It’s quite possible that when Bran Stark logs onto his Three-Eyed Raven tree, he sometimes gets glimpses of an alternate reality in which one of the familiar faces from from the Game Of Thrones universe looks an awful lot like Brian Cox. The Scottish actor revealed in a recent interview with Vodzilla that, in the early days of hit HBO fantasy series, he was offered a role. “Stupidly, I turned it down in the early days because they didn’t pay enough money,” Cox confided to the online video-on-demand magazine. “Now they have more money. And I was silly. I was silly, it was silly, because I’m a complete addict now. But I don’t know what I could play.”
It’s unknown exactly which character he might have played, but the red witch Melisandre seems like a long shot. A better guess would be Stannis Baratheon, the would-be King of Westeros. That’s assuming he was approached by the producers after the first season. If it was really early on, he could have even played Jeor Mormont, former Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch (the role actually went to his Braveheart co-star James Cosmo).
To make matters worse, Cox—who refers to himself as a “great Game Of Thrones fanatic”—now has to watch all of his fellow gravitas-laden acting buddies stepping into Westerosi characters left and right and then cashing HBO paychecks down at the bank. “I just watched my friend Ian McShane (Septon Ray), 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!” he joked to the interviewer. “And there was Max von Sydow (The Three-Eyed Raven) 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 (Brynden “The Blackfish” Tully) and Liam Cunningham (Davos Seaworth) and Charlie Dance (Tywin Lannister) is an old pal, being in it, and they had a great time in it.”
Cox says he’s still holding out hope that there might be a quality role (with a sizable paycheck) for him in the show’s final two seasons. “I’m still waiting for the call for Game Of Thrones,” he said, “and if they’ve got more decent money, I’ll be there!”