He is the embodiment of terrifyingly sadistic, arbitrary power - and now Jack Gleeson has revealed the classic villains which have inspired his portrayal of King Joffrey in Game of Thrones.

The character of the boy king, who holds sway over the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, was influenced by Joaquin Phoenix's Commodus in Gladiator, as well as the monster Hexxus from FernGully, Gleeson told Entertainment Weekly.

And the 21-year-old actor, who studies philosophy at Dublin's Trinity College, said he enjoys playing such an evil character.

"It's interesting sometimes when an audience can empathise with a villain. But to get completely lost in it, it's exciting just to be intrinsically evil and not have a speck of good or humanity in their bones," he said.


However, Gleeson also conceded that there are more "familiar" elements to Joffrey: "Everyone has met Joffrey in some shape or form."

Ahead of the hit HBO show's fourth series, which screens on Soho in New Zealand on Monday night, Gleeson said that he has to completely lose himself in the role.

"Ninety per cent of the time I'm feeling what Joffrey would feel - glee or desire for attention or frustration or whatever. About 10 per cent of the time, there's a lack of focus, but that's fun as well; to take yourself out of it and appreciate [the moment]," he said.

"But you wouldn't be able to work if you did that all the time, you have to focus on what the character thinks."

The actor, who keeps a low profile outside of the show, said he had no desire to further his career once Game of Thrones has been wrapped up.

"The crux of it is that I don't want to be an actor after Game of Thrones. Interviews are good if you want to be an actor because they raise your profile. You're also more interesting to talk to if you're more passionate about acting," he said.

"I don't need to do those things, and I also suppose I'm just private. I find it slightly uncomfortable to see my face on a bus or a poster. I like just being known by my friends and family."

- Independent