Game of Thrones: News

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Intro to Game of Thrones

We’ve written up our first article discussing HBO’s proposed Game of Thrones series. The article includes a rough timeline of development and when we can expect news on whether it’ll go to series, a look at the buzz surrounding the show in both fan and professional circles, some background on the author George R.R. Martin, and a discussion of what sets A Song of Ice and Fire apart from its predecessors in the epic fantasy genre.

We hope it’ll be useful for those who are curious about the proposed series and the books it’s based on, and perhaps as a quick cheat sheet for those who want to write about the buzz without digging through hundreds of posts and tweets across the Net. If there’s any comments or suggestions, please feel free to comment here, our Twitter page, or email us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)!

GRRM in Morocco

GRRM has posted an update from Morocco. So far, he has watched the filming of the scene where Dany and Drogo first meet, a small part of Kingdom of Heaven’s Jerusalem set in Ourazazate (an image of the set can be foundhere) having been repainted and redressed to serve as part of Illyrio’s courtyard. Tonight, Dany and Drogo’s wedding will be filmed.

GRRM also shares some of his impressions of Morocco in his post, citing the many old film sets scattering the desert, despite struggling with an Arabic keyboard.

Jennifer Ehle News

An interesting article on a Jennifer Ehle fan blog notes that she’s leapt straight from Game of Thrones to a new film, The King’s Speech, with a star-studded cast including Geoffrey Rush, Colin Firth, and Helena Bonham Carter. Notably, the article the blog sources noted that Ehle missed the readthrough with the rest of the cast because she was still filming Game of Thrones, where she plays Catelyn Stark.

Filming in Morocco

GRRM, cast, and crew are now in Morocco to film for a few more days—a week at most, we believe, from what we’ve heard. There will almost certainly be very little news to share from there, however, so things will be quiet. The scenes there will be Daenerys’s scenes, with Tamzin Merchant as Daenerys Targaryen, Harry Lloyd as her older brother Viserys, Iain Glen as Ser Jorah Mormont, Ian McNeice as Illyrio Mopatis, and Jason Momoa as Khal Drogo.

We do know that filming will focus in and around Ouarzazate, the home of two major Moroccon film studios which have been heavily involved in Hollywood productions. Moreover, we know that one exterior location that will be used is the still-standing set for the exterior of Jerusalem from Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven. More recently, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time filled at Ouarzazate, as discussed by Jerry Bruckheimer and the creator of the game Jordan Mechner in this recent interview. Some excellent information about past productions there, as well as the history and appearance of the area, can be found in a travel article from the UK’s Daily Mail newspapwer.

Esme Bianco Chat Transcript

The full transcript of the Esmé Bianco chat at LiveCloud is now available. Esmé was wonderfully forthcoming on all sorts of details of her career and, yes, the filming of the pilot of Game of Thrones.

Some details of the latter sort: she filmed her scene at location, not at Paint Hall, with no evidence of CGI backgrounds or other such details being added in post.  Over the course of her three auditions the production her scene was constantly being rewritten so it was a bit different each time. She says Peter Dinklage was terrific to work with, kept her amused, and no, she wasn’t aware that he wore a wig. She has no idea whether her character will be seen again on the show, but would love it if HBO wanted her to be part of publicity for the production.

30 Weeks of Filming

Approximately 30 weeks of filming would be scheduled for producing the 11 episodes that would make up the rest of the season if HBO’s Game of Thrones series is given the go-ahead, according to a source peripherally involved in the production. This figure appears to have been the seed which started the rumor among extras that “30 episodes” would follow if the series was given a go ahead, which led to speculation that HBO was considering a 2 season initial order. Those speculations were further stoked by GRRM very briefly mentioning a 2 season order in Belfast when emphasizing that the show’s fate was still up in the air.

When we asked TV commentator and critic James Hibberd about that speculation, he said that his “in the know” sources (reported on here in relation to the greenlight prospects) made no mention of the possibility, and that he found it very dubious that HBO would take such a gamble without having a first season to look at in regards to ratings.

Hibberd Reports on HBO’s Game of Thrones

It seems the odds are moving in favor of a greenlight. Over at the Hollywood Report’s LiveFeed site, critic and commentator James Hibberd notes that he hears from sources “in the know” that it will take the producers “royally blowing the pilot” for HBO to not greenlight Game of Thrones. Hibberd goes on in comments to note that HBO is aware they’ve got a hold of something special, and is amazed at the online buzz among both TV critics and fans of the series at such an early stage.

He also shares Parris’s great image of GRRM with some of the cast, first published here with a number of others.

Jack Gleeson Article

One of the more elusive actors for HBO’s Game of Thrones pilot has been 17-year-old Jack Gleeson, cast as Prince Joffrey Baratheon; there’s no really recent photos of him on-line, and outside of his bit part in Batman Begins his film work has been limited to smaller, UK independent films. However, there’s an article from the Independent Theatre Workshop that runs through his theatrical education and experience.

