HOUSE OF THE DRAGON Star Matt Smith Covers VARIETY Magazine

Posted on May 31, 2024


Matt Smith fronts this week’s cover of VARIETY and speaks with Chief Correspondent Daniel D’Addario about Season 2 of “House of the Dragon,” almost turning down “Doctor Who,” why he was skeptical about the series at first, the departure of co-creator Miguel Sapochnik from the show, filming Season 2 during the SAG-AFTRA strike, and more. Handouts, hightlines, and guidelines for image use below.




On his initial ambivalence toward “House of the Dragon,” fearing the show couldn’t match “Game of Thrones”: “Audiences have changed. The way TV is consumed has changed. You can see a market saturate itself and envelop itself, and become obsolete…My concern is that we’ve seen this story told. That’s the first thing I said…With the scale of it, there was a genuine concern: Will audiences even want it?”

On almost turning down “Doctor Who”: “Briefly. But my agent, very quickly, was like, ‘You’re doing it.’ Thank God.”

“House of the Dragon” co-creator Ryan Condal on Season 2: The new season will begin “a couple of days after the events of Season 1—all the wounds are fresh…I think the pace will feel more like building momentum. Season 1 felt breakneck because you were jumping time periods, whereas Season 2 feels like you light a fuse in Episode 1 and watch it go—and at points, little charges go off.”

On working with actor Simon Russell Beale and losing Emma D’Arcy as a scene partner for Season 2: “We used to just have a hoot! He’d say, ‘Oh, darling, I’m bored of this acting. Come in here for some light chitchat.’ Amazing brain!” But losing D’Arcy as a scene partner was painful: “It was difficult to do it without them because I love them—a person of real depth and sardonic humor and fierce intellect.”

On the departure of co-creator Miguel Sapochnik from the show: “It’s a shame, because it had a great effect on the tone of the show, and knowing what you need to deliver. It’s kind of second-album syndrome, isn’t it? You’ve got to play the hits a bit…People have got to feel like they’re getting some sense of a ‘Game of Thrones’-type of show. We wish him well—but certainly, when you lose a director of that caliber, you’re going to feel it.”

On continuing “House of the Dragon” production during the SAG-AFTRA strike (Smith and his co-stars are governed by the British union Equity—the members of which had no legal protections were they to join the strike in solidarity with SAG-AFTRA): “There was a huge sense of conflict in us as performers and actors. We got together and discussed it in depth and made our feelings clear of what we’d like to do, but we didn’t have a great deal of choice. It was going to go on.”

[Photo Credit: Caroline Tompkins for Variety Magazine]

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