Hello i am Miltos Yerolemou. I am an actor, you might have seen me recently playing Syrio Forel, 'dancing teacher' to Arya Stark Game Of Thrones HBO
Happy to answer any questions you might have....
hello and thankyou! just to let you all know as there are so many questions i will keep them as brief and to the point so i can get through them all.... i used to fence when i was younger and also trained as a dancer but throughout my acting career i have done a lot of sword fighting and fight choreography and it was a prerequisite of getting the job that i could handle myself with a sword. more than that i had to appear to look like its something i have done nearly all my life
it was an amazing experience working with so many brilliant inspiring actors, the only regret was not doing scenes with them. but maise made up for that because she is so bloody talented!
buster the fight choreographer was so good it was easy, by that point i had been using the sword and learning choreography for a while so it didn't take long plus the stunt men who i fought made me look like i was better than i was, but i made a point of wanting to put i few acrobatic cheeky moves in
who knows if you will see me again as its a secret and couldn't tell you if i was and also my next project that I'm working on is a secret too so sorry i am having to be vague, but you will know soon
Thanks for doing this! I have two quick questions:
As an actor, was Syrio especially fun to play, as he's pretty dramatic and flamboyant, and you can ham it up a little? I mean, he seems to think of himself as a character in a drama.
Also, did you get any coaching or guidance on what exactly a Bravoosi accent was, or did they just let you choose what to sound like?
it was a once in a life time experience to play such a favourite in such a story and yes he is flamboyant and different and that made him fun and a challenge. the balance of the humour in him and his seriousness and combined with his unconventional teaching methods made it so rewarding. the writers and producers just said to me....youre the first person to say braavos so the way you say it will be the way everyone else will have to say it. they gave me free reign but i think they liked the way i used my accent during the casting process so they wanted me to do it like that
Is William Hobbs, the fight director, as awesome as I think he is at his job?
he is a legend, he was my syrio and i used what i saw in him to influence my portrayal of syrio
Were you ever told why Syrio didn't just pick up one of the guards' swords instead of using his wooden one?
just to let anyone i haven't answered i have been typing away for over two hours and i have to go out but i will answer all your questions eventually thanks for your support and thank you for your patience miltos
Could you tell us a fun experience you had on set? I chuckle at the actors finishing a take and then pulling a Blackberry/iPhone out of their medieval garb.
probably maisie teaching me to play fruit ninja and always beating em at it. how ironic
You’ve been subject to scrutiny, stalked just a bit,
and been featured a lot since your role was announced,
so I’m honestly rather ashamed to admit
that I still can’t work out how your name is pronounced.
You’ve got background in theater, clowning, and comedy,
something we’d love to see more of today.
A performance of this would be quite the commodity;
got any clips? Could you send them our way?
When you learned you would only use swords made of wood
did you feel like your character’s being deprived?
If he fought half as well as we know that he could,
is it possible Syrio might have survived?
brilliant you my friend are a genius and i salute you
Yours were some of the best scenes in an amazing show. Thanks!
thank you so much i put everything i could into it, so I'm glad people appreciated it
Who would win in a fight between Syrio Forel and Inigo Montoya?
well he is left handed and right handed so it would be a close run thing. have you seen mandy patinkin in homeland? he is as amazing as ever!
Who is your favourite character?
it has to be tyrion.
The relationship between Syrio and Arya in the books is a very warm master/apprentice relationship (Syrio's lessons guide Arya through the rest of her narrative). What was it like working with Maisie, and how did you go about establishing the interpersonal relationship with her that was so clear on screen (and well done!)
Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions, Mr. Yerolemou. You brought exactly the look, spirit, and skill we were all holding out for. Well done.
working with maisie was a treat, she is so open and instinctive that it makes anyone working with her look better no matter how much more experience the other might have. thats what good actors do... they just play the moment. so building a relationship with her was effortless, it was immediate as the first time i met her i had to teach her all the stuff i had learned in london so in a way it started the syrio/arya story from that moment. we are both dancers so she picked up the choreography easily. i still see her and its always great to see her just taking everything in her stride and growing
You were one of my favorite actors during the first season, and one of the main reasons I picked up the books.
- What was the training like for the show?
- What was an average day on set like for you?
