One of the biggest stars of Game Of Thrones and Star Wars has revealed how his move from professional basketball to Hollywood stardom was a baptism of fire.
But 7ft 1in powerhouse Ian Whyte – rumoured to be working on the set of the new Han Solo film – admitted he’s loving every minute living the big screen dream.
In an exclusive interview with HRH Mag, the former England international basketball player explained how he was thrown in at the deep end after swapping the court for the casting couch.
“It was an astonishingly steep learning curve,” said Whyte. “In my first week as an actor I was shooting Alien vs.Predator in Prague and it was the scene where Weyland sets fire to the Predator with an oxygen tank that he uses a flamethrower.
“It was my first job and of course I wanted to make a good impression. My wife said to me that she understood how important it was for me to take ownership of this character and do my own action scenes and everything that entails. But she said ‘please don’t let them set you on fire’.
“I had a professional stunt guy to do the full body fire burn which is as dangerous as it sounds. But for the close-ups they set fire to my suit with fire gel. In the movie there are a few wisps of flame but for most of the takes – and there were eight or nine – I was ablaze. I just remember the director shouting to the special effects guy and asking him whether he could put me out yet.”
Whyte has been in the acting business for 14 years after a chance call to his former basketball club, Newcastle Eagles, helped him land the AvP gig. Best known to GOT fans as the giant Wun Wun, he is predicted to pop up in Star Wars: The Last Jedi later this year.
Read the full and exclusive interview with Whyte in the latest issue of HRH Mag – OUT NOW.