Eugene Michael Simon (born 11 June 1992) is a British actor. He is best known for playing the younger version of Ben-Hur in the 2010 mini-series and the younger version of Casanova in the 2005 TV series.
In Game of Thrones
In Game of Thrones he is playing the role of Lancel Lannister. He was confirmed in the role on 16 July 2010. He initially appeared as a guest star in the first season and returned in this role for the second season. He did not appear in either Season 3 or Season 4, but reprised his role of Lancel in the fifth and sixth seasons.
On Lancel becoming a religious fanatic and joining the Faith Militant in Season 5, Simon said:
- You have to ask yourself, 'Why would Lancel become such an oppressive figure?' He was a relative underdog before. I think Lancel had that experience at Blackwater where he came close to death, and no one was there for him. He didn't come from destitution and poverty — he came from emotional destitution. Total loss, and complete perdition, and no sense that anyone in the world is on his side. And then along comes this miraculous figure under the skin of Jonathan Pryce, the High Sparrow, to save him. He was offered an answer that became the answer to everything, because that's what totalitarian religion does. It's sort of pure and righteous, but righteous is the most dangerous word in the English dictionary. So I think Lancel has numbed himself to the pain of others, under the belief that what he is doing is good for them on another level, on a spiritual level. That's what's so frightening about him and people like him, because you can't reason with that frame of mind."
Simon explained that, in order to show how Lancel is a tougher character when he returned in Season 5, he gained about 40 pounds (18 kilograms) of muscle mass compared to what he weighed back in Seasons 1 and 2, which he achieved through a combination of parkour, cardio, weights, and boxing. This was to contrast with Lancel's initially meek and foppish appearance at the beginning of the TV series.
Simon also explained the change in Lancel's physical appearance during an interview with Vulture.com. The idea is that Lancel stopped trying to maintain a refined and wealthy appearance, instead switching to the homespun cloth robes of the other penitents, and he is also barefoot like them. Because Lancel used to have long attractive hair, he now simply cuts it short without styling it, i.e. if he previously wore his hair short but neatly cropped, he would have switched to wearing it long and unkempt to show that Lancel doesn't care about his appearance anymore - but Lancel already had long hair, so they did it the other way around.
Similarly, Simon explained that he got the idea that to show how little Lancel cares about his physical appearance, he intentionally grew out his own fingernails for three months without cutting them. When Lancel is having the Seven-Pointed Star carved into his forehead in episode 5.4 "Sons of the Harpy", the character grips the wooden arm of his chair in pain so hard that his nails break. For this shot, Simon weakened the long nails on his right hand by discretely cutting vertical lines into them, to make them break when he gripped the handle very hard. Simon's fingernails are actually breaking and bleeding in this shot, on-camera, with no props. As he said, "I put my hand on the side of the wood, I squeezed, and my nails broke. And we got the shot! It's used in the footage, my actual nails being broken. It was so worth it!"
Simon said that an unfortunate side-effect of this happened in the preceding episode, "High Sparrow": when the Sparrows burst into the brothel and Lancel drags the old High Septon out onto the street naked, he accidentally ended up unintentionally gripping him so hard that his long nails cut the other actor deep enough to draw blood. After the shot was done he looked down at his hands and at the other actor's bloody ribs, and realized he had his blood under his nails.
Due to his commitment to method acting, because Lancel is a barefoot penitent starting in Season 5, Simon also doesn't wear shoes between takes (other actors playing Sparrows/Faith Militant will put shoes or slippers on between filming due to how cold it is on set).
|Season One appearances|
|Winter Is Coming||The Kingsroad||Lord Snow||Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things||The Wolf and the Lion|
|A Golden Crown||You Win or You Die||The Pointy End||Baelor||Fire and Blood|
|Season Two appearances|
|The North Remembers||The Night Lands||What is Dead May Never Die||Garden of Bones||The Ghost of Harrenhal|
|The Old Gods and the New||A Man Without Honor||The Prince of Winterfell||Blackwater||Valar Morghulis|
|Season Five appearances|
|The Wars to Come||The House of Black and White||High Sparrow||Sons of the Harpy||Kill the Boy|
|Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken||The Gift||Hardhome||The Dance of Dragons||Mother’s Mercy|
|Season Six appearances|
|The Red Woman||Home||Oathbreaker||Book of the Stranger||The Door|
|Blood of My Blood||The Broken Man||No One||Battle of the Bastards||The Winds of Winter|
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