Daniel Henney Wanted To Play Wheel Of Time's Lan Mandragoran For Over A Decade
The Wheel of Time and Big Hero 6 actor has had the idea of playing Lan for quite some time.
Amazon's Wheel of Time series will be here later this month, and fans can finally see some of their favorite characters come to life for the very first time, one of which is al'Lan Mandragoran, known simply as Lan, played by actor Daniel Henney.
Lan's backstory is one entrenched in tragedy. He is not only the last surviving member of a royal bloodline, but as the last survivor of an entire nation. When we're first introduced to Lan in the series, we know him as Moiraine's Warder (think magically-enhanced bodyguard). Down the line, Lan evolves into one of the most important characters in the series and someone Henney had been longing to play for a decade.
"I do this vision board thing, where I think about something I want to do career-wise or a goal. So about 2011, not really knowing about the books, I saved a picture of a cover of The Eye of the World on my phone," Henney said. "I saw Lan on his horse and Moiraine next to him, and I wanted to play a character like that someday." He added that it was a no-brainer when the call came.
For @TheWheelOfTime fans who are waiting so patiently (and for future fans as well) - here’s a first look at al’Lan Mandragoran - the uncrowned King of Malkier.— Daniel Henney (@danielhenney) April 28, 2021
I’ve loved every minute playing him thus far & we’re working tirelessly to bring you a fantastic show - stay tuned! pic.twitter.com/jdo6aYBw5l
Henney then went into the pressure of being the character as he's seen as so stoic and can blend in easily with the environment, but also letting his personality and humor shine through.
"The writing is so good though, that when there is a moment for a joke with Lan it's well written. We have one at the beginning of the first episode where we're going to the Two Rivers and all he needs to do is give a look," Henney told Gamespot during a group interview.
"My father has a real dry sense of humor so I hope I can draw on that," the actor added. "I think it's super important whenever you can find humorous moments in drama and I want to capitalize on those. I'm really excited for what's to come with him as he does have some really great moments in episodes four through eight as well. It's been a real pleasure of mine to do those moments because he is such a physical and stoic character so when I get a chance I kinda go for it."
It was important to Henney, as an Asian-American actor--to be playing a king on a high-profile fantasy television show. "It just wouldn't have existed when I was a kid. I think with our cast, there is somebody everybody could hold on to."
"Our cast is all the better for the diversity. It really is," added Rosamund Pike, who joined Henney in the interview. "Our casting director has cast her eyes over the whole world assembling this incredible cast. It's amazing!"
Amazon's The Wheel of Time premieres on November 19. It will be available exclusively on Amazon Prime Video. If you want to check out the books that started it all, they are available as audiobooks on Audible.
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