TV

‘Game Of Thrones’ star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau on Scandi fads and rescue dogs

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Chris Mandle
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Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

Hi Nikolaj. What are you up to?

I’ve just been to the gym, and now I’m taking the dogs for a walk, then I’ve got to take my daughter to the doctor. It’s just a check-up though, don’t worry.

You’re calling from Denmark – can you describe it to someone who hasn’t been?

It’s not that different to England. We drive on the wrong side of the road from you, though. Our society is built on the Scandinavian welfare model, so there’s a much higher degree of equality. It’s a country made up of islands – 280, I think – so you’re never far from the ocean.

It sounds dreamy. And hygge originated in Denmark, didn’t it?

You’re saying it wrong, but yes. It’s a Danish word. I was at the airport the other day and I couldn’t believe the number of books they have describing hygge to foreigners. It’s very fashionable, or, as my daughters would say, “very fash”.

Is it a bit patronising that people think you’re all chilled out and relaxed?

[Loud noises] Sorry, my dogs were just about to attack someone.

Is everything OK?

We’re fine now.

What kind of dogs do you have?

One is called Miller – I got him in New York. I’m not sure what breed he is. The other is Stella, she’s from Greece. You know how they have Doctors Without Borders? She was from the dog version of that, she was a stray in Athens. She’s just a mix of breeds.

You’re the face – literally – of L’Oréal’s new campaign. What’s the beard situ at the moment? Long, short, non-existent?

I’m shooting the last season of Thrones. Generally speaking, I’m not crazy-hairy, but I have a full beard. Call me Hairy Styles.

Game Of Thrones

Coster-Waldau with his Thrones co-stars Emilia Clarke and Gwendoline Christie

Fans are split on whether they liked your character, Jaime Lannister, with long or short hair. What’s your verdict?

He was due a haircut. Especially after spending two seasons dragged through the mud. There was a big change in the character, so a haircut is a way to signal that.

Bet you enjoyed not wearing the wig any more.

That was no wig, it was all my hair! But there are a lot of wigs in the show, I’ll give you that.

A lot of men can’t grow their hair out, yet it’s very ‘on trend’. Any advice?

It’s easy. Can you not grow your hair out? You will get to that point where you look like an idiot and you decide you can’t do it any more, I suppose.

Do you get sent weird fan mail?

A lot of people know I like football, so I get sent quite a few football scarves from around the world. It’s great. I haven’t experienced anything freaky.

I suppose you’re the show’s resident heartthrob, so your fans must be quite nice.

[Another loud noise] Sorry, there’s a guy at the door, he’s giving me a piece of paper. I’m being very confusing, aren’t I? Anyway yes, people always say to me, “I used to hate you, now I’m kind of rooting for you.” That’s what makes it fun.

What kind of jobs did you do before you got into acting?

I used to work at Netto, the supermarket. They offered me a management position, but I said, “I’m going to be an actor.” They said, “Well, that’s never going to happen.” I guess they were wrong.

Do your kids watch Thrones yet?

No, thankfully not. I remember a couple of years ago I did a movie called The Other Woman and they thought it was disgusting – me basically making out with all these women. And I did A Second Chance where I play a very disturbed man. They found that terrible. They were in tears. It becomes heartbreaking on a whole new level when you know someone very well.

You shot the L’Oréal campaign in Lisbon. Any travel tips?

My advice is to walk as much as you can and take in the city, or grab a bike. Just drink it all in. I actually drove to Lisbon. Beautiful landscape, not at all what I expected.

You sound very much like a true outdoorsy type.

[Increasingly loud noises] Sorry, I’m in the car. We’re on the way to the doctors. Check out the film Shot Caller – it’s out now in England. I’m really proud of that.

Nikolaj is the L’Oréal Paris Global spokesperson for Men Expert

(Images: HBO/Rex)