Steve Toussaint has revealed that he was racially insulted online after being cast as Corlys Velaryon in the upcoming Game Of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon.
The 57-year-old British actor previously starred in Doctor Who, Line of Duty and Death in Paradise.
Speaking to the Radio Times about his starring role in the highly anticipated HBO series, Toussaint said: “When they announced… [my casting]one of the first things i saw on social media was a drawing of the character [from the books] next to a picture of me.
“And then there was the racist abuse that came with it.”
In the George RR Martin books on which the series is based, the Velaryons are described as having fair skin, ghostly pale hair, and purple eyes. In the new series, however, the clan is re-imagined as black nobles with long silver dreadlocks.
Looking back at the reactions from fans of the book series, Toussaint continued: “I was kind of like, ‘Oh, I get it’. When we were criminals and pirates and slaves on the other show, you were okay with that.
“But since this man is the richest… [character] in the show and he is a nobleman, now you have a problem with it.
“In the House of the Dragon” [our colour] is just a given – I quite like that.”
Despite the risk that acknowledging the resistance could make it more widely known, Toussaint said it was important to address it.
“I don’t want this to be my story,” he said. “But I’m not going to deny that it happened. Because it is. It’s out there. And it should never be something that stops someone from doing something they want to do.”
The actor also revealed that he had wanted to be a part of the fantasy franchise for a while. After failing to audition for series five of Game of Thrones, he later hoped to land a role in The Long Night – another prequel series that was later canned.
After Toussaint was offered the role of Corlys, a nautical adventurer known as the Sea Snake, Toussaint felt the earlier failed attempts were meant to be.
He said, “When? [House of the Dragon] came, I felt like I had missed those others so I could be there.”