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!)
One of the actors who has been most elusive among the regular cast has been Aidan Gillen. We’ve hoped to interview him for a number of years, but could never make it work… until, that is, earlier this year when I traveled to London to take part in a round of interviews with Gillen, as well as a number of actors.
I recall back when the show was announced that all sorts of names flew about for various roles, but Gillen’s name was easily the most common fan suggestion for Petyr Baelish. Those suggestions were largely based on his role as Carcetti in HBO’s groundbreaking The Wire, I suspect, but I admit at the time I hadn’t gotten past the show’s first season so didn’t know him from there. But we here at Westeros.org also latched onto the name when it was suggested, because of his charming, fearless, devilish performance as Stuart Russel T. Davies’s Queer as Folk.
With many notable roles under his belt, in film, television, and theater, the Dublin-born actor proves a very knowledgeable, extremely thoughtful interview subject. He takes his time with all his responses, thinking them through. And, as you’ll see, he’s more familiar than most of the actors with the source material….
Without being too spoilery, what sort of character does Littlefinger takes this season?
How much do you know about what lies ahead for your character? You’ve read the books, I know, but do you know what lies beyond that?
(For the rest of the interview, head over to the Features page!)
With Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Bryan Cogman’s been the member of the Game of Thrones production we’ve had most opportunities to interview, and as always it’s been a pleasure as we range around various behind-the-scenes aspects of the production, as well as some in-depth discussion of Bryan’s work as a writer for this season in regards to “Oathkeeper” and “The Laws of Gods and Men”>. See below for the full interview, as we discuss filming in Iceland, the growth of the scale of the production since the early days, who Bryan’s idol is, and more!
All right, welcome back to what’s turning into an annual chat, Bryan. I think Nikolaj’s the only person we’ve interviewed as often at this point.
Hah. As I recall, this season included your first trip to Iceland for filming—usually none of your material was shot there, is that right?
Iceland really looks stunning. This time around the shooting was in the summer. Lots of sunlight, relatively warm weather?
(Click here for the rest of the interview in our Features section!)
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 ...
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?
Read the rest of the interview at the Feature page!
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:
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
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.
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.
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.
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?
How does it feel not to get to act with Sophie?
To read the rest of the interview, visit our Features!
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.
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:
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
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:
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.
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.