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Owen Teale is Ser Alliser Thorne

Welsh actor Owen Teale, a Tony Award-winner who has appeared in dozens of television and film productions (including genre works Robin Hood, Doctor Who, and The Last Legion), has joined the cast of HBO’s Game of Thrones. Teale will be playing the role of Ser Alliser Thorne, taking over from Derek Halligan who was previously announced in the role. Teale first came to light when Belfast-based photographer John Boucher posted this Tumblr post about running into the actor on the street and asking him to be part of his Through-the-Viewfinder portrait series.

Below, you can see Teale starring in the short film Auto-de-fé, a heart-rending portrayal of two people coming to the end of their relationship:

Game of Thrones Production Notes

Just a quick mid-week recap of the news that we’ve had from the production so far, as there have been a few relevant tweets, articles, and blog posts of note.

  • First off, catching up on a story from two weeks ago, it seems the Ballymoney Times has now reported on the shooting in Ballymoney. It seems one part of the shooting was in this field of willows (thanks to Jackie for the link). At a guess, the scene shot here would have been part of Joffrey’s and Sansa’s excursion to the ruby ford.
  • Actor Luke McEwan, cast as the Night’s Watch recruit Rast, has provided a couple of interesting tweets. On the 16th he tweted that he was looking forward to filming with Peter Dinklage the next day, which fits with prior news that there would be filming at Magheramorne Quarry, site of the Castle Black exterior set. The evening of the 17th, his tweet seemed to suggest that things went very well.
  • McEwan’s other tweet of note came today, when he reported that he was watching the Mountain that Rides (Conan Stevens) and the Hound (Rory McCann) fighting, and that he had never seen such big men before. This could mean that McEwan was visiting the filming of the Hand’s tourney ... but much likelier, he was dropping by the stunt team’s offices where the two actors were going over their fight scene, perhaps to rehearse his own fight sequence(s). From what Stevens has blogged, it seems likely his filming will be done by the end of the month, though it seems likely he’ll be back from Thailand to film further scenes.
  • From series extra Rimshot, it sounds like the Hand’s tourney proper will in fact begin filming later this week (or perhaps even next week). Before that, though, it looks like he’ll be doing something quite different at another location he had not expected to be involved in, according to these tweets. We’ve previously reported that the tourney itself seems set to be filmed in the area of Shane’s Castle.
  • We’ll soon have some things to report regarding Welsh actor Owen Teale, who was recently revealed to be joining in the production. A little bird has whispered to us that he is in fact taking over a role from a previously-announced cast member…
  • Via SweetSigma, we learn that actor Jamie Sives, cast as Winterfell’s captain of guards Jory Cassel, is due to be involved in filming through the end of October.
Sean Bean Update

This weekend we shared an ITN report regarding Sean Bean filming in London for the spy thriller Cleanskin. In the article, ITN notes that the production is a six week shoot, which led us to speculate that most of Bean’s scenes in HBO’s Game of Thrones will have to wait until October. However, as a poster notes, Cleanskin actually started filming in late February.

The filming that ITN was covering was a brief, one day reshoot, and not a sign that Bean will be occupied for weeks with that production.

Filming the Vale

We know that filming is presently going on for scenes set in Castle Black, as actor Luke McEwan (cast as Rast) tweeted he had finished his first day of work this past Friday, and we know that the Hand’s tourney is set to film starting around this coming Friday. But it seems something else is up for mid-August: shooting scenes set at the Eyrie and/or Vale of Arryn.

Or, at least, that’s what Brendan McCormack’s agents report on his profile page, indicating that he begins filming in mid-August. McCormack, cast as Ser Vardis Egan, will have a somewhat expanded role compared to the novel according to author George R.R. Martin, who indicated that he’ll be taking some of Ser Brynden Tully’s role.

At a guess, they’re either going to be able to make use of some of the exterior sets (such as the area of the tourney ground, or perhaps even Magheramorne quarry) to represent parts of the Vale of Arryn and the Mountains of the Moon, thereby minimizing amount of travel the crew has to do, or they’ll be doing some interior shoots at Paint Hall to represent the Eyrie.

Sean Bean Filming in London

But not for HBO’s Game of Thrones. In fact, Sean Bean is the lead in a new action/thriller film Cleanskin, which is filming in London as we type this. According to ITN, which provides a photo & brief video interview of the actor in his current look, the film will be shooting for the next six week.

(Note: See our update which, thanks to a commenter at the A Song of Ice and Fire forum, shows that this was a single day reshoot for a film that was completed in the spring.)

This fits with the news that much of the Winterfell footage is waiting until September to be filmed. Given that we had reports of Bean being available the first week or two of shooting, we suppose that they’ve done some work with him, but not a lot. The bulk of his scenes as Eddard Stark—both in Winterfell and King’s Landing—will have to be filmed at the end of September and right through to December, when filming is scheduled to end.

