Monday 14 October 2019

Cutting back on facial hair is a 'great diet' - Game of Thrones star Liam Cunningham

BASHING BORIS: Outspoken ‘Game of Thrones’ star Liam Cunningham has hit out at the British Prime Minister’s poor handling of Brexit.
BASHING BORIS: Outspoken ‘Game of Thrones’ star Liam Cunningham has hit out at the British Prime Minister’s poor handling of Brexit.
Niamh Horan

Niamh Horan

Actor Liam Cunningham says he is glad to have the Game of Thrones series behind him - if only for the compliments he has received since he stopped filming.

On shedding his character Davos's famous facial hair, he said: "I am down now to a tiny few days' stubble. People keep saying to me 'Jeez Liam you have lost an awful lot of weight'.

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"It has taken three or four inches off my face. It's a great diet."

The Dubliner has just finished filming one of his two latest projects, The Hot Zone, about an outbreak of the Ebola virus.

He is also working on a bank heist thriller. Co-starring actor Freddie Highmore, the drama will follow genius engineering graduate Thom (Highmore) who masterminds a plan, along with art dealer Walter (Cunningham), to break into an old bank safe and steal a lost treasure.

"Luckily enough - being the mastermind - you don't have to do all the rope climbing and various stunts," he joked.

"I was sitting in front of a load of green screen monitors with my assistant directing all the poor unfortunate actors who had to get very wet."

The outspoken actor also hit out at British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Brexit tactics, describing him as "full of bluster" and "dreadful", ruling over a form of "collective madness".

Speaking to the Sunday Independent at the Dublin Arabic Film Festival, presented by Dubai Duty Free, he said: "Brexit is like collective madness.

"It has become about pride, instead of practicality, and I genuinely feel sorry for the British people, having been put through this by egotistical politicians not working in the best interests of the British people."

On Mr Johnson, he said: "To use the Good Friday Agreement as a bargaining chip to get what they want is lower than a snake's belly.

"People worked so hard to garner peace in Northern Ireland and to use people's lives for horse trading is despicable."

The 58-year-old also gave his thoughts on RTE's debt woes and the demise of TV viewership.

Following a report this week that younger viewers are switching off traditional television faster than was expected, he said: "People are watching television. They have their eyes on a screen more than they have ever had in history."

But he said: "There is a shift from two or three channels to where we have hundreds, and Apple coming on and Netflix, Amazon.

"There is so much pipework and all the boffins and the nerds are brilliant at making the apps and the tools for doing it, but at the end of the day, all of that is pipework and the only interesting thing that comes out of pipework is content and if there is nothing [good] coming down it, you're not going to look at it.

"So what will happen is, it's the same as the airline industry, where you get all these carriers who can't afford to keep it going and they get bought up by the bigger carriers, that's what is going to happen, it's a pretty predictable business model."

Asked what the trend meant for RTE, he said: "It's very simple. If the content is not there, people will not watch."

But he said: "RTE still make some fantastic stuff. Lots of incredible documentaries and current affairs programmes.

"They have had some remarkable success. Love/Hate was a phenomenon, so it's not like they are not capable of making the stuff.

"And I'm Irish, so I'd like to see Irish drama.

"It's how culturally we put our face out in the world. Look what Game of Thrones has done for Northern Ireland."

Sunday Independent

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