EMMYS – After banging around with borrowed tools in a backyard shed for a few years, two boyhood pals in Milwaukee thought they’d finally achieved their dream: a bicycle that required only enough pedaling to spark a pint-sized engine.
In 1903, Bill Harley and Arthur Davidson sold three of the putt-putting contraptions they came to call the “silent grey fellows.”
By 1920, Harley and Davidson, with Arthur’s brothers William and Walter, made 30,000 distinctively roaring motorcycles a year — more than anyone else in the world.
But the path from tin can to two-wheeled tornado was littered with failed plans, flaming wrecks and bloody brawls, as is vividly shown in Discovery Channel’s six-hour miniseries, Harley and the Davidsons. Produced by Raw TV, it’s set to air over three consecutive nights starting September 5.
Shot earlier this year in Romania, the series features Bug Hall as Arthur Davidson and Game of Thrones veterans Robert Aramayo as Harley and Michiel Huisman as Walter Davidson.
Best known as the brash warrior Daario Naharis on Thrones , Huisman spent much of his adult life on motorcycles, hopping off only after the birth of his daughter nine years ago.
“Telling this story about the early days of Harley-Davidson was like a dream for me,” he says, speaking from his native Amsterdam. “On top of that, my character was the embodiment of the Harley-Davidson spirit — a little bit of a rebel, anti-establishment, a wants-to-do-his-own-thing kind of guy.”
RIDE CT – WEST HARTFORD, CT – It was happenstance that the white and teal Harley-Davidson motorcycle ridden by actor Michiel Huisman ended up parked next to a flat black Indian outside of Westfarms mall. Commenting about their adjacency to the “Games of Thrones” star was only natural, though, because of his latest role, and Huisman acknowledged the irony.
Best known for playing “sellsword” Daario Naharis on the HBO fantasy-drama series, Huisman depicts one of the Harley-Davidson’s founders, Walter Davidson, in the upcoming Discovery Channel miniseries “Harley and the Davidsons.” The three-parter not only recounts the motorcycle company’s founding in 1903 and its rise to prominence, but also the intense early rivalry that existed between Harley-Davidson and Indian.
Spoilers ahead for the season-six finale of Game of Thrones.
VULTURE – Daario Naharis has been at Daenerys’s side — and bedside — for several seasons now. But if Dany wants to be the queen of the Seven Kingdoms, she can’t take her lover as a plus-one. At least that’s the advice Tyrion gave her, causing her to break up with her favorite sellsword before she set sail for Westeros. Michiel Huisman, who plays Daario, chatted with Vulture about his character’s heartbreak and bringing out Dany’s ruthless side.
I am so sorry that Dany left Daario behind in Meereen. Are you heartbroken?
Yeah. [Laughs] Well, you know, Daario and I both knew this day would come at some point. Nobody has ever stolen his heart the way she has, and I absolutely knew she was going to break it, but you knew it was going to be worth the ride anyway.
Yeah, but he had hoped he would be by her side when she conquered Westeros. And maybe he even wanted to ride a dragon with her someday.
Of course he did. There were moments where he thought, “Oh, she’s going to marry Hizdahr,” back in season five, and he worried he was going to be pushed out of the way. Or when Jorah exerted himself more, and it seemed Daario would be pushed out. I don’t think he sees it coming at this point. He’s really excited about Dany finally being ready to take her people, her army, across the Narrow Sea, and he thought he would be part of that. And a leader in that, actually.
ESQUIRE – He talks about researching cults, perfecting his American accent, and, yes, Jon Snow’s fate.
To gaze upon Michiel Huisman’s IMDB page is to feel a deep shame for all the moments you waste during your brief time on this earth.
In the past five years alone, the Netherlands-born actor has romanced Khaleesi on Game of Thrones, Rayna Jaymes on Nashville, and Cheryl Strayed in the film adaptation of Wild. (OK, that last one may stretch the definition of romance a tad, but the point still stands.) He’s also hung out with the clones on Orphan Black, helped Brad Pitt fight zombies in World War Z and struggled with addiction and jazz on his breakthrough role in Treme.
When Esquire called him on location in Bucharest, he was hard at work on a new miniseries. But he nonetheless took some time to talk about The Invitation, the twisty and tense psychological thriller from Girlfight director Karyn Kusama, in which a small California dinner party slowly reveals itself to be something a bit more sinister. Huisman has plays his fair share of charming rogues before, but as David he gets to be both unnervingly polite and—spoiler alert—a touch evil. Esquire talked with him about cults, grief, and mastering an American accent—and he was also gracious enough to answer a Game of Thrones question. (There are some light spoilers for The Invitation in this interview, but anyone who has ever seen a film could figure out that the something crazy has to happen at the dinner party—otherwise no one would bother showing up on set.)
What attracted you to this project?
Well, a couple of things. We shot this movie right after I had done The Age of Adaline, which is this very romantic movie that came out last year. I was really up for doing the opposite: something dark and with an ensemble cast. I also liked the idea of Karyn Kusama returning to more of an independent movie like the one she started out with, Girlfight, which was really strong. That, and a couple of things about the story: the understandable philosophy of letting go of your grief, but then taking that way too far, which actually is kind of dangerous.
The movie presents a dichotomy in which your character purges guilt and regret and it makes him murderous, while the protagonist can’t let go at all and he can’t move forward in life.
Yeah, exactly. So what is the answer to the healthy state of mind? It’s probably somewhere in the middle, yeah?
You’ve been working a great deal in the last several years, in lots of different roles. Is this your first time playing…if not the villain, then the antagonist?
Yeah, actually. I think so. I’ve played bad boys on multiple occasions, but never the one that goes this far—without spoiling anything, of course. But that was also interesting about the project and the character for me.
Was that something you were attracted to, to be not morally ambiguous but…
Yeah, to a certain extent I was. But I think what attracted me to David’s evilness was the fact that he doesn’t really show that. He tries to be the opposite. He tries to be very understandable and very gentle to the other people, so he’s not the baddie, and it’s not necessarily like we see it coming. I thought it was going to be fun and a challenge to portray that, and go against what you expect from the bad guy in the movie.