CULTURE

Kit Harington Is Glad Jon Snow Isn’t Dead, Too

The Emmy-nominated Game of Thrones actor did “thousands upon thousands of takes” to master the now famous scene where his character came back to life. And it was all worth it.


Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by Edward Enninful.

At the 2016 Emmy Awards, Game of Thrones‘s Kit Harington and Mr Robot‘s Rami Malek competed against each other in the category of best supporting actor. Although Malek ultimately took home the prize, in W‘s Royals portfolio the two actors are side by side in the TV category. Harington is the classic royal, thanks to his portrayal of Jon Snow over the past six seasons. Before the fantasy series exploded and he became a sex symbol, he was just an unknown stage actor in London who got into fights in McDonald’s.

What was the first thing you auditioned for? First ever thing I auditioned for? Would have been to get into drama school. I auditioned for those. But first professional job I ever auditioned for was a BBC comedy and I think when you’re coming out of drama school you like put so much effort and onus on that one audition. I can’t even remember what it was now, but I remember being so nervous for it.

Did you get it? No. No, and then that felt like the biggest thing in the world as well. I didn’t get the job. “Oh, my god, I’m terrible.” And then I got, I got a job soon after that.

What was the first job that you got? First job I got was War Horse. It was the play War Horse. I know. Landed on my feet with that. [It] was my first job. They needed a young man who could look prepubescent, and back then I fitted that bill. So I looked like a prepubescent boy, and that was just the ticket for War Horse. So I played the lead boy in War Horse.

And War Horse led to Jon Snow, right? Kind of indirectly, but yeah, I think the producers had seen me in War Horse. They were auditioning everyone for Jon Snow, every young man in the UK was going out for it. But yeah, I said, “No,” to carrying on with this. Amazing these little decisions that you make in life. Or things could have gone a completely different direction. I said, “No,” to carrying – I really thought about it, and I was gonna carry on with the play for another six months. It was good money. And then I said, “No, no. I’ve got to go off and do other things.” And that’s when the Jon Snow role came up.

Kit Harington wears Hermès suit; Vince hoodie; Boss T-shirt. Grooming: Aramis.

Grooming for Harington by Johnny Hernandez at Fierro Agency. Manicures by Honey at Exposure NY. Set design by Philipp Haemmerle.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by Edward Enninful.

Do you remember the audition for Jon Snow? I had a black eye. I’d been in a fight the night before. I think it gave me like some kind of toughness, like false toughness. They thought I was a scrapper.

I’d got in this fight with this guy in McDonalds. I went into the McDonald’s with this girl I was sort of dating at the time. And it was late at night, and there was no seats, and we went to sit down. We like asked this guy and this girl he was with if we could sit on the same table as them. And they said, “Yes.” They said, “That’s fine.” And we sat down, and quite quickly he started being really rude to the girl I was with, calling her names and we were like, I don’t know, “We’ll, you know, we’ll just finish off here. We don’t need trouble, and then, and then go.”

And then he called her something like an ugly pig or something worse, and I got up said, “No, no, you can’t, can’t call her that. Get up.” So I called him up for a fight, which I’d never done before. And of course he’d been sat down the whole time, so he got up and he just kept going. And I realized that I had to at that point throw the first punch; otherwise, I looked like a complete wimp. And I got battered. So then I went to the Jon Snow audition with a black eye. I think that man who punched me in the face may have helped me get the job, so, thank you.

What happened when you heard you got the job? Were you excited or were you nervous? You were committing for a long time. I remember I was about to go on stage to do one of my final performances of War Horse, and my agent called and said, “Yeah, you got the job for the pilot.” It was only a pilot then. And I was over the moon. It was my first TV job. My first ever anything on film, which I’d been really wanting. And I just remember whooping. And, and at that point, I remember the money they were offering was huge. Like nothing I’d ever experienced. It was a year’s worth of theater money essentially. But we didn’t know whether it was gonna go. We had no idea what it was gonna be like, whether it was gonna be any good. Whether people were gonna like it. It was just a pilot at that point. So I don’t know. I just jumped for joy. I whooped. ‘Cause I loved it. From word go, I loved that script. I thought, “It’s – this is so fucking weird. I’ve got to do this. This is so weird.”

