ABOVE: MICHIEL HUISMAN AT THE LINE HOTEL IN LOS ANGELES, APRIL 2014.
PHOTOGRAPHY: BRIAN HIGBEE.
STYLING: LIZETTE PENA.
“I guess I was a child actor,” admits 33-year-old Dutch actor Michiel Huisman. Holland, however, is not Hollywood, and Huisman, who grew up in and just outside of Amsterdam, assures us that his early start in the film industry didn’t get him any special treatment. “Acting was one of the things I did alongside going to school: I’d be playing guitar, I’d be playing soccer, and I would be acting in movies,” he explains. “Because Holland is so small, it was never considered a career.”
In grade school, Huisman downplayed his extracurricular activities: “I would keep it to myself a little bit. If kids would ask, ‘Where were you yesterday?’ I would tell them, but if not, I wouldn’t say, ‘I was shooting.'” It wasn’t until later, as a teenager at university, that he decided to pursue acting seriously. “I thought, maybe I’m already doing what I want to be doing,” he recalls.
Chances are that you recognize Huisman from a television series; the question is which one. After moving to the US in 2009, Huisman’s first American role was as a drug-consuming musician on the New Orleans-set jazz drama Treme. This year alone, he’s had significant roles on ABC’s Connie Britton-starring country music show, Nashville, HBO’s fantasy behemoth Game of Thrones, and BBC America’s cult drama Orphan Black “I can’t quite put my finger on it,” Huisman says of his diverse range of fans. “People come up to me: ‘I saw you on this and this.’ I look at them and I’m like, ‘I would have never thought that; I would have thought you were watching this show.’ “On Game of Thrones, Huisman plays Daario Naharis, a merchant soldier (“sellsword”) and leader of the prestigious Second Sons, who pledges his allegiance (and love) to the mother of dragons, Daenerys Targaryen. Daario appeared in several episodes at the end of Season Three played by British actor Ed Skrein. At the beginning of Season Four, however, Skrein was silently replaced by Huisman, and few fans seemed to notice Skrein’s absence.
Recently, Huisman has been working on films, most notably Jean-Marc Vallée’s Wild with Reese Witherspoon and The Age of Adaline with Blake Lively and Harrison Ford.
EMMA BROWN: Where do you live these days?