House of the Dragon star Steve Toussaint on being subject to racist abuse over his casting: ‘It took minutes’

‘You don’t have a problem with flying dragons, but a Black guy who’s a nobleman?’ said actor

Ellie Harrison
Saturday 20 August 2022 19:25 BST
House of the Dragon, Trailer

House of the Dragon star Steve Toussaint has reflected on the racist backlash to his casting in the Game of Thrones spin-off.

House of the Dragon is set hundreds of years before the events of Thrones and follows the story of the Targaryen civil war.

In the show, Toussaint plays Corlys Velaryon, who the author of the books the show is based on, George RR Martin, had written as a middle-aged white man. When news emerged that he would be played on TV by a Black actor, internet trolls levelled racist abuse at Toussaint.

“When my first photo came out on Twitter it was ‘Oh, wow, this?’” Toussaint told The Guardian.

“But it’s been so interesting. I mentioned this the other day to my white friends, and they were all, like, ‘Oh my God!’ But when I mentioned it to my friends of colour, they were, like, ‘Well, we knew that was coming,’ you know?

“We were just saying: ‘I wonder how long it will take?’ And it was minutes. None of us were surprised.”

He added: “It’s funny, because you go ‘you don’t have a problem with flying dragons, but a Black guy who’s a nobleman?’ But I don’t hate. Listen, those people are best left to themselves, to those things.”

There have been numerous incidents of racism after Black actors have been cast in sci-fi and fantasy films and TV shows. When John Boyega was cast in Star Wars, he was subject to racist abuse. More recently, Moses Ingram was attacked online when she appeared on Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Moses Ingram in ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’
Moses Ingram in ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ (AP)

Joining Toussaint in the cast of House of the Dragon are Paddy Considine, Rhys Ifans and Matt Smith. The latter recently said he found himself questioning the number of sex scenes that were required while filming the HBO series.

The series is being released in the US tomorrow, with the UK premiere arriving at 2am on Sky Atlantic the following day. After the simulcast, it will be available to stream on NOW.

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