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.
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.
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:
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…
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”).
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
The bad news: for medical reasons, Roy Dotrice has had to leave the production of Game of Thrones, which is very unfortunate. The good news is that he just needs 3-4 months of treatment and he’ll be fine. Our best wishes to Mr. Dotrice, and our hope that—as GRRM says—they’ll find a place for him in the production!
In his place, thespian Julian Glover—an old friend of Dotrice’s from the Royal Shakespeare Company, and an actor with a long, long list of credits stretching back 50 years—has been cast in the role.
And we’ve a new set of clues, a confusing set, but they seem to regard the actresses cast as Doreah and either Irri or Jhiqui (“big brother’s gift”, with GRRM clarifying in comments that his clue is for three roles only) and Shae (“sellsword’s gift”).
Over at “Not a Blog”, George R.R. Martin runs through several of the actors cast in roles related to the Vale of Arryn—Lysa Arryn, Robin Arryn, and Ser Vardis Egen. More notably, he touches on the fate of Ser Brynden Tully, the Blackfish. George explains it best, so we’ll quote him:
“... alas, his appearance has been postponed. Even with such a huge project as ours, there are budgetary constraints that require some characters to be cut, combined… or deferred to later seasons. That’s what is happening with the Blackfish. The plan, I am told, is to delay the introduction of the Tullys (Lord Hoster and Ser Edmure as well as Ser Brynden) until the second season. Brynden’s part in the events of A GAME OF THRONES will be filled in part by Ser Vardis Egen, and in part by Ser Rodrik Cassel.”
So, if the show gets a second season, we’ll be seeing the rest of the Tully clan.
As we recently learned, Castle Black was set to be built at Magheramorne Quarry. Now, a fellow fan by the handle of silverjaime has shared the first photos of the site, taken about a mile away from the building site (the nearest the public can get to it). The first picture is here, while a zoomed and cropped version can be found here. It looks like the quarry wall will serve as the Wall, either colored to look more like ice in CG, or perhaps used as a base on which to lay greenscreen.
Silverjaime also visited the Paint Hall area, and fell into discussion with the dialect coach for the production, Brendan Gunn. Gunn informed her that while the production would us “UK accents”, he did not provide details of whether there’d be regional variations other than to confirm that Aidan Gillen (cast as Littlefinger) would not use his native, Dubin accent. Gunn has previously worked on a very large number of films, including Michael Collins, The Butcher Boy, Meet Joe Black, and Snatch (where he helped Brad Pitt develop his Tinker accent). He also happens to have served as the dialogue coach for A Shine of Rainbows, a film which featured Jack Gleeson, cast as Joffrey Baratheon.
A video of Gunn discussing the dialects of A Shine of Rainbows is embedded below:
Following up on our previous report, we’re happy to see George confirm that actress Natalia Tena has won the role of Osha. As George writes: “When I saw that she was reading for Osha, my first thought was, “She’s great, but no way, she’s too young and too hot.” Then I saw her reading, and none of the other Oshas had a chance. Her charisma grabbed me by the throat and I could not take my eyes off her. David and Dan felt the same way. We’re all thrilled to have her.”
It sounds like an auspicious start to her time in the series!