Game of Thrones fans probably did a double take when they noticed that the character Daario Naharis didn’t look like he used to when he was reintroduced in season four of the hit HBO series. Originally played by Ed Skrein in three episodes, the character was recast with Dutch actor Michiel Huisman in the role.
While HBO never commented on the change-up, Skrein said in multiple interviews later that there was more to the story than meets the eye. Ahead of the release of his Transporter prequel film, he told EW, “That’s what been reported in the press but it was a lot more political than that. My plan was to stay with Game of Thrones for the long haul. That was always my plan. I would have loved to. It was a wonderful experience, but politics led to us parting ways. And from there I just said, ‘Okay, look forward, be positive. Keep calm and carry on.’ That’s my mentality when things go well, so I stay grounded and not get to overwhelmed by the hype, and it’s my mentality when the plans change.”
Just a few days before that, he’d told TooFab on camera, “This is a complicated industry and there’s always politics involved. I never really look back. My journey has been unorthodox in many ways. All I do is count my blessings and try to be as present as I can and I’m thankful for every step of this journey.”
And before that he’d told DigitalSpy, “In a lot of ways, I would have loved to have carried on and stayed working on that, because it’s a fantastic TV series. It’s an incredible crew that I worked with. I’ve made a lifelong friend in Jacob Anderson, who plays Greyworm. But the most important thing in my life is my family, so each project is important but only to a point.”
The actor’s portrayal and appearance was vastly different to what Huisman did. While Skrein’s Naharis, who goes on to become a romantic interest to Daenerys Targaryen, was blonde and clean-shaven with long hair, Huisman was dark-haired, bearded, and more brooding.
Skrein went on to star in high-profile projects such as Deadpool, Alita: Battle Angel and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.