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Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

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Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (pronounced "Nikolai") (born 27 July 1970) is a Danish actor. His breakthrough came in the Danish 1994 film Nattevagten (Nightwatch). He is best known for playing the lead roles in the short-lived series New Amsterdam and the television pilot Virtuality, which are available for viewing on Hulu and Veoh. Coster-Waldau began his US film career with his role as Medal of Honor recipient Gary Gordon in Black Hawk Down, directed by Ridley Scott. He has also starred in several other Ridley Scott films, including Wimbledon and Kingdom of Heaven.

Early lifeEdit

Nikolaj says that, as a Dane, his approach to being happy in life is to keep his expectations low and realistic, so he can be pleasantly surprised when he surpasses them, instead of constantly chasing after implausible goals.[1]

Nikolaj said his father was an alcoholic. He died in 1998. Asked if he had a happy childhood, Nikolaj said it was when his father wasn't too drunk, and would play cards or football with him. He said he had a great mother who worked hard to make ends meet for him and his two sisters.[2]

CareerEdit

Nikolaj played a Danish villain in the award winning Norwegian movie Headhunters (Hodejegerne) in 2011, the movie won an Empire award for best thriller, beating Oscar winners Skyfall and Argo.

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau appears in the 2012 horror movie Mama, and the scifi movie Oblivion with Tom Cruise.

Nikolaj noted the irony that when he lost the audition to play the lead in John Carter he felt bad about it, but the film went on to be a massive financial flop, while later the same summer he was cast in Game of Thrones, which became a huge hit.[3]

In Game of ThronesEdit

Coster-Waldau stars in HBO's Game of Thrones as Jaime Lannister. He was announced in the role on 20 August 2009. He was part of the initial starring cast and remains a member of it for the second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth season.

Nikolaj commented on the journey that Jaime goes through with Brienne of Tarth in Season 3:

"I think Jaime is a very honorable man inside and I think he actually recognizes something of himself in Brienne, and it's kind of reawakened. But, I think the years spent in King’s Landing, in that horrible place, has made him a very cynical human being and meeting someone who is almost naïve, but also, just as you said—earnest—is, even though he's not aware of it—and he’s not, [and if he did], he would never admit it—but it does touch something inside of him."[4]

Nikolaj also said what first went through his mind when he found out that Jaime would lose his right hand (in Season 3's "Walk of Punishment"):

"I thought that was like—just amazing. It’s such a horrible thing to happen… If he had to pick a limb to lose, this would be the last one, I’m sure. This is his sword hand, this is what defines him, this is the one thing that he is incredible at… I think he sees himself as a soldier and it‘s very important for him and his identity to be the very best. And it has nothing to do with him being a Lannister and the family money and all the wealth and all that. It’s all about his skill and suddenly that one thing is gone and that’s just so interesting. For me as an actor, I know this is huge because, before this, he has this wonderful, annoying arrogance and wit and fearlessness with people and it’s just interesting what will happen next. And of course, I know what will happen next, but I think that to have a guy who starts in this one extreme and you go to the other, you couldn’t ask for more as an actor, really.[5]

Nikolaj is not left-handed in real life, he is right-handed like Jaime is - thus he shares the physical difficulty his character has in having to work with his non-dominant hand after Jaime loses it.[6]

Personal lifeEdit

Being from Denmark, Nikolaj speaks with a Danish accent in real-life: the upper-class English accent that he adopts when playing Jaime Lannister is not his natural speaking voice, but a conscious part of his performance.

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is married and has two daughters. His wife Nukaaka Coster-Waldau (née Sascha Nukaka Motzfeld) was Miss Greenland in the 1990 Miss Universe competition, and she is of mixed Inuit and Norwegian extraction. Nikolaj enjoys the outdoors, including mountain biking. Once he went fishing alone in southern Greenland's wilds (Greenland is an autonomous country within the realm of Denmark).[7]

Describing the modest attitude he has about his career, in 2015 he said:

Nikolaj: "I know other actors who are at the end of their tether because they live by other people’s opinions, and whether they are living up to the greatness that is expected of them. Which is why you should drop the ego and focus on telling a good story instead."
Question: "Where does that approach come from?"
Nikolaj: "Becoming a father. It’s a shock to the system. You instantly stop being the most important person in the world. Until that point, you worry about your own mortality, but suddenly you’re worrying about someone else’s. That’s scary. You’re not in control anymore. My younger daughter was struck on the head by a horse and had to go to the hospital. She could have died. It was terrible. At the same time, having children is the most wonderful, exhilarating thing you can do."[8]

CreditsEdit

StarringEdit

Season one credits
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 credits
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 three credits
Valar Dohaeris Dark Wings, Dark Words Walk of Punishment And Now His Watch is Ended Kissed by Fire
The Climb The Bear and the Maiden Fair Second Sons The Rains of Castamere Mhysa
Season four credits
Two Swords The Lion and the Rose Breaker of Chains Oathkeeper First of His Name
The Laws of Gods and Men Mockingbird The Mountain and the Viper The Watchers on the Wall The Children
Season five credits
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 credits
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

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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