In the 90s, when I was talking about wellbeing, people didn’t understand
Game of Thrones’ Jerome Flynn talks to GABRIELLE FAGAN about fame take-two, the importance of community and working with causes close to his heart
AFTER a 10-year break from showbiz, Jerome Flynn had almost accepted his career was over – until he won the role as wise-cracking, cynical mercenary, Bronn, in Game of Thrones.
The cult HBO series catapulted him back into the limelight, which he’d all but shunned to focus on exploring his spirituality and living a simpler life, after enjoying huge success alongside Robson Green in Soldier Soldier.
“I didn’t say goodbye to acting, but there wasn’t anything being offered that excited me. I didn’t actually know if I was going to carry on, I thought the business might have given up on me,” recalls Bromley-born Jerome, 56.
“Bronn’s changed my life, career-wise. Playing a killer mercenary has finally allowed me to shake off the kind of blue-eyed boy singing romantic songs that I was so associated with in Soldier Soldier.”
A committed activist for a number of causes, from climate change to mental health and animal welfare, Jerome recently had another life-changing experience, visiting South Sudan with World Vision to meet war-scarred children.
Here, Jerome tells us more about what being part of Game of Thrones has meant for him, living mindfully, and his hopes of starting a family... What’s it been like starring in Game Of Thrones?
IT’S been extraordinary. My last day was surreal as it’s been nine years of my life. I feel like it will always be part of me. I’ve made so many friends, and it’s felt like leaving a family. It’s hard to finish off a series like that.
I recognise a bit of Bronn in me
most definitely – he’s a guy and a rogue and I can’t say there isn’t a bit of a rogue within me. There’s so much darkness and violence in the show, but I think his wit helped lighten it and probably saved my bacon and stopped me getting killed off. I never expected to last as long as I have. Making it through to the last series is amazing.
How was your experience of visiting Sudan for World Vision?
GOING to the Sudan was intensely moving. During their five-year civil war, more than 19,000 children have been conscripted into various armed groups. Children told me about the horrors they’d seen and experienced. I met four siblings who were kidnapped and forced to go with armed rebels, forced to fight and kill, and to watch other children get killed for not keeping up.
To have them tell me their story – with their brothers and sisters still out there – was heartbreaking and almost too painful to bear.
But I also saw hope, thanks to World Vision aid workers helping families stitch their lives together.
What’s it like looking back on your fame in Soldier Soldier and getting a No 1 hit in the 90s?
IT feels like another life, but I’m able to appreciate it and look back on it with fondness. Although it was an adventure, at times I felt like running away.
Robson and I are great mates and still in touch. At the time, I thought we’d just carry on doing the buddy-buddy thing together. I was brought up on double acts but Robson wanted to regain his serious acting career and he’s done a very good job of it.
You had few roles for nearly 10 years – what did you do?
GETTING that No 1 hit gave me the financial freedom not to have to work for the money. It afforded me the time to explore the more spiritual side of my life, and reconnect to the boy who’d been brought up in the country and loved nature and community.
I put some of my money into my home – a Georgian farmhouse [in Pembrokeshire, Wales] which I’m restoring. I’m part of a community which tries to be eco-friendly and as self-sufficient as possible.
In the Nineties, I didn’t feel like I had a strong enough centre not to be blown around by the fame. I started out on a conscious path of self-exploration.
Thirty years ago, when I was talking honestly about those things, people didn’t understand it.
Nowadays it’s part of the mainstream.
What’s your hope for the future?
IT’S taken me time to get to know myself, but now I’m ready for my life’s partner to come along.
I’m a romantic and have quite a lot of love in my heart.
I love children and have godchildren and nephews and nieces, but I still feel and hope [a family] could happen for me. How do you look after your health?
PLAYING such a physical role as Bronn has been a great incentive to stay in shape and be as fit as possible. I practise Kundalini yoga to free my energy, and run along the coastal cliff paths and swim in the sea near my home.
How do you look after your wellbeing?
MEDITATION, which I do every morning, has been a life-changer for me. It’s enabled me to get a distance from my thoughts and given me a freedom to evaluate them and let me tap into my creativity. Staying in touch with people I love and working for causes that are dear to me is also important.
Actor and activist Jerome Flynn
JEROME Flynn is an ambassador for international children’s charity World Vision UK. worldvision. org.uk/ madefor- more Jerome Flynn as Bronn in Game of Thrones
Jerome on a trip to South UK Sudan with World Vision
Jerome with Soldier Solider co-star Robson Green