The Great Philadelphia Comic-Con was this past weekend and with it came droves of fans of TV, comics, video games, and movies. A smaller convention, nevertheless, it was a satisfying mix of everything you love about these gatherings, especially the panels. Game of Thrones‘ Jack Gleeson, who played King Joffrey, graced us peasants with his presence, and let the eager crowd know what he was up to these days.
Check out the details from the panel here below.
Moderator: You were in Batman Begins. Did people start bringing that up in Game of Thrones, when they started looking you up, that you were in it?
Jack Gleeson: Yeah. I guess so. You know when I was growing up, when I was in high school in Ireland, my second moniker was “the kid who was in Batman Begins.” I was kind of like locally famous before I became Game of Thrones famous. So that whole Batman Begins thing kinda followed me everywhere, which was really cool. So yeah, I guess I don’t know when people started making the connection. They are 2 very different characters from very different genres of things, and 10 years separate.
Moderator: One’s a lovable little boy, the other not so much.
Jack Gleeson: I know. And the lovable little boy is Joffrey.
Q: Before you got into Batman Begins, were you a fan of Batman at all or is there any particular comic book hero you’re a fan of?
Jack Gleeson: Yeah. I didn’t really grow up with comic books for some reason, I don’t know why. I’m not like hugely into the superhero thing, even though I love watching the movies. I’m kinda more into the movies than reading the comic books. I don’t know, for some reason I thought the Silver Surfer was really cool growing up, because I thought surfing was cool, but I don’t really know anything about the character. I’d guess I’d have to say Batman because the Christopher Nolan movies are so good. But in terms of the die hard comic book stuff, I’m pretty bad with it. What about you? What’s your favorite superhero?
Moderator: I’m a DC Comics fan so I love Batman, The Flash”¦ You mentioned surfing, do you surf?
Jack Gleeson: No. I do body board or boogie board. It’s like way easier version of surfing where you just have a styrofoam board and you just put your body on it. It’s a lot of fun. I do a lot of it on the west coast of Ireland, where a lot of the international surfers go because the waves are so big. But I just go on the small waves. In fact, have you guys seen the latest Star Wars movies where Luke Skywalker is on that big rock, right? So that’s actually on the west coast of Ireland. It’s a real rock, there are 2 of them, and it’s where Irish monks in the 8th, 9th, 10th century fled Norman and Viking invasions, and they set up a kind of a habitat. I go down to the area every summer. There’s a beach just by the rocks where I body board. It’s pretty cinematic.
Q: When it comes to playing King Joffrey, what’s the hardest part about playing a character with such a dark personality and dark traits.
Jack Gleeson: I mean, I’m not one of those actors that gets so into the characters. I mean, I take it seriously and I prepare a lot, but I’m not a method actor. When you’re on a film set, you’re yourself, you’re Jack for 90% of the day, if not 95%. So you’re only actually being Joffrey for maybe about a half an hour, because it takes so long to set up the cameras and rehearse. It feels a little unreal. So I never really lost myself in the darkness. I was just trying to enjoy it and trying to remember my lines, trying to hit the right marks so I was at the right angle for the camera. So those things were running through my head more so than, “˜I’m so psychopathic.’ Thankfully, I’m not a good enough actor to actually go that far, so I’m safe.
Q: Who did you not get to act in a scene with that you wish you would have?
Jack Gleeson: So many… Iain Glen seems like a cool guy, or like Emilia Clarke for sure. I was lucky to work with a lot of great actors like Charles Dance and Peter Dinklage and Lena Headey. Maybe Iain Glen.
Q: You were on the puppeteering tour I heard. What was that like?
Jack Gleeson: I have a theater company in Dublin and most of the time we work with puppets. We have a puppetmaker. I love puppets. It takes a lot of practice to really perfect it, so I leave it up to those guys.
Moderator: There’s a thing called Bears in Space that you’re a part of. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about that?
Jack Gleeson: We wrote a show called Bears in Space, which was like a sci-fi puppet show, set in space featuring 2 bears. We don’t like to mislead our audiences. We put it right up there. It was kind of a Monty Python, goofy comedy, fantasy fairy tale set in space with loads of wacky characters. We haven’t performed it in a while. We got to do it in Dublin and London and New York. But maybe we could bring it to the greater Philly area. I hear there’s a big demand! That was just so much fun because I got to perform with 3 of my best buddies. We developed it and wrote it and made it ourselves. It was really fulfilling and really fun to get to perform it for people and for them to enjoy it as well.
Q: Have you ever been in situations, where people couldn’t differentiate between you and Joffrey? Were any disrespectful?
Jack Gleeson: Thankfully, I’ve had zero interactions of that kind. I think that people assume that people are like that with me, so they’re extra nice to me. So there’s this kind of ironic circular thinking. So it works out well for me. Everyone I’ve ever met, genuinely I’ve never had any problems with. Maybe I’m lucky. I don’t know.
Q: Do you see yourself returning to TV and film, and if so, what kind of project would get you back?
Jack Gleeson: I haven’t really decided to be honest. I never really formally retired. It was one of these things that I said, ‘I’ll take a step back,’ and some journalist said, ‘Joffrey quit acting!’ Which was never really the case. I’ve always been performing with my theater company. I really like acting for screen, I wanted to focus on other things. It was never a black and white thing for me. I’m happy to go back to it.
Q: You’ve been a part of several franchises. Were there any scenes that you wish you could be a part of?
Jack Gleeson: I guess like the Red Wedding. That was a pretty huge scene. But I guess I had my own cool scenes as well. I would have been happy to be in one scene for one day or one and one season. I feel really grateful to have been in 4 seasons, so I’m not going to ask for anything more. I don’t really see myself as being part of the Batman franchise. Although I’d like to be in a Christopher Nolan film.
Q: What’s your favorite genre?
Jack Gleeson: I do like sci-fi a lot. I guess like science fantasy, like Star Wars or Masters of the Universe. Something that combines magic and technology. There are a lot of sci-fi fantasy books, but in terms of TV shows or films, Krull or Masters of the Universe. I’m not a huge horror fan, but basically anything else, I’m up for.
Moderator: Do you have your eye on anything, any books?
Jack Gleeson: Yeah, if they make another Krull, I’ll be in it. I guess if I would go back, you don’t want to be typecast, so maybe something more realistic.
Q: Do you have any interesting stories as far as props, costuming, production design?
Jack Gleeson: All those things tell the story and they make my job as an actor a lot easier. Just the image of Joffrey with the crown, the rings, and his beautiful golden wardrobe, those things tell the character and tell the story. It’s an incredible privilege to be in a show with such incredible designers. Michelle Clapton, the costume designer, is amazing. For Natalie Dormer, for Margaery Tyrell, when she’s getting married to Joffrey, the embroidery on the dress, it’s like a subtle reference to the Tyrell, the Lannister or Baratheon clans being kind of intertwined. And it’s these kinds of subtle things. There’s my death scene, and I’m gonna throw coins at musical jesters to tell them to F*** off. And you’ll never see this, but the coins have my facial relief on them. That level of detail makes me believe in the whole world way more. There are thousands of stories like that.
Q: Any mishaps?
Jack Gleeson: The crown never fit me, it was really a pain. If I wore it, so the slightest movement meant that it would fall off. So they created a lattice of wires that they would pin or sew into my scalp, but it would come loose every half hour. It was still a cool crown and well made.
Moderator: Any souvenirs?
Jack Gleeson: I did steal one of the coins. It had my face on it! The costumes were too beautiful to hang in my closet.