PHOTOS: Tammi Tan, HBO
VIDEO: Tay Yixuan
If things go according to plan, we might be seeing Game of Thrones starlet Jessica Henwick, who plays Nymeria Sand, one of the three deadly Sand Snakes in the top TV series, on our local screens.
Since nabbing the role as the daughter of deceased fan favourite Oberyn Martell in the HBO fantasy epic, the 22-year-old half-Singaporean Chinese, half-English actress (the first prominent cast member of Asian descent on the show) has been bombarded with offers for work here.
“A lot of Singaporean directors have been getting in touch with me asking if I want to work with them, which is incredible,” the London-based lass, in town to promote Game of Thrones’ fifth season finale next Monday, revealed to Toggle in an interview yesterday.
However, she is still “just reading scripts at the moment” and was unable to divulge further details. She was equally coy when we tried to dig for more information about her reported casting in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. “What Star Wars rumours?” she questioned with an innocent but secretive smile.
What she could tell us was which Lion City thespians she would love to share screen time with. As we expected, the first name she dropped was George Young, her friend of four years (and whom she had just gotten off the phone five minutes before our chat, according to her). Also in her co-star bucket list are Adrian Pang, Janice Koh and “basically all the cast from (Channel 5’s) The Pupil”.
And what about our island’s beloved Channel 8 A-listers? “I haven’t seen that many Chinese dramas, but I know about the 8 dukes,” said Jessica, who mentioned that she keeps up to date with Singapore showbiz news on Toggle (as well as when we were still xinmsn).
Ah, the 8 dukes. What brilliant timing. In fact, we had showed up to the interview armed with photos of Aloysius Pang, Desmond Tan, Ian Fang, Jeffrey Xu, Romeo Tan, Shane Pow, Xu Bin and Zhang Zhen Huan, intending to get Jessica to select her Game of Thrones leading man from the bunch.
“I can’t believe you brought a picture of the 8 dukes – they’re going to find out about this, how embarrassing!” she exclaimed with a hearty laugh when we brandished the printouts. Nevertheless, she was a good sport and proceeded to thoughtfully scan through their faces.
“All the best leading men in Game of Thrones die, so I’m pretty much picking someone whom I think should be killed off horrifically – oh, that’s awful!” she chuckled, before setting her sights on…Ian Fang (“I saw him on your prank show (Sabo)!” she gleefully declared).
But don’t worry, fans, she did not select him based on the previously stated murderous criteria. “He’s got a bad boy vibe, and Game of Thrones is all about their antagonistic characters. And with Joffrey Baratheon [Ed. note: an insanely evil brat of a king that everyone loved to hate] killed off, there’s a big bad boy-shaped hole in the show that needs to be filled.”
If Ian really were ever to have an appearance alongside Jessica’s character, he would have to brace himself for some lashings. Even after five months of intense training with a bullwhip, Nymeria’s weapon of choice, the spunky starlet admitted to injuring herself and her poor colleagues.
“I think everyone was hit at one point or another,” she said, naming Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (who plays Jaime Lannister) and Rosabell Laurenti Sellers (who plays Tyene Sand, Jessica’s onscreen sister) as examples of her poor victims. “But it’s their fault, because I’m good with my whip and they just walked into its radius! So I can’t be blamed. (laughs)”
Thankfully, we don’t think the injuries are ever anything serious, judging by the way Jessica so light-heartedly recounted the incident and the fact that the actors chill out together – chummily, and in one piece – after work.
“We all gather for dinners but I hang out with Keisha Castle-Hughes (Obara Sand, another of Nymeria’s sisters) and Rosabell the most,” she said. “I’ve also met Emilia Clarke (who plays Daenerys Targaryen) and all the boys at the Wall such as Jon Snow (played by Kit Harington), but I get along with Keisha the best, by far.”
Catch the season finale of Game of Thrones (the same time as the U.S.) on Monday, June 15 at 9am on HBO (StarHub TV Ch 601).