Game of Thrones actor on his next goal: Winning the heaviest boxing match ever
Former Game of Thrones actor Hafþór Björnsson took a break from his near-constant training to answer a few questions about his recent deadlift record and the reality show he's developing.
Björnsson, a.k.a. Ser Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane in Thrones seasons 4-8, broke the world deadlift record in May when he lifted an incredible 1,104 pounds. The 6'9", 450-pound strongman, who has set a string of strength records in recent years, now has his sights set on two new goals: winning what he's dubbed the "heaviest boxing match" of all time and developing a reality show titled Beat the Mountain.
The boxing bout is against his 362-pound rival Eddie Hall, who previously held the deadlift record (and has called out Björnsson for breaking the record in a gym instead of during a formal competition). The two are scheduled to face off in September 2021 in Las Vegas.
The reality show would challenge elite athletes to bouts of strength and endurance as each tries to "beat the Mountain." The project is currently being shopped to potential distributors.
Björnsson — who goes by the nickname Thor — agreed to answer a few questions by email from Iceland.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What goes through your mind right after setting a world record?
HAFÞÓR BJÖRNSSON: I'm always happy to achieve my goals, I think most people are. But doing something never done before is like nothing else, literally.
You’ve said you were motivated to break the deadlift record partly by people saying nobody could do it?
Becoming the best version of myself drives me, but being first appeals to me and I think my career shows that. Deadlifting more than half a ton is something that's been thought of as impossible — until now.
What can you tell us about the unscripted competition show?
It is totally original and Spoke Studios has been great to work with. This will be a show unlike anything else that the whole family will be able to watch together and enjoy. I can't divulge all the details about the show but I can promise you — people will love it!
Obviously, no one is going to beat you at something using pure strength, so what types of competitive events on the show would other athletes have a chance at beating you at?
As many know I'm preparing for the heaviest boxing match in history. That requires a lot of cardio, agility, and explosive strength training. When I'll be in top shape for that, on top of my strength, I think it would be more or less impossible for people to "Beat The Mountain."
Do you ever get guys trying to challenge you to things in real life, like arm wrestling or something similar, since you’re so well known for your strength?
Almost never, to be honest. I think most people realize that strongman is a very specific sport and it's not enough just to be strong. The same can be said about arm wrestling as we have people that specialize only in arm wrestling and nothing else. You can't assume a world champion in one sport could easily become a world champion in a completely different sport. I have tried arm wrestling, of course; my dad is one of the best arm wrestlers I know. But it's not something I give all my power to, unless it were an event in a strongman competition, mostly to avoid injury as doing things you're not used to full-blast is often what causes injuries.
But after Game of Thrones, I have a lot of people who want to interact with me during Comic-Cons or similar events, to be in a photo with me while I lift them up like Queen Cersei — pretend to be crushing their skull like in the Mountain vs. the Viper scene or something like that.
HBO's epic fantasy drama based on George R.R. Martin's novel series A Song of Ice and Fire.