- Do you have any projects you are currently working on?
i spent a few weeks working with bill hobbs the legendary fight director/choreographer who worked on the duelists and nearly everything else you have seen since the seventies. together we found a vocabulary for what the 'water dance' was. the rest was my own imagination and practise then when i met buster reeves he worked out choreography for me to learn and we just practised and practised. it was hard challenging but the most fun i have ever had on a set
Did you spend much time with Jack Gleeson (Joffrey)? I can't decide if he's a brilliant actor or just that much of a dick in real life. I really hope it's the former though.
trust me jack is the sweetest person you are ever likely to meet he apologies to sophie all the time for the things he has to do and always apologies after a take if he has to swear in front of the girls! he is nothing like his character, thats why he is an amazing actor
Is that your natural accent in the show and how good are you at swordplay IRL?
i speak with a british accent, as i was born in london and grew up in the uk, but both my parents are greek cypriot. so my accent was a mixture of southern european and middle eastern, i didn't want it to be specific as syrio was from a made up foreign land
I just wanted to say you did an awesome job playing Syrio. I'm deployed and my fellow soldiers and I constantly quote the "What do we say to the God of Death?" line :). How did you prepare for your role?
the best of luck to you, its inspiring to me and very humbling to know you are doing the real stuff... thank you for that. working with great choreographers and lots of reading on teachers, like bruce lee and then a lot of imagination
I'm gonna go ahead and assume you are greek based on your name, so from a fellow greek girl : happy Easter ! Christos Anesti :)
i am greek and christos anesti! x
Were you able to meet George Martin when working on the show? If so what was he like and did he have input on how the show turned out?
i was really lucky to meet george on set and only last weekend i was with him at Eastercon and had dinner with him and Paris along with gethin (renly) john (sam). it was a lovely time to catch up with old friends
How awesome is Maisie Williams?
super awesome, as an actress and as a human being
Loved your accent, please make some audiobooks so I could listen to you all day!
haha why thank you!
Were you a fan of the books before taking the role? If not, what drew you to the role? If so, what role would you choose - if you had the choice of any character? Favorite role of your career? What character would you play - if you had the chance to pick any character from any book, movie, tv show etc?
no i wasn't, i hadn't even heard of them before i was asked to audition. but i went to buy the first book and ate it up and realised how good this could be. i was aced to read for Varys first of all, although they liked me initially they also realised i wasn't right for that part and gave me syrio to read it would be tyrion definitely
Were you at all surprised by the popularity of your character amongst fans of the show?
i was yes because he isn't in the story a lot, but he is influential to arya and starts her journey and i think because we love arya we feel strongly towards anyone who is good to her. lets face it there are very few characters we can root for because they are noble and honourable
What was the working environment like? Friendly people/relaxed or really stressful/pushy?
very relaxed, very supportive and there was TIME. you never have time when you normally shoot films or tv but because it was HBO and they cared about what they were making we took our time and made sure we got it right
Can you catch a cat that doesn't want to be caught?
well i have, so it is possible
Did the directors tell you how you should do the tongue click or is that something you ad libbed yourself?
i did the scene where i meet arya for the first time for my screen test. and i did it so many times and of course made my own decisions as to how to play it and also the accent that when they gave me the job it was because they liked what i was doing. i asked them on set if i should do it a little less flamboyant or a little more sombre and they just said, do it like you do it, its why we gave you the job....
Most memorable story on the set of GoT?
Had you read the books before working on the show?
it has to be the battering i gave the stunt men during rehearsals for the lannister fight. i had a move where i slide under one to knock him off his feet, i can't tell you how many time i head butted his genitals as i tried to perfect that move! (god that sounds so wrong?!!!)
What else would we have seen you in?
Do you actually fence?
What is your favorite kind of pudding?
