Kit Harington may have risen to fame as Jon Snow in Game of Thrones and be about to star as a seventeenth-century religious zealot in Gunpowder, but he’s had his fill of historical dramas.
“I’m personally done now with medieval in the 1600s,” he told press yesterday (October 15) at the launch of his new series Gunpowder, which depicts the story of the so-called “gunpowder plot” to blow up London’s Houses of Parliament and kill King James I in 1605.
The series also stars Sherlock‘s Mark Gatiss, The Leftovers‘ Liv Tyler and Ozark‘s Peter Mullan in its tale of the run-up to the failed plot, with Downton‘s Tom Cullan playing its most famous member, Guy Fawkes.
According to Digital Spy, Kit then added: “Why I would ever desire to film in cold, muddy places on horses, I have no idea. It must be some desire that’s built into me from a past life, I think.”
That’s fair enough. They don’t have to deal with mud or horses on Downton Abbey.
That “past life” he’s referring to is the real-life Robert Catesby, the mastermind behind the plot who was executed alongside his fellow co-conspirators shortly after their plans were discovered. Not only does Kit play him in Gunpowder, but he’s also related to him as well.
“I suppose I want to avoid the term ‘passion project’,” Kit explained, “but the idea spawned from a piece of family curiosity, which is that my mother’s maiden name is Catesby, my middle name is Catesby… and it was always the thing that we were told, growing up, that we were related to the leader of the gunpowder plot.”
The plot has particular significance in the U.K. and is still commemorated every November 5 with fireworks and bonfires, though its historical context and the background of religious persecution that led to the conspiracy is less well-known.
“It’s such a significant piece of typically English folklore and we mark it every year… it just seemed odd to us that it hadn’t been dramatized, so that’s where the idea spawned from – from a family connection, but more from the fact that it seemed like an idea that was quite ripe for doing.”
The three-part series will start airing in the U.K. from Saturday (October 21), just in time for the next celebrations, and we’ve got our fingers crossed for a U.S. release soon thereafter.
As for Kit, he may have had it up to here with costume drama, but there are some advantages to playing a seventeenth-century religious fanatic.
“I think [the role of Robert] fit quite well with me not being able to cut my hair!” Kit quipped, referring to Jon Snow’s equally shaggy locks. He’s due to get back into the role of the White Wolf, as filming for Game of Thrones‘ eighth and final season starts this month.
And after that? Well, don’t expect Kit’s next role to be a gritty modern-day drama, however; he’s not jumping that far ahead in time just yet.
As he explained: “Moving forward, [I’d like] something with guns! Just move my way slowly more modern, century by century.”
You heard it here, folks. Next up: Kit playing an eighteenth-century dandy.
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