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Osha Played By Harry Potter Actress?

GRRM’s latest clue seems to have gone up within moments of the deal being signed on the dotted line. He writes that this “wildling wench” is known both to Arthur and Morgana, that she’s not met Theon’s sister in the books (“yet”) but that she has in real life, and that both the actress and the character have “made a splash”.

The Rabbit01 seems to have cracked it, noting that Natalia Tena—best known for her role as Nymphadora Tonks in the Harry Potter films—has worked in productions with both Jamie Campbell Bower (King Arthur in Starz’s new series, Camelot, which led to Bower’s part in Game of Thrones recast) and Eva Green (Morgana in the same Starz production). Furthermore, Tena was at boarding school with singer-songwriter Lily Allen, the famous sister to Alfie Owen Allen, the actor cast as Theon (and recently confirmed to still hold the part in the fact sheet).

But the splash? Well, Osha did splash about in Winterfell’s hotsprings ... and as it happened, Tena made her own splash according to the Daily Mail, when she went skinnydipping in the middle of a crowded music festival. The same article mentions her connection to Lily Allen, which suggests to us that this article served as the source for two of the clues GRRM provided.

That seems to be much too perfect, so we’re going to endorse The Rabbit’s guess. We’ll update when/if GRRM confirms.

Highlights from the Fact Sheet

The fact sheet has quite a lot to absorb, so here’s the highlights in terms of new actors and crew that we’ve not heard of before today.

Lets start with new crew. First up, two new directors of photography have been named. Marco Pontecorvo and Alik Sakharov are both veterans of past HBO productions, particularly Rome. Pontecorvo recently made a mark as a director for the film Pa-ra-da, which garnered him several awards as well, while the Russian-born Sakharov received an Emmy for his cinemtaography on during the Rome episode titled “Passover”.

Joining them on the production side are a few new directors. For us, the most notable is Alan Taylor, an HBO go-to guy with many HBO productions under his belt, as well episodes of shows as diverse as Lost, Mad Men, and Nurse Jackie; he won an Emmy for his direction of a Sopranos episode, and has several other noms from the Director’s Guild Awards. The other new director named is Daniel Minahan, another go-to guy who’s directed episodes of Deadwood, Big Love, and a notable five episodes on True Blood.

Production designer Gemma Jackson and costume designer Michele Clapton remain on board with the production, which is very good to see. Though we’ve known this for a good while, I’ll note that the fact sheet confirms that the writing breakdown remains the same: executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss will write seven of the episodes, while Bryan Cogman, Jane Espenson (of Buffy and BSG fame), and George R.R. Martin will write one episode each.

Of note for the production? Morocco is out—something George hinted may be a possibility a long while ago—and instead it looks like the second location for shooting will be Malta. Malta, rich in scenery—especially medieval castles, walls, ports, and so on—and a spare beauty will doubtless serve for shots of Pentos and the like, and will be an excellent locale if the series goes forward to a second or third season
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And following the production teams and notes? The actors. Oh, boy, the actors. There’s so many of them!

The most significant additions to the list must be James Cosmo as the Old Bear, Jeor Mormont, a casting George revealed which is not yet on the fact sheet (see here for two other roles GRRM has confirmed). After that, it sure looks like Jerome Flynn as Bronn (Official Site) is the most noteworthy casting choice.

After that are the guest cast, which makes up the bulk of new additions to the casting rolls. I’m just going to paste them all below:

Old Bear Revealed

James Cosmo has been cast in the role of Jeor Mormont, Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, according to GRRM’s latest post after someone finally got his devious clue (after he helpfully provided a hint). Cosmo is well-known to fans of genre film due to his memorable role in Braveheart as Campbell, the irascible, tough-as-nails father of Brendan Gleeson’s character. George says that Cosmo blew away the competition in his reading.

Keep an eye here, we’ll soon be covering all the new actors released in some more detail! To tide you over, here’s a show reel of Mr. Cosmo:

Two More Actors Announced

George has posted that fans have guessed some of his clues, but one remains elusive.

As per our previous post, our endorsement of the guess of Derek Halligan for Ser Alliser Thorne is correct; good job, Mormegil99! You can learn more about Halligan at Ulster Actors. The other clue, the lord who never had lines in the books, will be played by Sir John Standing, who played one of the leads in the adaption of GRRM’s novella, Nightflyers, more than 20 years ago.

GRRM promises many more roles to be announced shortly—we expect some news today—and hints that “maybe even a big one that you have all been eager for” will also be revealed in time.

