier seasons] about adventures he’d have in his life — buying a piece of land and living in bunker — all these crazy things he’d do,” Williams said. “Before I was like, ‘Wow, that’s crazy.’ Now I’m like, ‘Oh, I just bought a piece of land next to the sea too.’ I realized he’s really shaped me quite a lot as a person. I’ve realized his way of life does seem really appealing and I’ve learned a lot from him. I respect his friendship and loved working with him this year.”

Game of Thrones star’s mixed feelings as hit fantasy drama series nears end [Excerpt]

SOURCE: Daily Record
AUTHOR: Lucy Mapstone
DATE: 06 May 2019
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[Gwendoline] Christie, who portrays a formidable warrior who stands more than six feet tall, has also talked about the “agony” of accidentally being hit in the face twice while filming a fight scene with Scots co-star Rory McCann, who plays Sandor “The Hound” Clegane.

Of the incident, which happened in a previous Game of Thrones series, she said: “I got smacked in the face twice: once with the metal of his armour, the chain mail on the edge.

“Oh God, bless him. He is a really kind, generous, wonderful, human being. And he was mortified, it was a genuine accident. I fell to my knees and I screamed an expletive. I held my face because I thought my nose was broken.

“It was agony. It hurt so much and there was that sort of ringing you get in your ears.” She said that despite the pain, she knew they had to finish the scene, so she stood up and started spitting “like an animal”.

She added: “I was crying and spitting… like some sort of wrestler about to go back into the fray. There was snot everywhere.

“I just didn’t feel very in control of my own physicality and I was walking up and down, really crying, and then I said, ‘Let’s carry on’: because I knew in that moment if I got scared, I wouldn’t be able to continue.”’

Game of Thrones’ final episode is scheduled to air in the UK on May 20.

‘Game of Thrones’ Director on Ghost’s Departure and Brienne’s Collapse [Excerpt]

SOURCE: The New York Times
AUTHOR: Jennifer Vineyard
DATE: 06 May 2019
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NOTE: Interview with David Nutter who directed the Red Wedding, murder of Jon Snow, and burning of Shireen Baratheon episodes, among others. Jennifer and David go all over the place so I’ll just share the bit about Rory here.


“Game of Thrones” actors have said you bring out something unexpected from their performance by giving them a fresh insight or a new take. Can you share any of the notes you gave actors over the years that shaped their overall performance?

Sure! When I first started on the show, Rory McCann, who plays the Hound, was someone who had a lot of promise. He was fantastic, but he had some issues with his performance. He hadn’t done a whole lot of acting. So I basically sat down with him, sat down across the table from him, and we read through a couple of sequences together. Ten minutes later, I looked at him and I said, “O.K., here’s the deal. Stop acting. Just say the words like Clint Eastwood would say them.” Once he started to do that, at that point, it was basically all done.

Sometimes, when actors reach out to their characters, they’re nowhere in sight. They need to find something inside of them. And then the characters are right there. As a director, I want them to find the character that’s already inside them, instead of trying to manufacture or manipulate or make something up. That’s not really honest or true.