Matt Smith as Daemon Targaryen in 'House of the Dragon' season 2
(HBO)

Matt Smith on Whether Daemon Is the Worst Man He’s Played: “Dude, I Played Patrick Bateman”

I am but a humble fan of things, two of those “things” being the story/movie/musical of American Psycho and the other thing being actor Matt Smith. So when those words collided, I was on cloud 9. Through the years, many have seemingly forgotten that he was Patrick Bateman.

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In preparation for season 2 of House of the Dragon, I spoke with Smith in a roundtable alongside his co-star Fabien Frankel, as well as journalists from Screen Rant (Devon McClure), Consequence (Liz Shannon Miller), and Decider (Meghan O’Keefe). There, I asked a question that probably only I would think about: How did the theatricality of a musical theatre character like Patrick Bateman in American Psycho the Musical help Smith approach the more dramatic elements of Daemon Targaryen?

“Well, they’re not that dissimilar in many ways,” Smith said, diving into aspects of Patrick Bateman that he loved. “What I loved about Bateman was he was such a geek.” More than that, Bateman is actively trying to murder those he sees as less than. While Daemon Targaryen is not an innocent man, his actions are driven by this vision of war and conquest. He’s not actively seeking out people to murder who he thinks are beneath him.

Bateman, however, is. Daemon is also very much a sort of wife guy (to Rhaenyra), while Bateman does not respect women in any way, shape, or form. And it is something that clearly makes Smith laugh when people act like Daemon is the worst. “It’s so funny when people go, ‘Oh God, Daemon’s so bad and this and that,’ and I’m like, ‘Dude, I played Patrick Bateman.'”

The Bateman and Daemon comparisons work, though

Smith and I went back and forth a bit about American Psycho, talking about how Bateman’s mind works in the book and film adaptations compared to what he did on stage. It is easy to just start talking about American Psycho and never stop. (After the roundtable, we spoke about the musical for even longer, and I could have spent my entire day there.) But it led to a hilarious moment of Smith realizing that … well, Patrick Bateman would probably really like Westeros.

First, he was talking about the book and asked if I’d read it (I have) and then talked about how the things that Bateman does in the book would make Daemon blush—but then surmised that the two would probably get along.

“That’d make Daemon blush,” Smith said. “What I like about them is there’s an inner quality to them. There’s an inner chaos. There’s an inner storm, there’s an inner uncomfortableness to sort of an outward polish that I think is really interesting in both characters actually. And I think they’d probably get on really well, I think they’d have a great night out. Do you know what I mean? I could see Patrick Bateman in Westeros, actually.”

As someone who loves both of these incredibly damaged characters and the way that Smith plays them, I completely agree with him. Daemon is, of course, up to his usual antics in season 2 of House of the Dragon, which is set to premiere on HBO on June 16th.


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.