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Interview with Christie and Coster-Waldau

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to interview a number of actors in London. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau has been our most frequently interviewed actor, I believe—he’s always been quite game to talk to us!—but they’ve always been just with him. This time around, Gwendoline Christie joined him, and I finally got to see at first hand what the show is like as the two actors spark off one another, sending zingers one another’s way with much laughter. And sometimes the zingers aren’t just directed at one another, as you’ll see below ...

Interview

Nikolaj, since we spoke last year we’ve seen that your character has become more human and likable. Do you feel that progression continues this season?

Nikolaj: I think that the key here is that—what’s great about is that a show like this has so much time to learn more about the characters. There’s no question that at the beginning you knew nothing about Jaime Lannister, you just saw his actions, but you didn’t know why he acted like he did. Now we’ve learned a lot more, and a lot of things has happened. When we meet him at the start of this season, it’s a few weeks since he’s returned and he’s now Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. The whole Lannister family is there, and Jaime deals with his father’s expectations, with Cersei—and that’s of course quite complicated—and his brother is also in a very tight spot and he needs Jaime to help him. He has Joffrey, his nephew/son, who’s being a bit of pain… and of course he has to deal with Brienne, who keeps reminding him of this promise he made. And of course he lost his hand, which is quite a bit of a problem.
It defined him in his own eyes, and in the eyes of the world as well. He puts on a very brave face, if you will… Perhaps I shouldn’t give anything more away. Obviously, it’s very important him that people respect him, and even fear him in a pure physical way. It’s important that people believe he’s dangerous. But whether or not he still is, that’s another question.
As to whether he’s more vulnerable… yes, of course, he’s definitely changed quite a bit. He’s for the first time met someone outside of the family whom he thinks he can trust and respect. He’s not quite aware of that when we start this season, but it’s there. There’s a scene from the first season, where Tywin tells him he wants Jaime to become the man he was always meant to be. ... and maybe this season is about that; not necessarily the man Tywin wants him to be, but the man he wants to be.

Read the rest of the interview at the Feature page!

Headey, Coster-Waldau on Sept Scene

More than a week has passed since “Breaker of Chains” aired to some controversy, all thanks to the sept scene between siblings Cersei and Jaime, a dark moment between them made grotesque by the presence of their dead son’s body in the scene. Outrage was exceptional on many sides as a general opinion formed that what was depicted was a rape scene with Jaime forcing his sister. Matters were thrown into some confusion by certain remarks from director Alex Graves and actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, compounded by a very brief remark from executive producer David Benioff in the Inside the Episode featurette which were construed by some as being contradictory.

This week, however, a pair of new interviews with the actors involved in the scene sheds some further light on what they had intended to achieve. Speaking with Sweden’s Expressen newspaper, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau expanded (Google Translate version) on his earlier remarks, speaking forthrightly but with a clear acknowledgment that what viewers took from it was in many cases different from what he, Lena Headey, the director, and the executive producers had intended. Two brief excerpts:

Game of Thrones Gets 2 Year Renewal

In an impressive turn, HBO has skipped the usual “Lets wait 2-3 weeks” to announce renewal following news that Game of Thrones smashed ratings expectations in its debut this yea.

And even more impressively, HBO has confirmed what everyone pretty much knows: this show is good to go for at least 2 years, with season 5 and 6 now locked in place. This follows recent news prior to the premiere that executive producers David Benioff and Dan Weiss had renewed their contracts with HBO for two more seasons.

The full press release can be found below

Benioff and Weiss in Vanity Fair

A lengthy interview with executive producers David Benioff and Dan Weiss—the longest I think I’ve ever seen—covers a huge range of topics, from the origins of their acquaintance to their current work on the unannounced season 5 (it’s happening, no need to wait for HBO to make it official). It’s insightful. Here’s an excerpt related to working from the template of a published series, and having the author on hand:

I read an interview with John Irving where he said he always knows the ending when he starts a book and he makes a beeline for it. I guess it helps center your brain.

