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Director to Helm Two Episodes

Via Twitter, it’s apparently been revealed that an Irish television director, Brian Kirk—whose credits include episodes of The Tudors, Dexter, and HBO’s Boardwalk Empire—is set to direct two episodes of Game of Thrones. In recent years, Kirk has been a regular nominee in the Irish Film and Television Awards for direction and for best single dramatic episode. This item of news comes from a tweet by Daragh Carville, a fellow native of Armagh in Ireland, who wrote Middletown, a 2006 film directed by Kirk.

Carville later tweeted that Kirk would begin work next week, presumably for pre-production. At a guess, the earliness at which he’s working suggests to us he may be directing some of the earliest episodes ... or he may, in fact, have as his first task the reshooting of the pilot.

This is the first director publicly attached to the series since Thomas McCarthy directed the pilot, although it’s been suggested that McCarthy may return to helm one or more episodes going forward.

UPDATE: HBO has confirmed to us that Brian Kirk is attached to the production as a director.

Dothraki Creator Responds

We’ve previously reported the fact that Scientific American published a guest blogger’s letter to HBO, George R.R. Martin, and David J. Peterson regarding the Dothraki language and what role it could have in helping to move linguistic science forward. Now David J. Peterson, along with Language Creation Society president Sai Emrys, has posted a thorough response. Among other things, it seems to include a few, previously unpublished snippets of the Dothraki language, and some examples of its morphology.

The response also goes into great detail regarding the general premise of the original letter, pointing out that the linguistic universals that have been cataloged are not quite so universal as they appear at first blush, as well as the fact that it’s currently too late for them to change the Dothraki language but that Peterson will certainly keep these issues in mind should he be called upon to create other languages for the series or to expand Dothraki.

First Outside Word on the Pilot

Jace Lacob of Televisionary is the first person we’ve seen outside of the production who’s seen the whole of the pilot, and probably one of the last who shall do so in that form as a number of scenes will be reshot to accomadate the new actresses in leading roles, Michaelle Fairley as Catelyn Stark and Emilie Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen.

What’d he think? “I was blown away,” he writes, and has been effusive in his praise for the pilot as being one the strongest pilots he’s seen in the current pilot cycle. Over at Twitter, I decided to ask if he had read the series before, as a number of supportive critics have done. He replied that he had not read the books, wanting to go in fresh, though he had read the pilot script earlier and also loved it. He’s looking forward to seeing how the reshot pilot will look.

The fact that he went in fairly “cold” to the series is a great sign—Lacob probably fairly well represents where your average HBO viewer will be when confronted with this new HBO series. If it works for him, as well as for the producers and executives, then it seems to stand fair odds of working for the general subscriber base.

Jack Gleeson Film Clip

We have a short clip from a new film, All Good Children, which stars Jack Gleeson, the 17-year-old actor cast as Joffrey Baratheon in HBO’s Game of Thrones. The film has received some strong reviews with Variety particularly praising Gleeson, who played a 12-year-old in the film, stating that “Gleeson, with his massive blue eyes and anxious, ever-hopeful expression, is the pic’s big discovery.”

The clip from Vimeo below features a key scene mentioned in the review:

Thanks to Winter is Coming for pointing the clip out on Twitter.

Four Emilia Clarke Clips

A fan has posted up four clips covering Emilia Clarke’s scenes in her one professional television drama credit to date, an episode of the U.K.‘s daily soap Doctors which aired in August, 2009. The storyline has a bit of a creepy feel to it, and Clarke seems to handle herself very well with her fellow actors in the following scenes:

Emilia Clarke is Daenerys Targaryen

GRRM has confirmed that Emilia Clarke (with an e) has been cast as Daenerys. GRRM points to her resume page, which shows a number of theatrical productions for Drama Centre London. GRRM notes she provided some amazing readings, beating out a number of terrific actresses to land the part. A commercial, part of an anti-domestic violence campaign, featuring a very emotive Ms. Clarke, below the cut:

New Daenerys Cast

Maureen Ryan has confirmed that the role of Daenerys will now be filled by Emilia Clark, a British actress who has not been involved in U.S.-funded productions before, and we can’t seem to find any information on her at this time. She may be a genuine unknown, new to acting.

Ryan also gained confirmation of the start of principal photography as taking place in late July, back from the earlier late June plans, which we’ve reported on previously.

Hodor Hodor

Update: Video now removed. Given the way these videos come and go, we can’t promise it will be around permanently. But while it’s up, here’s what looks to be like a genuine casting tape for the role of Hodor, intended for Nina Gold who is the casting agent in the U.K. for HBO’s Game of Thrones production:

The hopeful Hodor is Kristian Nairn, a professional DJ according to his MySpace page.

Multi-ethnic Dothraki?

