Kit Harington: Game Of Thrones was the best schooling for the pressures of the MCU
He says time in Game Of Thrones prepped him for Marvel, loves not being the centre of attention
No superpowers? No problem.
Kit Harington may well be the only lead of Marvel's Eternals to portray someone not blessed with a special ability, unless you count great hair, but that does not faze the English actor.
Opening in cinemas here tomorrow, the film may centre on the 10 titular ancient beings who find themselves "reactivated" in order to protect the planet, but Harington's character is not one of them.
Instead, he plays the human boyfriend of Eternal Sersi (Gemma Chan).
Harington, 34, told The New Paper: "Dane Whitman is a stand-up, nice guy. There is a bit of mystery about him, but there is also something a bit special in that he finds out that his girlfriend is thousands of years old, and he is pretty cool with it."
Speaking to reporters last Friday during a virtual round table, Harington said that while Dane does not display any superpowers in the film, the job had its perks.
He said: "There were many upsides for me. They filmed my scenes (on location in the Camden area of London) 20 minutes from my home.
"So I got to roll out of bed and turn up on the set."
He added: "I got a really fun character I liked, and I liked not being the centre of attention."
After all, Harington has already been there, done that.
He is most famous for his role as one of the best-known heroes in modern pop culture, Jon Snow from the hit TV fantasy series Game Of Thrones (He is also reunited in Eternals with Richard Madden, his Game Of Thrones brother Robb Stark).
Harington said: "I have spent nine years on a show where I was the centre of attention and here I get to play a more light-hearted character."
Not being the focal point also meant his workload was light.
"It was a pretty cushty gig. I only needed to film for the last two weeks, so when I turned up, everyone looked exhausted."
Eternals writer-director Chloe Zhao, who was in the interview, chimed in: "We were so glad when he turned up. Fresh energy!"
Eternals is the 26th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), but recently made headlines for being the lowest-rated Marvel film on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, with a score of 59 per cent.
For both Zhao, a director of indie films used to autonomy whose Nomadland won Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director earlier this year, and Harington - coming off Game Of Thrones - the question was whether they had any fear over joining such a huge franchise.
One that not only requires a level of secrecys but also faces the potential for fierce criticism. Harington said that rather than fear, he felt more prepared.
"Nine years on, Game Of Thrones could not be better schooling for going into the MCU, and I tried to go into this in as relaxed a manner as possible."
A fiercely loyal fanbase can turn ugly should things not go the way envisaged, which happened on the divisive final season of the show.
Harington said: "With the experience I had, it is good to keep some perspective. To turn up and do your job to the best of your ability. To try and separate yourself from some of the hype surrounding it."
He added: "You can run into difficulties if you blur your work life with your personal life, especially in our industry. So it's daunting, but if you keep perspective, you'll be all right."
Zhao, 39, impressed with Harington's answer, said: "This is why he is so good at keeping things spoiler-free. Secrets just come out of me left and right."
He admitted with a laugh: "She keeps trying to get me to spoil things." And Zhao countered: "That's because he has this Game Of Thrones oppression. Free yourself a little bit."
Getting slightly more serious, she continued: "I hope that for every film I do, that I enter knowing almost nothing and walk away knowing a little more.
"Every film is a risk, it is all relative, but I just want to go through the fire every single time. That is the only way to grow as an artist."