Classic Royalty: Television “On Game of Thrones, there were a couple of weeks when it looked like I was going to die. I thought, Maybe this is it. Then I found out I wasn’t going to die, so I had to keep this massive secret from everybody. I did tell my parents, though: ‘All right, Mom and Dad, you’re in on this now.’ They then went about lying to everyone. They relished it, I think. They’re quite dramatic, my parents.”

Derek Rose pajama set.

Grooming by Johnny Hernandez at Fierro Agency; Manicure by Honey at Exposure NY.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by Edward Enninful

Derek Rose pajama set.

Last season in Game of Thrones, you came back from the dead. I’m curious how many takes you did of waking up? We did thousands upon thousands of takes. ‘Cause it’s such a key moment I think, of me going [gasp] like that. That they wanted that over and over again, and I had to kind of say, “I don’t know how else to do it.” We have shot the crap out of this. Um, but I did actually – I mean, I woke up – ’cause I was lying down for so many hours for two whole episodes. I remember I fell asleep in the middle of a scene, and woke up – you know when you wake up and you don’t know quite where you are.

Yes. There’s nothing scarier of waking up in the middle of Game of Thrones world. Do you know what I mean? Just saying – naked. Seeing Tom and Melisandre and everyone standing over you and thinking, “Oh, my god, I’ve died and I’ve actually ended up in Westeros.

But I love when they asked you what you saw when you died. There was something so heart breaking, because there was nothing. I love the way you said that. That was one of my favorite pieces of writing in I’ve ever had the pleasure of speaking in Thrones. Of course someone gets brought back from the dead and the first question anyone would ask, anyone, is, “What, what, what did you see? What was there?” Tell us, because this is the question on every human’s mind. Throughout time. We need to know what happens. And, of course, there was nothing. You know? Which is the scariest thing you can hear. And it’s just another example of Thrones’s relentless punishment to us as an audience. “You know what? You thought there was a heaven. There’s no heaven. Get over it.” Yeah.

But you came back. So that’s a present. I am very much happier to be back. If there’s anything better than being alive in reality, it’s being alive fictionally as well.

But you never thought you were going to die, right? There were a couple of weeks when I thought I was going to die. There were a couple of weeks when, I got the scripts and I read them, and I thought maybe this is it. I didn’t feel it was right. I didn’t. I wouldn’t have wanted to go then. And then I was told. I was one of the first people to be told. And, then I had to keep this massive secret from everybody. Friends, family.

You couldn’t tell your parents? Oh, I told my parents. They were really good about it. I said, “All right, mom and dad, you’re in on this now. It’s like you, me, the producers of Thrones, and no one else.” And they then went about lying to friends, family, everyone for me. They relished it, I think. They liked it. They’re quite dramatic, my parents.

When you told your parents you wanted to be an actor, what did they say? My dad went, “[Long sigh] Okay.” [Laughter] And my, my mom I think was quite happy. They were really supportive. I’m a lucky man. I grew up with great, great folks. But I think it’s every parent’s nightmare, their child saying, “I want to be an actor.” It’s like, “Oh, god.” And it really panned out. It worked out. So I think dad’s eating his words now..

The 2016 Royals: Priyanka Chopra, Cindy Crawford, Chris Evans, Kanye West and More

Priyanka Chopra wears Burberry XO Barneys New York dress. Beauty: Burberry.

Hair by James Pecis for Oribe Hair Care; Makeup by Aaron de Mey at Art Partner; Manicures by Honey at Exposure NY. Set design by Philipp Haemmerle.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by Edward Enninful.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus wears Carolina Herrera dress; Pomellato earrings. Beauty: Nars.

