What are the actors of this hugely popular show doing in order to cash in on their fame? Let's face it, a show like this doesn't come around that often, and careers come and go. For most of these actors, now is the time to reap the rewards. Sure the show is wildly popular, but the cast really aren't reaping the benefits as much as you would expect for many reasons. For example, the show only has 10 episodes, and a cast so big, it's hard to keep track of them all, and once you get to know them, well we all know that in the mythical land of Westeros, it's damn hard to make it to old age. The set is expensive, as well. So the cast although well paid, wouldn't rank on any list of the highest paid TV Actors of all time, which is strange considering this is one of the highest grossing shows of all time. Think about it, Charlie Sheen, Ray Romano and Kelsey Grammar once made $35-40 million per year for their TV shows. The Big Bang Theory stars make well into the 8 digits as well. Are those shows really that much bigger then this one?
The salaries of the top 5 (Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, Emelia Clarke, Kit Harrington), now top 4 actors after Jon Snow was killed, is $300,000 per episode or $2,100,000 per year. Admittedly by season 10, they will be making $1,000,000 per episode if their characters are still alive by then. The rest are reportedly making around $55,000 per episode, not even $1,000,000 per year. We'd all be happy with that money, but this is chump change for Hollywood, and this is the time for these actors to really cash in. The good news for the actors is that filming for Games of Thrones is short, and since none of the actors actually appear in all 10 episodes, they have plenty of time to work on other projects that enhance their portfolio and fame. Some of these actors are appearing in Blockbusters that will surely increase their value. Many others are involved in so many films, that you wonder where they find the time. One thing is for sure, you won't recognize many of these actors in their new films, as they look so different in modern clothing. This list only includes the living characters and their film projects, with Kit Harrington the exception because no one wants to believe that his character is dead.
10 Nikolaj Coster-Waldau - Jamie Lannister in Gods of Egypt (2016)
9 Carice Van Houten - Melisandre (The Red Woman) in Brimstone (2016) and Race (2016)
Carice is currently filming and starring in the French-German-British-Canadian produced biographical sports-drama film called Race. The movie centers around the life of Jesse Owens, the record breaking African American track star who won 4 gold medals in the 1936 Summer Olympics held in Nazi Berlin. This portrayal of Jesse is supported by his family and slated to be released in Canada, The United States and Germany, in 2016. Carice plays Leni Riefenstahl, a famed German actress and director, famous for directing a couple of Nazi propaganda films in the 1930s, with one of those films being Olympia, which documented the 1936 Olympics.
8 Kit Harrington - Jon Snow in Spooks (2015) and Brimstone (2016)
7 Maisie Williams - Arya Stark in The Falling (2015), The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (2016)
Maisie is actually 18 years old, about the same age as the actress that plays her older sister on Game of Thrones. Her character Arya Stark, looks so much younger though. The Falling is another movie released in the UK. It was released in April of this year with a pretty decent Rotten Tomatoes score of 78%. Maisie stars in the movie as Lydia Lamont, a student in an English Girls School set in 1969. It centers around Lydia and her best friend when an epidemic of fainting in the school occurs, with a sub-plot of Lydia's fascination with her best friend's sexual exploration. Admittedly it sounds boring, but critics liked it.
6 Aiden Gillen - Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish in Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (2015), Knights of the Roundtable: King Arthur (2016)
Aiden is starring in the second part of the pretty successful sci-fi action flick Maze Runner. The first movie grossed over $300 million worldwide. The second one is due to be released this week in limited release. Aiden plays one of the main villains, "Rat Man" Janson, the assistant director of the organization that the good guys are fighting, called WCKD. Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials received a very decent 62% Rotten Tomatoes score, with the consensus that it's an action packed rush that is better than the first part in the series.
