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

Gloucestershire Echo - - CELEBRITY WELLBEING -

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

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