Hair by James Pecis for Oribe Hair Care; Makeup by Francelle. Manicures by Honey at Exposure NY. Set design by Philipp Haemmerle.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by Edward Enninful.

Irina Shayk wears Prada dress, harness, corset, belt, charm, agenda, tights, and shoes; Bulgari ring. Beauty: L’Oréal Paris.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by Edward Enninful.

Halle Berry wears Versace gown; Pasquale Bruni ring. Beauty: Revlon.

Hair by Castillo; by Aaron de Mey
 at Art Partner; Manicures by Honey at Exposure NY; Set design by Philipp Haemmerle.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by Edward Enninful.

Elle Fanning wears Gucci gown; Bulgari earrings; Dior Fine Jewelry rings; Marc Jacobs shoes. Beauty: Gucci.

Hair by James Pecis for Oribe Hair Care; Makeup by Fulvia Farolfi for Chanel;Manicures by Honey at Exposure NY. Set design by Philipp Haemmerle.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by Edward Enninful.

Jodie Foster wears Giorgio Armani dress; Harry Winston earrings; Mish New York cuff. Beauty: Giorgio Armani.

Hair by James Pecis for Oribe Hair Care; Makeup by Aaron de Mey at Art Partner; Manicures by Honey at Exposure NY. Set design by Philipp Haemmerle.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by Edward Enninful.

Kanye West wears Yeezy Season 3 hoodie and pants. Grooming: Clinique.

Hair by Ibn Jasper at Frank Reps. Makeup by Aaron de Mey at Art Partner; Manicures by Honey at Exposure NY. Set design by Philipp Haemmerle.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by Edward Enninful.

Chris Evans wears Berluti tuxedo; Simon Miller shirt; Tiffany & Co. watch. Grooming: Giorgio Armani.

Hair by James Pecis for Oribe Hair Care; Makeup by Aaron de Mey at Art Partner; Manicures by Honey at Exposure NY. Set design by Philipp Haemmerle.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by Edward Enninful.

Kit Harington wears Hermès suit; Vince hoodie; Boss T-shirt. Grooming: Aramis.

Grooming for Harington by Johnny Hernandez at Fierro Agency. Manicures by Honey at Exposure NY. Set design by Philipp Haemmerle.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by Edward Enninful.

Ethan Hawke wears Louis Vuitton coat; Simon Miller T-shirt; AMI Alexandre Mattiussi trousers; Church’s shoes. Grooming: Dior Homme.

Hair by James Pecis for Oribe Hair Care; Makeup by Fulvia Farolfi for Chanel; Manicures by Honey at Exposure NY. Set design by Philipp Haemmerle.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by Edward Enninful.

Rami Malek wears No. 21 sweater; Prada pants, socks, and shoes. Grooming: Chanel.

Hair by James Pecis for Oribe Hair Care; Makeup by Aaron de Mey at Art Partner; Manicures by Honey at Exposure NY. Set design by Philipp Haemmerle.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by Edward Enninful.

New Royalty: Television “When I was a teenager, I was a tomboy and had scars on my legs. But then I taught myself to take care of my body and my hair. It takes time, but if I can do it, anybody can. Today, my legs sell 12 or 15 products in my part of the world.”

Alexander McQueen jacket and dress; La Perla bra and shorts; Harry Winston ring.

Hair by James Pecis for Oribe Hair Care; Makeup by Aaron de Mey at Art Partner; Manicure by Honey at Exposure NY.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by Edward Enninful

Classic Royalty: Television “I don’t approach my work from a gender point of view. If people are talented, be they men or women or transgender, I’m into it. I want to play ball, and I want to play hard. And if you can do that with me, then we’re going to get along great.”

Oscar de la Renta dress; La Perla bra.

Hair by James Pecis for Oribe Hair Care; Makeup by Francelle; Manicure by Honey at Exposure NY.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by Edward Enninful

Classic Royalty: Superhero “In the 6th grade, I played the supporting lead in a play called “Crazy Camp.” I ended up dating one of the more popular girls as a result. The second the play was over, she dumped me. So, at a young age, I learned the power of getting a good role.”