5 Peter Dinklage - Tyrion Lannister in Pixels (2015), Michelle Darnell (2016) and The Angry Birds Movie (2016)
The star that most people are wondering about is involved in three different films, all showcasing the actor's excellent comedic skills. First off is the Adam Sandler comedy Pixels, released in July 2015. Like all recent Adam Sandler flicks, critics hate it to the tune of a 17% Rotten Tomatoes score, but fans must secretly love it, as it has made over $70 million so far. Not sure if that makes the movie profitable though, as even cheesy effects cost money. The movie is based in the 1980s, as three PacMan playing superstars (one of whom is Peter Dinklage's character Eddie "Fire Blaster" Plant), must save the planet from aliens who mistake the video game as an act of war, and thus invade the planet with artificial PacMans.
Moving on to another comedy that he has finished filming, Michelle Darnell, in which Peter plays the bad guy. The film, directed by Ben Falcone of Bridesmaids, is slated for release in 2016. The story follows Michelle Darnell, a titan of industry who is sent to prison after she’s convicted of insider trading, who then tries to re-brand herself after being released from jail.
Like every cultural phenomenon, Angry Birds is being turned into an animated movie that will be released next summer. Peter Dinklage was hired to be the voice of the Mighty Eagle.
4 Lena Headey - Cersei Lannister in Zipper (2015), Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016)
Lena stars in a political thriller called Zipper, first shown at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this winter and released to a limited amount of theaters in the US, in August, 2015. The film follows a federal prosecutor running for office who cannot stop himself from sleeping with high-class escorts. Lena plays his wife, Jeannie Ellis. Not exactly a critical favorite with a 19% Rotten Tomatoes score.
3 Nathalie Dormer -Margaery Tyrell in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (2015), The Forest (2016)
2 Emelia Clarke -Daenerys Targaryen in Terminator Genisys (2015), Voice From the Stone (2015 ), Me Before You (2016)
Emelia landed the biggest role in film this year out of the entire cast of Game of Thrones, with her portrayal of Sarah Connor in this year's reboot of the Terminator Series, in which the 70 year old Arnold Schwarzenegger reprises his role as The Terminator. Released on July 1st of this year, it became a critic's punching bag to the tune of a 29% Rotten Tomatoes Score. Audiences didn't like it that much either, as it has only made $90 million so far this year on a budget that surely must be more than that.
She also starred in the romantic drama, Voice from the Stone. The film is set in Tuscany, Italy, during the 1950s, and is based on an award winning novel entitled La Voce Della Pietra. Emelia plays a nurse who helps a young boy cope with his mother's sudden death. The film loosely resembles Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca. The film is obscure enough not to have received a Rotten Tomatoes Score.
Her most current project, Me Before You, ended its filming this year and is due to be released in June 2016. Once again she stars in this film about a girl in a small town who takes care of a paralyzed man.
1 Sophie Turner - Sansa Stark in Barely Lethal (2015), X-Men: Apocalypse (2016), Mary Shelley's Monster (2016)
If Emelia Clarke landed the biggest role of any Games of Thrones actor this year, then Sophie Turner has surely landed the biggest of 2016. Sophie plays a young 1980's era Jean Grey, in what is surely to become one of the biggest summer Blockbusters of next year, the ninth installment in the X-Men Series. The 19 year old actress learned archery in preparation for the role as the mutant with telekinetic and telepathic powers that can rival, or even exceed, those of X-Men leader and namesake Professor X.
We will skip the description of Sophie Turner's direct to VOD film Barely Lethal, and go straight to Mary Shelley's Monster. Sophie plays the title Character, who in real life also happens to be the author of Frankenstein. In the film, the author makes a deal with her monstrous alter ego in exchange for literary fame at a high cost. The film's producer Rose Ganguzza, had this to say about the film: “Our film is not a period drama. It is a story of youth that transcends time, a gothic romance, a love triangle that involves a dark passenger". The film is due out sometime next year.
Sources: Winter Is Coming, IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes, Wet Paint, Deadline
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