Concrete Playground


Concrete Playground Meets Game of Thrones Actor Liam Cunningham

The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia will be transformed next week when the Games of Thrones Exhibition hits Sydney. With over 100 real artefacts, props and costumes (no replicas) the free exhibition will keep fans from gnashing their teeth as they await season five.

The exhibition features a virtual experience that simulates life on top of the wall, where fans can catch a 360 degree panoramic view over Castle Black, as well as the opportunity to snap a selfie atop the Iron Throne.

Liam Cunningham, who plays Davos Seaworth on the most downloaded program in history, is in town to launch the show. On a sunny winter morning outside Three Williams cafe, we caught up with the Irish engineer-turned-actor to talk finger puppets, potatoes and patricide.

So thanks for chatting to us after no doubt a long flight.

Itís wonderful. Iíve a mate here who Iíve been threatening to come and see forever and I just havenít had the opportunity and when this came up they didnít have to ask me twice.

This exhibition has gone all over hasnít it?

Toronto, Amsterdam, Belfast, London. Itís a real treat. Whatís really cool about it now is that HBO arenít trying to make a quick buck out of it. Itís free. Itís a little thank you to the fans for, you know, making it as big as it is. But it needs to finish real soon, otherwise Iíll be naked in the next show, which would be unheard of. All my costumes are in this exhibition. For the fans, itís just a real treat.

There are some fans, arenít there?

Nobody knew it was going to be such a phenomenon. Itís just this really expansive backdrop to an incredible story of family and paranoia and jealousy and power and how power corrupts and how the powerful, generally speaking, are just taking care of themselves.

Our first female PM loved the show.

Yeah sheís a fan, a big fan! And Barack Obama. He insisted on getting season four before the public got it.

So power does corrupt.

Thatís how you know youíve got power. Heís a big fan. Jack Nicholson is a fan. Martin Scorsese. Who else? Itís extraordinary the amount of people who love this show. You see it at the exhibition. Youíve got the emos and the goths and those people coming along who are kind of hardcore but generally speaking itís kids from sixteen to one hundred and sixteen watching it. Itís not a niche program at all because itís unpredictable. Right from when our leading man Ned Stark got chopped it was a game-changer, because it broke, especially for the States, where your leading man gets in trouble, overcomes, gets the girl and disappears, boring boring boring. People went, 'What? Hold on, we need to watch this thing properly, because this is just messing with our heads.'

If Davos suddenly turned around and told Stannis to shove it I donít think weíd see that coming.

Itís not in his nature. Heís the kind of guy, if you were in trouble youíd want him in your corner. His loyalty and decency is unquestionable. Listen, heís treated well apart from having his hand chopped off.

Is it a glove you use?

Sometimes itís a glove. Sometimes itís little green puppets on my fingers that then get digitally removed.

Pop quiz: If Davos was going to be killed off would you prefer his head was chopped off, his skull was popped or torture?

Tortureís always good 'cause you have the audience on your side.

Youíre sort of a veteran but you started late as an actor. You worked as an engineer, lived in Africa and got married all before taking up the game. Your career before GoT is pretty accomplished but has your life changed in a big way since Ė

Iíve been outed. I feel like Iíve been gay and kept it quiet and now people know.

But youíre coping.

But Iím in front of the pride march with a stick. There is a bit of that. Listen, peopleís memories are really short. What's good about it is I have to wear this [gestures to beard], my pubic balaclava, when filming and when I finish filming off it comes and nobody knows who I am. Luckily I started late enough not to be impressed by myself.

But youíre Irelandís pin-up boyÖ

Thereís a very healthy begrudgery in Ireland. No one gives a fuck who I am. Youíre not allowed to get on any sort of pedestal. Itís kind of healthy. My egoís enormous anyway. I donít need it massaged. I can do that myself.

Youíve brought your youngest along. Are you the coolest dad ever?

Of course. Isnít that obvious. No, yeah, heís my travelling companion. He keeps me out of trouble. He keeps me out of the pip.

I think he had a book. Iím impressed. A kid with a book.

Yeah, but itís a book about guns. Iím raising a small serial killer. At the moment heís choosing which weapon to end my life with. Heís probably looking at me through the window and saying Iím gonna pop a cap in your arse, Dad. No, heís cool. Heís a sixty-year-old man trapped in a thirteen-year-old body. Heís the kind of dude I got to for advice. Heís an extraordinary little fella, my boy.

In my last 35 seconds I have to ask, for my editor, reflections on The Little Princess?

Sheís a fan! Quite a few tweets come through ó OMFG Davos Seaworth is the dad from The Little Princess. The Little Princess was nineteen years ago so a lot of those eight-year-old girls are now watching me as Davos. And now theyíre hugely attractive, gorgeous-looking women, and Iím close to death at this stage, but at least Iíve kept these ladies very happy when they were kids and Iím keeping them happy when theyíre grown-ups. I love my job. Thereís not many movies for daddies and little girls. Can you think of any other ones for fathers and daughters?

Oh man, the The Shiralee. Itís this Australian one Ö Itís got Bryan Brown in it.

I used to look like Bryan Brown.

Just quickly, Iím working on a story and I want to list all the things you can do with potatoes. Because youíre Irish, and I donít mean to be racist, but I was wondering if you could add anything to my list. So far Iíve got mashed potato, fried potato, boiled potatoes, potato bake, potato soup...

Mashed potato sandwiches. Keith Lemonís favourite dish.

If you had to give up onions or potatoes?

Well this is not an option. No. I cook.

You have to give up one.


Onions or potatoes?

Onions are so incredibly important but listen, weíd die without potatoes.

Now youíre going to remember The Shiralee or will you forget? Itís S-h-i-r-a Ė [A lady walks past and tells us to shut up our very female-specific body parts several times before moving on.] ...Welcome to Australia!

Thatís fantastic. I wonder if she arranges flowers for a living.

When do you head home?

I leave Tuesday. Weíre going to open the exhibition. I couldnít wait to get down here.

Does Australia really feel as far away as everybody Ė

Itís the moon.

Itís the moon.

Next stop, the Sea of Tranquillity.

Game of Thrones: Season 4 is now available on Google Play. The Game of Thrones Exhibition is at the MCA from July 1-5.

June 27, 2014 by Ashleigh Synnott


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