Mention Game of Thrones star Michiel Huisman to a female friend, and the reaction is usually something about dreamboats, perhaps with some slightly labored breathing, and then a question: “Where did he come from, and how is he suddenly everywhere?” The 33-year-old Dutch actor is a rare hybrid species: appealing to fans of beefcake, medieval history, and television of the highest quality. On Thrones, he plays Daario Naharis, the dashing soldier who slayed for and seduced Daenerys Targaryen this past season, resulting in a nude scene that was the male version of #BreaktheInternet and a re-upped contract that made Huisman a series regular.
Huisman got started as a child actor in his native Holland, where he worked his way up to a top box-office draw. His first project in the U.S. was only five years ago, a role on HBO’s New Orleans drama Treme, after which the floodgates opened: In the past two years, along with Thrones, he’s appeared as a wizardly record producer on ABC’s Nashville; a tech genius and the main character’s baby daddy on Orphan Black; and Reese Witherspoon’s fling in Wild. Last fall, he also starred in a short film for Chanel No. 5 with Gisele Bündchen.
Next and notably, he aims for Hugh Grant territory in the upcoming cosmic romance The Age of Adaline. Blake Lively co-stars in the story of a woman who has an accident in 1935 that causes her to stay 29 years old forever. She goes on the run, leaving generations of heartbroken men in her wake, until she meets Huisman’s character, a wealthy philanthropist who tempts her to stay put. Huisman more than holds his own with both Lively and Harrison Ford, who plays his father.
Huisman—who lives in New Orleans with his wife and young daughter—called from Australia, where he’s shooting a movie, one of five to come out in the next two years. I talked with him about those projects, what’s next for Thrones, the prospect of posing for Playgirl, and aiming to be Cary Grant.
MICHAEL MARTIN: What drew you to The Age of Adaline?
MICHIEL HUISMAN: When I read the script, I was a little bit swept away, captivated by the sense of this young woman traveling through time. Right away, I could kind of see how beautiful that would be: to see this person through all these different decades. On top of that, one of the things that I was looking forward to was that he is this perfect single guy, right? He’s in San Francisco. He’s made a fortune. He’s now just a philanthropist. He’s a little bit too good to be true. So I thought it would be fun to try to undercut that.
MARTIN: He’s very persistent and seductive. What would you say is the key to on-screen seduction?
HUISMAN: [laughs] Um, I wouldn’t know. I guess look at the girl and breathe. It’s made very easy by such an amazing actress as Blake. So maybe that’s the secret to on-screen seduction: Blake Lively, in this case.