“Playing Jaime Lannister was a positive experience; but I don’t have much in common with him’: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

“By what right does the wolf judge the lion?”, “The things I do for love‘ and ‘A Lannister always pays his debts’ are some of the many dialogues that were made Enter Ser Jaime Lannister game of Thrones a character burned into our minds. Brilliantly played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau for almost 10 years, the actor says that while he enjoyed playing the role, the only thing in common between him and his on-screen avatar is that they look alike. “He’s a different guy,” Coster-Waldau said.

Speaking of being part of the record-breaking show, the actor who has also been part of films like Black Hawk below, gods of Egyptsaid indianexpress.com about his journey, the role of Ser Jaime Lannister in one of the most watched shows, his struggles in battle climate change, and his recent ramp walk at the Paris fashion week for Le Defile L’Oréal Paris. Edited excerpts below:

You recently walked the ramp at Paris Fashion Week, how was the experience?

It was an incredible location in the middle of Paris – Ecole Militaire – with the Eiffel Tower in the background. It was fun. My wife was also there and went with me. She held my hand so I wasn’t too scared. It was great!

But it was no ordinary runway show as it aimed to highlight women’s empowerment. What does it mean to you?

Every day you read stories from all over the world that show how far we still have to go in terms of equality and how people are treated. You fight and fight and you’ve come a long way, but there’s still a long way to go. I think what we’re seeing in Iran today is pretty incredible. The courage that women have to muster to feel comfortable in their own skin. With this fashion show we are trying to send a positive message to women around the world.

They have also been heavily involved in raising awareness of climate change. India is also severely affected. Do you ever see yourself coming to the subcontinent as part of your endeavors?

Yes, I am planning to go to India within the next six months. I am very excited about it. India is such a big country and has so many challenges. But you also have some of the smartest people in the world coming up with ingenious solutions to some of these questions. I look forward to meeting some of these people.

Tell us about your runway look.

Oh that was the best runway look I’ve ever had. It was so convenient. I went to try them on and as you know most of these sample sizes are for very skinny men. I’m not that skinny so I couldn’t find anything and then they had this lovely, very soft, comfortable thing that I wore. So yeah, I felt a lot comfortably on the slopes.

What does fashion mean to you? How would you describe your personal style?

Fashion is so much, isn’t it? You have high fashion, old couture, then you have street fashion. It’s like an art form where the greatest designers create almost sculptures with their work. But my style is very functional, comfortable. I try to get quality stuff so I don’t have to buy too much.

How would you describe your career as an actor? Black Hawk below, Heavenly Kingdom to the mighty Jaime Lannister in game of Thrones?

Well it’s been almost 30 years since I’ve done this. I’m currently shooting a film at home that is a sequel to the very first film I ever did night watch (1994). So I think I have a job that evolves with me. I can go back and play the same character I played when I was young. Likewise, you can now play different characters. So, I think it’s a job that naturally follows your age. Anything you get will hopefully make you better. I still enjoy it. I still think researching people is a fun thing.

You played Jaime for almost a decade. Given the demanding role and extreme locations you were filming, were there any diet and fitness routines you followed?

I had none specific diet. I like to stay in pretty good shape. So there was nothing specific to Jaime.

Jaime had a redemption arc on the series; Do you find it in any way related to your off-screen personality? And what do you miss most about filming? Have?

I miss people; I think that’s easy to overlook. I share that great experience with a great group of people in front of and behind the camera. I miss seeing her every day. I don’t think I have that much in common with him. We look alike – that’s most of it; he is a different guy.

If you had to pick one thing (each) you liked and disliked about the role of Jamie Lannister, what would it be?

What I liked the most were the scenes we got to act out. It was a bit of all that family drama with the other Lannisters. That was a lot of fun. I can’t think of anything I hated or disliked, it was a positive experience.

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