Conan Stevens, the 7’ Australian stuntman and actor who played Ser Gregor Clegane for the Hand’s Tourney, will no longer be holding the part.
We got wind of this back in early August (as well as the name of his replacement), but waited to see if all this would be officially confirmed. The production is reticent to discuss recasting (and according to our sources, this isn’t the only recasting, although the roles in question are not major) and so HBO hasn’t provided confirmation from its side; however, Stevens has since publicly stated that he is in fact no longer with the production. Stevens has detailed the steps he took to get the role on his site (and in our interview), going all-out, and it clearly opened doors for him as he’s now busy with The Hobbit (which he specifically remarked was an opportunity that came out of Game of Thrones) and also had a speaking role in the second season of Spartacus: Gods of the Arena.
However, unofficially we can say that another 7’ tall actor and stuntman, Welshman Ian Whyte, is taking over the role. Fans who followed the early production may remember him as one of the actors who appeared to have auditioned for the role of Ser Gregor, and then nothing was heard of him. In October, when I visited the set, I learned that Whyte was playing the part of the lead White Walker in the prologue, which only came to be confirmed when that episode aired and he was listed in the credits. Since then, Whyte’s filmed scenes last week as Ser Gregor for this second season, scenes which started up the rumor mill.
Looking at Whyte, he’s very tall, but he’s also clearly a deal leaner than Stevens. Of course, Stevens as Ser Gregor had his bulk greatly enhanced by the armor—a second suit of which a stunt rider used for the jousting scene, and who could tell the difference?—and we’re sure that Simon Brindle and company will be able to give Whyte that same sense of massiveness as the Mountain that Rides.
We’re certainly looking forward to seeing Whyte’s turn… as well as seeing Stevens in next year’s Spartacus, and (especially) as the orc Azog in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit.
Below you’ll find a clip of Whyte being interviewed at Toronto’s Comic Con, in relation to his role as the lead Predator in Alien vs. Predator
In other casting news, Winter is Coming has received confirmation that Fintan McKeown has been cast in the role of Ser Amory Lorch, one of Lord Tywin’s lead foragers who helps bring fire and steel down on the Riverlands. Among many other roles, McKeown appeared as the antagonistic King Odin in the British Merlin series.