In the course of the article, it notes that over 40 ITW students went before the U.K. casting directors for the pilot, but Gleeson was not only the only actor chosen from that group, he’s also the only Irish actor in a primary role.

Live Chat with Esme Bianco

Esmé Bianco—model, singer, dancer, and actress who plays a small but notable role in an introductory scene for Tyrion Lannister—will be participating in an on-line chat at LiveCloud. The event will be on November 12th (according to reports, this is the day after filming has wrapped) at 11:00 to 12:00 PM Pacific Time. Registered members of the site can post questions in advance of the chat, which the moderator will select from to pose to Ms. Bianco.

Inside Paint Hall

What’s almost certainly our first picture (and probably only)  we’ll get from the Paint Hall studio in Belfast has been posted by Julia Frey, visual effects producer on the project. Don’t get too excited, though—all it is is a vast green screen. It does tell us something, however: some significant digital compositing is planned for the scenes shot at Paint Hall.  Not a great surprise given the talent that has been collected in that regard.

We also have a bit of news regarding the filming at Castle Ward, from a fan who was there. Kinnygraham at Winter is Coming reported that one of the features that stood out for him was a wagon or cart covered in green material and red motion capture dots. It seems probable that this cart will be used as a basis on which to digitally create Queen Cersei’s gigantic wheelhouse as it trundles up to the gates of Winterfell. Another interesting detail he’s shared is that it seems as if the film Your Highness was also filmed there, leading him to speculate that fan theories that HBO was saving costs by working out an agreement to use some of the YH sets and props may have been correct.

Momoa Convention Video

We were reminded about this one on Twitter, and so decided to share here as today’s turning out to be another slow news day. Le Saboteur, a member of the A Song of Ice and Fire forum, posted this video on October 27th following the Armageddon convention in Auckland. This, in turn, followed just a week or so after Armaggedon in Australia where Momoa first revealed his being cast as Drogo, videos which we’ve shared previously via Twitter. Le Saboteur’s previous convention report with some more details can be found at the forum.

In this new video, Momoa gives a brief glimpse of the haka he performed as part of his audition, and describes his favorite scene in the novel.

UPDATE: Filming at Castle Ward

Yesterday’s filming appears to have taken place at Castle Ward, according to Nelson McCausland, MLA (a member of the Northern Ireland government) in this blog post from yesterday. He notes it was interesting to see how some of the buildings were turned into a “medieval castle”.

Interestingly, the main building of Castle Ward is a mid-18th century great house, and a unique one: it has both Gothic and Classical facades. However, on its grounds are two medieval-era structres. One of them, Old Castle Ward (thanks for JacMac30 for finding these), features several buildings as part of the complex which fits McCausland’s report.

Dublin Signing Report

Another long-time member of the forum provides a report from the signing in Dublin. He received clarification from GRRM regarding the dialogue coach item we reported on previously. There will be no particular effort to vary accents between different regions of the Seven Kingdoms, and the dialogue coaching and linguistic work is primarily to develop the sound and feel of the Dothraki language. Other reports note that it’s probable that while actors may mouth Dothraki in scenes, in all likelihood these will be dubbed in later to make sure everything is consistent and sounds natural.

GRRM on Belfast and Dublin

George R.R. Martin has a new Livejournal post describing his trip overseas to date, mentioning his signing in Belfast (some video footage from Jackie) and Dublin and then segueing into a discussion of the filming he’s scene. One interesting detail for us is that while he saw some of the crypt scene being filmed, it’s clear that that was not taking place at the Paint Hall as many had expected. According to GRRM, the Game of Thrones sets are going up now, while the Your Highness sets are still up at the moment (and look quite impressive, he notes). A brief excerpt follows:

“Wednesday’s location was amazing, so real I could hardly tell where the real castle ended and our fake castle began. I saw Bran and Tommen swatting at each other in the yard, Joffrey taunting Robb, the Hound growling at Ser Rodrik, while Arya displayed her wretched needlework to Jon above, and it all looked wonderful. Saw some of the footage from the crypts too, and that looked amazing as well. Yes, some things are not exactly as they were in the books, that’s inevitable with any adaptation… but these are my characters and this is my story, and it’s thrilling to see ‘em come to life.”

Set Report

We’ve a terrific report from Knight of Redemption, who has kept a close eye on the production and provides some information regarding what he’s seen. He’s very enthused by the care taken in casting, has been impressed by the daily rushes, and provides an anecdote regarding Tom McCarthy pointing out a visual homage to something that happens later in the series that has been placed in a scene. Cast and crew are quite happy, and Knight of Redemption personally believes HBO’ll order the show based on the quality of what he’s seen so far.