Deep Space Nine‘s Alexander Siddig is now appearing on Game of Thrones as Doran Martell and the actor explained how he got the job as well as what fans can expect from the character.
Note that there might be spoilers for the show in the article.
According to Siddig, the offer to work in the hit series landed on his agent’s desk. “It actually came across my agent’s desk,” he said. Very rarely do I ask to be on a show these days. It’s not because I’m too grand or anything but I just don’t think of it. It never occurs to me. Besides, I think you get more chances of getting on a show if you get asked rather than asking.”
Siddig came in for the audition, and watching others perform helped him get a handle on what was expected of him. “While I was auditioning, I got to see Pedro perform as [Doran’s] brother and that gave me all the information I needed,” he said. “I knew this guy was coming from a passionate family. They have a lot of Spanish in them, and obviously Pedro is Chilean. So, I unashamedly copied everything I could about him with a few of the things that are unique to my character overlaid. Doran couldn’t be quite as dramatic or quite as romantic because my character is the ruler and [Oberyn] wasn’t a ruler. Oberyn could afford to misbehave in a way that my character cannot. There’s a difference there.”
How does Doran’s disability affect how Siddig plays the character? “I was really excited by that, not just from an actor’s point of view,” said Siddig, “because it’s always exciting to play under some strict limitation – but it was really, could I possibly figure out a way to give this guy gravity, authority and a sense of romance? This race of people seems to imbue that in their nature which is quite different from the other families who can be quite stern or mysterious. I was hoping I could do that in a wheelchair, and it was a great challenge.”
For the character though, being disabled is a liability. “I don’t think he gets out very much, because he’s a little bit ashamed of the fact that he’s meant to be a masculine guy in a really macho culture,” said Siddig. “The fact he can’t get out of his chair is a real disability to him. I think it forces him to be more philosophical, or at least attempting to be wiser. Where he ends up, I have absolutely no idea. But I’m playing him right now as being a pretty equivocal, pragmatic, wise ruler who doesn’t want to rush to judgment and, more importantly, doesn’t want to subject his whole kingdom to a state of war. But that is obviously in the cards, and goodness knows there’s enough reason for it with what happened to his daughter and his brother being slaughtered abroad. It’s going to be very difficult to decide what to do and he’s making a lot of enemies by taking his time and not just rushing out there. I hope he comes off as wise, but I’m smart enough to know the producers could do a reverse turn on him at anytime and turn him into a monster. And that’s OK. I’m ready for that as it would be good fun.”