Bri­tish ac­tor Kit Har­ing­ton spends his time away from Game Of Thrones com­pil­ing var­ied film cred­its, in­clud­ing one play­ing a real per­son

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MOVIES - FRA­ZIER MOORE

Game Of Thrones fans know him as the brood­ing and noble Jon Snow – but that is not all there is to Kit Har­ing­ton. The global hit tele­vi­sion se­ries takes up about half of the Bri­tish ac­tor’s year and he has made the most of his time in­be­tween to make some wildly dif­fer­ent films.

Last year he ap­peared in the sword and san­dals dis­as­ter epic Pom­peii, and also voiced a char­ac­ter in the an­i­mated How To Train Your Dragon 2.

But his new movie, Tes­ta­ment Of Youth, pro­vided a new chal­lenge – the first time he has had to play a char­ac­ter based on a real per­son.

“It’s a beau­ti­ful and har­row­ing true story of a young woman who lost all the men in her life in the First World War,” says Har­ing­ton, who plays one of those men, star­ring along­side Ali­cia Vikan­der.

“I have spent a lot of time in the fan­tasy world with Game Of Thrones, so I have loved play­ing a char­ac­ter who re­ally ex­isted.

“They are very dif­fer­ent stylis­ti­cally, but … I found Tes­ta­ment Of Youth of­fered more free­dom as an ac­tor.”

Har­ing­ton says he felt a re­spon­si­bil­ity to the real Roland Leighton, a poet, and pre­pared for the part by look­ing at old pho­to­graphs and read­ing his work, as well as all the let­ters he ex­changed with his beloved, Vera Brit­tain, on whose book the film is based.

“It is quite a pro­found thing to play some­one real, and I re­ally wanted to do him jus­tice,” he says.

Har­ing­ton’s GoT char­ac­ter is be­com­ing ever more cen­tral to the show, but the ac­tor says that Snow, the bas­tard son of the late lamented Lord Ned Stark, is not a com­pli­cated man.

“There’s a lot of tur­moil, a lot of frus­tra­tion and rage churn­ing in­side Jon – and that’s where he keeps it,” Har­ing­ton says. “He doesn’t over­think what’s go­ing on with him. He’s not a mod­ern man. He’s not see­ing a shrink.”

Snow looms large in a crush of char­ac­ters por­trayed by an evolv­ing en­sem­ble of stars, in­clud­ing Peter Din­klage, Lena Headey, Nikolaj CosterWaldau and Emilia Clarke.

Har­ing­ton was signed for Game Of Thrones at its pi­lot stage af­ter his run in the West End pro­duc­tion of the hit play War Horse – which he had landed soon af­ter grad­u­at­ing from Lon­don’s Royal Cen­tral School of Speech and Drama.

“What I’ve al­ways re­sponded to when watch­ing ac­tors is their still­ness,” Har­ring­ton says. “When they’re not mak­ing too many choices. When they’re con­cen­trat­ing on what’s go­ing on up here (taps his tem­ple) rather than show­ing every­body what’s go­ing on with ges­tures.

‘‘I be­lieve in still­ness, and that’s how I like act­ing my­self.

“Maybe that’s what they wanted for Jon.”

But what is it he en­joys about this line of work?

“I keep ask­ing my­self that,” he says with a laugh.

“I like the mo­ments: mo­ments in a per­for­mance, mo­ments of truth.

“The mo­ments you find that no one else will ever know about – I like those best.”

Har­ing­ton had nearly in­stant star­dom through GoT.

“What’s that like?” he says. “I achieved it – or got given it – a year out of drama school.

“It’s amaz­ing, too big a thing to process. The part that feels real for me is do­ing the show.

‘‘Walk­ing on to set with CGI gi­ants and talk­ing about Va­lyr­ian steel – that’s the most real part of my life.

‘‘This (his arms sweep the Man­hat­tan ho­tel lounge) is the un­real. My real life is more like fan­tasy than per­form­ing the ac­tual fan­tasy.”

But act­ing may not be for­ever, he cau­tions.

“I have to look ahead and fig­ure what I want to do,’’ he says. “It has to keep prov­ing it­self that it’s ful­fill­ing me.”

Thrones has been re­newed through to at least a sixth sea­son, which starts pro­duc­tion in July.

“But I can’t tell you whether I’ll go back to work in July,” he adds, ac­knowl­edg­ing the ev­er­p­re­sent threat that Snow will not sur­vive sea­son five.

“Might, might not.”

Ali­cia Vikan­der (Vera Brit­tain) and Kit Har­ring­ton (Roland Leighton) in a scene from the film

Tes­ta­ment Of Youth.

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