Tom’s trading pirates for dragons
TOM Hopper is about to enter a new level in his career.
The British actor is well-known from his roles as Sir Percival in The Adventures of Merlin and as the swashbuckling pirate Billy Bones in Black Sails.
But things are about to get very intense for the 32-year-old father now that Game of Thrones fans know he'll have a role in the highly anticipated season seven, debuting worldwide in July.
He's been told 'not to say anything' about his character, rumoured to be Dickon Tarly, but he's ready for a barrage of questions when he meets fans at the Supanova Pop Culture Expo on the Gold Coast next weekend.
"I've been inundated with questions (about Game of Thrones); it's been quite an experience," he says.
"The funny thing is there's been no official announcement that I'm in the show. For all we know it could all be rumours (laughs). There was a rumour thing that got put on social media and it went crazy with how many people jumped on it.
"I'm sure the fandom is very aware at this point but I'm sure they're also aware we can't say anything about the upcoming season. Also I think they don't want to know things and I quite like that. Some fans go 'Oh don't tell me, I don't want to know'."
This will be Tom's third Supanova appearance but his first time on the Gold Coast.
"I'm a big fan of meeting fans. I think it's really nice to meet people and get the appreciation for the work you put in on set," he says.
"A lot of the shows and films I've done are really physically challenging and they take a lot out of you when you're doing it. You go into this bubble of a world and don't come out of it for six or seven months, and then the show comes out.
"What's great is to get that feedback on the show. I've got my experience of shooting it and then they put their perspective on it, which is really rewarding for me."
Surprisingly, the TV series Tom's fans bring up most often isn't Merlin or Black Sails.
"I did like episode of Doctor Who, Matt Smith's first episode, and it's a weird one that always pops up," he says.
"I've done quite a few shows now, and that's the one that always pop up.
"But the most popular question I get is 'Why do you never wear sleeves? (laughs)?"
Supanova isn't Tom's only connection to Australia. He's good mates with his Black Sails co-star Luke Arnold and even helped him land his starring role in Seven's INXS mini-series Never Tear Us Apart.
"Luke's such a great guy. We went through hell in our boot camp together to get into pirate shape," he says.
"He taped his audition for INXS in my apartment in Cape Town (where we filmed Black Sails) and we really worked on this tape. I remember saying to him 'Dude if you do not get this there is something wrong with the world; you are so right for this job'.
"But of course he absolutely smashed it out of the park. I was incredibly proud of him for that. When you're playing a real life person, who's lived a life and has quite a sensitive story, you have to tell that and be careful in how you do it and he did it with such truth."
The last ever episode of Black Sails aired earlier this month, closing one chapter of Tom's career before he starts a new one with Game of Thrones.
"For years we were immersed in this crazy pirate world in Cape Town," he says. "In a lot of ways it was a little boy's dream. There were pirate ships, swords and guns and we got to go nuts. It was the best thing you could ask for as an actor really. I feel very fortunate to have worked on a show like that so early on in my career."
The Supanova Pop Culture Expo will be held at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre from April 21 to 23.