Some Production Notes

Just a few bits and bobs of information regarding HBO’s Game of Thrones production, for those who’re interested in the nuts-and-bolts.

  • Via silverjaime and Rimshot (commenting over at Winter is Coming, we learn that Shane’s Castle is once again being used as a shooting location; in this case, a part of the extensive property is being set up as the tourney ground for the Hand’s Tourney. From information we’ve received, it seems likely that this location will be used for filming in late August. We also learn that Magheramorne Quarry, site of the Castle Black exterior set, will see (or perhaps has already seen) filming there this week, or next week.
  • In related news, the local Norwegian newspaper Tromso.no has an interview with Amrita Acharya, cast as Irri. It turns out that, though the actress resides in London, she spent much of her early life in Tromso, Norway. She reveals the following about Game of Thrones (translated from the Norwegian):

    I’ve only been and filmed a single episode so far, and I haven’t met Sean Bean. He’s in another part of the storyline than the one I’m in. He’s mostly filming in Ireland, while the storyline I’m part of is filming in Malta. There’s a lot of established as well as fresh actors involved, and the sets are really huge.

    Given that she says she’s filmed, it seems fair to say that the majority of her scenes will be in Malta, but there are some things (interiors, primarily, we expect) that are being or will be filmed in Northern Ireland.

  • According to David J. Peterson, creator of the Dothraki language for HBO, the Dothraki lexicon has grown to encompass over 2,300 words.
  • Finally, on a lighter note, here’s Finn Jones (Loras Tyrell) and Conan Stevens (Gregor Clegane) on a horse two horses (photo courtesy of Finn Jones). Look out, Isiah Mustafa! The two are currently being put through an intensive crash course in horsemanship in the U.K., according to what Jones and Stevens have previously stated.

Gendry and Jhogo Cast

After a couple of hours of sweating over the clues, GRRM confirmed his clues. First, he confirmed that Elyas Gabel—who’s been in Waterloo Road, Casualty, Apparitions, and was a zombie in Dead Set—has been cast in the role of Jhogo, one of Daenerys Targaryen’s kas, her personal guard of Dothraki warriors (the three other guards will be played by extras or featured extras, at least in this season). Then, as we guessed, actor Joe Dempsie has been cast in the role of Gendry, a young, stubborn blacksmith.

Below are two videos featuring the actors:

Bloodrider Confirmed

Just a quick note, amidst all the clue pondering. Source’s close to the production have confirmed something that was rumored earlier, based on an errant IMDB entry: Danish actor Dar Salim has indeed been cast in the role of Qotho, one of Drogo’s three bloodriders, his closest and most loyal bodyguards. Salim’s appeared in a number of Danish and Scandinavian productions, and is particularly noted for his role as the titualar character of Go In Peace, Jamil!, a Shiite Muslim in Denmark on the run after committing a murder to avenge his mother’s death years earlier:

This makes us wonder if the “bloody bowman” of the clue might not be another Dothraki, in this case Daenerys’s guard Aggo, who receives a bow from her…

New Clues from GRRM

Another set of clues for two characters at “Not a Blog”:

“The bloody lash knows what it’s like to be dead. He’s met his waterloo and been a casualty, and seen his share of apparitions too. The horny-headed hammerhand is older than you might have thought, but too young to need a pacemaker, though he might have ridden on the ferry with Gerry. Another friend of our kraken’s sister, he knows the doctor and the wizard too. Damned if he doesn’t play what he calls football (not the real kind).”

After correcting the initial clue from bowman to lash, it’s clear that the first clue is for Jhogo, one of Daenerys’s young Dothraki guards. The other must be for Gendry, and we’ve tenatively identified Joseph Dempsie as a candidate (he’s rather older than Gendry as described in the books, appeared on Lily Allen and Friends, has been both on Doctor Who and Merlin, has appeared as a footballer in The Damned United, and hails from Merseyside, inspiration for the Gerry & the Pacemakers song, “Ferry Cross to Mersey”).

The Mountain’s Progress

Conan Stevens (Twitter) has put up a new blog post regarding his experience as part of the Game of Thrones production. He starts by showing off Dark Sword Miniatures‘s Gregor Clegane figure, and the fact that George R.R. Martin congratulated him by e-mail and offered to send him one of the figures. He also notes he had to pass up a chance to take a drink with Sean Bean, and saw but was not introduced to Peter Dinklage.

In production news, Conan notes how much work he’s been putting into riding, having flown to the U.K. to receive his training. As we noticed yesterday on Twitter, he ran into actor Finn Jones (cast as Ser Loras Tyrell) while there. He’s had some riding experience in the past, and says he’s picking it up, with his goal being getting the horse up to a steady gallop by the end of the week. Of particular interest is his plan to slim down so he can get the full six-pack going, both for professional and personal reasons. But in the course of it he notes that he wants to do this “before I go home by the end of the month”. This lets us know that Conan’s first scenes will be filming in August.

At a guess, the rest of his scenes will be filmed in the Fall.

GRRM Discusses Three Actors

Having been busy with writing A Dance with Dragons, George has finally gotten around to writing a few words about several of the actors cast in roles. First, and most significantly, is Charles Dance as Tywin Lannister. As we exclusively revealed, Dance was always the #1 choice of the producers right from the time they got the greenlight, and George now confirms this. He also discusses Conan Stevens, cast as Gregor Clegane, noting that he first came to his attention when he auditioned first auditioned as Khal Drogo which Stevens revealed was a strategy for getting in front of the casting director in the hope that they’d keep him in mind for the Mountain that Rides.

Finally, GRRM discusses young actor Eugene Simon, cast in the role of Lancel Lannister. One of King Robert’s two squires in the novel, the other, his cousin Tyrek, will not be cast (at least not in this first season).

Conan Stevens Blogs From Belfast

There’s a terrific blog post from Conan Stevens (cast as Gregor Clegane, the Mountain that Rides) from Belfast, in which he recounts details such as his diet, his training regimen, and his run-ins with Jason Momoa (Khal Drogo) and Rory McCann (Sandor Clegane, the Hound) at the training center, as well as bumping into executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. He mentions that he’s started work on a short, brutal fight sequence he’ll be taking part in, the choreography being handled by stunt coordinator Buster Reeves and his team. 

Finally, after a question from us, he discusses seeing and trying on Gregor’s armor for the first time, and was very impressed by the work that was done. As he notes, having professionals making armor for you is a fair sight better than making it yourself (as he did when he was part of the SCA).

On Monday, he’ll be taking part in “intensive horse riding lessons” from a famous horse riding stunt team, and feels that with all this intense training and this film footage, he’ll be able to apply to be an accredited stuntman in his native Australia.

Halligan’s Advice to Actors

Actor Derek Halligan, cast in the role of the Night’s Watch master-at-arms Ser Alliser Thorne, has a long career behind him. At the Creative Choices website, he shares some of his experiences and advice to his fellow actors. It’s noted that while he has many television and film credits to his name, he still prefers theatre.

Clues for Grenn

George has posted a new set of clues for the role of Grenn (“aurochs stew”):

“You’re too dumb to make this soup the way they’re making it in Belfast. Start with Becky, Tom, and Boss. Take away two fathoms. Now you want the second course. In the dark the breaker of rocks seeks the living stone. But take away the fat guy with six wives, and the babe with the bumbershoot as well, that salty wench. Out, out. What’s left tastes good, but just remember, there is no gamecock in aurochs stew. IMDB? What’s that? I’m Dumb Boy? Won’t help you here, no way, no how.”

This clue attempts to obscure things by splitting up the actor’s name, but we believe we’ve solved it: Yorkshire-born actor Mark Stanley, who is/was a third year student at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Becky, Tom, and Boss are Mark Twain characters. Breaker of Rocks was the African nickname given to Henry Morton Stanley. Take away the Twain (the measurement from which Samuel Clemens picked his penname), take away Henry and Morton (by removing Henry VIII and the Morton Umbrella Girl), and you’re left with Mark Stanley. Another person of the same name happens to be a baseball player for the Univesity of South Carolina, whose team is named the Gamecocks.

ETA: GRRM confirms that Mark Stanley has been cast as Grenn.

As to IMDB being no help? The actor Mark Stanley has no apparent TV or film credits, and so does not appear in IMDB.

Charles Dance Cast as Tywin Lannister

The last really major casting announcement has been made, thanks to Maureen Ryan at the Chicago Tribune: British actor Charles Dance has been cast as Tywin Lannister, Lord of Casterly Rock and patriarch of the Lannister family. Though his character appears late in the series, his presence is felt throughout the series. He is a Machiavellian figure, commanding, ambitious, and powerful.

Charles Dance was a fan favorite from early on, thanks to his performance in the BBC’s Bleak House and other productions. But Westeros.org can exclusively reveal that a source close to the production told us months ago that he was already a favorite of the executive producers, who had had an opportunity to meet with him (or so we’re told) as he was filming Your Highness in the Paint Hall in Belfast just before Game of Thrones began production there. We’re not sure why it took quite so long for negotiations to sort out, but suffice it to say, now it’s signed, sealed, and delivered.

Below, is an interview with Dance about his role in Sky’s Going Postal, an adaption from Terry Prachett’s Discworld oeuvre.

And here is Dance in his famous role of the unfeeling, grasping lawyer Tulkinghorn in Bleak House:

Dance recently appeared in actor James Franco’s short film, The Clerk’s Tale, which was promoted online with some high res stills that feature the actor in his role as a suit salesman.