Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Ryan Neal
Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: RidiculouslyExtraordinary. Posted by Ryan Neal
Batman Begins, Mandy, 31
Currently Known For:
Game of Thrones
1994 - Present
November 30, 1964
Batman Begins, Mandy, 31
Most actors would do just about anything to be part of one major franchise, but veteran actor Richard Brake has been part of several at this point. He’s bounced around between the United States and Europe, becoming involved in some very memorable roles as a supporting actor. Now in his 50s, you might not recognize Brake when you first see him, but you’re likely to remember a lot of his roles that he’s had during his long career, which has included a brief spot in “Game of Thrones”.
Brake isn’t originally from the United States but spent almost all of his youth in the country. Brake was born in Ystrad Mynach, Wales, and wasn’t even yet old enough for school by the time his family moved to Atlanta, Georgia. After bouncing around several states through his youth while also training in acting, Brake had gone to Duke University. Afterward, Brake furthered his acting studies by training at classes in both London and New York City before finally making his screen debut at nearly 30 years old after spending some time on stage.
The first role for Brake came on television in 1993 when he had a brief cameo appearance on the show “Jeeves and Wooster”. After that, it would take more than a decade for Brake to return to television as he had become more involved in film. During the 1990s, Brake appeared in films that included “Death Machine” and “Deus Volt”, but in 1997 had gotten away from the acting scene for a bit.
Then, in 2003, Brake returned to acting in a big way. It was then that he took on a role in the film “Cold Mountain”, and over the course of the first decade in the new millennium had been part of some major film franchises. This included “Batman Begins”, “Halloween II” and “Hannibal Rising”, all of which had familiar starring characters. Other films from this era included “The Black Dahlia” and “Doom”. Meanwhile on television, Brake had guest roles in films that included “Mob City”, “The Deep” and “Above Suspicion”.
In 2014, Brake became part of the popular “Game of Thrones” series when he joined on in a small role during one of the more interesting story arcs with the White Walkers. Brake was cast as the Night King for the fourth and fifth seasons, one of the more legendary characters that the show has produced. The leader of the Army of the Dead is an intimidating figure, making for a formidable foe for the likes of Jon Snow.
Brake auditioned for the role just like many other actors would have done. While the character appeared to be created from CGI, it was actually mostly makeup that had Brake sitting in the chair for hours on end to transform into the Night King. He called the makeup process “torture”, but added that it was “worth it.” “I loved the episode and playing the character,” Brake added. “I’m very proud of it. It’s an amazing show that has resonated with so many people.”
However, as the Night King returned for the sixth season, Brake didn’t reprise his role. As he was doing other work, Brake was replaced by Vladimir Furdik. It wasn’t immediately noticeable for some of the fans as the makeup made them look almost identical. Because of that, not many fans knew that the actors were even swapped out at first.
Furdik had been a stuntman on the show prior to becoming the Night King, saying that after Brake left, the showrunners “asked if I’d play the Night King for seasons six through eight. I never asked why. Maybe they were happy with what I did in season five.”
While Brake was incredibly busy as an actor before “Game of Thrones” even started, he’s become even more busy ever since. Shortly after the series kicked off, Brake appeared in several films that included “Water for Elephants” and “The Incident”. A couple of years later, Brake joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe by playing a small role in “Thor: The Dark World”, and then had roles in popular films like “Kingsman: The Secret Service” and “Spy”. More recently, Brake has starred in films such as “Mandy” and “The Sisters Brothers” with several films coming up like “3 from Hell” and “The Rhythm Section”.
Brake has also added a lot of credits to his television career. He’s appeared in guest spots for a single episode in shows such as “Beowulf”, “Grimm”, “Peaky Blinders” and “Hawaii Five-O”. He then added recurring roles recently with “Ray Donovan” and “Absentia”, and in 2018 became part of the cast of “The Royals”. Brake always seems to have a job going on, even if it doesn’t mean he’s in the starring role.
Even though the Night King would’ve likely been Brake’s most recognizable role, it’s still not the favorite that he’s had so far. Instead, he says that favored role belongs to the film “Perfect Skin”. “I’m very proud of it,” he said. “I often play characters that are incredibly damaged, shall we say.” These are the types of Brake likes to play, and something that we can expect from him in the future.
As for the Night King, Brake did get to enjoy his brief stay on “Game of Thrones”. “I’ve been having a great time,” he said while still in the role. “I just found that place (as the character). I’ve been playing characters in that world pretty much most of my career so I don’t find it very difficult to find something in there and I just let it be and somehow hope that that would be projected onto the screen.”