Game of Thrones: News

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Why They’re Filming in Morocco

Thanks to multiple reports around the web from George R.R. Martin’s reading and Q&A at Town Hall Seattle, we now know that Martin confirmed what we’ve speculated : Morocco will serve as the location for Daenerys Targaryen’s storyline in the new season, the region of Essos known as Slaver’s Bay.

Some have rather hopefully thought it would mean we’d see Dorne in season 3… and while Morocco may doubtless serve as the location for scenes set in Dorne in some future season, it certainly seems that that’s not the plan this year. So Dorne fans will just have to wait.

Comic-Con Panel Details

The San Diego Comic-con has been releasing its program details, and fairly full details regarding the Game of Thrones panel are now available:

2:45-3:45 Game of Thrones Panel and Q&A session— Based on the bestselling fantasy book series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin, HBO’s Game of Thrones series concluded its 10-episode second season on June 3. Created and executive produced by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, the series follows kings and queens, knights and renegades, liars and noblemen as they vie for power in a land where summers span decades and winters can last a lifetime. Season 2 of the hit series told an epic story of duplicity and treachery, nobility and honor, conquest and triumph, set in an enthralling world of intrigue, seduction, and magic. Based in Belfast, Northern Ireland, production of season 2 also took place in Croatia and Iceland. Some of the cast featured in the second season and appearing on this panel are (in alphabetical order) Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy, Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen, Michelle Fairley as Catelyn Stark, Kit Harington as Jon Snow, Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister, and Richard Madden as Robb Stark. George R. R. Martin, who also serves as a co-executive producer and writer on the series, moderates with executive producer Carolyn Strauss. Hall H

So, now we have a list of “some” o the cast who’ll be appearing. Why “some”? I suspect some more may be added as they clarify schedules… and, given the extreme silence from HBO on casting to date, I think it’s safe to say that a “surprise” or two in terms of casting news will be revealed at the con.

HBO adds a follow-up indicating that executive producers Benioff and Weiss will not be in attendance as the season will already be filming at the time of the convention.

HBO Releases Season 3 Information

Straight from HBO, we’ve details on the writers and directors for the next season of Game of Thrones, with filming due to begin the second week of July. It confirms our earlier reports on Morocco becoming a fourth(!) filming location.

Here’s the press release:

Season 3 of Game of Thrones will start production in early July.  The production continues to be based in Belfast, Northern Ireland and will shoot in Belfast and other Northern Ireland locations.  Additionally, it is confirmed that Game of Thrones will return once again to Croatia and Iceland for additional production.  This season, a fourth location, Morocco, will be added to the schedule.

The following directors have been set for Season 3.  They are: David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, Alex Graves, Michelle MacLaren, Dan Minahan, David Nutter and Alik Sakharov.  Writers returning for this season are: David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, Bryan Cogman, George R.R. Martin and Vanessa Taylor.

Casting is underway and will be announced soon.

Based on the bestselling fantasy book series by George R.R. Martin, GAME OF THRONES is an epic drama set in the world of Westeros, where ambitious men and women of both honor and ill-repute live in a land whose summers and winters can last years.  The Emmy®- and Golden Globe-winning fantasy series aired its ten-episode second season Sunday, April 1-June 3, 2012.

So, D&D will be directing an episode (or two?)... and Alik Sakharov is returning, which is excellent. Plus a female director, Michelle MacLaren, joins the mix. More details on the directors shortly!

Game of Thrones to Film in Morocco

As we reported last week, we now know that director David Nutter is set to direct the final two episodes of season 3 with the help of cinematographer Robert McLachlan. The article in which this news was revealed indicated that Morocco was going to be a filming location for the third season. We cast some doubts on it, but couldn’t rule it out…

But now this lengthy piece about McLachlan and his involvement in the series goes a step further and provides us a direct quote:

“I just received the schedule for the show and they’ve got units going in Morocco and Croatia and Ireland, and indoors and outdoors, and logistically I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s incredible,” says McLachlan. “It’s absolutely gigantic.”

So, there you go. Season 3 seems set to use Morocco for exterior locations, and perhaps some interiors as well, according to McLachlan. That’s almost certainly all for Daenerys’s storyline in that season and, presumably, the prospective season 4. As to no Iceland in those last two episodes, this tells us that they’ll be done using Iceland before that once things have shifted back to the area around the Wall.

Read the whole article while you’re at it, as it discusses the scope of the production and many other aspects of the film and television industry.

Taylor Out, Nutter Returns

A little bit of season 3 news is dribbling out in fits and starts, and this time we’ve a bit of news regarding directors for season 3. Contrary to an earlier interview, director and co-executive producer Alan Taylor—who directed “The Prince of Winterfell” and “Valar Morghulis” this season—will not be returning to direct for season 3.

