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International Star You Should Know: ‘Game of Thrones’ Newcomer Pilou Asbaek

Danish actor Pilou Asbaek made his name as the villainous spin-doctor Kasper Juul in political drama series “Borgen,” and in three films directed by Tobias Lindholm, the latest of which, Afghanistan combat drama “A War,” was nominated for the foreign-language film Oscar. In the past year, he’s broken through into Hollywood movies, including Timur Bekmambetov’s “Ben-Hur.”

EMPLOYMENT OPTIONS: Asbaek attended the Copenhagen Intl. School of Performing Arts in his early 20s, and has been working ever since. “I started quite late,” he notes. “I didn’t know acting was a job.”

MUSICAL INTERLUDE : Asbaek, 33, enjoys the notoriety he gets on “Borgen,” but is concerned that some see his corrupt character as a role model. In 2014, in an effort to work on something different, the actor served as a host on pop-music show “Eurovision Song Contest,” with a live TV audience of 200 million viewers. “I was so irritated that people in Denmark considered me to be this serious guy who only did dramatic roles,” he says.

BOOT CAMP: In “A War,” he acted alongside former Danish soldiers who had fought in Afghanistan, and came to appreciate their nature. “They are intellectual guys with a lot of nuance, and very reflective,” Asbaek explains. “They’ve thought: If I shoot somebody, can I live with that?”

GOING HOLLYWOOD: Asbaek recently played Pontius Pilate in “Ben-Hur,” and joined the cast of “Game of Thrones.” The actor is now shooting “Ghost in the Shell” in New Zealand with co-star Scarlett Johansson.

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