Joe Dempsie may be best known as Gendry Baratheon in Game of Thrones – but it took him several attempts to finally land a role in the universally acclaimed fantasy drama.
The actor, who also starred as tearaway Chris in teen drama Skins, first tried out for the role of Jon Snow before the part went to Kit Harington in 2011.
Explaining the process which eventually saw him cast as Gendry, Dempsie said. “I auditioned for the pilot. I had no idea what Game of Thrones was. Didn’t get it. Kind of forgot about it.
“Nobody knew it was going to become the biggest TV show on the planet at that point. It was just another audition.”
Dempsie then tried out for the show a year and a half later, auditioning for two bit-part roles as Snow’s friends from a previous war – but was rejected for both.
“I was convinced they must just think I’m a terrible actor,” he told Esquire.
It was his reluctant fourth attempt, which Dempsie dubbed “his worst audition” that actually landed the part.
“Gendry came along and again I went along to the audition and I think it was three auditions I had. I had one in London, then one in Belfast where I met [showrunners] David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] for the first time. And then a final one where David and Dan were there again. And there was like four other producers in the room, too.
“And I was fairly convinced it was the worst audition I’ve ever given.”
When he got a call from his manager finally giving him the good news about the Game of Thrones role, Demspie laughed, “I thought he was playing a trick on me.”
Game of Thrones continues 2am and 9pm Mondays on Sky Atlantic