There is ongoing dispute about the fate of the Syrio character. As his death is not shown on screen, it is possible that he survived the last fight. What are your thoughts on his possible return to the show?
i have had cameo appearances in british comedies Black Books, Absolutely Fabulous and My Family and was in a long running kids comedy called HUBUBB for 5 seasons. i do actually fence although haven't done much recently, mostly broadsword at the moment my favourite pudding is my sisters variation on tiramasu, made with chocolate and amaretto instead of coffee, is amazing
Which Black Books?!?!?!
last episode of series 2
Will you please narrate the audiobooks?
i would love to
How did you find out about the auditions? Was it Open-Casting Call or did your Agent get this for you? What was the process, really? Thanks! Also, did they pay for your flight to get on set?
no, i knew nina gold from when i started my career and she called me in. i don't think there were open auditions, except maybe for the children as they were looking for something special. and yes expenses were paid by the company
Some theorists believe that Syrio is also Jaqen H'ghar, a character Arya meets in the second book/season.
Any insight or opinion?
If you personally had to pledge your allegiance to one house, which house would that be and why? ..House Stark, Lannister, Targaryen?
Hey Miltos Yerolemou!
I visited a view places in Greece last year including Athens, Rhodes and Chania. Greece is one of the most beautiful countries in the world with history around every corner. It confuses me that country with so much to offer is in such a troubling situation. What are your views on the problems in Greece at the moment?
i think the biggest tragedy for the whole world is that we are now slaves to banks. we all owe money in one form or another and we work now to pay off interest rates we have lost what it means to live for each other it will only get worse :(
Thanks for doing this, I think everyone's agreed that you were fantastic in the show.
So...did Syrio Forel die?
no comment, did you see his head on a spit in episode nine? hmmm?
Did you have any sword fighting experience prior to being casted as Syrio Forel? Did you do your stunts yourself? Finally, what do we say to Death?
i did all my stunts, i worked hard to make sure everything i did was coming from me. even the sword flip where i balance it on the back of my hand in the first scene with arya was improvised (even i was surprised that i managed to do it!) should have seen the look on the fight crews faces when i did it! haha ..they didn't know i was going to do it, and neither did i! yes i love playing with swords, i have done a lot of it over the years
ps.... NOT TODAY
How were you able to knock out armoured guards with a sword of wood?
if you knew how bloody heavy that wooden sword was, do you know it was actually heavier than a steel broadsword? well its true...believe me if i hit you with it you would go down
Syrio was an amazing character! It was a shame he went out so soon, but he went out in style. I have a few questions:
Do people who have been killed in the show still visit the set?
Did you have anything about swordplay to teach Arya's actress after the cameras stopped rolling?
Who was your favorite actor/actress to interact with offset?
we are all so busy to jus pop in plus they are all so busy shooting too maisie was great and harry lloyd was great fun to hang out with. me and john (sam) see each other from time to time and he is the funniest man i know as well as being a brilliant actor
Are there any scenes or dialogue with Syrio from the book that you would like to have seen included in the show? Were there any that were filmed but didn't make the final cut?
i wished they had the bit where he talks about how he became the first sword of bravos...i liked that in the book, it said a lot about the way his mind works
Were you made to read book 1? And for that matter, were actors potraying characters spanning many of the books told to go the the series?
no. a lot of actors don't read the books because they believe the book is the book and the script is different. if you know too much what happens to your character then many actors think it influences their responses even subconsciously. so many like to play it moment to moment
They say that the actress who played Arya is really right handed in real life but did all the sword fighting left handed because the character is left handed. Can you comment on that? Did you notice anything or did you have to work harder with her because of it? Or were you completely unaware of the fact?
we talked about it. maisie made the decision and she worked it well its important. syrio notices it because all swords men are trained to fight in their right hand so she has an advantage you read a lot in an opponent by how they drop their shoulders and body language and all that goes out of the window when you fight with a left handed person
Do you pray to the old gods, the seven, or R'hllor?
you know there is only one god and his name is death and what do we say to the god of death?
What is your favorite type of role to play?
evil, dark and bad....all actors love playing those parts, the parts you love to hate
Hi thanks for doing this! If there was just one thing you could change about the show, anything, what would it be?
that grant didn't break my precious wooden practise sword..it was an heirloom!
What's tour favorite pizza topping? Thanks in advance
i love ham mushroom pineapple and jalapeños
You are awesome! Here are my questions.
Were you a fan of the books before appearing in the TV adaptation?
What made you audition for the role of Syrio? Which other Game of Thrones character would you have liked to play?
Did you have to do any research as to the character of Syrio? Any interaction with or instructions from George R.R. Martin as to the handling of the character?
