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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:

More Casting and Swarthy Horsemen

GRRM has been confirming a number of the casting reports which we’ve already made, such as Jamie Sives as Jory and Ian McElhinney as Barristan the Bold. He has just mentioned, however, that we’re sure to have more casting announcements soon. This falls in line with everything we’ve heard, and of course, with shooting set to begin in a week and a half, it makes sense.

In other news, North Ireland Screen has sent out an urgent request for swarthy, experienced horsemen for the Game of Thrones production. These are obviously extras for the Dothraki, and it seems like they’re not quite finding as many suitable riders as they’d like in Northern Ireland. If you or anyone you know fits the bill, this is a ripe opportunity for getting involved in the production.

On Comic Con and Reshoots

Easily lost in the big casting news headlining the article, James Hibberd’s post at the Live Feed addressed two other points. First, although initially reporting that HBO was making an effort to put together an extended teaser or trailer for San Diego Comic Con, Hibberd now says that isn’t happening.

More notably, Hibberd addresses the extensive re-shooting that various re-castings (Michelle Fairley as Catelyn, Emilia Clarke as Daenerys, and now Will—a minor character who is featured heavily in the prologue—currently in recasting) will necessitate. According to Hibberd’s sources, the re-shooting shows HBO’s commitment to getting it right. Hibberd provides what may be an amusing example of the level of obsession HBO and the production team have over this: “When you’re creating a whole fantasy universe from a hit book series, you can end up with 20 opinions about what a chair looks like.”

GRRM on Casting

George is back from teaching at the Clarion Writer’s Workshop, and is preparing a post about all the recent casting news, including a hint about the Aiden Gillen casting that came out just moments before his own post. Keep an eye on his “Not a Blog” to see what he has to say about the various casting items which we’ve been reporting on. The first entry is on the casting of Samwell Tarly and Rast, in which GRRM promises four more members of the Night’s Watch set will soon be announced.

Aidan Gillen IS Littlefinger

One of the most anticipated remaining casting announcements for HBO’s adaption of George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones has just come out, courtesy of James Hibberd at the Hollywood Reporter’s blog, The Live Feed.

Aidan Gillen, a fan favorite from early on, has been cast in the role of Lord Petyr Baelish, more popularly known as Littlefinger. A scheming, immoral social-climbing conniver, Baelish is a pivotal character in the series, one that viewers are sure to love to hate.

Gillen first came to prominence in his breakthrough role as Stuart Allen Jones in the original Queer as Folk in the U.K., and has since gone on to appear in a number of productions, most notably the role of Mayor Carcetti (also a political schemere par excellance) in HBO’s acclaimed The Wire. Some months back, Paul Gude was in contact with his agent, and learned that the agent had heard about the possibility of a role for his client and expressed their interest. It seems to have worked out.

Below are two videos, one featuring him reading in his native Dublin accent. The other, we’re told, is a pivotal scene from The Wire which we’re placing below the cut as it contains spoilers:

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:

Lena Headey on Game of Thrones

A new interview with Lena Headey—cast as Cersei Lannister in HBO’s Game of Thrones—finds her talking about the series and her character. After having been away from work for a number of months due to her pregnancy and then birth of her first child, she describes herself as excited and “very ready and not ready one bit” to get back to work. Though she hasn’t read the novels, she seems to have a good grasp on what makes Cersei tick, as well: “smart , insecure, ferociously maternal, cutthroat, paranoid.”

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:

Conan Stevens On His Casting

As previously reported, actor Conan Stevens has been cast in the role of Gregor Clegane. Now, he writes about how he chased and won the role. It’s been a long journey, three years in the making, but his perseverance wins the day. He confirms that he auditioned for the role of Khal Drogo, which was much speculated, with an eye towards getting in front of the casting director if the series was greenlit. It definitely worked out. Stevens has a lot of kind things to say about the fans, including Westeros.org, for having helped him in his quest.

Why No Comic-Con

James Hibberd of the Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed has posted an article regarding which shows are not making an appearance at San Diego’s Comic Con. Among them, of course, is Game of Thrones. We’ve previously reported on HBO not being able to provide the full court press (such as a panel) because of the logistical problem of filming starting immediately after the convention. To this, Hibberd adds a couple more:  “The show isn’t premiering until sometime next year, possible even after Comic-Con 2011. Like “My Dad Says,” the pilot is being reworked.” Which makes sense, since the recasting of major parts such as Daenerys and Catelyn means large portions of the original pilot will end up on the cutting room floor.

However, Hibberd tantalizes with the possibility that some sort of trailer is likely to air in conjunction with HBO’s panel for their hit series, True Blood. When we asked him about this, he had this to say: “Nothing is final but, yes, they would like to have something to show at ‘true blood’ for ‘thrones’ that’s more substantial than the teaser.” So, Game of Thrones fans, if you’re attending the con, make sure to attend the True Blood panel just in case HBO swings a new trailer. Our guess as to its contents, if it happens? Possibly it’ll be a cut-down version of a trailer allegedly shown at a Time-Warner (of which HBO is a subsidiary) investors meeting.

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.

Of Kids and Silent Men

George R.R. Martin shares the news that there’s presently no news as far as casting goes, although offers have been made for a number of roles, “both major and minor”. With any luck, we’ll have news in the coming days. George does discuss the difficulty in casting some other child roles (Mycah, Rickon, Tommen, and Myrcella), stating that children often aren’t capable of really becoming a character as the children currently cast have been. He also remarks on the weirdness of watching audition tapes for Ser Ilyn Payne, the king’s mute headsman, where all the acting is in the face and eyes and body.