Steve Toussaint has revealed he received racist abuse online after being cast as Corlys Velaryon in the upcoming Game Of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon.
The 57-year-old British actor has previously starred in Doctor Who, Line of Duty and Death in Paradise.
Toussaint told the Radio Times about his lead role in the highly anticipated HBO series: “When they announced [my casting]one of the first things I saw on social media was a drawing of the character [from the books] next to a picture of me.
“And then there was the racist abuse that came with it.”
In the books by George RR Martin on which the series is based, Velaryons are described as having white skin, ghostly pale hair and purple eyes. In the new series, however, the clan is reimagined as black nobles with long silver dreadlocks.
Reflecting on the backlash from fans of the book series, Toussaint continued: “I kind of thought, ‘Oh, I get it.’ When we were criminals and pirates and slaves in the other show, you were OK with that.
“But like this guy is the richest [character] in the show and he’s a noble, now you have a problem with that.
“In House Of The Dragon [our colour] is just a given – I like that.”
Despite the risk that acknowledging the setback could make it more prominent, Toussaint said he believed it was important to address it.
“I don’t want this to be my story,” he said. “But I’m not going to deny that it happened. Because it does. It’s out there. And there should never be anything that deters anyone from doing something they want to do.”
The actor also revealed that he has wanted to be a part of the fantasy series for a while. After failing to audition for series five of Game of Thrones, he later hoped to land a role in The Long Night – another prequel series which was later canned.
After being offered the role of Corlys, a nautical adventurer known as the Sea Snake, Toussaint felt that the previous failed attempts were meant to be.
He said: “When [House of the Dragon] came up, it felt like I had missed the others so that I could join.”