Wow, we knew Game Of Thrones caused a lot of viewers real pain, but we guess we didn’t consider the emotional cost to the actors involved. However, the way Kit Harington tells it, that may have been far worse!
The man who stole our hearts as hero Jon Snow appeared on The Jess Cagle Show on SiriusXM on Monday, ostensibly promoting his role in Season Two of the Amazon series Modern Love.
However, the talk got really deep really fast as host Jess Cagle asked about the break Kit took from acting right after the end of the HBO hit.
Photos: Stars Who Walked Away From Hollywood
The young actor checked himself into rehab in the Summer of 2019, just after the show’s controversial finale aired. Speaking about the struggles he had, he directly linked them to filming GOT, saying:
“I kind of, I went through kind of some mental health difficulties after Thrones, and during the end of Thrones, to be honest. And I think it was directly to do with the nature of the show and what I’d been doing for years. I think I took a sort of a break after Thrones where I said ‘I don’t want to work for a year, I want to really kind of concentrate on myself.’ And I think I’m really, I’m really happy I did that.”
While he didn’t get too in depth about what the issues were with the show, he did contrast the “intense” work he was doing for so long with his latest role on the rom com anthology:
“And then so coming back to work and deciding what to take and what to choose, and, um, you know, you couldn’t predict the pandemic. So just when I was wanting to come back to work, the pandemic hit. So I was like, ‘oh, for God’s sake.’ But yeah, doing, doing this Modern Love episode was a bit like you don’t have to live in that intense place all the time. Why don’t you do something that takes the weight off? Why don’t you do something fun? And I think that was part of my thinking on this one.”
Wow, he really did need to take “the weight off” after all of that.
Spoilers for GOT, but his character does go through hell, having to fight literal monsters but also live on as his father, mother, brothers, and two lovers die — half of which he has to watch up close. So you can imagine how for a young actor getting into that headspace for a decade straight can get messed up.
And of course we all saw in that brilliant HBO documentary The Last Watch, which aired after the finale, how Kit really did cry while delivering a speech to the crew after they wrapped his final scene on the show. He said:
“I feel like my heart is breaking. I love this show more than I think, anything. It has never been a job for me. It’s been my life. This will always be the greatest thing I’ll ever do and be a part of. You all have been my family. I love you for it. Thank you so much.”
So it was clear even then the show — and a huge chapter of his life — ending was weighing on him. But maybe it wasn’t until he was out the other end of it that he could look back and realize just how stressed he was during filming.
He does say that because of meeting his future wife, Rose Leslie, during filming the show will always be a crucial part of his life — and one he can never outright complain about! He said:
“I met my wife. My child is a direct result of Game of Thrones. I still have very, very good friends from that show. It did nothing but wonders for me.”
When asked the GOT moment that stays in his head the most he responded thoughtfully:
“It’s weirdly season two. I think probably because that’s when I met Rose , but season two was when it was, it was taking off and it was becoming kind of, we realized we were onto something good. And I remember being, shooting up on this incredible glacier in Iceland, and I went off to take a pee, somewhere in the wilds of Iceland. And I just looked out over this glacier and I thought, ‘God, I got the best job in the world.’ And that always sticks out to me because I, if I’m ever feeling grumpy about my lot, which believe me, I can do amazingly, I think of that. And I think now you’ve got a pretty special job.”
That didn’t mean the show wasn’t without its perils. When Jess asks how he avoided going “crazy” like many young actors catapulted into megastardom would and seemingly settling down with the love of his life instead, Kit does note that the two were not always together at that time.
“I spent the longest of time during, you know, me, for years, me and Rose on and off. And, and it’s sort of like, I, I definitely would have lost my way at times through Thrones. It’s very hard not to.”
He credits his loved ones, including Rose, with keeping him on the straight and narrow through all those times:
“I have very, very good friends and very good family and I have Rose and all of those things at the end of the day kept me quite kept me quite grounded. I think, I hope, not that I didn’t have difficulties.”
How does he feel about Thrones these days, now that he’s well over a year out from it? He sounds more in awe than anything, saying:
“It had a real cultural impact and, and that’s something I’m really proud of being part of it. It’s been… part of the journey since it finished was just becoming proud of that show, you know, like did it… and not running away from it and not running away from what it was and who I played in it, but just owning it and being proud of everything about it really. Yeah, long may it continue. I really wish them luck with the, with what they’re doing next. I’m going to watch it. And I think it’s a fascinating, it came at a fascinating time. It, it sort of, it, it sort of, it was spread out over a fascinating time globally I think, Thrones. I’m so glad we got it done before the pandemic, because it never would have got done, you know.”
Speaking of the pandemic, for Kit it was a very strange time. While many suffered, he and Rose survived what many other couples didn’t — being forced to spend all their time together:
“I think that, you know, the old expression of a good war or a bad war, uh, I had a good, a good pandemic. Um, and I say that because, you know, when you’re in a relationship or a marriage where you both act, you, you can tend to just have a lot of time away from each other. And what we were gifted with this was forced time together.”
Not only did they make it, they decided to take a huge next step with their family!
“And because of that, we ended up having a baby, you know, we, um, that’s what, that’s the major thing that came out of the pandemic for me was, was becoming a father. So I had a, I had a quite profound and amazing experience during the, during this, this last year and a half. And yeah, of course it was anxiety-inducing and strange and odd. And I didn’t see my friends and family, but on the whole, my friends and family are all healthy, I’m now a father. Like I on the whole, I had, uh, had quite a very lucky experience over the past year and a half. I know others who haven’t.”
He really does sound happy and grounded. We couldn’t be more excited for him and his future.
And neither could he from the sound of it! His next big project is the long-awaited, long delayed Marvel Studios film The Eternals, in which he plays a character who, in the comic books at least, is a superhero called the Black Knight who eventually becomes an Avenger!
Obviously he stays pretty tight-lipped about that upcoming adventure, saying only:
“I think, you know, I’m, I’m a big fan of the MCU and, I, you know, so when, when they come knocking, it’s very exciting. The character, I won’t, I won’t go into why he interests me — because like you say, there’s, you know, it’s more than my life is worth to tell you, but… No. But what did interest me about that piece was that it was Chloé Zhao directing, I met her and spoke to her. I was so impressed by her. The cast was sort of phenomenal, and wide ranging and diverse, and it just looked like they were doing something really different, with this movie.”
The cast includes Salma Hayek, Angelina Jolie, Gemma Chan, Ma Dong-Seok, Kumail Nanjiani, Brian Tyree Henry, and of course his GOT brother from another mother, Richard Madden. He offered only:
“And yeah, I can’t tell you much about it, but we filmed that pre pandemic and it’s coming out. Finally. It was sort of frustrating. You got pushed back so much, but now it is, you know, be going on doing some press for that soon. And it’s really exciting.”
Exciting times ahead!
What do YOU think about Game of Thrones causing so many problems for Kit? Does he sound like he got his bearings to you??
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