Game of Thrones has been a platform for so many talented actors. These fine artists have gone on to do their magic in other films and shows. Every now and then, we see them in something that catches our attention right away. One such recent film is The Other lamb, starring Michiel Huisman; who played the Second Sons’ leader Daario Naharis in GoT. It’s a horror drama that tells the story of an all-women cult that resides in the remote woods with a male leader called Shepherd. We saw the trailer a while ago, and now the film has released in the US and available on VOD (video-on-demand) and digital platforms. Huisman talked to Salon about the film, his character, Shepherd, and various other things.
The Other Lamb follows a cult where the leader, Shepherd is all-powerful and the sole decision-maker for the remaining group of women, called “The Flock”. Shepherd behaves like God, who has shown mercy on his subjects by letting them in his shade. Huisman told us his thoughts about the cult and his character’s space in it.
“I think that when the film starts, the cult we follow is on its decline. The ideological way that it started and slowly built over the course of two decades is very different from the mechanics of the cult it turned into. It started because a lot of these women were looking for family and support, something they all were missing in their personal lives. They found it under the wings of my character, Shepherd, who wanted to be a good father and a good husband.
But as time goes on and the group grows, it becomes impossible for him to keep things the way they are, stay in the center of their lives, keep them away from the outside world, and be self-sufficient. For me, playing a character so dark and manipulative, it was important to understand where it started for him. I didn’t want to play him as a “bad guy”, although he is a terrible man. He’s not succeeding in being a good father.” Michiel also said that Shepherd comes from a mental place where he feels every horrible decision he takes is “the right thing for his flock”.
The Dutch actor’s role in Game of Thrones was that of a cunning fighter-Casanova. We saw him charm his way into Dany’s heart, and he’s doing the same with Shepherd. So, one may think that he has the ability to play such “creepy, charismatic” men. “I don’t know that’s something I can play. I don’t think you can perform that control as an actor. You need to believe that you have that control, and really understand the story you are in and where your character comes from. But so much of that – if it works – is movie magic,” he said.
Michiel talked about strange fan responses too. “It is sometimes strange when people who don’t know me come up and say, ‘I love you so much’. It makes me slightly uncomfortable. They don’t know me. I had to put that aside. Shepherd is very comfortable with being worshipped.”
Cults usually paint a generic picture in our minds where the leaders dress and be a certain way in order to attract followers. But Michiel feels a few cult documentaries, that he saw as part of his prep, changed his mind. “ ‘The End of the World Cult’ and ‘Holy Hell’ really opened my eyes and Malgo’s (the director) eyes. In ‘Holy Hell’, [the cult leader] wears a speedo and Ray-Bans. We can do whatever we want as long as he has a hold over his flock.” He praised the director Malgorzata Szumowska and the cinematographer Michal Englert for their artistic process. And he felt rare freedom and fear in “reinventing a story on set”.
Talking about the film’s stunning visual appeal, Huisman admitted to his love for photography. He credited the film’s “different” look to the use of “wide angles and closeups and a lens that gave an eerie and distorted feel”. He also revealed that a few of the shots found inspiration in Andrei Tarkovsky’s (Russian filmmaker) films.
Traveling is a big part of an actor’s life as they visit locations across the world to shoot for their films. Michiel finds it “one of the fun things” about his profession. And he also named one of his top five favorite places, “ ‘The Red Sea Diving Resort’ in a desert in Namibia”.
Huisman has worked in films of almost all genres, be it horror, romantic, musical, or sci-fi thrillers. And he feels this diversity “makes things interesting and keeps it fun”. His next project, “The Flight Attendant” is with Kaley Cuoco for HBO Max. It’s “a fun dark comedy” and he’s playing one of the passengers that the main character (Kaley’s) indulges with. It’s a great mix of things he’s doing. We wish him the best of luck!
The Other Lamb also stars Raffey Cassidy and Denise Gough in important roles. It is out in the US, but due to release in the UK on July 3, 2020. Due to the coronavirus lockdowns, films won’t release in the cinema halls for a while. You can rent The Other Lamb on Amazon, and iTunes. Be sure to catch it soon.
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