Melet Mercantile T-shirt; Rag & Bone Standard Issue jeans.

Hair by James Pecis for Oribe Hair Care; Makeup by Aaron de Mey at Art Partner; Manicure by Honey at Exposure NY.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by Edward Enninful

New Royalty: Superhero “In Doctor Strange, I play Baron Karl Mordo, the first person to introduce Dr. Stephen Strange into a mystical, weird, and wonderful world. Mordo can transport between dimensions, and I studied quantum physics to understand the science behind his powers. Personally, I would rather be able to make myself invisible.”

Burberry jacket and trousers; Prada sweater.

Hair by James Pecis for Oribe Hair Care; Makeup by Aaron de Mey at Art Partner; Manicure by Honey at Exposure NY.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by Edward Enninful

New Royalty: Model “I hadn’t planned to be a model, but I went to beauty school and was discovered there. My big break was in 2007: the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. Being Russian, I never imagined my career would involve swimsuits—I was raised with snow, and warm coats sounded a bit better to me. A swimsuit model has to stay in shape all the time. I love food, even though people think models don’t eat.”

Miu Miu dress, stole, and stockings; ring from Stephen Russell, New York.

Hair by James Pecis for Oribe Hair Care; Makeup by Aaron de Mey at Art Partner; Manicure by Honey at Exposure NY.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by Edward Enninful

Classic Royalty: Model “I grew up in a small town in Illinois, and I didn’t even know that modeling was a real job. My dad thought that ‘model’ was a nice word for prostitute. I did, however, have Calvin Klein jeans, and I knew about Brooke Shields and Seventeen magazine. That was my introduction to fashion.”

Stella McCartney dress; Curriculum Vitae bra.

Hair by James Pecis for Oribe Hair Care; Makeup by Aaron de Mey at Art Partner; Manicure by Honey at Exposure NY.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by Edward Enninful

New Royalty: Fashion “I have eight older sisters, so I started thinking about fashion when I was very young. I would customize clothes on my best girlfriend—­putting together a man’s shirt with a Victorian dress. And, being a classic Leo, I would always give my opinion to my sisters. I would watch them put on makeup, and I’d tell them what I thought, which wasn’t always welcome. Of course, now they all wear my clothes. They are obsessed.”

Tisci’s own Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci sweater.

Hair by James Pecis for Oribe Hair Care; Makeup by Aaron de Mey at Art Partner; Manicure by Honey at Exposure NY.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by Edward Enninful

Classic Royalty: Fashion “I didn’t mind putting my name on underwear. Jockey had its name on the waistband, so why shouldn’t I? My daughter, Marci, said in an interview that it was strange to have sex with men who had my name on their underwear. I told her, ‘That’s not funny.’ But it is funny—just not when it’s your daughter.”

Klein’s own clothing.

Hair by Thom Priano for R+Co at Garren New York; Makeup by Régine Thorre; Manicure by Honey at Exposure NY.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by Edward Enninful

New Royalty: Superhero “The costume for Supergirl is cute, but it’s difficult to put on. It’s not a one-person job: There’s a bodice on top of which muscles are added, because ain’t no way that I am that muscular. And the cape is its own special thing. The costume lives under lock and key. If I wanted to wear it for Halloween, I’d have to stage a mission to steal it.”

Valentino dress; Tiffany & Co. necklace.

Hair by James Pecis for Oribe Hair Care; Makeup by Fulvia Farolfi for Chanel; Manicure by Honey at Exposure NY.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by Edward Enninful

Classic Royalty: Superhero “I loved being Catwoman. I was a gymnast growing up, so I got to use all of those skills for the role. I hated cats going into it, but I learned about the psychology of them—and I came out of that movie a die-hard cat lover.”

Alexandre Vauthier dress.

Hair by Castillo; Makeup by Aaron de Mey at Art Partner; Manicures by Honey at Exposure NY.

