Time Out meets Liam Cunningham

The Irish actor talks Ser Davos, the wonderful experience in the world of Essos, and the upcoming season of what is perhaps the most anticipated TV series on earth, Game of Thrones
Liam Cunningham
Sereechai Puttes/Time Out Bangkok
By Sopida Rodsom |

Everyone knows your character, Ser Davos. But can you please tell us more about him from your point of view?
I have been acting for a long time, and Ser Davos is probably one of the most enjoyable characters I have ever played. I have done a lot of bad guys and—maybe not so interesting guys—but for this guy, I like the fact that he has a good heart. He is a loyal, decent man and incredibly brave. When somebody says something, he puts his hands up and says that’s wrong. He’s not the man with power, but he still does the right thing. I wish I were like him in real life.

Can you share with us all the interesting experiences that you have had from filming Game of Thrones?
Oh my god, there were so many! What I love about this show is the quality of storytelling. I really like being part of the scene when Jon Snow came back. It’s my favorite moment, because everybody is speculating what is going to happen. For Davos to organize [Jon Snow’s resurrection], I’m proud of my character, and I also love the relationship with my son, Matthos, in the early season. From my personal point of view, I love the quality of the people I work with—Stephen Dillane (Stanis Baratheon), Carice van Houten (Melisandre) and Kit Harington (Jon Snow)—all these people I have the pleasure working with. This is the highlight for me, professionally and personally.



Any sneak peek of the upcoming season?

It’s intriguing. it’s mysterious. But I try very hard to keep things back [laugh]. I’m not going to give you any detail but some of the things I see this season are bigger, bolder and more cinematic. One thing I love about this show is how global it is. One of the well-respected writers had compared Game of Thrones to another HBO show called The Wire. He said, “The Wire is about the society, but Game of Thrones is about the civilization.” It’s like a story is told for the world, which makes the show even bigger. Everywhere I go, there is the same level of speculation of what’s going to happen. This means we do our job properly.


" ... some of the things I see this season are bigger, bolder and more cinematic."


Is working on Game of Thrones different from working on other projects?
I’m incredibly lucky, and feel very privileged to be asked to join this show. Professionally, I’ve managed to keep quiet for 25 years. I just do my things—theaters, independent films—Game of Thrones pulled me out to the public. I’m not anonymous anymore [laugh], which is very strange because this is not why I started acting—not for fame or wealth. I love being given opportunity that’s why I do [acting], and this beautiful show allows me to.


The show is known for being quite intense for viewers. How do you handle it as an actor?
If you imagine the feeling when you watch something like “The Red Wedding,” which was an amazing moment, we get that same feeling when we read it. I had the same feeling when I read about Shireen’s scene. When the script comes to me, I lock the door, have plenty of coffee, and read like this [make a gasping noise]. The cast is so big so you read other people’s storyline like a fan. And I watch the show like a fan. Everybody on the show is the fan of the show. They love the storyline and other characters. That’s what fantastic about it because everyone got little pieces of the pie. Everybody in my family is a fan and we see the show at the same time as you on the sofa together. But when I read, sometimes I screamed and my daughter was like, “What is it, what’s going on?” Well, I can’t tell you.


Did you do any physical stunts by yourself?
If you like to talk about the physicality, you need to talk to Kit Harington. He does a lot of physical stuff. Brienne is a warrior so she does a lot of work, so does The Hound. Because I’m so old, I did a little here and there. For me, I worked a lot at home or in the hotel room to investigate the script.



Do you feel related to your character? Is there anything Ser Davos did but you wouldn’t do it?
One thing that I wouldn’t do but Davos did is how he stood up to his old boss, Stanis Baratheon, and risked his life. Stanis said to him, “You don’t have much respect for your life, do you?” He was incredibly brave because doing the right thing is important to him more than anything. I, Liam, admire Ser Davos. I think we should try to be brave just a little bit like Davos was in our own ways. He doesn’t like injustice. I don’t like injustice, but he is much braver than I am.

If you, as Ser Davos, could change, which house would you rather like to serve?
I would like to associate with the house that not tries to kill me.


If your character will be killed off the show, how do you like to die?
If you asked me which way I want to die, I would say “of old age” (laugh).


Game of Thrones season 7 premiers 17 July, exclusively on HBO Asia (via AIS Play and AIS Playbox in Thailand)


Three other Liam Cunningham movies you must watch

The Wind That Shakes the Barley

The Wind That Shakes the Barley

Winning the Best Supporting Actor in a Feature Film from the Irish Film and Television Awards, Cunningham portrays the role of Dan, a train driver and a trade unionist, in this award-winning movie set in the time of the Irish War of Independence and the Irish Civil War.

Clash of the Titans

Clash of the Titans

An fantasy movie based loosely around the Greek myth of Perseus, Liam takes on the role of Solon, a veteran of the Legion who happens to be one of the best soldiers of the Argos Army. Solon and his soldiers accompany Perseus on his quest to retrieve the head of Medusa in order to save Argo from being destroyed by the Kraken.

The Guard

The Guard

The highest-grossing Irish indie film of all time revolves around the Irish “bad cop” and an American FBI agent investigating the corruption in the force while hunting down the Irish drug traffickers led by Cunningham in the role of Francis Sheehy-Skeffington.

More to explore