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‘Game Of Thrones’ Star John Bradley On Netflix’s ‘3 Body Problem’

EXCLUSIVE John Bradley didn’t know what he was getting into with 3 Body Problem. The Game Of Thrones star plays physicist and entrepreneur Jack Rooney in the upcoming sci-fi epic. Speaking to Deadline, he said that showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss initially told him about the character they had written for him, but very little else: “David and Dan got in touch with me and said, ‘We’re doing this new thing, we’re not going to tell you what it is, but we’ve written this part for you’.”

The relationship forged with Benioff and Weiss on Game of Thrones and the character detail they did share meant ‘it was the easiest yes of my career,” the actor said. “I worked with them for ten years and I know them really well and they know me, I just knew for a fact that they give me a character that was written to my strengths.”

Bradley was speaking to Deadline at Series Mania, where 3 Body Problem had its European premiere. Having been clued into the series, Bradley read the books and the huge scope of the project dawned on him. “My first sort of thought was just massive admiration for them for taking on such an enormous task after Game of Thrones. They could have taken it easy on themselves and adapted something a bit more straightforward, but they’ve really been super ambitious.”

Chinese author Liu Cixin’s vaunted trilogy The Three-Body Problem inspired the Netflix series. The books had been described as unfilmable before Benioff, Weiss, and Woo made the show. The show spans geographies and realities as humanity comes into contact with an alien civilization and a group of brilliant scientists – the Oxford Five – join forces with an unorthodox detective to confront the greatest threat in history.

The series bowed at SXSW last week before it European debut at Series Mania in Lilles last night. Jess Hong plays Jin Cheng in the series, another member of the Oxford Five, and was also at the French drama festival.

Jin Cheng is “an idealist,” Hong told Deadline about her character. “She’s very optimistic about the future and that’s what keeps her going, because even though she can’t see what’s on the other side, she knows that if she just solves this huge problem, then the world could be a better place. I think she’s actually a big part of the heart of the show, its empathy, she definitely feels things very strongly.”

“It’s a combination of the writing and Jess’ extraordinary performance. But Jin Cheng is the inspiration of the show,” Bradley added. “When people watch it, people will be like, ‘In these circumstances, I want to be like her’.”

Bradley’s character, meanwhile, has dropped out of academia and become a snacks entrepreneur. He remains friends with his fellow scientists, but often kicks against the mood, giving him some pithy and grin-inducing lines. “When you see certain films that are set in the future, and especially with sci-fi and when the stakes are very high, you find yourself thinking, I wonder what year people stopped saying funny things,” Bradley said.

The cast were given screeners in January, and Hong Said she watched the whole series from bed in (almost) one sitting: “I accidentally binged the whole thing because I couldn’t stop. Well, I actually got to episode seven… then I finished the last one the next day.”

After the U.S. and European festival outings, 3 Body Problem drops on Netflix next week. For Hong, seeing the streamer’s marketing machine swing into action brought home the fact that series is about to drop worldwide. “This feels like a global event now, and that piles the pressure on, but come next week, when it is out, that will feel like the full stop to this enormous process. For us, it’s been two and a half years, for David and Dan and Alex, it’s been four years. It feels like it’s all leading to the 21st.”

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