INTERVIEW: Jack Gleeson

Published in The Music (QLD, VIC) and on, Mar – Apr 2016

The Man Who Can’t Watch ‘Game Of Thrones’

The reason why Game Of Thrones is so successful is also why Jack Gleeson isn’t able to watch it. Everyone’s favourite king tells Daniel Cribb what he’s been up to and dispels a rumour that’s been circulating.

You only have to glance at social media when even the slightest bit of Game Of Thrones news breaks to realise the impact the show has on society. After every new episode, there’s banter between friends and the world speculates about what will happened next, but it’s not a conversation former star and former king of Westeros Jack Gleeson is able to partake. “I haven’t actually watched one episode since leaving, to be honest,” he laughs. “The trailer just came out about an hour ago, so I watched that for the new season but it’s all gibberish to me, I don’t know what going on.”

It’s not out of any form of negativity, rather he’s unable to become immersed in the show after working behind the scenes. “I’ve just heard a few people who have really enjoyed the show and then they see an event at which the actors are present in their normal everyday clothes, and it kind of ruins the illusion for them, so I think it’s a testament to the storytelling that you can really get lost in it and believe these characters are real.”

Since Game Of Thrones, Gleeson hasn’t really pursued any other acting jobs, other than maintaining his theatre company, Collapsing Horse Theatre Co., and appearing in a stage production of Bears In Space last year.

He’s finished a degree in philosophy and theology, started learning Arabic and is now just living a “pretty normal” day-to-day life. “I think naturally I’m prone to kind of overthink and I like to pick apart concepts and argue for the sake of arguing, so it was kind of a natural thing for me,” he comments on his studies. “I’ve graduated now and I don’t really know what to do with the degree. It’s not really the most practical one, but I certainly enjoyed studying it.”

Despite numerous news stories that circulated after his time on the show, Gleeson hasn’t bowed out of acting, and it’s something he is still interested in; it’s just a matter of the right project presenting itself. “It was never something that I actively proclaimed or decided that I was never going to do it again and that I was going to quit,” he says.

“It was more a thing of taking a break and wanting to do other things because Game Of Thrones was so big… I wanted to revaluate my career choices or whether I wanted to be full-time actor. But no, I’m just taking a step back.

“Someone probably asked me if I planned on doing any other projects after Game Of Thrones and I probably told them exactly what I just told you, which is I don’t really know and journalists sensationalise things.”

If the latest season of Game Of Thrones taught us anything, it’s that killing off a character doesn’t mean farewell, so maybe we will see the return of King Joffrey at some stage. “I’d say yes. It’d be hard to say no,” he says. “I suppose there’s more a chance of that kind of thing happening now that the TV show has caught up with the books, so the storylines are becoming slightly more inventive whereas before a lot of the storylines were based on the books.

“As an actor, you kind of knew where all the twists and turns were coming from, whereas now, they might call me up, but I haven’t gotten a call yet. I’ll wait.”