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Summary

  • Kit Harington trades swords for guns in
    Blood for Dust
    , showcasing his villainous yet likable side.
  • Harington drew inspiration for Ricky from a detailed backstory, including childhood neglect and a penchant for cop TV shows.
  • Harington praises director Rod Blackhurst’s meticulous planning and knowledge of the underworld, as well as his costar Scoot McNairy’s laidback approach.



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Kit Harington’s new movie Blood for Dust sees him taking up guns instead of swords, as he teams up with True Detective‘s Scoot McNairy for a drug run that will change their lives. Helmed by Rod Blackhurst and with a screenplay by David Ebeltoft, Blood for Dust follows a traveling salesman named Cliff (McNairy) who foregoes his attempt at a “good” life in favor of rejoining his partner Ricky (Harington) on a dangerous mission.


Harington became a household name playing Jon Snow in Game of Thrones, but he has since branched out into other genres. In Blood For Dust, he takes a villainous turn that nevertheless remains likable thanks to both his innate charm and his rigorous character building. The noir thriller — which was highly regarded on 2023’s festival circuit — also stars Stephen Dorff, Josh Lucas, Nora Zehetner, and Amber Rose Mason.

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Screen Rant interviewed Harington about his preparation for and character work in Blood For Dust, which included a highly specific look and backstory. The actor also detailed his on set dynamic with costar McNairy, as well as his collaboration process with second-time director Rod Blackhurst.



Kit Harington’s Blood For Dust Character Has An Intricate Backstory

Screen Rant: Your accent and mustache in Blood for Dust were mind-blowing. What was the process of deciding Ricky’s outer shell? Did you know first that he would talk like that or look like that? And how do you get him to where he is on screen?

Kit Harington: It was maybe one of the first decisions made to have him have a mustache, but it came from conversations about who he is and his backstory. As is alluded to in the film with the speech he gives, I think he comes from a background of neglect and abuse. I think he was raised by TV, so that was a conversation me and Rod had. I felt that he was sort of raised watching certain TV shows where the cops or the bad guys have these mustaches.

But it was never meant to be a handlebar. It was just going to be like that. And then as you do, you start whittling it down and I was like, “Whoa, whoa, stop there. That’s kind of Ricky.” But I don’t know whether I’m ever going to do it again, so this is the one time that I might’ve rocked a handlebar.


The opening shot of the movie, which I guess is a little bit of a double entendre, really sets the tone obviously for the whole story and Cliff’s motivation. But how does the death of their partner affect Ricky? How does that influence his decision to join forces with Cliff again?

Kit Harington: I think you see it at the top. Ricky’s reaction at the top is actually very different from the Ricky we see throughout the rest of the movie. He pretends to be much cooler, much more chilled about stuff. His reaction at the top of the movie is – it’s not spoiling anything because it’s the top of the movie – slamming at the windows. He lets out expletives.

I think there’s this thing about Ricky of, “You went and ruined it. We had a good thing, and you went and ruined it.” I think he’s trying to get back to where they were in some ways. He pulls Cliff’s character back into this because he’s like, “You don’t get to get out. We had a good thing. We’re going to go for this last ride.

The thing that really eats him up is when people leave him; they leave the situation either by shooting themselves or going good, and he’s like, “No, you don’t leave me. And maybe that’s to do with his background of neglect or, I don’t know. But that’s kind of where I came up for him.”


You and Rod obviously had a lot of conversations about this backstory. What else about his directing style really stood out to you or did you take anything away from it in this experience?

Kit Harington:

I loved his sort of planning. He had it all planned. He talked me through it when we first started chatting, he knew what he was doing. It was very clear that this was a guy who had done his work and his homework and wasn’t chancing his arm. It’s the second feature film he’s directed, but he’s a new director in many ways. That was reassuring to me, and I felt that I was in safe hands from the start.

When we got to the big action sequences at the end, it ran like clockwork because he had rehearsed it and rehearsed it and rehearsed it with stuntmen beforehand and knew exactly what his shots were going to be. I just really like working with people like that.

And this came from a place of people he sort of knew. I got the feeling with Rod that he’d grown up in places where he’d seen the other side of the curtain; he’d seen the underworld a little bit and had friends he’d lost to it. I think it comes from a place of knowledge as well.


Kit Harington & Scoot McNairy “Really Hit It Off” While Filming Blood For Dust

blood for dust

You and Scoot McNairy have several scenes together. You’re on a journey together for most of the movie. What was that dynamic like? How did you guys build out that relationship and also what are some of your favorite memories on set of that dynamic duo?

Kit Harington: Yeah, I’d obviously really enjoyed – like a lot of us have – Scoot’s work for a long time before this. I knew him as an actor, and we just really hit it off. He’s a very chill dude and his approach to work is very, he’s just a natural, he kind of comes at it from a very relaxed place.

