‘Game of Thrones’ star Enzo Cilenti is preparing to take on two almighty challenges in the coming weeks… on screen, trading wits, and punches, with Tyrion Lannister, and off screen, cycling to the top of one of France’s most notorious peaks… on a tandem.
“It’s like being the new kid at school. And on one of my first days of filming, I had to smash Peter Dinklage in the face,” Enzo tells HuffPostUK. “Fortunately, in real life, we have a great mutual friend, and I knew we’d get on.”
Enzo Cilenti plays slave trader Yezzan in ‘Game of Thrones’
Besides, Enzo, who plays wealthy slave trader Yezzan in the new series as well as Norrell’s right-hand man Childermass in BBC drama ‘Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell’, has an off-screen mission that makes this sound like a walk in the park.
He tells HuffPostUK he plans to join his father on the bicycle made for two on 20th June, fittingly just before Father’s Day, to ascend Mont Ventoux, one of the Tour de France’s race-defining mountains, where British cyclist Tom Simpson met his death in 1967.
Enzo’s father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2012, and the pair will be setting off up what’s labelled The Giant of Provence, to raise funds for Parkinson’s UK.
“I’m a 40-year-old father who has twins and zero fitness,” says Enzo of his campaign. “But I used to be a committed cyclist, and this is something I know I can do.
“I’ve always ridden and it’s an interest I share with my dad. So it’ll be fun… I’m just not sure how long it’s going to take us.”
Enzo stars with Eddie Marsan in ‘Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell’
The distance up the mountain is roughly 130km, and what route they choose will depend on how Enzo’s dad is managing his symptoms on the day.
“Since he was diagnosed, he’s got out less and less,” says Enzo. “One of the problems is fatigue so he can’t do what he used to. But exercise is extremely good for alleviating the symptoms.”
As well as his father, Enzo has other family members affected by the disease, and previously rode from London to Edinburgh to raise money.
“Last time, I raised £5,000, so that’s something I’d like to surpass. Anything on top of that will be a bonus.”
So, I must ask the question, have they been able to practice at all for what will surely be a grueling expedition, effectively travelling further than the distance between boot camp and the summit of Mount Everest in a day?
Enzo sounds pretty laidback about the whole affair…
“We’ve cycled around London, about an hour in total,” he explains. “But it’ll be fine, even if we have to have a few more breaks than the pros. I confidently expect other cyclists to be going past us. And I’m going to be checking our brakes on the way down.”
You can contribute to Enzo’s fundraising for Parkinson’s UK here: JustGiving/EnzoCilenti