No one can ever predict which shows are going to explode into commercial supernovas and which are going to fizzle out after the pilot. It's a tough call to make, and not everyone gets it right every time — just ask these actors that all turned down majorly iconic roles.
While Game of Thrones might have closed out Season 6 with an epic blast of wildfyre and been the most watched episode ever, not everyone predicted that success from the beginning. Emmy-winning actor Brian Cox had the chance to be on GoT back when the show first started, but he turned it down because they couldn't afford to pay him the salary he wanted. Now that the main characters will be raking in $500,000 per episode and it's become one of the greatest shows in the history of the small screen, he's seriously kicking himself.
In an interview with Vodzilla, Cox said:
"Well, stupidly, I turned it down in the early days because they didn’t pay enough money [laughs]. Now they have more money. And I was silly. I was silly, it was silly, because I’m a complete addict now."
Oh, Brian, you silly goose.
While the ship might have already sailed like Dany's fleet out of Essos, that hasn't stopped the 70-year-old Scottish actor from speculating on what his role could have been, and envying his buddy Ian McShane:
"But I don’t know what I could play. Maybe I could do – I mean, I just watched my friend Ian McShane, and I thought, ‘Ooh, Ian’s in it’, so I settled down to watch him. And I thought, ‘Ian did that?’ and immediately I thought, ‘God, they must have paid him well’, because I know Ian!"
Remember how great Ian McShane was as Brother Ray in "The Broken Man"?
In fact, Thrones managed to scoop up quite a few of Cox's close friends, and now someone is feeling a little left out:
"And there was Max von Sydow doing that character that he did, so in a way, it’s attracting certain people who do film, and, of course, I’ve got friends like Clive Russell and Liam Cunningham and Charlie Dance is an old pal, being in it and they had a great time in it."
Even without Game of Thrones to fill up his schedule, Brian Cox has been very busy. This year, he's been on Penny Dreadful and mini-series War & Peace, and currently has not one, not two, but five movies in post-production, due out later this year. At the moment, he's filming biographical drama Churchill, where he plays the legendary prime minister himself.
Would you want to see Brian Cox on Game of Thrones?