There’s a small crowd gathered outside the plush Mayfair Hotel in London awaiting the arrival of Tamer Hassan. Although he’s starred in everything from Batman Begins to 24 and Dracula, he would be the first to admit that the crowd are not assembled for him but to catch a glimpse of his new baby – a brand new Mercedes AMG GTS, which he took delivery of a few months ago.
The 47-year-old strolls into the hotel lobby, still very much carrying the hulking boxer build of his earlier career, clutching a Louis Vuitton bag, his Rolex flashing as bright as his smile. Tamer Hassan is larger than life, and completely unapologetic about it.
It’s a personality that no doubt helped him land a role on series six of Game of Thrones, a role he promises will have “an enormous impact”, but more of that in a moment.
We spend the first 15 minutes of our conversation talking cars and property deals.
“It’s the only one in the country,” he says proudly of his new £150,000 motor.
“I was told by VIP Mercedes that Jeremy Clarkson was after one, but he has to wait 18 months for his. I paid for mine so that’s why I got it first.”
So how does a man from New Cross in South London – who only took up acting in his thirties – afford to cruise around in a car even Lewis Hamilton would be impressed with?
“I deal in property and a couple of other things,” Hassan offers, adding to the air of mystery. “I’m a businessman and if Jeremy Clarkson wants this car, we can talk, I’ll do business,” he laughs.
Money burns a rather sizeable hole in Hassan’s undoubtedly designer pockets, and he has no qualms about spending it either.
“As long as my family and my kids are set, I always put them first, so as long as they are happy, I have my own float of money that I’m allowed to spend on things like boys toys,” he says excitedly. “And why not?”
Why not indeed.
It would be easy to write off Hassan as a flash git, but the reality is that he’s extremely likeable and a talented actor to boot.
“I play a Dothraki warrior, a leader. That’s the part I play and what I do has an enormous impact on the lead characters”
Hassan had his breakthrough role in The Calcium Kid alongside Orlando Bloom, before starring in crime thriller Layer Cake, Danny The Dog and Batman Begins. He also landed the role of Basher in 24 alongside Kiefer Sutherland, and starred in Clash of The Titans, The Business and The Football Factory with best friend Danny Dyer. Then there was Robot Overlords with Sir Ben Kingsley.
“Oh, I have some great stories I could tell you about Sir Ben,” he says, and I don’t doubt him.
But now, Hassan has just wrapped on his biggest role to date in season six of Game of Thrones. And he’s unsurprisingly thrilled about it. However, as always with the ever elusive storylines for the series, Hassan is pretty limited when it comes to the amount of information he can divulge.
What he does reveal is that landing the role was a long time coming and that he had tried out for every series so far.
“I actually was a little bit angry because I’ve met for Game Of Thrones for every season but it never worked out,” he shrugs. “When you look at the show, how do I not fit in? It’s just one of those ones that I could never seem to get, until now. It’s not a regular role or a major role but the impact of what I do is epic,” he teases.
“I play a Dothraki warrior, a leader. What I do affects the main characters. Really. It’s massive” he adds again.
Hassan relocated to Northern Ireland to shoot the latest series, and admits it was without doubt his most challenging role to date. Not only did he have to spend two hours each day transforming into a warrior, it was freezing cold and not as in any way glamorous as he waited to film scenes.
“How they work and what they do on that show is just like nothing I have ever seen before,” he says.
“They work incredibly, incredibly hard. You get your page of lines and that is all you see. You have no idea of the script and no idea what’s going on and that is what is really magical about it.”
Has the door been left open for his character to return?
“Well, a lot of people around me die. I didn’t die.”
So feast yourselves on that little titbit, GOT lovers.
Hassan has seen interest in him spike hugely since he first mentioned his role in the series at the premiere for Breakdown in London last week. “It has just gone mad since then to be honest with you. My phone was just hopping with Google alerts the day after the premiere when I spoke about it.”
You have Google alerts for yourself? “Yea, I have actually,” he grins. “I want to be the first to know if someone says something bad about me.”
Game of Thrones aside, Hassan is also in for a massive year with a role opposite Christian Bale and Star Wars’ Oscar Isaacs in The Promise, a new release from Hotel Rwanda director Terry George.
Though full of confidence ordinarily, Hassan admits he fell to pieces when going head-to-head with Bale in scenes for the new release.
“I was forgetting words, and trying to calm myself down and all sorts,” the actor recalls. “He just brings out something else in you when you are acting alongside him. There’s no one else like Christian.”
With years of playing the baddie under his belt, would he ever consider playing a romantic comedy role? “I think we both know this isn’t the face for romantic comedy,” he laughs. “I want the guns, and the cars and the fights, those are the roles I want to play out. I used to be a boxer, it’s best that I stick to what I know.”
And fans of Hassan and Danny Dyer will be pleased to know plans are afoot for another film called Back In Business which will shoot in Ibiza later this year. Also, he has produced the film Bitter Harvest with producers Camilla Storey and Chad Barager. The movie, which also stars Max Irons and Samantha Barks, centres around the life of a Ukrainian Cossack (Irons), as he deals with the hardships of Stalin’s reign of terror
All in all, it doesn’t look like Hassan will have time to build up too much mileage on that Mercedes of his.
“I’m happiest at home in London and driving around with my family,” he concludes. “Living in LA, all that stuff was never right for me. I’m a London boy through and through and I ain’t going nowhere.”
It certainly doesn’t sound like it.
Loaded’s entertainment editor Jennifer O’Brien is an award-winning journalist who has written extensively about popular culture as a national newspaper columnist and author. Follow her on Twitter at @Jen_OBrien1