Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Albany Daily News. Posted by Lexi Schwartz
Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Lexi Schwartz
Game of Thrones
Currently Known For:
2011 - Present
May 20, 1992
Game of Thrones
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If there’s a character on television that you dislike so much that you want them to meet their maker means that the person playing that character is doing a great job. In the 2010s, one of the most notable villains on television was Joffrey from “Game of Thrones”. The character was played by Jack Gleeson, who you might not have even recognized before or even after the series. That’s because the “Game of Thrones” performance was one of just a handful of roles that Gleeson has had in his screen acting career, and he doesn’t anticipate on having any more despite showing his chops as a performer.Advertisements:
Gleeson hails from Ireland, where he was born on May 20, 1992 in the city of Cork but raised mostly in Dublin. From an early age, Gleeson had wanted to be an actor, and started performing on stage at just a few years old. It was obvious that there was something brewing there for Gleeson, and many anticipated him to have a solid career as a star after his training.
In 2002, Gleeson had made his on-screen debut at just 10 years old in the film “Reign of Fire”. It wasn’t a large role, but it’s one that many thought might help put Gleeson on the map. After all, the film that starred blockbuster veterans like Christian Bale, Matthew McConaughey and Gerard Butler came with a large $60 million budget. The expectations were high, but the film had grossed just over $80 million at the box office.
That same year, Gleeson also starred in a short film called “Moving Day”. Short films would become a mainstay for Gleeson over the next couple of years as he added a few more before heading back to feature films. He had another small part, reuniting with Christian Bale for “Batman Begins” to kick off the Christopher Nolan trilogy of the Dark Knight films.
Over the next few years, Gleeson appeared in a handful of other films with “Shrooms”, “A Shine of Rainbows” and most recently in 2010 with “All Good Children”. Then, in 2011, Gleeson landed the role of a lifetime when he was cast as Joffrey Baratheon in the series “Game of Thrones”. Obviously, the show would go on to become a massive hit for HBO, with Gleeson being the character that you loved to hate.
Gleeson played the character masterfully, with many wanting to see the character meet his demise after being named one of the best TV villains of all time. During the fourth season of “Game of Thrones”, Joffrey met his ultimate demise after being poisoned in the episode “Purple Wedding” in 2014.
“Nobody is safe and that we are playing for keeps,” creator George R.R. Martin said. “I also tried to provide a certain moment of pathos with the death. I mean, Joffrey, as monstrous as he is - and certainly he’s just as monstrous in the books as he is in the TV show, and Jack has brought some incredible acting chops to the role that somehow makes him even more loathsome than he is on the page - but Joffrey in the books is still a 13 year old kid. And there’s kind of a moment there were he knows that he’s dying and he can’t get a breath and he’s king of looking at Tyrion and his mother and at the other people in the hall with just terror and appeal in his eyes.”
The character was supposed to be more evil and demonic rather than what you’d consider a spoiled brat, but the direction was changed thanks to Gleeson’s acting abilities. “My characterization pretty much hasn’t changed a huge amount from the first audition,” Gleeson said. “It came from the writing. Everyone has met Joffrey in some shape or form. He’s a very contextualized and plays off other people, he’s not an abstracted ‘Omen’ character.”
When it came to his ability to play such a cruel character, Gleesonw as asked if it worried his friends and families that he can turn on that switch. “I don’t think (it worried them),” he said. “I can do that with any character. All my friends and family are used to it. They know when I’m being Jack.”
After his time on “Game of Thrones” came to an end, however, Gleeson hasn’t appeared on screen. There have been no film or television roles, but that doesn’t mean his acting career has been done. Gleeson appeared on stage multiple times while he was playing Joffrey and has been involved with theater ever since. Gleeson has found himself working with the Collapsing Horse theater company, and has starred in productions such as “Human Child”, “Bears in Space” and most recently with “Science Fiction Radio Hour”. He has identified himself as being retired from screen acting despite still being in his mid 20s.
Instead, Gleeson focused on going to college in Dublin. It’s been said that if you meet him in person, Gleeson is absolutely nothing like his “Game of Thrones” character. “I loved the security guards when I was living on campus,” he said of his college days. “I tried to be nice to them and bring them coffee and pizza and stuff to try and curry favor with them. It went okay. I think it was more that I was famous rather than the coffee or the pizza that swung it for me.” He added that “All I’ve done is act in a TV show and pretend to be mean for money.”
“You’re also more interesting to talk to if you’re more passionate about acting,” Gleeson said. “I don’t need to do those things, and I also suppose I’m just private. I find it slightly uncomfortable to see my face on a bus or a poster. I like just being known by my friends and family.”