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Big Love Gives Insight

The L.A. times has an interview with Will Scheffer, co-creator of HBO’s original drama series, Big Love, which started airing its fourth season recently. Reading it, I found that some of the topics discussed have some potential implications for how similar issues will be handled for Game of Thrones if HBO’s orders a season. Salient quotes below:

Q. Can you talk about the decision to recast Teenie, now played by Bella Thorne?

Because our show is structured so tightly, we usually don’t have year-breaks between seasons in show time. We never have time for our characters to age with our actors, which is OK generally. Luckily Wayne, God bless him, hasn’t had a growth spurt yet, knock on wood. He just gets older and older and stays Wayne, you know? But unfortunately our Teenie [Jolean Wejbe] — our cute little pixie — just shot up. By the time she was 13 playing 11, she started to become tall and looked like she was turning into a 15-year-old.

So what we decided to do was recast.

Q. Why only nine episodes?

HBO [was] really pushing us to get the show airing in January again, after last year’s January debut. So that was difficult for us — the way the show works, the kind of hands-on quality that [co-creator] Mark [V. Olsen] and I have on every single aspect of it. And the only way that they could make post-production ready to have an airable episode for [Sunday] was if we shortened the order to nine. So that’s the only reason. And so hopefully next year we’ll do 11 or 12, to get back to a fuller place.

Taking the last first, this just goes to show that HBO has been, so far, very firm indeed about wanting all episodes in the can before they go to air. There’s no particular reason that they could not have completed a 10th or even 11th episode in the two months from the start to the airing of the 9th episodes, except HBO was adamant about a June release date. To what degree the high profiles of some of the actors involved—Bill Paxton and Chloe Sevigny have film careers—explains the tightness of their schedule we do not know, but it seems that Game of Thrones will have to run a tight ship to be able to complete filming of 12 episodes a season.

More notable, though, is the discussion of recasting younger actors. Like Big Love, Game of Thrones will have very little transition time between seasons, and while each season will cover a number of months, still, this is a legitimate concern for the youngest characters. The executive producers are taking steps to try and adjust matters—aging young characters up and the like—but it could rear it’s head in seasons 3 or 4, if the show lasts that long (*knock on wood*). While all the young actors involved seem to perfectly suit their roles now, “time and tides wait for no man”. We’ll have to wait and see—on multiple fronts.

And in case you’ve forgotten, the executives were supposed to be seeing a rough cut of the pilot episode

last

this week (thanks to Halfhand for the correction!). We’re poking around to see what, if anything, we can discover about their reaction.

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