Set design by Philipp Haemmerle.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by Edward Enninful

Classic Royalty: Television “On Game of Thrones, there were a couple of weeks when it looked like I was going to die. I thought, Maybe this is it. Then I found out I wasn’t going to die, so I had to keep this massive secret from everybody. I did tell my parents, though: ‘All right, Mom and Dad, you’re in on this now.’ They then went about lying to everyone. They relished it, I think. They’re quite dramatic, my parents.”

Derek Rose pajama set.

Grooming by Johnny Hernandez at Fierro Agency; Manicure by Honey at Exposure NY.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by Edward Enninful

New Royalty: Television “I am a troublemaker, for sure. I have a pretty cool scene coming up in Mr. Robot, and I’ve already talked to my makeup artist about bringing something that is not going to go over too well with the costume department: blood. A lot of blood. Our costumes are one-of-a-kind, so I could get into a lot of trouble. But you’ve got to take some risks in life.”

Prada pants, socks, and shoes.

Hair by James Pecis for Oribe Hair Care; Makeup by Aaron de Mey at Art Partner; Manicure by Honey at Exposure NY.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by Edward Enninful

New Royalty: Renaissance Woman “My parents always encouraged us to do what we believed in. There’s a funny interview from when I was 5 or 6 years old: My dad is interviewing me, and my mom walks in and says, ‘You are Wonder Woman.’ That’s one of my most vivid childhood memories.”

Chanel Haute Couture dress; Cartier bracelet; Chanel flats.

Hair by James Pecis for Oribe Hair Care; Makeup by Aaron de Mey at Art Partner; Manicure by Honey at Exposure NY.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by Edward Enninful

Classic Royalty: Renaissance Woman “I don’t think I’m particularly brave. I’m confident in my opinions about making films, but there are tons of things that I’m really just a child about. For instance, I have a fear of picking up the phone and asking someone, ‘Would you like to have lunch with me?’ Little things that other people learned in Adolescence 101 have always scared me.”

Saint Laurent jacket and trousers; Boss turtleneck; (right hand) Repossi ring.

Hair by James Pecis for Oribe Hair Care; Makeup by Aaron de Mey at Art Partner; Manicure by Honey at Exposure NY.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by Edward Enninful

New Royalty: Independent Film “I was 10 years old, going to a small public school in Palestine, Texas, when casting directors came through and asked kids to audition for a movie. The film was The Tree of Life, directed by Terrence Malick. They saw around 10,000 kids, and I ended up getting the role. I’m 19 now, and I have been acting ever since.”

Prada jacket and pants.

Hair by James Pecis for Oribe Hair Care; Makeup by Fulvia Farolfi for Chanel;Manicure by Honey at Exposure NY.

Set design by Philipp Haemmerle; Lighting technician: Lars Beaulieu; digital technician: Johnny Vicari; photography assistants: Felix Kim, Javier Villegas; fashion assistants: Ryann Foulke, Dena Giannini, Sam Walker, Anastasya Kolomytseva Anita Lau; hair assistants: Adlena Dignam, jennifer kim, dale delaporte; makeup assistants: Tayler Treadwell, Mariko Hirano, Robert Reyes, Takahiro Okada; set design assistants: Theo Volpatti, Ryan Stenger, Valentin Haemmerle, Matt Solis; special thanks to Highline Stages and Spring Studios, New York.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by Edward Enninful

Classic Royalty: Independent Film “I did Born to Be Blue, the story of Chet Baker’s midlife crisis, because it was something I could relate to. I was 18 when Dead Poets Society came out, and that success didn’t leave me far to go. We all like to feel that we’re growing better and stronger and improving every year of our lives, but when you peak at a young age, you have a long way to fall.”

Jil Sander sweater; AMI Alexandre Mattiussi trousers.

Hair by James Pecis for Oribe Hair Care; Makeup by Fulvia Farolfi for Chanel; Manicure by Honey at Exposure NY.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by Edward Enninful

Classic Royalty: Renaissance Man “To me, Will Ferrell is royalty. He is one of my personal gods. I would like Will Ferrell to play me in The Kanye West Story. Can you make that happen?”

