Warning: Game of Thrones season 8 spoilers lie ahead. (opens in new tab)Vladimír Furdík, (opens in new tab) the stuntman-turned-Biggest Big Bad of Game of Thrones (except for Cersei, that is (opens in new tab)) is now free to take off allllll that makeup and speak freely (opens in new tab) about his role throughout the show and particularly in season 8. "For me, when he died on the TV, I said, 'Now I am free,'" he says. And a good thing, too. Fans are fascinated with the character—mostly mute and terrifying, but with the occasional evil smirk thrown in to keep things interesting—and the man who plays him, who is entirely hot.
So what do we know about the Slovakian actor/stuntman/choreographer? Other than his rugged handsomeness, I mean.
He's a crazy-good stuntman.
Furdík has been in the movie business for a long time: He most notably worked on Skyfall, Robin Hood (2010), and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, but it looks like he's been working since the 1990s.
I mean, just look at the skill:
There's a zero percent chance I wouldn't stab myself right in the eyeball, which is (clearly the only reason) why I'm not a stuntwoman.
He actually replaced the original Night King actor.
The Night King was played by Richard Brake in seasons 4 and 5. Furdík is the White Walker that Jon Snow kills with his Valyrian steel sword in season 5. (Remember that guy—the look of shock (opens in new tab) when his weapon makes contact with Jon's sword before he's exploded into a million pieces of ice? That guy.)
Furdík says (opens in new tab) he isn't totally sure why he was replaced, but he says he loved playing the Night King and even gave him an internal life—saying his motivation is, purely and simply, revenge on the people who made him.
His makeup took six HOURS every day of shooting.
The costuming only took a half hour to put on, but to get that full face-and-crown situation happening, as well as the hands, took foreeeeever apparently. Honestly, I just wouldn't take it off, were I in that situation.
He's friends with the other GoT actors.
Considering how awful his character is on the show, the fact that he clearly gets along with and is beloved by the people who work with him just warms my heart.
Love from Podrick!
This particular shot from the pivotal battle scene just makes me giggle, and I love that alternative ending:
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And this is a little look at him and Arya/Maisie Williams, who definitely worked with him a lot to get that final sequence:
The Arya-Night King scene was tough for him.
Furdik admitted (opens in new tab) to The Hollywood Reporter that the long, grueling, 55-day shoot for the big Night King battle was exhausting, particularly the pivotal scene in which Arya jumps at him, he catches her, and then she stabs him.
"She was on a wire, in a harness, jumping many times. It wasn’t just the one time; it was maybe 15 times. When I have to hold her under the jaw and it looks like she dies, we had to spend a lot of energy on that particular scene.
"It was very, very difficult. We are very good friends. We know each other. It wasn’t easy for me to [pretend to] hurt her. When I grabbed her under the jaw, it wasn’t easy [on a practical level].
"If you make a bad move—if you don’t grab her well—she could have an injury. So I was under pressure and she was under pressure. It was not an easy day."
He doesn't speak in this featurette, but you can see how they got the shot using multiple sets and setups (it's towards the end):
His method for the Night King-Bran scene was hilarious.
Speaking to Vulture (opens in new tab), Furdik said that director Miguel Sapochnik told him, "Bran, he is not man. He is a cake. And you would like to eat this cake. And I would like to see you acting, you’re walking to him, you’re walking like you’re looking for that cake, which is waiting for you under the tree."
He added, "When I walk, you can see what Miguel said: 'Don’t be a soldier. No. Just walk, confident. There’s a cake.'" I love it. BRB, going back to re-watch the scene with that in mind.
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Katherine’s a Boston-based contributor at Marie Claire who covers fashion, culture, and lifestyle—from “Clueless” to Everlane to news about Lizzo. She’s been a freelancer for 11 years and has had roles with Cosmopolitan and Bustle, with bylines in Parents, Seventeen, and elsewhere. It’s “I go to dinner,” not “Her huge ego,” but she responds to both.
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