Fans of Ed Sheeran had been eagerly anticipating his cameo appearance in the season premiere of “Game of Thrones”, yet when it actually took place the ginger-haired singer was pilloried throughout social media by those who felt his presence was a distracting bit of “stunt casting” in which a 21st-century pop star stuck out like a sore thumb in the middle of Westeros.
And while all that negativity may or may not have been the reason why Sheeran’s Twitter account mysteriously vanished the day after the episode aired (it subsequently reappeared), one person who doesn’t agree with the criticism is Jeremy Podeswa, director of the episode, titled “Dragonstone”.
“I think Ed did a lovely job — he’s a lovely actor and a lovely person,” Podeswa told Newsweek.
“He was appropriate for the part because he needed to sing,” added the director. “If people didn’t know who Ed was, they wouldn’t have thought about it twice. The hoo-ha seems to be from things that are outside of the world of the show. In the world of the show he did a lovely job, and he looks like he belongs in that world.”
In fact, Podeswa firmly disagrees with charges of stunt casting by placing Sheeran in the role of a singing Westerosi soldier encountered by Arya Stark (self-proclaimed Sheeran super-fan Maisie Williams) in the woods.
“I think people interrogated it too much, they’re bringing so much of his [superstar] presence into the thing which is far beyond what anybody was thinking going into it. He is known to the producers of the show and some of the cast, and he’s a gigantic fan of the show. As everybody knows, the show really eschews stunt casting — it’s never, ever done that,” noted Podeswa.
“I was quite surprised about the reaction actually because I know he’s very well known and a successful singer but you’re in the bubble of the show — the cast are well known too, everybody is really well known… none of them can walk down the street without being followed. You don’t think about that very much in this context,” he continued.
Furthermore, Podeswa maintains that Sheeran was a dream to work with. “He comes with no entourage. There’s nothing connected with him that’s in the least bit self-aware or self-conscious,” he said.
“The only thing I don’t feel great about is that Ed is such a lovely guy and really genuine and down to earth,” Podeswa added. “He came into this with only lovely intentions to come and do a good job and sing well. So I think that’s the only drag.”
Singer James Blunt also came to the defence of Sheeran with one hilarious tweet, recalling the time the “You’re Beautiful” singer appeared on “Sesame Street”.