Jack Gleeson’s retirement from acting isn’t exactly permanent. The actor claimed he would leave acting after his role as Joffrey Baratheon on HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” but he announced his return to theater this week in a very different role.
Gleeson, 23, will not reprise his role as a cold-hearted king, but his new gig sounds like it will be in the sci-fi/fantasy category. He’ll appear in a new play called “Bears in Space” at the Soho Theater, the actor revealed to the London Evening Standard.
“It is about two bears in an intergalactic space ship who have just thawed from cryogenic stasis,” Gleeson’s costar Eoghan Quinn explained. “It’s a journey of self-discovery for them and ultimately a story about love and friendship.”
“GoT” viewers know that Joffrey's storyline was not at all about love and friendship. However, it isn't just the vastly different storyline that attracted Gleeson. It seems his return to the spotlight was about creative control. “My real interest is in creating something from the ground up,” he explained. “I never say never to anything, but for the time being I get far more fulfillment from being part of a project that I have helped create and have more of a stake in.”
In 2014, the Irish actor revealed that he’d retire from acting after his part on “Game of Thrones” ended because he simply didn’t have as much fun anymore. “I’ve been acting since age 8. I just stopped enjoying it as much as I used to,” Gleeson revealed to Entertainment Weekly at the time. “And now there’s the prospect of doing it for a living, whereas up until now it was always something I did for recreation with my friends, or in the summer for some fun. I enjoyed it. When you make a living from something, it changes your relationship with it. It’s not like I hate it, it’s just not what I want to do.”
Now Gleeson is reminding audiences that he never said he’d be gone forever. “I never said anything so definitive,” he told the London Evening Standard. “Plus, I don’t really see this as acting — it’s more like a fun project with friends.”
Don’t expect to the actor to return to the Emmy-nominated “Game of Thrones” any time soon — or any TV show for that matter. When he first suggested that he might retire in 2013, he said specifically said that he didn’t enjoy being a TV actor. “The lifestyle that comes with being an actor in a successful TV show isn't something I gravitate towards,” he told the Irish Independent. It seems that the few fans hoping for the return of King Joffrey are still out of luck.
“Bears in Space” opens Aug. 3 at the Soho Theater in London. Tickets are available now. “Game of Thrones” returns to HBO in 2016.