Is that your natural accent? If not, did you have any inspirations as to the making of that accent?
Thank you very much! Looking forward to your responses. :)
i wasn't a fan of the books, i had never even heard of them but as soon as i was offered a screen test i read the first book and i loved it, i knew from then that this was going to be good. also because the creative teams were so passionate about the books and wanted to do it right
i was invited to audition by nina gold, who i knew, i read for varys first but although i wasn't right for him, they thought i could do syrio justice, even though i didn't look like his description in the book.
i used my imagination a lot, i read what george had written and used that and then used my imagination to connect the dots, its fantasy so it was easy. like anything you are only limited by the scope of your imagination. i spoke to george but mostly i created what the water dance was myself, i knew it had to be fluid and swift and like the sea...sometimes calm sometimes sudden like a storm....bill hobbs helped me with the vocabulary of the movement and then i made up the rest
my natural accent is british but both my parents are greek and so i used a little of that and little spanish and a bit of persian, i didn't want it to be specific, it was supposed to be 'different'
Thanks for doing an AMA! Love the series and your character especialy.
How was working with Peter Dinklage and Emilia Clarke (my other two favorite actors)?
What does the cast do for fun when they're on location?
How much of the stunts (swordplay, riding, etc) are performed by the cast members themselves, and not stuntpersons?
What's Jack Gleeson (Joffrey) like in real life? Amazing that he protrays such a vile character.
my pleasure unfortunately i never worked with them as our story lines never converged but they are fantastic people we used to spend far too long in the bar of the hotel where we stayed watching jason mamoa lift people above his head!
I was at Eastercon last weekend and watched with great amusement as you 'danced' with some of the attendees. (How close was that hilt tap btw?)
Excluding GoT, what has been the most enjoyable 'experience' (on set or stage)? That moment when you took a moment out and went "wow, it can't get better"?
For GoT - how long would it take to 'map a scene', to ensure the safety of all participants?
Thanks for making Syrio such a stand-out character in Season One. You brought him out of the page and made him live on the screen in a way which guaranteed that if there was ever a spin-off show called "The Adventures of Syrio Forel", I'd watch it in a heartbeat.
ha it was close but thats why the handles have hilts!! thank god! the stunt coordinators and choreographers plan it meticulously and the lannister guards were all played by stunt men so it was very well constructed. i was the loose cannon im all for a prequel!
I hope you're not dead because you say that the First Sword of Braavos does not run and Meryn Trant is still alive :(.
i may not run, but i might leap or jump or simple 'disappear'...
What was the audition process like for Game of Thrones?
it was long, but robert her assistant read in the other parts and he is such a great actor that he makes you perform the scene better. he gives you time to give your best performance and makes you feel relaxed. something that hardly ever happens in castings
How often are you approached in public by GoT fans? I imagine at this point hearing one of your many quotes from GoT fans constantly in public can get exhausting. I loved your character, keep up the good work.
no one recognises me! and thats the truth
just wanted to let you know i popped back today and finished catching up with questions on the IAmA on reddit that i didn't answer yesterday. hope you're all well and thanks for your questions, hope the answers did them justice
I haven't finished the second book yet. I didn't really care that much that Syrio most likely died until I watch the show and see you. Now all I do is hope Syrio lived so that I can continue to see your amazing hair in the show.
well you will see my amazing hair in other things too
I just wanted to thank you for how well you played Syrio. I'd chase cats for you all day.
thanks nibbly careful of the claws though x
did you read the books or just the script? If it came down to it and you had a stick, could you defeat a few mailed knights IRL?
i read the book before the script go for the joints....sharp and hard....
Do you think fear really does cut deeper than swords?
without a doubt, people who are fearless achieve the impossible
Any good backstage stories?
hurting the stunt guys while i was rehearsing a lot! maisie teaching me to play fruit ninja and watching jason mamoa lift people above his head in the hotel bar
I loved your character in the books, and thought you were a damn good actor in the first season. So, THANK YOU!
Can you actually do swordplay and fence like on GoT?
What was it like on GoT with so many awesome actors (Bean, Dinklage, etc)
How hard was it to do the scene where Arya escapes and you beat the crap out of so many soldiers?
Finally, will you be making another appearance on GoT? If not, what’s you next project?
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