Photos of Conan in Movies

The Training Of Gregor Clegane

Friday, 06 August 2010

I have now been in Belfast for 4 days, most of the time sitting in my hotel room, trying to work on my new book (yes I know I was supposed to finish it already, but there were some other issues that took priority ).

The incredible life of an actor includes me going to the gym and then sitting in front of my laptop eating a can of baked beans and a tin of sardines ( combined 40g protein, 38g carbs and some good fish oils), or chicken sandwiches or instant noodles with a tin of tuna mixed in, or fruit and natural yoghurt, or oatmeal and milk, you get the picture - stuff you can eat without cooking.

I'm in a nice hotel, I've got a daily food allowance, I'm getting paid - why the heck am I eating like a self supporting University student? 

And for more on meeting Jason Momoa and Rory McCann and Gregors armour read on...


Three reasons:

  1. I'm a cheap bastard and compared to home (Thailand) Restaurant meals seem VERY expensive here
  2. This is the only way I can control my exacting food intake requirements (fats/proteins/carbs in the correct ratios at the correct timings) to maintain my physical condition
  3.  I eat every 2 hours and I could not afford to eat 8 restaurant meals a day without going through my allowance and digging deeply into my pay which I may have to live off for 1 month? 3 months? 12 months? 24 months? Who knows when my next job will be as an actor will be

Sounds like fun huh? This is why many actors prefer to stay at value, or budget hotels instead - the meals aren't as expensive.

On that note what the heck is "Turn Down Service". A hotel employee knocks on my door each night and asks if I want "turn down service". After the first two nights of just saying "no", I did a search and found out what it actually is. The employee comes into your room, pulls the blankets back, maybe leaves a chocolate mint or some such on the pillow (sticky sugar just before sleep - tooth decay anyone?), maybe checks if you need fresh towels (what since lunch time?) and then wishes you a good night and leaves.

Are some people that incapable of looking after themselves? I mean I haven't been tucked into bed since I was a little kid and I am not about to let some stranger tuck me now I am a grown man.

Training. Today at the gym near the hotel there was a rather tall guy who was fairly well built, I noticed him as soon as I walked in. He was training hard and I was getting pumped having someone else in the gym making a serious effort.

About 15 minutes into my workout he asks if he can train in with me on the lat pull down machine, I notice he has an American accent - very different from the Irish accent. After his set I ask him if he is here on holiday or work. He looks at me "You're Clegane, Rory's brother", as he recognises my character. I reply "You're Jason right" - yes.

Jason Momoa, Khal Drago - the character that I auditioned for in the Game Of Throne Pilot , he got the part. Jason also plays Conan in the new Conan movie shot in Bulgaria recently. Pretty cool huh? I met the new Conan and we had a good chat. Jason is a really cool guy, unfortunately comparing proposed schedules our paths probably won't cross again on this project, but for sure in future.

After training I went to some sword fighting choreography with fight choreographer Buster Reeves and his stunt team... and guess who I should meet on the street? The Producers David Benioff and D B Weiss and introduced ourselves and had a quick chat.

2 minutes later on the street I run into Rory McCann, Sandor "The Hound" Clegane, who plays my brother in the series. Anyone whohas read the books know these characters are supposed to pretty much hate each other.

Rory and I had a quick chat out the front of the training centre, he'd just been in training with the guys and was rather excited about the whole show, as I am. In fact my natural high right now would be getting pretty close to a policeman stopping me and searching me "on suspicion". Rory and I parted with the promise to catch up for for a quite beer at some stage. Always good to have a friendly rapport with someone swinging a metal sword at your head.

Then it was my turn in training and we rehearsed a sword fight, that should be absolutely brutal when we are going at it 100%. And like in a good Pro-Wrestling match the fight styles will help the audience know the characters personalities.

Buster and his team were great to work with and in only an hour they felt confident enough to film me to show production. On the way out Buster said that it is good having someone co-ordinated to work with. Personally I think it was less to do with co-ordination and more to do with familiarity with fight choreography from wrestling and with the weapons from my time with the SCA.

What a good day.

Everyone has been great to work with, one of the concierge guys stopped to talk about Bangkok Adrenaline - which stunned me because he knew quite a bit of the story behind it -as in he has read my site rather thoroughly. the drivers have been fantastic, one fellow organised a microwave oven for me to use in my room. Awesome - hot food! (besides eggs boiled in the coffee pot.)

The Irish people in Belfast, are great, like I remember people being in Australia when I was young. Helpful, friendly, talkative, a sense of well being really.

Best yet there is a Big And Tall mens shop right near the hotel - shoes! The biggest selection of my sized shoes that I have ever seen. F! YES! I get to replace all my worn out shoes. 

Yesterday I went in for an armour fitting, this is my first time to see the armour and the costume guys had it set up on a clothes rack so that when I walked into the trailer is was in my face. Awesome. Trying it on I have to say that the costumers know what they are doing and have designed the outfit to suit Gregor Clegane and to make him (me) look terribly intimidating. I thanked the costume guys for doing me such a big favour and getting the "cut" right and using a couple of visual tricks to make me look more intimidating. It really is good working with true professionals who take obvious pride in their good workmanship. And  Itell you what having armour made for you is a heck of a lot easier than sewing, stitching, cutting, riveting your own armour (as I did in the Society for Creative Anachronisms).

Monday I go to "intensive horse riding lessons" with a famous horse riding stunt team, great! I feel nervous/excited. Nervous if I think about getting on the horse and not being able to get it right before the end of the week - negative thinking, so I'll ignore that. Excited to know that by the end of next week I will have worked with one of the best horse stunt teams in the world, received training from them and will again be able to again list horse riding as a skill that I have. That sounds better. Even better a very good mate lives less than an hour away from the hotel I'll be staying at for this. Can I say AWESOME any more in one blog post?

Soon with all this stunt training and major film footage I think I might apply to become an accredited stuntman back in Australia, it'll add nicely to my Acting Biography and again show everyone who reads it that I am a serious actor trying to advance my career.

Last thing before I sign off today, it just hit me. In other films I have worked in there have always been a star or two or three involved in the film, and I almost always worked directly with them. In this it seems that everyone acting is a star or veteran actor with so much experience that I feel like the complete newbie on set.

It is nice and an honor for me to be invited to work at this level. This show really is going to put a rocket up the butt of my career, it is about to take off.

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