As King Joffrey in Game of Thrones, Jack Gleeson has drawn widespread critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic. His chilling portrayal of the villainous king, who is prone to outbursts of temper, has made him one of the best characters in Game of Thrones, though hardly one of the most likable. Gleeson’s acting has been strong throughout his time on the show from season one until his departure in season four. Joffrey was not an easy character to master; at times he was as petulant as a small child while at other times he was unbearably cruel. He was also a coward, yet equally as menacing and domineering when he wanted to be.
For Gleeson, the role of Joffrey followed on from small parts in films such as Batman Begins, and Shrooms, and also a leading role in the 2010 movie, All Good Children, for which he was also highly praised. The Irish actor also has a background in theater, being the artistic director and founder of Collapsing Horse Theater Company in Dublin, but Gleeson has decided against a career on stage or screen.
In a surprising move, Gleeson decided to retire from acting when he departed Game of Thrones, saying that while he still loved to act, it wasn’t what he wanted to do for a living. Instead, Gleeson has turned to a more creative role within his theatre company instead, though he does appear on stage occasionally. It’s a loss for the acting world though; given his level of talent and potential it seems reasonable to assume that Gleeson could have gone on to even greater things. Just take a look at his Game of Thrones audition, below. Though it’s only brief, the way Gleeson can change in and out of character is startling. First he’s asked to say a line as a typical teenager, and then he’s asked to repeat it as a villain.