Matt Smith describes his ‘House of the Dragon’ role as a literal ‘f*cking pain in the neck’

Emma D’Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen
Image via HBO

Matt Smith rose to prominence as the 11th incarnation of the titular character in Doctor Who, but his days of manning the Tardis and traveling time and space in search of lighthearted adventures have paved the path for the opportunity to spearhead the gruesome world of House of the Dragon as one of its lead characters, Daemon Targaryen.

But becoming a dragonrider — and one who is as revered and legendary as the Rogue Prince — is no easy task, and it may have actually brought the British actor close to his breaking point. In a new profile on The Hollywood Reporter, Smith details the experience of working on the series as a literal “f*cking pain in the neck.”

“On the page, Daemon could really be one thing. I was always interested in trying to subvert it a little into something else. I think there’s a sort of strange, sensitive nature to Daemon and quite a genuine loyalty to him and humanistic qualities that you can peel away and see. It’s a fucking pain in the neck — literally, physically and metaphorically.”

In fairness, Smith isn’t simply speaking ironically here. The actor actually suffered a disc injury while doing a stunt for the show in Portugal, itself a testament to his unwavering dedication to bringing Daemon to life in all of his subtle and nuanced glory.

Matt Smith is part of an ambitious ensemble tasked with revitalizing Westeros on the small screens again. House of the Dragon involves the period of unrest and civil war in the Targaryen dynasty that ultimately caused the diminishing of their power and influence, what the Seven Kingdoms historians now refer to as the Dance of the Dragons.

The show is making its HBO debut on Aug. 21.