It seems likely that the production for HBO’s Game of Thrones has decided to present the Dothraki culture as a multi-ethnic one, a realization that dawned on us today when an Irish actor of African origin, Yare Jegbefume, revealed on Twitter that he had auditioned for the parts of two Dothraki warriors, Jhogo (one of Daenerys’s guards) and Qotho (one of Drogo’s bloodriders). In retrospect, the fact that many of the wedding dancers that have been noted (such as Kelechi Nwanokwu) were also black should have suggested not that they were supposed to represent slaves from far-flung regions (as we had initially assumed) but that the production was taking this particular course.

Although this does not fit the Dothraki as represented in the books—their appearance being a much more homogenous look, a mix of Native American in regards to their coppery skin and Asian due to their eyes and flatter faces—it sounds like an excellent way to widen the field to find the best possible actors. We can’t wait to see how the Dothraki appear on screen next year!

Principal Photography Pushed Back

According to a comment from GRRM, principal photography has been pushed back to late July for HBO’s Game of Thrones. Nothing really bad about this, as bringing in so many disparate logistical things together can be difficult, but there’s always the possibility that there’s interesting reasons for it, like having to wait on a newly-cast lead (ala Daenerys) to be free to work, or a director, or other things of this sort.

GRRM also notes that he’s unlikely to spend any time in Northern Ireland to watch the filming, except possibly when his own episode (episode 8) is filmed, and doubtless when he’s in the area for Octocon in October.

Parts both Big and Small

George R.R. Martin mentions that he’s come back from a convention to some hundred new auditions tapes. He notes some of the roles actors are seeking in the tapes: Rast (one of the recruits on the Wall), Mord (brutish jailer at the Eyrie), Jhogo (one of the Dothraki warriors assigned as personal guard to Daenerys) are among the smaller parts, while Lord Tywin Lannister, Ser Barristan Selmy, and Lysa Arryn are among the larger parts.

We expect that the first casting announcements are likely to come by the end of the month, or early next month, with production set to begin in earnest right around the end of June or start of July.

Characters Making the Cut

Some recent reports and finds on the web have helped clarify something of which of the more minor tertiary roles will be cut, reduced, or kept in place in the course of HBO’s adaption of A Song of Ice and Fire.

Lord Ned’s Head reports that at this weekend’s LepreCon convention, GRRM discussed the HBO series as part of a Q&A. He indicated that Syrio Forel remains (he’s written “scenes” for him in episode 8), but that the guardsman Desmond is gone. Other roles, such as Jon Snow’s fellow recruits, may be reduced to just a few line (e.g. Grenn and Pyp) or be cut entirely or be reduced to background characters with no lines (e.g. Toad, Rast, and so on). 

raijap tweeted about this webpage for actress Caroline Grace-Cassidy, which states that she auditioned this month (possibly in the recent Dublin auditions?) for the role of the wildling woman, Osha, which certainly suggests that character is planned to be in the series.

Watching Auditions

It’s interesting that agents and actors are posting audition tapes up onto video streaming sites such as Youtube and Vimeo. We’ve reported on the Charlotte Salt audition previously (since removed from Youtube), but Winter is Coming readers have discovered three more actresses auditioning for parts. According to a member of the A Song of Ice and Fire forum who used to work in Hollywood, these could be posted to ease getting them to a casting director, or to more easily allow other members of an agency to examine the auditions (thanks, Brudewollen).

Now, imagine yourself in the place of the casting director, the producers, and GRRM. You’ve received a bundle of audition tapes for the roles of Daenerys and Doreah. Which of these appeal to you more? Who gets the setting and characters and tone across? Are further auditions merited? I don’t envy them their labor! Videos embedded below:

Mark Addy in Robin Hood

Mark Addy, cast as Robert Baratheon in HBO‘s Game of Thrones, will be appearing on screens around the world in Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood this weekend. He’s cast in the role of Friar Tuck, a part that he tells the BBC he was offered after Scott saw him appear in the Red Riding trilogy. Close watchers of the casting process for Game of Thrones will recall that Red Riding also featured Sean Bean and Joseph Mawle from the production, and was cast by the pilot’s U.K. casting director, Nina Gold.

A still from the film featuring Addy can be found at Ace Showbiz.

Auditions in Dublin

A tweet from ickle_tayto suggests that some sort of auditioning for HBO’s Game of Thrones has been taking place in Dublin’s Central Hotel today, with many nervous actors about. Very interesting, indeed.

As Adam Whitehead of the Wertzone (who brought this to our attention at the A Song of Ice and Fire forum) notes, ickle_tayto is one of the organizers/ of this year’s Octocon science fiction and fantasy convention, at which GRRM will be a Guest of Honor.

Update: A response to a query suggests that the auditioning is for small parts, and possibly extras. A cursory search shows that some extras casting agencies, such as MovieExtras.ie, make use of the Central Hotel’s facilities for this purpose.