Below is a video of Sir John conducting a public reading:

Fresh Casting Clues

George R.R. Martin has provided fresh clues to three as-yet-unannounced roles, saying two are lords and the third is a knight. He writes:

“The first flew by night to find the truth. The second is a merry man from the god of war. The third was a supervillain, and once ambled amongst oak trees and hollies, where he might have come across a golden rose.”

In comments, the difficulty of these clues lead to some remarks, with GRRM responding that he wanted to make them tougher since the fans have been so quick to solve them in the past. However, we’re tenatively endorsing one guess: Derek Halligan as Ser Alliser Thorne (known for his derisive nicknames for Night’s Watch recruits, including Pimple, Monkey, and Ser Loon), via Mormegil99. Halligan has been in the long-running British drama/soap Hollyoaks, alongside actor Finn Jones (playing Ser Loras Tyrell, who bears a golden rose on his shield) and played the part of a supervillain, Dr. Nightshade, in a film titled Tonight We Fly.

The other two clues are unclear as yet, but the lord who gave up a lordship and received another strikes us as Lord Jeor Mormont, Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch (others are guessing Janos Slynt), while the silent lord… At first we read this as Ser Ilyn Payne, but obviously he’s not a lord. It seems possible that a scene from a draft of the pilot which was never actually shot—the death of Jon Arryn—may be reinstated in the course of the extensive reshooting.

GRRM also adds that Renly Baratheon will soon be announced, to complete the small council. Stannis Baratheon, however, will not be making any appearances in the first season.

Varys Cast, Waymar Royce Recast

Thanks to Maureen Ryan, we have some new information on casting for HBO’s Game of Thrones. First up, the role of Varys—the eunuch spymaster called the Spider—will be played by Conleth Hill, who received the Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 2001 for best actor in “Stones in His Pockets”. Hill has a personal website here.

The other news is that the role of Ser Waymar Royce, a young ranger of the Night’s Watch, has been recast. Originally the role was played by Jamie Campbell Bower, who has a notable fan-following thanks to his appearances in the Harry Potter series, but reshoots of the scenes (which we were aware of following news that the role of Will was being urgently recast—Bronson Webb being away filming Pirates of the Caribbean 4) meant that the actor (who has been cast as King Arthur in Starz’s new Arthurian series, Camelot) was unavailable. Instead, the role will be played by Rob Ostlere, a RADA graduate who has recently started his career on television in the U.K.

Below is a clip from the comedy Whatever Works, starring Larry David which features Conleth Hill in a role rather different from what Varys will be like, to say the least:

Barristan the Bold Cast

According to the incomparable Oliver Powell, Ian McElhinney has been cast in the role of the famous Ser Barristan Selmy, the Lord Commander of King’s Robert’s Kingsguard. McElhinney, a Belfast native, has an extensive thirty-year career behind him. Most recently, he has appeared in a number of U.K. and Irish productions, including playing the role of Pope Clement VII in The Tudors. He’s turned his hand to stage directing with “Rock Doves”, which led to the interview (one of four parts) embedded below:

McElhinney has also lent his voice to dramatic readings as well, as seen as here:

Jamie Sives Cast as Jory Cassel

According to oliverpowell (who has already proved a solid source), the role of Jory Cassel—Winterfell’s captain of the guard—has gone to popular Scottish actor, Jamie Sives. Sives has a long list of credits, including appearances in genre productions such as Doctor Who, the new Clash of the Titans, and the historical adventure Valhalla Rising. In 2002, Sives garnered a number of film festival nominations and awards for his performance in the independet film, Wilbur (Wants to Kill Himself), which earned him attention from diverse sources such as the BBC.

Below is one of a number of videos featuring Sives available on Youtube:

The Mountain That Rides Cast

We can exclusively confirm via a source at HBO that Conan Stevens, a 7’ tall Australian actor, wrestler, and stuntman, has been cast in the role of Ser Gregor Clegane, the huge and terrible brother of the Hound (played by Rory McCann). Stevens has sought out the role from the very earliest word of HBO developing the series, and has even interacted with fans at the A Song of Ice and Fire forum. Stevens has hinted recently that he had some exciting news to share, and we can certainly agree that this is very exciting!

Here’s a showreel:

Congratulations to Mr. Stevens. We’re looking forward to seeing his considerable presence on screen as the Mountain That Rides.

