'Game of Thrones' Season 4: Michiel Huisman says Daario is different, and that's OK

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Michiel Huisman might be a new actor on "Game of Thrones" in Season 4, but he's playing a familiar character. The "Nashville" star replaced Ed Skrein as Daenerys Targaryen's new ally Daario Naharis in between Seasons 3 and 4, and his character has a very different look than the previous iteration.

According to Huisman, that was never a cause for concern with showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. They felt that the introduction of Daario 2.0 in the show is clear enough that the audience will be able to figure out quickly who he is, and Huisman agrees. Zap2it spoke with Huisman recently about his introduction to the series and what viewers can expect in Season 4 and beyond.

Zap2it: What was your relationship with "Game of Thrones" before you came on the show?
Michiel Huisman: I had watched a lot, but there were a few gaps. After I got cast, I started with a clean slate. I started watching it again; I binged [the first three seasons] in like a week just to really get a good understanding of the storylines and the world that "Game of Thrones" is.

Have you had a chance to read the books?
No, no. There was just no time. I got cast, and two months later I was on set. There was no way I was going to be able to prepare and read the books. There are so many ways to find out, if you want, to find out more than what's written in the scripts. Just go online and research storylines that are in the books; that was very helpful.

The character of Daario looks very different in the books with his blue hair and gold-tipped mustachios. Since you guys were sort of starting over from what Ed did in Season 3, was there any discussion of having your Daario look more flamboyant?
No, there were never any discussions of that sort. I think, obviously, the show follows the books, but it's not the books. It's the show. So no, it was very clear that there was no way, I think. Daario in the books even has a blue beard -- no. That character's translated to the TV show. And I don't think they ever considered a blue beard, just because he can be described in the book and you can have the image of the character and that's one thing, but then when you see on a TV show this brutal guy [ laughs], this tough guy with a blue beard, it might not work. You know what I mean?

Even in the book it didn't always work, in my opinion.
[ laughs] Blue? Really?

Speaking of the look, were you and David and Dan ever concerned that viewers might not realize that this is the same character as Daario in Season 3?
Um, no, because ... I don't know. I think it's just very cleverly written and very clear from the very first episode that I'm Daario. I think that's not a concern.

How in this season does Daario challenge Daenerys' existing relationships with the men in her life -- Jorah, Barristan and Grey Worm?
Daario is a very direct character, and doesn't necessarily tread lightly where other characters might be a little more politically correct when dealing with their leader. That's a little challenging for Dany.

In the books, Daenerys' thoughts on Daario are very obvious because we get her perspective. Since we won't get that in the show, can you tease how their relationship evolves?
[ Pauses] I think that's one of the things that will be exciting to see where it goes to. By the end of last season, we know that there's tension and that's it. I don't really what to say about it without giving anything away. I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens there.

Also, I heard a few months back that if and when "Game of Thrones" gets picked up for Season 5, you'll be made a series regular . Congrats on that!
Thank you.  

"Game of Thrones" Season 4 premieres Sunday, April 6 on HBO.
Photo/Video credit: HBO