Stephen Dillane: “Game of Thrones reflects the pursuit of power in our world”

Stephen Dillane talks about The Tunnel and whether his character in Game of Thrones is the moodiest man in Westeros

With all the British and French characters in The Tunnel there’s lots of room for national stereotypes.

As soon as you land on a stereotype it becomes possible to see that the opposite is true. The only real stereotype is the fact that the Englishman doesn’t speak French, which usually is true.

Did the show aim to avoid stereotypes of the crime genre too?

There are only so many places you can get your thrills in a thriller, so it’s bound to fit into one of those styles. But there are plenty of surprises.

Does it paint a positive picture of the EU?

In terms of making it, Anglo-French co-operation was of a very high order. In terms of the show, when it was written 18 months ago there was a sense that the right was rising and the eurozone falling apart. It seems to have died down a bit but I’m not sure how far below the surface that’s gone.

There’s nowhere more exotic than Northern Ireland!

A few years ago UK audiences wouldn’t have watched a subtitled show. Is it different now because shows like Game of Thrones contain foreign languages as well?

We’re more relaxed about eating foreign food and watching foreign footballers. A Chinese kung fu film is just as likely to be good as an American film, it’s part of our experience of the global village.

You play Stannis Baratheon in Game of Thrones but you never seem to talk about it. Is there a reason?

I tend not to want to talk to the press all that much. If you play a part like this one in The Tunnel you understand you’ll be obliged to put yourself out there to sell the thing but there are plenty of people on Game of Thrones better qualified and better able to do the chat than I am.

Do you film in Northern Ireland or get to go somewhere more exotic?

There’s nowhere more exotic than Northern Ireland! What are you saying? I like Northern Ireland very much actually but the answer is yes I only film in Northern Ireland. But that’s by no means a trial. It’s a really beautiful part of the world, especially in some of the places we film up on the north coast. It really is special.

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Is the setting part of what makes it so successful?

I guess it must be an ingredient. It’s the storytelling, the extraordinary world that’s created and the way it reflects our actual world – a naked, ruthless pursuit of power in all its forms.

Fan forums debate whether Stannis is the moodiest character in Westeros. Could that mean he’s the last man standing?

I don’t know. To be honest I haven’t seen the last series. I’ve only seen series two so I’m not really up on what everybody’s doing, but fom what I have seen Jon Snow is pretty moody. Is moody the right word? Serious, grumpy, bad tempered… There are plenty of those around. Last man standing? Your guess is as good as mine.