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From Game Of Thrones To Marvel’s Inhumans, Iwan Rheon Is A Menace

Some actors have the ability to be menacing, and it’s always in demand. Not all of them can pull it off, but it’s a great skill to possess.

On camera, of course.

Iwan Rheon plays the meddling and menacing Maximus in Marvel’s Inhumans, which is coming to CTV September 29. The 32-year-old Welsh actor, of course, is best known to TV audiences for his role as the sadistic Ramsay Bolton on Game of Thrones.

So has Rheon always possessed the knack for being menacing? Or is it something he had to fine-tune as an actor?

“I think it’s just my sheer size and intimidating behaviour,” said a chuckling Rheon, referring to his modest height.

“I don’t know, you play a character. And I don’t always play characters like that. I think it’s just who the character is, and the thoughts the character is having, and it probably manifests itself physically in a certain way. Maybe that’s what it is.

“I don’t know if I learned it. I hadn’t really played any villains until I played Ramsay Bolton. So I don’t know. Winging it.”

A strategy of “winging it” certainly won’t serve Maximus well in Marvel’s Inhumans. Maximus has a plan and he wants to enact it now. But he isn’t getting the support he wants, and tension is building.


Anson Mount (L) and Iwan Rheon

Marvel’s Inhumans tells the story of the Inhumans’ “Royal Family” after they are splintered by a military coup. A few barely escape to Hawaii, where they are separated and have to deal with the constant threat of discovery by the humans around them.

The series stars Anson Mount as Black Bolt, the enigmatic King of the Inhumans, with a voice so powerful that the slightest whisper can destroy a city. Serinda Swan plays Medusa, who is Black Bolt’s wife, and Rheon’s Maximus is Black Bolt’s brother.

“We’ve been fascinated by royals since the Greeks, you know,” Mount said. “It was Shakespeare’s favourite subject for a reason.

“What’s stronger, politics or blood? To Black Bolt, blood is certainly thick enough to want to keep his brother around, as much as a troublemaker as he is, because he’s a very, very, very valuable adviser. He is, by far, the most intelligent member of the family.

“(Maximus) is pitted as sort of this nemesis, and Iwan did a very good job of creating a protagonist out of this character. And when you really listen to what he says, it makes a lot of sense.”

As often is the case with Marvel properties, the characters in Inhumans can’t easily be categorized as “hero” or “villain.” Maximus, for example, wants to start a war, so on the surface he could be viewed as the bad guy. But he has his reasons, and they aren’t all bad.


(L-R) Actors Anson Mount, Iwan Rheon, Serinda Swan, Ellen Woglom, executive producers Scott Buck and Jeph Loeb

“What (Maximus) wants is to change what he feels is an archaic caste system that doesn’t work for everyone in society,” Rheon said. “So he wants to smash that, basically.

“And also, regarding the threat that humanity is going to discover them, he feels that the King is not doing anything. So he feels they have a leader who isn’t responding to the threat that he feels is a threat to everyone.

“(Maximus) feels that the way to deal with (the human threat) is to smash the caste system, go to Earth and face the problem head-on. As opposed to sit and do nothing, which is what his brother wants to do, essentially.

“I don’t see (Maximus) as a hero. He is an antagonist to the King.”

Antagonist? Iwan Rheon knows how to do that nauseatingly well. Again, I stress, on screen.

Does Rheon feel that the hatred for the departed Ramsay Bolton has died down a bit among Game of Thrones devotees?

“No, I think everyone still hates him, yup,” said Rheon with comic assurance. “They keep mentioning him in the new (season), thanks for that.”

Seriously, though, being associated with such a despicable character doesn’t bother Rheon.

“No, I’m very proud of the work I did,” he said. “And I guess the fact that everyone hates him meant that I did a good job. So I have to be kind of proud of that, really.”

Sounds like a logical attitude to me. Anything else would be Inhuman.