House of the Dragon star says he ‘literally forgot how to act’ in his first scene

·2 min read

Fabien Frankel was a bit anxious ahead of his first scene in Game of Thrones prequel, House of the Dragon.

The actor, a relative newcomer despite a recurring part in BBC One’s The Serpent, plays Ser Criston Cole in the new HBO fantasy drama – a knight charged with protecting princess Rhaenyra Targaryen.

On The Official Game of Thrones Podcast: House of the Dragon, released Monday (12 September), Frankel recalled being “bitterly nervous” on the first day of filming.

Frankel said he was looking around at the rest of the cast, which includes Matt Smith, Paddy Considine and Eve Best, and thinking “they’ve made a mistake, it’s not possible that I’m here”.

The actor said they were filming a “big group scene” and the directors were going from one close-up to another on the stars who were “knocking them out of the park”.

“The camera finally got around to me,” Frankel recalled, “and I swear to God I literally forgot how to act. I couldn’t do it! I didn’t know what to do.”

Milly Alcock and Fabien Frankel in House of the Dragon (Ollie Upton/HBO)
Milly Alcock and Fabien Frankel in House of the Dragon (Ollie Upton/HBO)

Frankel said that all he had to do was roll his eyes for the scene but nerves rendered him totally incapable.

“I remember going, ‘This is it, I’ve totally f***ed it’,” he said.

Frankel said he hoped that no one would notice that he was botching his scene, however, he then saw showrunner Miguel Sapochnik marching through “250 background artists” to ask him, “Fabien, what’s up? What’s going on with your face?”

“It was just the worst f***ing experience of my life,” the actor concluded, laughing.

Previously on the podcast, Smith said that he sought to make his character, the show’s resident bad boy Prince Daemon Targaryen, more “delicate”.

“I wanted to make it slightly more delicate, fragile. I think he’s quite a fragile creature,” Smith said.