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There are some spoilers following in this Game of Thrones article if you aren't caught up on the fourth season. Otherwise, go ahead and keep reading.
It must be weird to be Jack Gleason. Up until recently, the actor played one of the most hated characters on television, the cruel and foolish ruler Joffrey Baratheon on HBO’s Game of Thrones. In his time on the series, he threatened women, killed a prostitute, and notably ordered Ned Stark’s death. Regardless, none of the the aforementioned scenes are the most awkward Gleason says he had to shoot while playing Joffrey. Instead, he says pretending to be dead while shooting his final Season 4 scenes was actually super awful.
My eyes had to be kept open by two people, cause I just couldn’t do it. It was the director of photography and the director who came over and were like ‘Jesus Christ Jack, c’mon.’ They literally held my eyes open so they could take a CGI shot of my face… So, that’s my level of ineptitude!
Honestly, playing dead sounds pretty rough. It’s always tougher not to blink during moments when you are actively thinking about not blinking. Regardless, Gleason sounds like a special case of awful at it. He had a scene where the camera panned up close to his wide-open eyes and his very dead corpse and two people had to literally hold his eyelids open to accomplish the shot. Can you imagine the budget that it must have taken to get the shot right with CGI involved? Good thing Game of Thrones has ample budget room for CGI in just those sorts of situations.
Gleason tells the above story in the Game of Thrones: The Complete Fourth Season DVD featurette, “The Fallen: A Roundtable,” which features plenty of stories from the set from all of the characters who perished during Season 4. As it turns out, Gleason’s far from the only Game of Thrones character who had awkward experiences while filming a scene as a dead character. Mark Stanley, who is best know for playing Grenn on the hit show, also says it was impossible to keep his eyes open enough during the scene following his death.
[My death scene] was timed with John, Bradley and Kit walking through the tunnel to discover the body. And they were walking at such a slow pace, and my eyes were open in the darkness… the camera is there… it’s coming…nope, I blink. Start again.
There are a lot of funny little anecdotal stories like these available with the Season 4 Blu-ray and DVD sets, and if you get a chance to peruse them, you are unlikely to regret it. You can read more about the Game of Thrones: The Complete Fourth Season set while you wait for Season 5 to premiere this April.
HBO’s Game of Thrones returns to the schedule on Sunday, April 12 at 9 p.m. ET. Silicon Valley and Veep will follow at 10 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. ET, respectively.