A good deal has been going on in the world of Game of Thrones, starting with the release of the Season 4 Bluray/DVD set in the U.S. and U.K. (Order: US Bluray, US DVD, UK Bluray, UK DVD), with a great deal of pomp and circumstance—especially in the UK, where the promotional push included an elaborate, pop-up restaurant installation created by The Wandering Chef for HBO UK:
At the same time, the Writer’s Guild of America awards saw Game of Thrones‘s writing staff nominated in two categories: best drama series, and best individual episode for George R.R. Martin’s “The Lion and the Rose”. While neither award went to Game of Thrones, it was an occasion for some interviews with George R.R. Martin. Access Hollywood learned from him that he’d recently met with the main writers of the show to discuss their plans for season 6, and teases the appearance of the Sand Snakes:
Here’s a pleasant surprise: the Hollywood Reporter reveals that Adewal Akinnuoye-Agbaje (known to fans of television from his roles as Adebisi on Oz and Mr. Eko on Lost) has joined the cast of Game of Thrones. The role? It’s described as such:
‘... a character not in the books with the name “Malko.”’
We’re guessing he has something to do with Meereen. Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s roles as Adebisi and Eko were very memorable, and hopefully this role will give him some room to leave a mark with his presence.
We’ve spoken previously of the ALS ice bucket challenge finding a number of Game of Thrones actors and crew members (since that post, Emilia Clarke has joined in the fun), but it’s not the only effort out there to raise awareness for a serious issue. Actor Joe Dempsie, who has played Gendry on Game of Thrones, has stepped up with a video in support of the 550 challenge. In brief, Scope is a UK-based organization that attempts to raise awareness on issues related to disability in Britain.
Here’s Dempsie and a group of fellow supporters of Scope, performing their challenge and discussing what it’s all about:
Once again, James Hibberd has the scoop, revealing that Mark Gatiss—writer and actor on Sherlock, among many other pop favorite shows—will be returning on season 5 to reprise his role as Tycho Nestoris of the Iron Bank of Braavos. Last seen negotiating with Stannis Baratheon over the Bank’s financial support, his appearance in season 5 certainly heralds more use of Braavos and the Iron Bank for this season.
Hibberd also adds that Gatiss will be filming in Croatia next week.
According to the Belfast Telegraph, veteran Northern Irish actor J.J. Murphy passed away mere days after filming his first scene for season 5 of Game of Thrones. Heretofore an unpublicized member of the cast, the Telegraph reports that Murphy was cast in the role of Ser Denys Mallister, a senior man of the Night’s Watch who in the novels was the commander of the Shadow Tower and a leading candidate to succeed Lord Commander Mormont. The Telegraph notes he was due to film more scenes, and speculates as to whether the role will be removed from the show or if another actor will be cast to fill it.
Murphy, 86 years old at the time of his death, had decades of theatre experience. According to the Telegraph, he was best known for his work at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast, where actors such as Liam Neeson and Ciaran Hinds cut their teeth and learned their craft alongside him. Our condolences to his friends and family.
UPDATE: HBO’s publicity twitter has released the following statement from David Benioff and Dan Weiss:
Thanks to the intrepid Marino Santirso, Westeros.org is happy to present his diary from the London Film and Comic Convention. Over the coming days, we’ll be posting interviews with a number of Game of Thrones actors that were present at the convention, and as always they’re quite the charming bunch. Marino has provided an introduction to the diary—and himself—here... and as it happens, we’ve also posted the very first interview as well with actor Finn Jones, who plays the famous Knight of Flowers, Ser Loras Tyrell. Finn was actually one of the first actors we ourselves interviewed way back during the first season, and we’re pleased to say he’s as exuberant as always!
You can read Finn’s interview here. As the week progresses, we’ll add further interviews with the likes of Gethin Anthony (Renly Baratheon), Kate Dickie (Lysa Arryn), Daniel Portman (Podrick Payne), and Kristian Nairn (HODOR) !
Well, this is an interesting revelation at EW’s interview with yesterday’s panelists. When asked if he’s writing for season 5, George admits that he is not, in fact, doing so. This will be the first time that the show has not had a GRRM-penned episode. Martin cites his work on The Winds of Winter as the primary reason. You can find the full interview below (the question, and Martin’s response, starts at the 1:10 mark):
The panel’s over, and the big news out of it is that HBO revealed a number of the new cast members via a casting video, seen below (keep reading for HBO’s press release, and a bonus season 4 blooper reel!):
Now that filming is soon to commence later this month, EW—as always!—gets the scoop on just who’s directing each episode of season 5. Some interesting new names in this one, and some interesting details:
Episodes 501 and 502: Michael Slovis
Episodes 503 and 504: Mark Mylod
Episodes 505 and 506: Jeremy Podeswa
Episodes 507 and 508: Miguel Sapochnik
Episodes 509 and 510: David Nutter
As James Hibberd points out, David Benioff and Dan Weiss aren’t taking up director duties as they have with the last few seasons, and other than Nutter every one of the directors is brand new to the series…
Well, sort of. Jeremy Podeswa was set to direct at least one episode of season 2—almost certainly “Blackwater”—when a family situation forced him to drop out. His taking the middle set of episodes may be indicative that there’s some sort of big turn—potentially something action-heavy—taking place in those episodes, given not only the fact that he had been pegged to direct the action-heavy “Blackwater” but has also directed episodes of HBO’s The Pacific, including (with David Nutter) the episode “Iwo Jima” about the Battle of Iwo Jima.
