Game of Thrones: News

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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!

Hodor Confirmed

As per our previous posts on the subject of Hodor, it seems Kristian Nairn—the 6’10” Belfast-based professional DJ—is, indeed, our new Hodor. Nairn shyly confirmed via Twitter, accepting congratulations from wellwishers. We put him in touch with Isaac Hampstead Wright, the young actor who’ll be receiving a lot of piggyback rides from Nairn in the months to come.

Nairn is not a professional actor, so we can’t say there’s anything featuring his acting out there to share since the audition video was set private. However, we can certainly say that Nairn isn’t a shy performer, if this video from the Kremlin club of Belfast featuring Nairn in his alter-ego Revvlon (as per his MySpace page) is any proof:

Great song choice! We’ve also found an example of Nairn’s DJing work, in the form of a remix:

Hodor Hodor Hodor!

Oh, and George has another clue for us all, for a role that’s obviously Hodor:

“He doesn’t have a lot to say, but he says it a lot. He’s not a muslim, not a pagan, not a scientologist, but he might be a town in Scotland.”

Have to agree with Halfhand on this, this is Kristian Nairn, whom we reported on back in May. The first clue identifies the role—Hodor—and the second identifies his name (neither Muslim, nor Pagan, nor Scientologist ... but “Christian”), and the last identifies his last name (Nairn being a Scottish town). He looked like an excellent choice. A shame his audition video is no longer available, but do note our linked post above, where his agent—the one who recorded and posted the video—comments.

Clues for an Old Maester

It seems that the “old maester”, Grand Maester Pycelle or Maester Aemon, has been cast and GRRM has some clues for his identity. We think we know who this is already, however. The role was originally lined up for an esteemed, world-class actor according to GRRM, when Pycelle was written into a new scene for the pilot which we later learned was removed for time and never filmed. And one name has been commonly recommended for him, a name that’s near and dear to GRRM’s heart: Roy Dotrice, who read the first three novels for the audiobook versions.

An actor with a long career in film and theatre, Dotrice has certainly been a popular choice for a part, and Pycelle or Maester Aemon were really the only two choices for him. Martin once stated some years back that Roy Dotrice would have been his pick for Barristan Selmy, when the ages matched up better.

As to why we’re so sure?

“has lived many lives, brief but numerous.”—Dotrice starred in the play, Brief Lives, and has had many, many roles as well.

“In his youth he fought in the wars that some say inspired all of this.”—He played Edward IV in War of the Roses, a miniseries from 1965.

“He has been a king and a god”—Besides playing Edward, he was also George IV in Shaka Zulu, and he played Zeus in Hercules: The Legendary Journey.

“He’ll always be daddy”—And of course, he played the role of Father in Beauty and the Beast, which GRRM had a hand in producing and writing.

Finn Jones is Loras Tyrell

What started as rumors has now come to pass, as young British actor Finn Jones has been cast in the role of Ser Loras Tyrell, the Knight of Flowers. A young, brash knight, younger son of a great lord of the realm, Ser Loras is famed for his youthful beauty and his prodigious skill on the tourney ground. GRRM adds some more details, noting that while the decisions had been made to cast him when rumors came out, the actual contracts and the like had not been signed until very recently.  GRRM adds that the audition scene for Ser Loras was a scene from the third book, A Storm of Swords.

Embedded below is a reel of Finn Jones:

Casting Shae

According to George R.R. Martin’s latest “Not a Blog” post, the role of Shae’s still being cast for. He’s reviewed twelve audition tapes so far—perhaps the top choices to come out of casting?—and according to his stated reaction, it seems likely that they’re all quite capable of playing of the saucy, vixenish prostitute who’ll become well acquainted with Tyrion Lannister (played by Peter Dinklage). He notes that auditions are continuing in Belfast, Dublin, and London for many parts, both minor and major.