Yeezy Season 3 sweatshirt; Hoorsenbuhs necklace.

Hair by Ibn Jasper at Frank Reps; Hair by Ibn Jasper at Frank Reps; Manicure by Honey at Exposure NY.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by Edward Enninful

New Royalty: Society “Growing up, we lived in the Waldorf Towers. My classmates used to call my sister, Paris, and me the Eloises of the Waldorf. If there were events in the ballroom, we were always sneaking in and spying on people. We did everything but order room service. Room service was off-limits.”

Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini cape and dress; Nili Lotan dress (underneath); Chopard earrings; Harry Winston necklace; Chanel Fine Jewelry rings; Wolford tights; Miu Miu pumps.

Hair by James Pecis for Oribe Hair Care; Makeup by Fulvia Farolfi for Chanel; Manicure by Honey at Exposure NY.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by Edward Enninful

Classic Royalty: Society “I have always loved fashion and was lucky enough to live through the era of great couture designers. In the early ’80s, Azzedine Alaïa took a piece of jersey and draped it on me. He then took chalk and marked out the dress on my body. When I received the finished dress, it was stitched where he had placed the chalk marks. It fit like a glove then. Now it fits more like Spanx.”

RR 331 by Ralph Rucci coat and top; earrings from Stephen Russell, New York; Munnu the Gem Palace bangles; Perrin Paris gloves.

Hair by James Pecis for Oribe Hair Care; Makeup by Aaron de Mey at Art Partner; Manicure by Honey at Exposure NY.

Photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Styled by Edward Enninful
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Who’s acting royalty to you? Emma Thompson. I can’t even begin to understand how she does what she does so naturally, so effortlessly, so brilliantly. And as well respected as she is, I feel like she’s one of these actors that’s not lauded enough. Like – she’s incredible. There’s one moment in my favorite moment, in any film, and it’s a weird one, but it’s in Love Actually, where she finds out that the husband is cheating on her. And she gets a gift, and she leaves the room. She goes up to her room and she cries. She settles herself and she comes back, and by the time she’s left the room and come back, everything in her life has changed, but nothing has at the same time. And it’s beautiful acting. Mark Rylance is just royalty to me. I think he is to a lot of Brits. [And] Edward Norton in 25th Hour. Amazing speech in that. I have lots of people I look up to and admire. Ben Whishaw.

As a stage actor or as a movie person? Both. He was one of the reasons I wanted to act. I saw him as Hamlet in his first job out of drama school, and I went, “I want to go to drama school. I want to be, want to be like that guy.” He was amazing, amazing, amazing. Stunning performance. And in Bright Star. And, there’s a brilliant moment in that film where [Abbey Cornish] learns that he’s died, and she just sort of points to her heart, like there’s something wrong, and it’s that her heart is breaking and she’s going like that. That, that makes me cry actually.

What other movies make you cry? I always cry at the weirdest things. I’ll cry at completely non-weepy films on planes, though. I get strangely emotional on planes.

Did you watch a movie on the plane coming here? Yes, and I did have a little cry. Maybe that’s ’cause I’m so tired. But it was a documentary about a group of Welsh, people from a mining village that bought a horse, went in on a horse together. It’s called Dark Horse.

Who in the movies do you have a cinematic crush on? They’re called the same name. But the two woman that I grew up really fancying was Juliette Lewis in Natural Born Killers, I had a real like crush on her in that. She’s scary, like feisty and scary, and, then Juliette Binoche was the other one. In Trois Couleurs: Bleu.

Do you have a favorite love scene in a movie? It’s not really a love scene. It’s The Wicker Man. When she’s naked and she’s banging against the wall.

I wouldn’t call that a love scene. I wouldn’t call it a love scene, but it’s the first one that came to my head, which is bizarre, ’cause that’s not a love scene at all, is it?

Kit Harington Gets No Attention With a Birthday Right After Christmas