Neil Marshall Talks Blackwater

Empire Magazine has a great interview with director Nial Marshall, who directed the fantastic “Blackwater”. Lots of juicy details about directing the episode and crafting some of its moments. And at least one bit that, I suspect, will be controversial in some quarters of the fandom regarding instructions he says he received from an unnamed executive producer…

Craft and Technical Trainees Sought

This innocuous post from Northern Ireland Screen, calling for trainees to join it’s Skills Development Scheme. But thanks to this tweet from Cat Taylor, it looks like most (if not all) the trainees will end up working on season 3 of Game of Thrones. If you met the application criteria, it’s a great opportunity to have a hand in the show!

VFX Details Filter Out

Animation World Network has an interesting piece discussing the truly international effort to creat VFX for Game of Thrones, with the work largely being handled and supervised by Pixomondo.

Episodes can range from having as few as 60 VFX shots to as many as 140 VFX shots (I’m guessing that upper end is where “Blackwater” falls). Some interesting notes about changes to the dragon design to show that they’re growing, and a lot of talk of how the work was handled by nine of the twelve Pixomondo studios across the globe, plus some work outsourced to other VFX production companies, Baked FX (which has a brief announcement about their involvement) and Entity FX.

Casting Continues and Extras Sought

Casting is well under way for season 3 of HBO’s Game of Thrones, and though rumors and whispers are running around about which roles are being sought—we can pretty reliably say that Daario Naharis, Shireen Baratheon, and Edmure Tully are among roles being sought, that Brynden Tully (aka the Blackfish) also seems likely from details we’ve picked up from a recent (now vanished) audition video, and of course significant roles for this season such as Mance Rayder are also being sought, while it certainly sounds from the show that the character of Ramsay Snow is going to be needed.

It’s notable that the casting for extras is also underway... and a detail rather caught our eye:

And men or women that are over 18 and that are under 5ft in height.


Game of Thrones Concept Art

For those who’ve always wondered a bit what the series might have looked like at various stages during conceptualization of the people and places, Kimberley Pope—a concept artist who’s worked on Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Agora, Elizabeth: the Golden Age, and of course Game of Thrones—has shared a number of examples of concept art, both for this season and last. There’s some spoilers in the season 2 material, rather mild… but there’s also a lot of amazing material, including various iterations of the Dragonstone and Harrenhal designs, good looks at the Eyrie with a kind of cable car (instead of a winch cage), and more.

Very much worth a gander.

Game of Thrones Confirmed to Return to Northern Ireland

In the wake of the announcement of Game of Thrones being renewed for a 3rd season (which George R.R. Martin also commented on), Northern Ireland Screen has confirmed that the production will continue to be based in Northern Ireland. Th show will receive funding from the Northern Ireland Screen fund supported by Invest NI and part funded by the European Regional Development Fund. Shooting will take place in the Paint Hall film studio, the new sound stages in Belfast, the Linen Mill Film Studios in Banbridge and various other locations throughout Northern Ireland.

CNN Profiles Dothraki Language Creator

At 2PM Eastern today, CNN’s The Next List will be airing a 30-minute episode focused entirely on the work of David J. Peterson (Dedalvs on Twitter), creator of the Dothraki language on HBO’s Game of Thrones.

Leading up to it, CNN has posted up some clips featuring remarks from executive producers David Benioff & Dan Weiss, as well as star Emilia Clarke, regarding the importance of the language to the show. Here’s one of them:

It’s worth noting that the Next List blog also contains guest posts from Peterson, touching on the topics of creating languages and the history of invented languages in Hollywood. Well worth reading!

Interview with Benioff and Weiss

Thanks to our friends over at Sky Atlantic’s Thronecast—where Linda and I will, indeed, be resuming our weekly presence!—we’ve received the opportunity to share Kelly-Anne Smith’s interview with Game of Thrones executive producers David Benioff and Dan Weiss from the international press junket that we attened late in February. Here it is!

Stay tuned, another interview is going up shortly (you can catch up on the one’s we’ve published to date here... and we’ve our own interview with Benioff and Weiss set to be released tomorrow!


The Costs and Logistics of Making Game of Thrones

The Wall Street Journal’s John Jurgenson has a very interesting article concerning the production of the second season. Here’s a few useful statistics:

  • Average of 9.3. million viewers, vs. 10.7 million for Boardwalk and a peak of 13 million for True Blood in its third season.
  • First season budget of roughly $60 million (which we’ve reported before), now up roughly 15% (so $69 million, give or take—with hints that a large part of it was due to episode 9, “Blackwater”, written by GRRM.)
  • 106 shooting days, 3/4ths spent with two units (“Dragon” and “Wolf”) filming simultaneously.
  • For the Battle of the Blackwater, David and Dan initially wanted to build 9 ship sets. They got 1.

Also of interest? Season 3 location scouting is already going on, though there’s been no official greenlight. Expect it on Monday or Tuesday at the latest—we’re 100% confident that season 3 is a no-brainer, at this stage. The only real question is if they’ll announce they’re ordering season 4 as well (beware rumors that they’ll film two seasons back to back, however—deeply unlikely).

New Faces, New Destinations: Two New Videos

Some last bits of promotional material sneaking out from HBO. This time, we’ve two new videos featuring a look at new characters and new destinations that we’ll be seeing this season. Good stuff, and an excellent chance to hear from some of the newest cast members: