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More from Vanity Fair

Following the big reveal of the April issue of Vanity Fair having an Annie Leibovitz-photographed feature on Game of Thrones, Vanity Fair has busily been releasing material from the shoots and interviews to whet the appetite. Most notably? This extended interview with George R.R. Martin. Lots of interesting tidbits therein, including his apparent hope that the production slow its tempo a bit by taking time off for a prequel series (as Spartacus did) or a split season (as many, many shows are currently doing these days). Executive producers David Benioff and Dan Weiss also get an extended interview piece, focused on the production side of things.

There have also been some excellent videos released with the cast members from the Leibovitz shoot, featuring everything from advice actors would give to their characters to what other characters they might want to play:

Game of Thrones: Long Story Short

HBO has let us know of a wonderfully-amusing vignette, narrated by Charles Dance, recounting how David Benioff and Dan Weiss came to adapt George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series into Game of Thrones. It’s definitely just a bit on the comedic side:

Very charming! The list of just how many locations, cast members, costumes, and more go into a typical season is a particularly fun set of factoids

Annie Leibovitz Photos Game of Thrones

Vanity Fair has unveiled the cover for the April issue… and Game of Thrones features heavily indeed. It’s not just any Game of Thrones photo shoot—world famous photographer Annie Leibovitz turns her practiced eye, photographing the actors and creators of the show, while there’s plenty of interview material… including this fairly definitive quote from Benioff and Weiss:

Benioff and co-creator D. B. Weiss tell Windolf that the show has a lifespan, and they would like to wrap it up after seven or eight seasons. “It doesn’t just keep on going because it can,” Weiss says. “I think the desire to milk more out of it is what would eventually kill it, if we gave in to that.”

Below, see a video showing the cover shoot, featuring Kit Harington, Emilia Clarke, Lena Headey, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and Peter Dinklage. The April Issue will be available to digital subscribers from March 13th.

Meet the New Production Designer

The Making Game of Thrones blog has posted a new season 4 video, this time introducing the show’s new production designer, Deborah Riley. A lot of glimpses of new sets, discussion of all the work that is involved in one of the most intricate television productions in the world, and also some glimpses of characters old (in brand new costumes, in some cases) and new:

On a related note, the Game of Thrones production has a tremendous crew working for it, many of them Northern Ireland locals, so it’s no surprise that Belfast’s growing reputation as a place with a lot of skilled craftsmen and production workers has led to more demand for studio space to accommodate more productions.

Stills from Season 4

HBO has finally released some official stills from season 4 of Game of Thrones—premiering April 6th—and there’s the usual lovely assortment of images of actors…

.... but for fans of the novels, perhaps the most important one is the one that features the first good look at Indira Varma as Ellaria Sand, with that character’s lover, the Dornish prince Oberyn Martell, also known as the Red Viper. There’s many more images to be found, however, totalling fifteen showing off some new costumes, hinting at some key relationships, and more (including, for that matter, the first good look at Michiel Huisman as Daario Naharis.

You can find them at our gallery.

On the Set of Season 4

Now that the trailer is out, it’s no great surprise that HBO has started providing more material for fans to feast their eyes on. First up? A brand new entry in the “On the Set” series of videos, this one introducing season 4 to fans as it zooms about the four countries in which the past season was filmed, talks to executive producers and other key members of cast and crew alike, and gives us a few glimpses of some new locations and characters.

The video is embedded below:

Another Spoilery Casting

A previously noted casting—that of child actress Octavia Selena Alexandru—has now had her role attached to it, revealed online via her agency. But for those who’ve not yet read A Dance with Dragons, lets just say her role is something of a spoiler… and so we’ll be sticking it below the cut.

Styr the Magnar of Thenn Cast

Via James Hibberd over at EW, fans have learned that Russian actor Yuri Kolokolnikov has been cast in the role of Styr, the Magnar of Thenn. “Magnar” is a word in the Old Tongue of the First Men, meaning “lord”. The Thenns are an isolated group of wildlings from the far, far north of the inhabited lands beyond the Wall, and in the novels they treat the Magnar almost as a deity. The character is introduced early in A Storm of Swords—in fact, Jon at first mistakes him for Mance Rayder—but obviously the show trimmed the character from the corresponding season…. and now he’s back. It will be interesting to see his role, given his later introduction, but it’s likely a safe bet that he’ll be involved in the penultimate episode of season 4, directed by Neil Marshall.

A Notable Casting

Word’s out that an actor has been cast in a role that is, frankly, something of a spoiler… so see below the cut for the relevant information

Hizdahr Cast

A role introduced in A Dance with Dragons, that of the wealthy and influential Meereenese nobleman Hizdahr zo Loraq, has been cast, according to EW’s James Hibberd. Filling the role is British actor Joel Fry, who has largely featured in British television programs, but has made appearances in Roland Emmerich’s 10,000 BC, as well as Tamara Drewe. Fry is also a musician, one of the lead vocalists for Animal Circus.

