Game Of Thrones star Kit Harington, who is filming his final scenes on the last season of the series, will share the stage with Johnny Flynn in a new production of Sam Shepard’s True West, opening in the West End this winter.
The play — the tale of two brothers locked in a titanic battle — will run for a season at the Vaudeville Theatre from November 23.
Harington will play the seemingly strait-laced Austin, a screenwriter researching a film set in the Old West.
Kit Harington (left) will share the stage with Johnny Flynn (right) in a new production of Sam Shepard’s True West
Flynn (scorching in Martin McDonagh’s acclaimed play Hangmen) will play his unstable elder brother, Lee, who pushes him to a psychological breakdown.
Harington told me that by the time the last of Game Of Thrones reaches TV screens, he will have spent close to ten years playing Jon Snow.
He said his theatre career got ‘whipped away from me’ when the show turned into a record-busting juggernaut. But he has made great friends through it, too; and met Rose Leslie — the actress who will soon become his wife — on set in Belfast.
‘I’m incredibly excited about getting married,’ he told me.
Harington revealed that with ‘the final scenes being shot’ he has become ‘a bit of an emotional wreck’.
‘I’m not someone who cries very easily, but I keep bursting into tears. We’ve all spent nine, nearly ten years together, and the final goodbye is more than a hug.’
While grateful for the success Game Of Thrones has given him, he said he never set out to pursue fame.
He did two plays after leaving Central (Royal Central School of Speech and Drama) — War Horse and Posh — and assumed he would have a mainly stage career. (He did an ‘out there’ Doctor Faustus a couple of years ago).
He insisted that he’s ‘in something that’s famous . . . it’s not me that’s famous!’
Although both Harington and Flynn have friends in common, they’ve never met, but are looking forward to doing so when rehearsals begin in the autumn with director Matthew Dunster.
Flynn told me he sees his character, Lee, as the embodiment of the rough and ready West. But Lee soon trades in his louche ways, when he discovers the kind of money his brother, Austin, is being paid to write about the American West for a film.
The actor, whom I tracked down in Bogata, Colombia where he’s working on a BBC radio documentary series, said he was taken by the power of Shepard’s writing and the play’s social-political subtext.
He also wanted to work with Dunster (who directed him in the McDonagh play) again.
‘It’s the poetry of Shepard’s words that grabs you,’ he said. ‘He brings the American landscape alive.’
He said he was struck, too, by ‘how explicit’ Shepard — who died last year — was in his notes in the script. ‘His notes about how the set is dressed and what the cast wear intrigued me.’
Flynn had a conversation with Mark Rylance, who was in Matthew Warchus’s London production of the play in the early Nineties. ‘Mark said it was amazing to do.’ Flynn is writing original songs for the Vaudeville show. Later, he’ll be seen in Vanity Fair on TV, and in an episode of the BBC dramatisation of Les Miserables.