 

 

Stars of the Future

Screen International, a trade magazine for the film and television industry, has published its annual UK Stars of Tomorrow list (recapped by the London Evening Standard), and who should happen to be there?

Not one, but two of the young actors in HBO’s Game of Thrones. One of them is no great surprise, as Harry Lloyd has gained increasing prominence in the UK over the years and his role as Viserys Targaryen seems like a potential breakthrough into the U.S. The other, however, is none other than Emilia Clarke, the actress recently cast as Daenerys Targaryen. Outside of theatrical roles and a handful of smaller television parts, Clarke is a virtual unknown, but appears to have a great deal of promise in her future according to Screen International.

Three More Roles Cast

According to this tweet by actor Oliver Powell (who has previously auditioned for a role, and has mentioned that Westeros.org was one of his resources when researching the role!), the roles of Syrio Forel and Rast (a recruit to the Night’s Watch) have now been filled.

According to Powell, Syrio is played by Miltos Yerolemou, who has appeared in a number of television productions. Searching the internet, Yerolemou has also had a number of theatrical roles, including the role of Feste in a Royal Shakespeare Company production of Twelfth Night. Yerolemou confirmed his casting to us when contacted via Twitter, and the part can be seen in his Spotlight CV. Also via Twitter, he tells us that he’d be quite surprised if he were not rendered bald (either by shaving his amazingly curly head of hair, or through prosthetics) for the part, for those who are wondering about the visual fidelity of the series to the novels.

Here’s a fine portrait of the actor, via Flickr:

Miltos Yerolemou (Barabas - Hall for Cornwall)


Perhaps more interestingly, however, we have a Youtube showreel. About 3 minutes in we get past the montage to some selected scenes from theatrical and television roles:

Luke McEwan is a recent Oxford School of Drama graduate, who has received a good deal of praise in the role of Cymbeline in the eponymous play by Shakespeare, for the National Youth Theatre. Rast is one of the less savory of the Night’s Watch recruits that Jon Snow meets early in A Game of Thrones.

As to the third role? EwaSR has shared via Twitter that an acquaintance of hers has landed a role in Game of Thrones. Not as Joffrey—the role he auditioned for, apparently—but for another Lannister part. At a guess, this will be our Lancel Lannister, but we’re waiting on confirmation.

Samwell Tarly Cast

According to this report, John Bradley-West—a recent graduate of the Manchester Metropolitan University’s School of Theatre, has been cast in the role of Samwell Tarly. He landed the part as his first audition after graduation, and is set to join the production in mid-August. An earlier report from March noted that Bradley-West was a runner up for the BBC’s Carleton Hobbs Bursary Award which aims to find and develop talented actors for BBC’s radio drama division.

A larger profile picture can be found at the School of Theatre’s Facebook page.

Casting Call for Gendry

GRRM has previously informed us that the role of Gendry—the young, stubborn blacksmith with a heritage he’s unaware of—is among those being cast. Thanks to a tip from Screenterrier, we’ve gotten a bit more detail about the part due to the fact that an “urgent” casting call has gone out for the part, suggesting that the production has yet to find the perfect actor for the role. The desired age of actor is between 16 and 20, and they describe the character as broad-shouldered, muscular, and working class.

The most notable detail for us? They want him for two episodes this season. Some spoilers below the cut as we discuss what that means.

Makeup and Hair Designer Hired

It’s an eventful day, it seems, as GRRM informs us that Paul Engelen, a multiple Academy Award and BAFTA Award nominee, has been hired to lead hair and makeup design for HBO’s Game of Thrones. Engelen has an extensive list of credits stretching almost 40 years, and include such major work as Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, Troy, Kingdom of Heaven, and Robin Hood:

Roy Dotrice is Pycelle and More

As we speculated, Roy Dotrice is indeed cast as Grand Maester Pycelle, a role which—as we guessed—he was intended to play in the pilot, in a new scenes not from the books which was cut from the shooting script. George provides explanations for his clues, and describes the singular honor he felt in having the opportunity to work with Dotrice on Beauty and the Beast for three years. Below, you’ll find a selection of videos featuring Dotrice’s work over the years.

Of course, GRRM also confirmed Kristian Nairn is Hodor. More notably, it sounds like we’re very shortly going to have a flood of additional casting news, from what George says. In particular? There’s a hint that fans of author Harper Lee (author of To Kill a Mockingbird) will be particualarly interested. Petyr Baelish, better known as Littlefinger, has a mockingbird as his sigil…

Exciting times!