Nikolaj Coster-Waldau has finally leaped from the small screen to the silver screen in the leading role of Jacob Harlon in the new film, 'Shot Caller.' The Danish actor most known for his portrayal of Jamie Lannister on the popular HBO series 'Game of Thrones' dropped by BUILD Series to discuss his new film, and a little bit of season 7 of 'Game of Thrones.'
When talking about getting attached to the project, Nikolaj shares, "I met Ric Roman Waugh, the director a couple of years before and we had a really good meeting, but nothing came of it. Then he sent me the script. I read it, and it just blew me away. It moved me, it scared me, and I was like, 'Is this me? Do you want me to play this character?' I wasn't sure. I was worried. Sometimes you get a script then you end up playing the guard."
"We shot the movie in New Mexico two years ago. The reason it has taken so long for the movie to come out which has been killing me was because the studio Relativity went bankrupt. They were to distribute the movie, and we got caught up in that mess." 'Shot Caller' was not the only film that had a delay in distribution due to Relatively Studio's bankruptcy which occurred in 2015.
Films such as 'Kidnap' starring Halle Berry has been one of many projects in distribution hell for it finished principal photography in 2014, but its release got pushed back time and time again. Luckily, it got an Aug 2017 release through newfound studio Aviron Pictures. Thankfully through Saban Films, 'Shot Caller' got to see the light of day.
While conducting his research for his role of Jacob Harlon who is a reasonably nice man but is incarcerated after a tragic accident, Coster-Waldau expressed, "What surprised me the most when I educated myself was how authentic this story was and how real it is. For me to understand how to become that violent, I asked this guy I met who had become a shot caller himself, if he had stabbed someone. I was sorry to ask, but I had to know, and he said, 'Yes. I did. I had to. It was the most terrifying moment in my life. But I knew if I didn't do it, I would've gotten hurt. The thing was with the ones I did it to, that moment the blood started flowing; I felt empowered. I felt in control for the first time from all the time I've been imprisoned.' It made sense in a very dark way, but it helped me immensely to portray this guy because that's kinda what happens to him."
"The thing about this movie what I hope for is to of course you have a great time in a movie theater. It's an exciting, thrilling movie. If you also go, 'can that be real? Can that be the way it works?' That would be great. To further his study Coster-Waldau reveals, "Ric and I went on trips to prisons and met inmates and correctional officers to get the perspective and try to understand whats it like to be inside and that whole thing of being institutionalized and what it does to you."
'Shot Caller' tells the story of a family man is sent to prison after a fatal traffic accident. While inside, he joins a prison gang for protection and becomes more deeply involved in criminal activity. He goes to the extent of killing the current enforcer in jail to protect his family and taking a life term in prison in the process becoming the new enforcer himself.
On to talking about 'Game of Thrones,' Coster-Waldau gave the audience a behind the scenes personal experience of shooting the season 7 episode, 'The Spoils of War' where Jamie Lannister sank down Blackwater Rush towards the final minutes of the episode. Admittedly, Nikolaj says, "It was probably the worst day of shooting in my life. We shot a whole day. It was five meters that I had to float down. I had to equalize all the way down, and of course, I'm wearing this armor so I was going through the murky waters where you can't see anything. It triggered all of my claustrophobia. Safety was paramount though so everyone was really cool."
He goes on about the show by excitingly sharing the news that "Jaime is going to be a dad!" Coster-Waldau explains the reasoning behind Jamie's absence in the episode, 'Beyond the Wall,' which was because, "He's so excited to be a dad that he's decorating the nursery. He's chosen green cause he doesn't want to jump to conclusions. It's all green; he got his baby gown ready. I mean, he is excited."
When asked about if he would want to work with Kit Harrington in some sort of Jon-Jamie showdown, Waldrou responds with questioning, " Why does it have to be a showdown? Would it be nice if they were all on the same side fighting? If all these people could finally go 'Okay maybe we should worry about that guy with the spiky hair and blue eyes.' I think that would be nice. They could fight against a common enemy because why would they fight each other?"