Game of Thrones: Features

Game of Thrones is a site for the HBO-series based on George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire.

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Interviews

Interview with Screen Scene’s Ed Bruce

We had the opportunity to speak with Ed Bruce, Visual Effects Supervisor for Dublin-based post-production company Screen Scene, concerning the extensive work Screen Scene did on the VFX-side of the production. Of roughly 686 VFX shots for the first season of Game of Thrones, Screen Scene produced just over half of them, with 350 effects shots. Although BlueBolt were the lead VFX vendor on the project, and BlueBolt’s co-founder Lucy Ainsworth-Taylor was in the role of VFX producer for the show, it’s clear that Screen Scene (in collaboration with series VFX Supervisor Adam McInnes) made a major impact on the high quality of the visual effects for this season.

In the follow interview, Ed discusses some of the effects for the show in-depth, the benefits of having so much post-production capability under one roof, and explains why some things may be harder to realize than fans may expect.

Interview with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (The Sequel)

Comic Con’s done, but we managed to land an exclusive interview ... with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who plays Ser Jaime Lannister in Game of Thrones. With the help of our correspondent (and site host!) Rachel Blackman, we put together a few questions for Nikolaj during the convention. Scheduling problems made us miss the opportunity for a sit-down interview, but Nikolaj—who was taking off for Belfast on Saturday, rehearsing on Sunday, and already filming on Monday—was kind enough to answer our questions via e-mail.

To read more of Nikolaj’s thoughts on the series, be sure to visit our first season interview with the actor.

NOTE: There’s a spoiler, which we’ve hidden.

Interview with VFX Producer Lucy Ainsworth-Taylor

The special effects of HBO’s Game of Thrones is something that really interested many fans before production started, because of the grand epic sweep of the setting and the fact that epic fantasy on television was a tall order. It certainly captured our imaginations as well, as we considered what HBO had been able to achieve in its other shows, as well as what other television programs and VFX vendors were able to create. The end result? Some of what some imagined (and even what we tried to project) proved to be too ambitious for a show on such a tight schedule and with so many other budgetary needs to meet outside of visual effects (massive use of sets and locations, many costumes and extras, etc.)

Still, despite the fact that the battles never really transpired that some might have hoped for, there were some jaw-droppers, and those are thanks to BlueBolt, the lead VFX vendor for the series. We had the opportunity to speak with Lucy Ainsworth-Taylor, one of BlueBolt’s founders and the VFX producer for the first season of the show. We learn some surprising things along the way, with a refreshing level of frankness regarding the reality of producing VFX for a television program such as HBO.

Interview

My understanding is that BlueBolt is a pretty new company, but its founders have quite a lot of experience in VFX for film and television. What role has landing the lead vendor role on Game of Thrones played in the present and future of your company?

BlueBolt was in its infancy when we were approached by HBO, specifically Mark Huffam the producer.  He knew our background history and persuaded HBO to come and meet us.  It was a golden hand shake for a new company and allowed us to bring in some exceptional talent.  The 3 founders of BlueBolt had been pivotal in building and creating one of the largest VFX houses in London, so had the experience to tackle this head on. Game of Thrones has certainly put us on the map as one of the best VFX boutique facilities in London.
Interview with Natalia Tena

Sky Atlantic‘s excellent Thronecast post-episode web series somehow got the notion of inviting us as expert commentators. We were very grateful for the opportunity, as it’s been great fun (if sometimes a bit nerve-wracking!) When it turned out Natalia Tena (Osha) was going to be present for their final episode of the season, they very kindly offered to let us record an exclusive interview with her, which you can find below! Many thanks to Natalia for taking the time, and for Dan and Ruby at Thronecast!

Interview with Harry Lloyd

A gifted actor who’s lately been turning heads on both sides of the Atlantic, Harry Lloyd landed the role of Viserys Targaryen, the exiled prince yearning to restore his family to the rule of the Seven Kingdoms. As Daenerys’s brother, he has been an antagonist who’s dominated her entire life… until she marries Khal Drogo, and among the Dothraki finds independence and courage she didn’t know she had before.

In the following interview, we discuss how Lloyd prepared for his role, the question he’d most like to ask author George R.R. Martin regarding the series, and more!