And I mean that not in a way that he knows what he wants, and he gets it almost easily – it seems, but I’m sure it isn’t. I wrestle my way into things with lots of self-torture. I don’t come from a place of being a chill dude. It’s a bit more torturous, I think. It’s always nice to work with someone who comes from an opposite place a bit. We got on really well.

Favorite memories? We were in Montana. We were surrounded by incredible beauty, and there’s always something really special about going to a location that feels a bit wild and otherworldly and kind of at the ends of the earth. I can feel everyone in Montana screaming at me that I’m diminishing where they come from, but it feels [that way] to me as an English guy going over there. The other great thing was that it was in the winter. This was originally meant to be a summer dust road movie, and it ended up being winter – which is one of those lovely mistakes that kind of makes a thing.


You mentioned the action sequences near the end, and there are a lot of gunfights that must be difficult to set up. You’ve done a lot of action, but I think of you more as a sword slasher. How do you prepare for gun shooting?

Kit Harington: Well, I hadn’t done a lot of gun stuff prior to this. I like action scenes, and this seemed to have them. That was a big pull. I did go, which you don’t have the opportunity to in the UK, I went to a range out in Montana to fire some guns so I knew what I was doing because it’s not something in my background I have and did a bit of my homework there.

But one thing that I was quite clear or keen on is that it shouldn’t feel in any way glorifying, and I don’t think this movie does. I think we were very careful how we shot some of those scenes. If anything, it was Ricky flashing his gun, feeling like a man, but we could see that it was a cover for everything and he should never look too cool with the gun. He looks like a guy that loves guns, but not a guy who looks effortlessly cool with it.


You mentioned Ricky is the kind of guy who modeled himself after what he saw on the shows he watched. Did you have any Western or noir stories that you kind of took inspiration from when shaping Ricky?

Kit Harington: Yeah. I think it’s been compared to, maybe because it’s a very recent one, Hell or High Water. It was always a movie that felt like this movie because of the duo. I love that movie, and it has a kind of Butch Cassidy Sundance Kid quality to it; two guys on the run effectively. But it’s a bit dark. I think it’s darker than both of those movies. I think there’s something colder about it, which was appealing to my depressive side.

Updates on Game of Thrones Spinoffs, MCU Projects & More

Jon Snow looking up at the sky while Arya Stark is smiling and Samwell is holding a book in Game of Thrones


We only got a glimpse of your possible future as Black Knight in the MCU, but between hopefully a Blade movie and the many MCU TV shows coming up, is there a chance for Dane to return? Is that something you’re up for?

Kit Harington: I hope that they do something with that character. I think that character is fascinating and brilliant. And I love his trajectory in the comics. I love the idea of a good guy being turned bad by his superpower. I think that’s brilliant. I’m not sure whether we’ve had a protagonist that’s like that, so I think it’s a really strong idea. I’d love them to [revisit him].

I don’t know, though. The honest answer is nothing’s in the works at the moment. If they decide to use the character in something, or as a solo thing, I’d be very excited by it. But I don’t think it’s planned at the moment.

Another potential project that excites me is the Game of Thrones Jon Snow spinoff. Is that still in development, and what is your vision for Jon Snow’s future?


Kit Harington: I hadn’t really ever spoken about it, because it was in development. I didn’t want it leaked out that it was being developed, and I didn’t want the thing to happen where people kind of start theorizing, getting either excited about it or hating the idea of it, when it may never happen. Because in development, you look at every angle, and you see whether it’s worth it.

And currently, it’s not. Currently, it’s off the table, because we all couldn’t find the right story to tell that we were all excited about enough. So, we decided to lay down tools with it for the time being. There may be a time in the future where we return to it, but at the moment, no. It’s firmly on the shelf.

In more hopeful news, what is next for you? What are you excited to step into or genres that you want to tackle?


Kit Harington: I don’t know, really. I’m doing a play this summer, which I’m really excited about. Could be nice to be back on the stage. And as for later in the year, I’m currently looking for something. There are a couple of things that could be interesting, but we’ll see. I’m never a person with a very clear plan. I just see what turns up and what’s interesting, and then decide whether it’s worth kind of being away from the kids for X amount of time.


Blood For Dust

releases in select theaters and will simultaneously be available on VOD platforms.

Blood for dust 2023 movie poster

Blood for Dust

Blood for Dust is an action-crime thriller from director Rod Blackhurst, and follows a traveling salesman named Cliff. Cliff is given the chance to escape his unfortunate circumstances through a job offer by his old friend. Though hesitant, Cliff accepts, only to discover he’s been thrust into a dangerous gun and drug-running ring by a ruthless cartel leader.

Director
Rod Blackhurst

Studio(s)
Highland Film Group

Writers
David Ebeltoft

Cast
Scoot McNairy , Kit Harington , Josh Lucas , Nora Zehetner , Ethan Suplee , Stephen Dorff , Amber Rose Mason

Runtime
98 Minutes




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