Also of note is the way that every director is directing two episode, contiguous blocks. That may provide some advantages for the scheduling of filming.
The Primetime Emmys have announced their nominations for this year’s award, and the ever.popular Game of Thrones leads the field with a total of 20 nominations in 19 categories, including a number in the “major” categories: Best Drama, Supporting Actor (Peter Dinklage), Supporting Actress (Lena Headey), Guest Actress (Diana Rigg), Writing, and Direction (Neil Marshall for Watchers on the Wall). Other nominations are Casting in a Drama, two entries in the Cinematography category (for Anette Haellmigk, who acted as director of photography for a six of last season’s episodes, as well as Jonathan Freeman, also responsible for several episodes), Costuming, Hairstyling, Interactive Program (for HBO’s use of Instagram and Facebook), Makeup, Music Composition, Prosthetic Makeup, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Stunt Coordination, Art Direction, and Visual Effects.
It’s a tough field in the major categories, especially with Breaking Bad‘s final season under consideration, and performances by its supporting cast in Aaron Paul and Anna Gunn, while a HBO sister program True Detective has Cary Fukunaga’s direction and Nic Pizzolatto’s writing to contend with as well. Still, as they say, it’s an honor to be nominated. The Emmy awards will be handed out on August 25th.
When he was last in LA, we learned that George R.R. Martin was filming something for comedy website Funny or Die, but details were sparse.
Well, now that video has been released—the newest segment of the running “Gay of Thrones” sketch—and GRRM’s appearance is a hilarious homage to nothing less than The Princess Bride:
Didn’t see that coming—brilliant!
Concluding our interviews from February, I had the chance to meet and talk with Isaac Hempstead-Wright—the adorable Bran Stark, who I had last met years ago during the first season filming—and Thomas Brodie-Sangster whose portrayal of Jojen Reed has been a study in maturity and understated performance.
When Isaac saw me, his genuine pleasure at meeting again reminded me of the cheerful, enthusiastic child I’d met years earlier. He’s grown up in a lot of ways—I remarked that Kristian Nairn has mentioned how glad he is that he hasn’t had to carry Isaac on his back any longer thanks to that!—and he (and Thomas) both gave some very thoughtful answers to the questions posed.
So, what can you say of any visions you have this season?
In the books, Jojen knows the date of his death and what happens to him. Is this something present in the show?
This past February, I had the opportunity to interview a number of actors in London. One of the ones I was most eager to meet—because she had been rather difficult to get an interview with previously!—was Sibel Kekilli, who plays Shae. Although given the early date of the interview it was difficult to approach anything discussing her big turn this season, it was a good chance to catch up with the actress.
An award-winner in her native Germany for her powerful work in films such as Head-On and When We Leave, Kekilli proves to be a very enthusiastic interview subject—a lot of exclaimations, a lot of smiles, and not a little laughter.
What was it like, when you first got involved in Game of Thrones?
Continuing our interview series—this is the first of several we’ll release in the run up to the final episode of season 4—I had the pleasure of speaking to Liam Cunningham (who I’d interviewed back in Season 2) and Carice van Houten (brand new interview subject!) regarding season 4. Both were charming, as expected, and had great fun talking back and forth as they answered questions regarding their fondest memories, their weirdest scenes, and more.
Carice, we know Liam prefers to learn the story through the scripts and was advised by the producers that he didn’t need to read the books. Do you feel the same about it?
How would you describe the journeys of your character?
(For the rest of the interview, check our Features page!)
Big news for Bryan Cogman, story editor of Game of Thrones and writer of such episodes as “Kissed by Fire” and “The Laws of Gods and Men”. According to Deadline Hollywood, Cogman will be writing the Magic: The Gathering film—the first in a potential franchise of movies—for 20th Century Fox and Hasbro with Simon Kinberg (of X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Days of Future Past, among other works) producing.
(Oh, and before anyone worries that this scripting work will pull him away from Game of Thrones, never fear—Cogman’s participation is confirmed at least through season 5!)