While the role is being introduced earlier than in the novels, it makes sense to present some Meereenese characters earlier on who will then have more of a role later on.

Bronze Yohn Royce Cast

Given the news that Mark Gatiss will be playing a character introduced in A Dance with Dragons in the upcoming fourth season, it is perhaps no great surprise that another character from a novel that goes mostly beyond the point of season 3 has been cast. Winter is Coming’s tipsters discovered the CV of British actor Rupert Vansittart naming him as playing the role of Bronze Yohn Royce, a lord of the Vale of Arryn. The character does, actually, get mentioned at a couple of points in the first novel as someone who is present in KIing’s Landing for Robert’s tournament—and, perhaps more interestingly, as the father of Ser Waymar Royce, the ranger killed way back in the prologue of the first episode of the show.

But what will his role be in this season? While we can just imagine that he could just appear quite late in the season, to coincide with his A Feast for Crows appearance, we’re going to guess the show will want to bring him on stage earlier.

Below is a showreel put together by Vansittart’s representatives—several years old now, but features some interesting scenes, including his appearance in Four Weddings and a Funeral:

Sigur Ros to Guest on Game of Thrones

James Hibberd at EW has the exclusive news that critically-acclaimed Icelandic band Sigur Rós will be making a cameo appearance in the fourth season of Game of Thrones, an appearance they’re already filming in Croatia. Hibberd seems to know what their role is, but isn’t sharing… but we’re guessing it’s tied into their occupation as musicians, to say the least.

Though we can’t embed it, here’s the video to “Ekki múkk”, one of a number of experimental short films the band has made; you’ll find the narrator quite familiar, Game of Thrones fans.

Mark Gatiss the Banker

Though HBO has officially refused to comment on the role that writer/actor Mark Gatiss will play, the Curtis Brown Agency website’s CV for their client now includes the name of his role: Tycho Nestoris, an emissary from the Iron Bank of Braavos.

What’s interestingx is that this character is introduced in A Dance with Dragons, well after some key events that have yet to play out in the show and may well not take place until late in the forthcoming fourth season. This may portend that his role will be somewhat different, or at least expanded, from what it is in the novel.

Some speculation below.

UPDATED: Casting and Some Recasting

Update: HBO informs us that key production personnel know nothing of Fortuna’s involvement in the series. Does this mean he’s not part of the production whatsoever? Not necessarily, as it’s quite possible that extras or featured extras are something that higher level production members don’t necessarily keep track of. But even if he’s a featured extra, it’s not much to get excited about.

Following the recent news that Michiel Husman has stepped into the role of Daario Naharis, a character introduced last season and then played by Ed Skrein, word has come out that another role—a somewhat less prominent one—has been recast: Gregor Clegane, the Mountain that Rides, will now be played by Hafþór Björnsson, an Icelandic strong man and past contender for the title of World’s Strongest Man. At 6’9” and 440 lbs., the athlete will certainly look the part. The role of the Mountain has been played by two previous actors, with Conan Stevens originating the role and Ian Whyte filling Gregor’s giant shoes for the 2nd season.

It’s also been revealed by Indewire blog Shadow and Act, that Angolan actor Hoji Fortuna—whose English-language credits are fairly brief, but he has appeared in a number of Portuguese films, as well as more recently in the since-cancelled TV series Pan Am—has been cast in an unnamed role. Given that filming is currently taking place in Croatia, it seems quite clear he’ll be appearing there (a notion further given weight by the actor’s own tweets hinting he was going to that country). One might speculate as to his role, but one obvious possibility is the role of Brown Ben Plumm, a sellsword captain. In the novels, Plumm became the captain of the Second Sons following its joining Daenerys; on the TV show, the Second Sons and another company, the Stormcrows, were combined, so this may not quite work… but they could easily have Plumm be captain of a second company, or perhaps make him Daario Naharis’s new second in the command.

Daario Naharis Recast

Last season, fans of Game of Thrones were introduced to the cocky, dangerous sellsword Daario Naharis, played by Ed Skrein. Now word is out that the role has been recast—no reasons stated, but they can be quite mundane—and stepping into the role is another HBO alumni accorrding to the Hollywood Reporter. Daario will now be played by Michiel Huisman, a Dutch actor and musician who’s been featured in HBO’s Treme (aside: a show I very highly recommend!).

For a taste of the actor’s work, below you’ll find a brief clip from the BBC’s Rudolf and Margot, where Huisman plays famed Russian ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev: