One of the stars of HBO’s upcoming “House of the Dragon” is revealing he was hit with racist backlash after being cast in the hugely anticipated “Game of Thrones” spin-off.
Steve Toussaint — who plays Lord Corlys Velaryon, a.k.a. the Sea Snake, a descendent of Old Valyria (just like the Targaryens) and the wealthiest man in Westeros — opened up about being blindsided by racism after the casting announcement.
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“I didn’t realize [the casting] was a big deal until I was racially abused on social media,” Toussaint told The Hollywood Reporter.
“Yeah, that s**t happened,” he confirmed. “I was just like, ‘Oh wow,’ and then I thought, ‘Okay, so this means a lot to some people, but I can’t allow that to bother me.’”
While Toussaint was a big fan of “Game of Thrones”, he’s adamant that any TV series “still has to reflect a world,” even one set in a fantasy world.
“I loved ‘Game of Thrones,’ but my only caveat was, ‘Where’s everybody else in this world?’” he explained. “Because it’s a diverse world [George R.R.] Martin has created if you look [beyond Westeros], and I think this show comes closer to that.”
According to Ryan Condal, showrunner on “House of the Dragons” alongside Miguel Sapochnik, diversity was something that was part of the show’s fabric from the beginning.
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“We knew from the outset that we wanted to change that conversation,” Condal told THR. “The world changed a lot between 2011 and 2021 and [so did] what audiences expect to see on camera. The conversations Miguel and I had were: How do we create a diverse cast for ‘House of the Dragon’ but still do it in a way that feels organic to the world and doesn’t feel like pandering or tokenism — and also have them not be pirates, slaves and mercenaries like you tend to see in high fantasies?”
Condal’s words echo an earlier interview with Entertainment Weekly in which he insisted it was “very important” that “House of the Dragon” isn’t a show about “another bunch of white people.”