Interview with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

Of all the roles in Game of Thrones, Ser Jaime Lannister may be both the most popular and the most hated character in the novels at the very same time.

And why not, when he’s such a larger-than-life figure, an arrogant, swaggering swordsman caught up in an illicit relationship with his own sister and largely despised by all honorable men for a single act? The Kingslayer, as he’s called, seems driven by ego on the one hand and by family on the other ... and in between those two forces, there’s a hint that there may be more than meets the eye. So it was a pleasant surprise when we first learned that Nikolaj Coster-Waldau—a Danish actor who’s made a splash in the U.S. with rolls in some of Ridley Scott’s big recent films and the leading role in the New Amsterdam television series—landed the role, bringing to the part all the energy and confidence that fans could have hoped for.

Below, Nikolaj took time out of his schedule to answer a few of our questions about his role, the preparation for some of the scenes, how he sees Jaime’s relationship to his family, and more.

 

Interview with Conan Stevens

Conan Stevens was one of the first actors that came to the attention of fans in association with the production, when it was simply still in development: he put out the word that he thought he’d make a fantastic Mountain that Rides.

Many months later—after a pilot was ordered, after it was considered, after a second season was green lit—he landed the part he set out to get. Below is our exclusive interview with Stevens, who discusses his early career, his views on the differences between Thai and American productions, and more.

Intervew with Miltos Yerolemou

Episode 3, “Lord Snow”, entered with the entrance of a character who is certainly a fan-favorite among fans: Syrio Forel, former First Sword of the Sealord of Braavos. Forel is a water dancer, a master of the bravo’s style of fighting, who Lord Eddard Stark hires to train his daughter Arya (to keep her out of trouble, one expects, as much as to give her something to do).

When Miltos Yerolemou was revealed to have won the role, there was a scramble for information about him. His show reels were examined, his credits considered. A gifted physical actor, Yerolemou has trained in a wide variety of acting disciplines, and seems to have found a particular knack for playing Shakespeare’s clowns, including having performed as a clown in a Royal Shakespeare Company production of Othello whose Desdemona happened to be played by none other than Natalia Tena, who plays Osha in Game of Thrones. With his extensive acting background, Miltos has brought boundless energy to his portrayal of Syrio Forel.

In the audio interview below, we discuss his entry into acting, the variety of training he’s had, his working with the legendary choreographer William Hobbs to develop the “water dance” style, his thoughts on young actress Maisie Williams, and more.

Interview with Tommy Dunne

Tommy Dunne is the weapon master for Game of Thrones, meaning that he’s overseen the conception, design, and production of the many, many weapons used in the production. The total number of weapons has gone into the hundreds, we’ve been told, and all that thanks to Mr. Dunne and his team.

His career in television and film production was not something he really planned for, but began (tellingly enough) with a little film named Braveheart. From there, Dunne has gone on to work in some pretty remarkable productions. Just a short list: Saving Private Ryan, Gladiator, V for Vendetta, and both Band of Brothers and The Pacific. He’s certainly no stranger to high-end productions, nor is he a stranger to working HBO. Read below to discover how he got his start, the influences behind some of the weapon designs, and the surprise he got when it came to creating the swords of the white walkers.

Interview with Kit Harington

Kit Harington hardly needs an introduction to fans of Game of Thrones, but for those who are new to the story, lets just say that his role as Jon Snow is one of the most central in the series. The bastard son of the Lord of Winterfell, Jon has grown up without a mother but has had his father and siblings around him all his life. Driven by a hunger for glory and a chance to prove himself, he joins the Night’s Watch, and finds life there harsher than he imagined. Harington agreed to be interviewed while beginning filming on Silent Hill 3D, shooting in Toronto, which will reunite him with Sean Bean, who starred in the original Silent Hill film.

Interview with Gethin Anthony

The role of Lord Renly Baratheon was one that many fans were interested in seeing cast. Filling the role is Gethin Anthony, who brings his talents to bear on a character whose role in this season culminates in a crucial decision . . . and who may well go on to become one of the chief players of the game of thrones if a second season is commissioned. Below is our interview with the actor, discussing his early career, the auditioning process, his views on Renly and Renly’s family, and more.

