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Game of Thrones Star Says Playing A Hated Villain Prevented Him Getting Other Roles


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  • Playing the villain Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones brought Iwan Rheon career success, but also made it challenging for him to land roles as a “nice guy.”
  • Rheon found himself typecast as a villain in many of his post-Game of Thrones appearances, limiting his opportunities to play different characters.
  • However, Rheon has recently been breaking away from his villainous image with roles such as Mick Mars in The Dirt and various other projects.

Landing a prominent role in Game of Thrones seems like the kind of gig that would lead to nothing but good things, but for actor Iwan Rheon, playing the hated villain Ramsay Bolton made it difficult for him to get certain roles.

Ramsey Bolton became an instant love-to-hate character in the HBO adaptation of George R R Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. Initially introduced as Ramsay Snow, the bastard son of Roose Bolton, he became one of the most feared and sadistic characters of the entire saga. His evil nature first came to light when he tortured and mutilated Theon Greyjoy, turning him into the pitiful “Reek,” although it was his physical and psychological abuse of Sansa Stark, whom he married to solidify his claim to the North, that really crowned him one of the show’s most callous and despised characters.

For Rheon, playing the role of one of the most hated characters in TV history brought about one issue – his ability to gain roles that involved playing a “nice guy.” He explained to Radio Times:

Because of the magnitude of the show, it did loads for my career. But it brought a lot of barriers as well. All of a sudden you’re just getting offered lots of parts where they want you to do the same thing… Well, exactly! I was like: ‘Can I play a nice guy, please?

Related: Game of Thrones Villain Iwan Rheon Calls Shooting Sansa Rape Scene the Worst Day of His Career

Playing an Iconic Role has Its Drawbacks

Ramsay Bolton and Reek in Game of Thrones

Rheon found himself typecast as the villain in many of his TV and movie appearances following his departure from Game of Thrones in Season 6, when his character met an appropriately brutal end at the hand – or perhaps that should be mouths – of his own viscous dogs. However, after appearing as Adolf Hitler in the comedy show Urban Myths, and the bad guy of Marvel’s short-lived Inhumans series, he finally began to break into other roles with the 2019 movie The Dirt, in which he played the role of Mötley Crüe guitarist Mick Mars. His most recent roles have included BBC miniseries Wolf, and Men Up, in which he plays one of the first men to trial the drug that would become Viagra.

Over the years, there have been many actors who have been typecast due to their looks, their physical stature or simply their ability to strike fear into the hearts of movie audiences. For some, such as romantic leading men Richard Gere and Hugh Grant, this has been the makings of a large part of their career, but others, like Robert Pattinson, have struggled to break away from the shadow of their biggest hits, such as the Twilight saga.

For Rheon, his career certainly was not hurt by his appearance in Game of Thrones, but it seems that he maybe didn’t always end up getting the type of roles he wanted after leaving the show. You can remind yourselves of Ramsay Bolton’s worst moments in the series by checking it out on Max.

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