Dan Weiss: It helps lend a sense of constructedness. Martin Amis always talked about the control tower. He talked about the reason he didn’t like William S. Burroughs—who I actually liked a fair bit once upon a time—but Amis didn’t like William S. Burroughs because he would read his books and feel like there was no one in the control tower. One of the things that made Breaking Bad so powerful, for me, was I’d never felt that somebody was more on the job, in the control tower, than on that show. Everything little thing I was seeing was there for a reason and would come back into play in some surprising but retroactively inevitable way, shape, or form.
It’s an advantage to have the books. Even if you stray from them, you have a blueprint. You don’t have to bend to the will of the fans, if they are screaming for something to happen. You’ve got George R. R. Martin.
David Benioff: Well, it’s a little complicated, because we have the five books, but then we don’t have anything beyond that, because he’s still working. It’s sort of an unusual position in terms of adaptation because, you know, we’re catching up. It’ll be interesting to see what happens. And we’ve talked to George. The lucky part is that George works with us and he’s a producer on the show. Last year we went out to Santa Fe for a week to sit down with him and just talk through where things are going, because we don’t know if we are going to catch up, and where exactly that would be. As you were saying before, if you know the ending, then you can lay the groundwork for it. And so we want to know how everything ends. We want to be able to set things up. So we sat just down with him and literally went through every character and said, “So what’s the destination for Daenerys? And Arya?”
Did you feel like he knew? Or was he figuring it out?
Dan Weiss: In some case he had very definite ideas, and in other cases he had left those story lines more open, for the time being.

There’s more to be found over at Vanity Fair, including a fascinating bit discussing the influence of Anthony Mann, Roman Polanski, Akira Kurosawa, and Andrei Tarkovsky on the visual style of Game of Thrones; getting to watch an original, well-preserved 35mm print of Ran would indeed be something special.

Interview with Rory McCann and Maisie Williams

Last month, I had the opportunity to sit down with a number of the actors involved in Game of Thrones, to talk about the journey so far, and perhaps to draw out a few hints about what’s to come. First up in this interview series—leading up to and into the next season—I had the pleasure to talk with Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) and Rory McCann (Sandor Clegane), the latter of whom I’ve never had the pleasure of interviewing before. We have a chance to talk the joys of Vine, the pleasures of Iceland, and how their characters get along as season 4 commences.

Interview

Maisie, many people have mentioned you as a very impressive actress. Do you have any method you use, or have you just picked things up since you started the show?

Maisie: When all this started and I was cast as Arya, it was sort of because I “was” Arya and that kind of thing. When you’re that age, you’re not really acting, I guess, so you try to find someone who is similar to the role. Since then, I’ve worked with some fantastic actors and actresses, and I’ve learned so much from them. I’ve watched and learned how people make it more natural. At the beginning, I wasn’t too worried about what I was doing, and I try to keep to that because it worked then, and I hope it works now.

How does it feel not to get to act with Sophie?

Maisie: I still see Sophie all the time when we’re filming. We crossover a lot this season, actually, as we were filming at the same time a lot of the time. It was really great to see her at the hotel and things. I was in New York recently and she was shooting a film there, and we both went to a fashion show together. We still do loads of great things. She’s doing fantastically, and we get on so well. It’s great to also have that escape of hanging out together, because most of the scenes we do on the show are really, really intense so it’s nice to just go home and make stupid vine videos and things like that.

To read the rest of the interview, visit our Features!

Benioff, Weiss On Board for 2 More Years

James Hibberd scores another exclusive, revealing that David Benioff and Dan Weiss have renewed their contracts with HBO, setting them on course to run the show through a prospective sixth season. As Hibberd puts it:

“Though HBO has not yet officially renewed the show for a fifth year, Thrones is the premium cable network’s most-watched series (averaging 14.3 million viewers last season across all the network’s platforms) and is second only to The Sopranos as its most popular show of all time. Recently the producers told EW they suspect Thrones will conclude after seven seasons.”

So, just to emphasize, a two year contract renewal is not a guarantee of a sixth season… but at this point it seems that, short of some catastrophe happening to HBO or the production, a sixth season is all but assured.

And then Weiss and Benioff will be up for contract renegotations again… and so, too, will a number of actors, we suspect, as six year option contracts are pretty normal in TV.

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