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

"The whole family drama with the other Lannisters was a lot of fun. I can't think of anything that I hated or didn't like," the actor said

“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 made Ser Jaime Lannister in Game of Thrones a character that has been etched on our minds. Essayed brilliantly by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau for nearly 10 years, the actor says that while he enjoyed playing the role, the only thing that is common between him and his on-screen avatar is that they look alike. “He’s a different guy,” Coster-Waldau said.

Talking more about being a part of the record-breaking show, the actor, who has also been a part of films like Black Hawk Down, Gods of Egypt, told  about his journey, playing Ser Jaime Lannister in one of the most-watched shows, his efforts to battle climate change, and his most recent ramp walk at the Paris Fashion Week for Le Défilé 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 there, too, and walked with me. She held my hand, so I was not too scared. It was great!

Every day you read stories from around the world that highlight how far we still have to go in terms of equality, and how people are treated. You fight and struggle, and come a long way but there’s still a long way to go. I think what we see in Iran these days is quite incredible. The bravery that women are having to show just to be able to feel comfortable in their own skin. Through this fashion show, we are trying to send a positive message to women all around the world.

You have also been a strong supporter of raising awareness about climate change. India has also been affected by the same in a major way. Do you ever see yourself coming to the subcontinent as part of your effort?

Yes, I plan to go to India within the next six months. I am very much looking forward to it. India is such a big country, and has so many challenges. But you also have some of the brightest people in the world that are coming up with ingenious solutions to some of these questions. I’m looking forward to meeting some of those people.

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Tell us about your runway look.

Oh, it was the best runway look I’ve ever had. It was so comfortable. I went to the fitting and as you know, most of these sample sizes are for very skinny men. I’m not that skinny, so I couldn’t find something and then they had this beautiful, very soft, comfortable thing that I wore. So yeah, I felt very comfortable on the runway.

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

Fashion is so many things, right? You have high fashion, old couture, then you have streetwear. It’s like an art form with the greatest designers creating almost-sculptures with their work. But my style is very functional, comfortable. I do try to get stuff of quality, so, I don’t have to buy too much.

How would you describe your journey as an actor from Black Hawk Down, Kingdom of Heaven to the mighty Jaime Lannister in Game of Thrones?

Well, it’s been almost 30 years since I’ve been doing this. Right now, I am shooting a movie back home, which is a sequel to the very first movie I ever did called the Nightwatch (1994). So, I think that 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 follows your age naturally. Anything you get, you get better hopefully. I still enjoy it. I still think it’s a fun thing to explore humans.

You played Jaime for almost a decade. Were there any diet and fitness routines you were following, considering the demanding role and the extreme locations you shot at?

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I didn’t have any specific diet. I like to stay fairly in good shape. So there was nothing specific for Jaime.

Jaime had a redemption arc in the series; do you find it relatable to your off-screen personality in any way? Also, what do you miss the most about filming GoT?

I miss the people; I think that’s an easy thing to miss. I share that great experience with a great group of people in front and behind the camera. I miss seeing them on a daily basis. I don’t think I have that much in common with him. We look alike — that’s the most; he’s a different guy.

If you had to pick one thing (each) you liked and disliked about playing Jamie Lannister — what would they be?

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

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