“House of the Dragon”'s Tom Taylor channeled Sean Bean for Cregan Stark: 'I did feel like a bit of a gangster' (exclusive)

The "Dark Tower" and "The Last Kingdom" actor opens up to EW about playing the Lord of Winterfell on "House of the Dragon" season 2.

Tom Taylor feels the weight of what it means to play Cregan Stark on House of the Dragon season 2, both in a proverbial sense and a rather literal one.

"It's heavy," the actor, 22, from The Dark Tower and The Last Kingdom tells Entertainment Weekly of the leather costume he wears to portray the current Lord of Winterfell in the timeline of the Game of Thrones prequel. "And it was hot. It was maybe 25, 30 degrees [celsius] in England, and it was boiling. But I was blown away. I felt cool. I did feel like a bit of a gangster, to be honest."

Taylor's Cregan (pronounced "kray-gan"), known as the Wolf of the North in his youth, arrives on House of the Dragon in the season 2 premiere, which airs on HBO and streams on Max Sunday, June 16. In the Targaryen civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons, Rhaenyra (Emma D'Arcy) sends her son, Jacaerys Velaryon (Harry Collett), to treat with Cregan at Winterfell and secure the support of the North for their side.

<p>Ollie Upton/HBO</p> Harry Collet as Jacaerys Velaryon, Tom Taylor as Cregan Stark on 'House of the Dragon' season 2

Ollie Upton/HBO

Harry Collet as Jacaerys Velaryon, Tom Taylor as Cregan Stark on 'House of the Dragon' season 2

Related: Cregan Stark arrives in House of the Dragon season 2 first look

Embodying an ancestor of Eddard Stark (Sean Bean) and Jon Snow (Kit Harington) from HBO's Game of Thrones, Taylor confirms he looked to these figures from the original series for inspiration. "I did use Sean Bean a lot," he says. "For some reason, I felt like I needed to because he's Sean Bean's great, great, great, great, great-granddad. I wanted him to have the same presence because the voice tells so much. When they speak, you can hear the weight on all their shoulders."

Taylor auditioned for the role at the top of 2023, using sides that referred to his character as simply "CS" for a mysterious project called Red Gun, the often-used code name for House of the Dragon. It wasn't until months later that he met with producers, including showrunner and co-creator Ryan Condal, as well as executive producer Alan Taylor, a veteran of Game of Thrones, who directs the season 2 premiere episode. "I think they were quite surprised with my accent," the actor recalls of that interaction. "I think maybe if I couldn't do the accent, it wouldn't be happening. It was such an important thing to get the tone of Cregan right, so when he is speaking, it's not like a cringey speech because a lot of the wording is almost Shakespearean."

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When he finally got the part, all his friends, who are die-hard Game of Thrones fans, freaked. It was meaningful for Taylor, as well, noting a personal connection he made to the character. His father's side of his family grew up in Manchester. "They're all Northmen, if you like," he remarks, "that kind of rough 'round the edges, Northern love."

<p>Ollie Upton/HBO</p> Tom Taylor's Lord Cregan Stark of Winterfell on 'House of the Dragon' season 2

Ollie Upton/HBO

Tom Taylor's Lord Cregan Stark of Winterfell on 'House of the Dragon' season 2

Related: Queens' gambit: House of the Dragon stars preview season 2's 'march to war'

Now Taylor is raring to go. His introduction in season 2 is "a little tease for now," he mentions, having filmed his sequences walking the Wall in the North with Collett over the course of three separate days that were spread out over several weeks. "I'm just really keen to keep going," he comments. "I've got so much I want to do with Cregan. I can just imagine it since I've stopped filming. I'm getting so many more ideas. And, yeah, I want to kill some people."

Even if his sword Ice, the Valyrian steel blade and heirloom of House Stark, feels just as heavy as the rest of his costume. He remarks, "There's no way you're fighting with that sword, let me tell you."

House of the Dragon season 2 premieres this Sunday on HBO and Max at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

Read the original article on Entertainment Weekly.