Actor Isaac Hempstead-Wright, best known for his starring role in Game Of Thrones, was in Canterbury on Tuesday morning to talk to schoolchildren about his new film, his origins in acting, and Spongebob Squarepants.
The 15-year-old television star, who plays Bran Stark in the hit tv show, was showing a group of around 200 schoolchildren from across the district his new film, The Boxtrolls.
Taking questions from the kids after the film, Isaac, who lives in Faversham, talked about acting opposite Sir Ben Kingsley, how his Canterbury acting teacher told him to “just have fun” auditioning for Game Of Thrones, and how much he was paid to be in the film.
“I very much fell into acting by accident”, he told the children “I just went to a local drama group here in Canterbury, and Game of Thrones were doing what’s called an open casting call, which means anybody can go and have a try. And my drama teacher just told me to go up, and have a laugh, it’ll be a good experience to go and have a window into the world of showbusiness. And it just so happens, through a series of coincidences, that I happened to get the part.
“So, it was never really my intention, but I had a wonderful time doing it.
“The reason I did drama was because I loved the game “Bang!” I loved doing that!”
When a fan asked him about his acting heroes, Isaac paid tribute to Nick Frost, Simon Pegg and Richard Ayoade, who all co-starred with him in the film. He even listed Spongebob Squarepants as “one of my heroes”.
Talking about the film Isaac said it had been “fantastic” working alongside the likes of Sir Ben Kingsley and Elle Fanning.
“When I did a recording session with Sir Ben Kingsley, he would refuse to read any lines he hadn’t been sent in advance, because he had read the script so meticulously, and then there I was coming in not even knowing what lines we were doing! It showed quite a different style of line-learning.”
While Isaac spent most of the Q and A session talking about The Boxtrolls, he did acknowledge when a fan asked him, that Game Of Thrones was his favourite project to work on.
“Being a part of this tv show called Game Of Thrones, which none of you should watch because it is far too violent… for a teenage boy to be running around with swords and riding horses has been so cool. I would have paid them!”
Isaac has played Bran in all four seasons of Game Of Thrones shown so far, but one of his co-stars Kristian Nairn, who plays Hodor, revealed earlier this year that their storyline would not feature in season 5, giving them both a year off.
When a girl named Maddy from St Mary’s School in Chilham asked Isaac how much he had been paid for his work, the actor laughed, but said “I don’t think I can answer that!”
Most of the questions were about Isaac’s film The Box Trolls, an animated feature about a young boy (played by Isaac) living underneath a city, with a race of small trolls who live in boxes. It was being shown to the schoolchildren for free, as part of the first national Into Film Festival. The three-week-long event has had free film showings across the UK. This year’s festival reached well over 300,000 children, and drew the support of a range of actors, from Isaac Hempstead Wright, to more experienced actors like Ralph Fiennes and Michael Sheen.
The Into Film Festival is hosted by film and education charity Into Film, which enables children to learn through and about film. Schools and colleges can continue their film learning by setting up an Into Film club by visiting www.IntoFilm.org or calling 0207 288 4520.