‘Game of Thrones’ Creators Say They Cast John Bradley in ‘3 Body Problem’ After Seeing Him Flirt in a Belfast Pub

“Not to say that he is quite as much of a dick as Jack, but he’s just wildly funny,” David Benioff says

John Bradley attends the Los Angeles debut of Netflix's "3 Body Problem"
John Bradley attends the Los Angeles debut of Netflix's "3 Body Problem" (Credit: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)

“Game of Thrones” creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss warned Sunday night that fans shouldn’t expect the John Bradley we know and love as Samwell Tarly in their new Netflix series “3 Body Problem” — and that was their goal all along.

Recounting a night out in a Belfast pub while filming “Game of Thrones” some years ago, Benioff told the sold-out crowd at the Los Angeles debut of “3 Body Problem” that they got the idea to cast Bradley as a snarkier, harsher role after seeing him flirt with a tourist.

Benioff said Bradley was “incredibly sarcastic” and dry in his banter, and he and Weiss were inspired.

“He’s nothing like the Samwell that people know from ‘Game of Thrones,’ and we thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be fun someday to work with John and see him play a character kind of closer to the actual John?’”

Benioff, who cocreated the new sci-fi series based on Liu Cixin’s trilogy of books with Weiss and Alexander Woo, quickly clarified that Bradley isn’t quite as cutting as his character, Jack Rooney.

“So not to say that he is quite as much of a dick as Jack, but he’s just wildly funny and we wanted to see, you know, we wanted to see that,” he said.

“3 Body Problem” didn’t just reunite Bradley with the “Game of Thrones” team, either. Also costarring on the series — and present at the Sunday night event in Hollywood — were Jonathan Pryce and Liam Cunningham.

“And then, you know, Jonathan Pryce, if you’re lucky enough to work with Jonathan Pryce once, you live a blessed life in Hollywood” Benioff said. “To get to work with him twice is kind of beyond the pale. So we’re just very fortunate.”

Cunningham, who played Davos Seaworth in 42 episodes of “Game of Thrones,” stars in “3 Body Problem” as Thomas Wade. As Weiss put it, the books the series is based on describe the character as “being 40 years old, devastatingly handsome, resembling Hugh Jackman … so of course, we thought Liam Cunningham immediately.”

“He was the perfect comp,” Weiss said. “Liam is just somebody that we — another one of those people that we just love being around and his work truly speaks for itself. Just looking at everything, not just what he did on our show, but what he’s done far and wide with many of the greatest directors who’ve ever lived. So we were lucky that he agreed to quit the job that he committed to and come join us instead.”

“3 Body Problem” is based on the Chinese novel “The Three-Body Problem” by Cixin. The show’s tagline reads, “Across continents and decades, five brilliant friends make earth-shattering discoveries as the laws of science unravel and an existential threat emerges.”

Benjamin Lindsay contributed to this report.


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