GQ – Even if you don’t watch Game of Thrones, you’ve probably heard something about its porny reputation or the “sexploitation” of its female actors. The show’s creators don’t seem overly troubled. Or maybe they’re just satisfied with their one-man rebuttal: Michiel Huisman. Huisman joined the show in its fourth season (the sixth starts soon), and although technically he plays a gifted fighter named Daario, his purpose, really, is to pleasure Emilia Clarke’s Khaleesi. In an early encounter, she coolly tells him to take off his clothes. His striptease shocks simply because of the role reversal.
Huisman was already a successful actor and musician in his native Holland when he moved to New York and began working with a dialect coach. (“I wanted to do more than just play the Russian thug or Nazi.”) He caught his break on HBO’s Treme, after which he stayed on in New Orleans, making the city home. By contrast to Hollywood, “there’s no risk of me running into a director or another actor when I walk to my favorite coffee place,” he says, alluding to his earlier years pounding pavement in L.A. “It’s only recently that it’s becoming a little bit more fun to be in Los Angeles. You start to feel slowly less like another actor that’s trying to make it.”
If Huisman has an issue now, it’s the Good-Looking Man problem. Brad Pitt had it for a while, so did half the cast of True Blood—the misfortune of being so attractive you’re seen only as a romantic interest. In addition to being Khaleesi’s adviser-with-benefits, he’s partnered with Connie Britton on Nashville, Blake Lively in The Age of Adaline, and Tatiana Maslany on Orphan Black. Oh, and there was this Baz Luhrmann–directed mini-movie for Chanel in which he makes out with Gisele. Huisman is too polite to complain about what is clearly not a problem. And so, in the meantime—stripping for Khaleesi? “At the end of the day, someone’s gotta do it.”