We know you read English at Oxford, but you also performed some theater there. Was that part of your education or was that extra-curricular?

I studied English Language and Literature for my B.A., but there’s a great theater scene in Oxford—there’s a lot of theaters there—as well as a burgeoning short film scene as well. There’s a lot of people interested in it, and because it’s not actually a course at Oxford, you do it as an extra-curricular thing. There were quite a few societies and organizations there—the Oxford University Drama Society, the Experimental Theater Company, a great company called Crackhorse Productions as well to name a few—who were putting on plays and being very fortunate and privileged to have the space, the resources, and support to do it. We were supported by people like Thelma Holt, who’s a big producer here, and Cameron Mackintosh, who give up their time and money to help students put on their productions. It was a big part of my life while I was there?

 

Interview with Bryan Cogman

We understand you trained as an actor at Juilliard?

Yes, I did. I went there from 1997 to 2001, right out of high school. I was a stage actor after that in New York, then I came out to Los Angeles where I was doing Shakespeare. I expected to act for the rest of my life, but ... life takes you to unexpected places.

So you didn’t intend to become a writer and editor?

Like a lot of actors, in between roles I’d try to write the script that I’d star in and become famous with. Everyone wants to become the next Ricky Gervais and sort of create the great vehicle for themselves.

I had an idea for a story that I had been writing in my head for years and I thought, “Well, I probably should put that on paper.” I started fiddling with that, I worked with that for a little while—again, not really thinking I would actually become a writer—and then I met David [Benioff]. My wife Mandy was David’s nanny and I guess I was over there one day four years ago while she was watching his daughter, and I was fiddling with the script and David noticed. I’d only met David once or twice before that, but he asked, “What are you doing?”

Interview with Kristian Nairn

Below you’ll find our interview with Kristian Nairn, who plays Hodor, the simple-minded, giant stableboy of Winterfell. We discuss a number of topic related to the series, such as his audition tape (which briefly leaked to the public via the internet), his approach to playing Hodor, the travails of appearing nude in a scene, Margret John’s reaction when she first she first met him, a song that he heard entirely too much of while on set, and more! Isaac Hempstead-Wright, Conan Stevens, and Rory McCann are also mentioned in the course of the interview.

We also discuss how he got into acting, his career as a musician and DJ, his love of fantasy, and his passion for World of Warcraft. Plus, his hope of getting to Renovation, this year’s Worldcon in Reno, Nevada. And, additionally, a looney theory presented by us to Kristian concerning Hodor’s origins…

Opening and closing music is copyright Hilario Abad, and used with his permission—you can find his original, fan score for A Game of Thrones at Hilario Abad Film Scoring.

Note: At around the 16:50 mark, we begin to talk spoilers, not just from the events of the first season, but from future books as well.

Download Episode 2: Interview with Kristian Nairn

Thanks to Teresa, we hope to have a transcription posted in the next few days.

 

Interview with Finn Jones

Below you’ll find our interview with Finn Jones, who plays Ser Loras Tyrell. This is our very first podcast-style interview…. thing, so apologies for any glitches! Opening and closing music is copyright Hilario Abad, and used with his permission—you can find his original, fan score for A Game of Thrones at Hilario Abad Film Scoring.

Note: At a certain point, we begin to talk spoilers, not just from the events of the first season, but from future books as well.

Download Episode 1: Interview with Finn Jones

Thanks to Teresa, we have a transcript that you can read below:

 

Interview with John Bradley

One of the people I met when I visited Belfast was John Bradley, the actor playing Samwell Tarly. He was one of the actors we had discovered had been cast via a mention out in the wilds of the web (in fact, it was the website of his drama school), and then somewhere along the way he was on Twitter and was just rather hilarious with his acerbic, self-effacing observations. I remember asking him at Belfast if he was really like that in “real life”, after noticing that he seemed rather reserved at the party, and he admitted that Twitter was sort of a “release valve.”

Since graduating drama school, he’s landed a quick one-two punch of notable roles: not just Samwell, but also Giovanni de Medici in Canal+‘s Borgia. Below, you can read about his education as an actor, his views on how to approach a character, his particular talents, and what happened when he had his callback audition and was reduced to a pale, sweating mess after the train failed to run on time…