‘House of the Dragon’: Matt Smith Calls Making the Show ‘Like You’re in Monty Python’

House of the Dragon is a very serious show, like its predecessor Game of Thrones. But Matt Smith says House of the Dragon isn’t so serious behind the scenes. The Targaryen throne is up for grabs to the next generation, and King Viserys (Paddy Considine) has to navigate his own heirs and his brother, Daemon (Smith). But House of the Dragon sometimes becomes a Monty Python sketch, Smith revealed.

'House of the Dragon': Matt Smith leans back in his chair
Matt Smith | Ollie Upton/HBO Max

Smith was a guest on the Happy Sad Confused podcast on Sept. 22. Discussing House of the Dragon with Josh Horowitz, Smith shared the comedic moments you never see on the show. New episodes of House of the Dragon premiere Sundays on HBO Max. 

Without the script, Matt Smith and the ‘House of the Dragon’ cast revert to Monty Python

The Monty Python comedy troupe had a lot of fun with medieval knights, particularly in their film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. House of the Dragon is not Arthurian, but they’re dressed in similar armor with fire breathing dragons all around. So, Smith said, the cast often play Monty Python between takes. 

“It’s like you’re in Monty Python at times,” Smith said on Happy Sad Confused. “‘How dare you come at me? I’m going to point my sword at you and be really cross.’ Yeah, there is a lot of laughing when that happens.”

Smith called co-star Graham McTavish the biggest House of the Dragons clown. 

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“He’s a brilliantly humored man and he had a tough job at times because he’s in that armor all day,” Smith said. “So did Fabien Frankel. They’re there.  They stood there and the armor’s no fun.”

‘House of the Dragon’ isn’t always fun for Matt Smith 

Smith is no stranger to science-fiction and fantasy, having played Doctor Who and starred in films like Terminator: Genisys and Morbius. House of the Dragon may be the most demanding, so he needs humor to get through it. 

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“I quite like the physical stuff because the days go quickly,” Smith said. “The worst days are — I was very lucky in that I was not in a huge amount of them – the counsel scenes. You’re sat round, you’ve got to talk, they’ve got to move the camera, again, again, again. That’s a pain in the ass but I wasn’t in those and I asked them. I was like, ‘Please don’t put me on the Small Council.’ I don’t know if I was meant to be on the Small Council, but…”

Getting physical and getting serious 

Of course, Smith can’t goof off when the cameras are rolling on House of the Dragon. Daemon has to be deadly and scary. Smith walked through the scene at the end of episode 3. 

It was a long process. There was a lot of rehearsals involved there. It started out as a completely different scene which I loved. I can’t talk about it but I really campaigned to keep it that way but we ended up with this for a number of reasons which I was still really pleased with. Yeah,there’s a lot of running on the sand and rolling and fighting and I love all that because it makes the days go quickly. I’d never done that on Doctor Who, clearly not with The Crown. There’s a bit of fighting in Morbius but again not with swords so that was part of it I was looking forward to greatly. 

Matt Smith, Happy Sad Confused podcast, 9/22/22

It’s good to know there’s some levity on the set. House of the Dragon is so serious, it would be devastating to live like that all day. They should have fun making shows for our entertainment.

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