Have you seen this man? If you're a TV fan, you're about to see a lot more of him.
Michiel Huisman, best known for his role as Sonny, a musician on HBO's "Treme," was most recently seen romancing the ladies of ABC's "Nashville" as rock 'n' roll music producer Liam McGuinnis. But Connie Britton's Rayna James had more reasons to run her ex-fling Liam out of town beyond finding him taking advantage of young Scarlett (Clare Bowen): Huisman had two more big TV gigs to do.
For Season 4 of HBO's "Game of Thrones" (premieres Sunday at 9 p.m.), Huisman is stepping in to take over the role of Daario Naharis (Ed Skrein played Daario when he was introduced in Season 3), Daenerys Targaryen's new lover-fighter-swordsman extraordinaire. And he has also joined the cast of BBC America's cult favorite drama "Orphan Black" as Cal, a man who is revealed to have a past with Sarah (Tatiana Maslany) in Season 2 (premieres April 19 at 9 p.m.).
Basically, this one actor is going head-to-head (-to-head) with three of TV's strongest and sexiest leading ladies in the same season. Not bad at all... and he gives good scoop, too.
Keep reading for more on his mysterious "Orphan Black" character, his take on "Game of Thrones'" All Men Must Die tagline this season, and his prediction about who would win in a bar brawl (and who would be decapitated) between Liam, Cal, and Daario.
Could you be a little busier, please? It's insane.
[Laughs.] Yeah, it is. You know, while I was doing it, it all fell into place like a puzzle, beautifully, and it didn't really feel like it was that insane. But now that it's all coming out, it's basically kind of all happening in the same month.
Was there overlap shooting the shows at all?
Well, because "Game of Thrones" shoots in Europe — in Ireland and Croatia, at least for my storylines — that was all kind of in a contained period. There was a little bit of overlap between "Orphan Black" and "Nashville." And now that I'm thinking about it, I was also shooting "Wild" [a movie with Reese Witherspoon] in between. So I was traveling between Toronto, Nashville, and Portland, Oregon.
Having seen you in "Treme," then "Nashville," and now these two new roles, TV audiences might not even be aware that you're from the Netherlands. Which of these TV accents is the hardest to do?
I think the hardest accent for me to do is what I end up trying a lot of times, and it's like some sort of a general American sound. So not Southern and not east coast or west coast, but just a general American sound that no one really speaks actually. [Laughs.] But it works really well for a lot of roles. It's hard for me because I can't really hide behind, for example, a Southern accent. The drawl would give me the opportunity to hide a little bit of my mother tongue, my Dutch accent.
But even harder was probably in the first couple of years… I've been working and living in the U.S. now for five years and, especially in the beginning, I kind of felt like there was a distance between me and the words I was saying just because it was not my mother tongue. I feel after years of working on it endlessly with a great dialect coach, now I'm getting closer to it — I don't have to think about it anymore. It's an awesome feeling. I did not know that I was ever going to get to that point. I'm nowhere near where I want to be — I'll probably never be — but I'm getting more and more comfortable and having more and more fun with it.
Both "Game of Thrones" and "Orphan Black" have pretty huge cult followings. Have you ever been that obsessed with a show as a fan?
You know, there was a show, for the first time ever, that I got like a panic attack if I had to wait for another episode, and that was something I knew people had, but I'd never had before… I had it with "Breaking Bad." I was totally hooked.
Have you had any crazy fan reaction from the Clone Club yet?
No, I can't really say that I have yet, but I do feel that I'm so fortunate to be part of two shows that are coming back on the air this month, both so highly anticipated, and they're both so different. "Orphan Black" started out as a small player, but it found such a strong following. I can tell by the excitement on the set and at the network that it's really picking up. I'm really looking forward to seeing how people respond to this new season.
We don't want to give anything away — Clone Club is a spoiler-free zone! — but what more can you tell us about Cal? We don't meet him until Episode 3, and it's an interesting reveal.
Yes. What I can say is that Cal is involved in Sarah's storyline, and we'll pretty soon find out that they know each other, they've met in the past. He ends up giving Sarah a helping hand.
He also gets to meet Felix, the fan-favorite character played by Jordan Gavaris. What's their dynamic like?
Sarah and Cal turn out to know each other, and that's a total shock and surprise to Felix, who is kind of on the fence about it… it drives a wedge between Sarah and Felix and creates a bit of tension there.
As for Daario on "Game of Thrones," how hard was it to step into a role someone else had already started?
It's tricky, of course, because you want to respect the audience — they've invested in another actor playing the role, and all of a sudden, there's a new actor playing it, so I hope they accept it. But as far as preparing for the role, I kind of got the freedom to create my own version of the character. So I made sure I was aware of whatever the character had gone through last season, but then I just started all over.
What can you tease about Daario this season and his relationship with Daenerys?
He is pretty forward, and he is completely mesmerized by her, and I think as he's getting more and more comfortable being in her ranks and being closer to her, he will try to push further a little bit and will be direct in ways that not a lot of people around Daenerys are to her. It's going to be cool to see what that does to their relationship.
She's definitely a force. The tagline of the season is All Men Must Die. Does that include Daario?
[Laughs.] You know, it includes all men. I think that in Daario's mind, it's always there in front of his mind: All Men Must Die.
And yet he stays loyal to her, and braves hanging out with her dragons... he obviously doesn't have a lot of fear.
Have we seen the last of Liam McGuinnis on "Nashville"? Rayna James ran him out of town for hooking up with Scarlett — is that really it?
Who knows? Never say never… I can definitely say that he won't be back for the last few episodes of this season, though.
Who would win in a brawl: Liam, Cal or Daario?
[Laughs.] It's going to be really short and very violent, it's going to be over within 10 seconds, and Daario would definitely, definitely be the last one standing, drinking a nice beer while both Cal and Liam would be decapitated. [Laughs.]
"Game of Thrones" Season 4 premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. on HBO; "Orphan Black" Season 2 premieres April 19 at 9 p.m. on BBC America.