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Casting Call for Gendry

GRRM has previously informed us that the role of Gendry—the young, stubborn blacksmith with a heritage he’s unaware of—is among those being cast. Thanks to a tip from Screenterrier, we’ve gotten a bit more detail about the part due to the fact that an “urgent” casting call has gone out for the part, suggesting that the production has yet to find the perfect actor for the role. The desired age of actor is between 16 and 20, and they describe the character as broad-shouldered, muscular, and working class.

The most notable detail for us? They want him for two episodes this season. Some spoilers below the cut as we discuss what that means.

Makeup and Hair Designer Hired

It’s an eventful day, it seems, as GRRM informs us that Paul Engelen, a multiple Academy Award and BAFTA Award nominee, has been hired to lead hair and makeup design for HBO’s Game of Thrones. Engelen has an extensive list of credits stretching almost 40 years, and include such major work as Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, Troy, Kingdom of Heaven, and Robin Hood:

Castle Black

After sending a query GRRM’s way, he has posted that the Magheramorne Quarry in Northern Ireland, which was reported to be the site of a “massive castle” set, will be where the exterior set for Castle Black will be made. As GRRM notes, much of the castle will be done through CGI (including the Wall, of course), though there will be an operational winch and other such things at the site.

Finally, George asks fans not to visit the site, noting that the set will look very little like what will appear on screen, and that quarries can be dangerous.

New Dothraki Interview

A Russian fansite has conducted a new interview, available both in English and Russian, with David J. Peterson (creator of the Dothraki language for HBO’s Game of Thrones) and Sai Emrys. There’s some interesting comparisons of Dothraki to Russian, an additional vocabulary word (the name for the leather vests Dothraki wear), and Peterson’s explanation for how the strong oppositions he saw in Dothraki culture as he read the books influenced his development of the language.

Roy Dotrice is Pycelle and More

As we speculated, Roy Dotrice is indeed cast as Grand Maester Pycelle, a role which—as we guessed—he was intended to play in the pilot, in a new scenes not from the books which was cut from the shooting script. George provides explanations for his clues, and describes the singular honor he felt in having the opportunity to work with Dotrice on Beauty and the Beast for three years. Below, you’ll find a selection of videos featuring Dotrice’s work over the years.

Of course, GRRM also confirmed Kristian Nairn is Hodor. More notably, it sounds like we’re very shortly going to have a flood of additional casting news, from what George says. In particular? There’s a hint that fans of author Harper Lee (author of To Kill a Mockingbird) will be particualarly interested. Petyr Baelish, better known as Littlefinger, has a mockingbird as his sigil…

Exciting times!

Hodor Confirmed

As per our previous posts on the subject of Hodor, it seems Kristian Nairn—the 6’10” Belfast-based professional DJ—is, indeed, our new Hodor. Nairn shyly confirmed via Twitter, accepting congratulations from wellwishers. We put him in touch with Isaac Hampstead Wright, the young actor who’ll be receiving a lot of piggyback rides from Nairn in the months to come.

Nairn is not a professional actor, so we can’t say there’s anything featuring his acting out there to share since the audition video was set private. However, we can certainly say that Nairn isn’t a shy performer, if this video from the Kremlin club of Belfast featuring Nairn in his alter-ego Revvlon (as per his MySpace page) is any proof:

Great song choice! We’ve also found an example of Nairn’s DJing work, in the form of a remix:

Hodor Hodor Hodor!

Oh, and George has another clue for us all, for a role that’s obviously Hodor:

“He doesn’t have a lot to say, but he says it a lot. He’s not a muslim, not a pagan, not a scientologist, but he might be a town in Scotland.”

Have to agree with Halfhand on this, this is Kristian Nairn, whom we reported on back in May. The first clue identifies the role—Hodor—and the second identifies his name (neither Muslim, nor Pagan, nor Scientologist ... but “Christian”), and the last identifies his last name (Nairn being a Scottish town). He looked like an excellent choice. A shame his audition video is no longer available, but do note our linked post above, where his agent—the one who recorded and posted the video—comments.

Clues for an Old Maester

It seems that the “old maester”, Grand Maester Pycelle or Maester Aemon, has been cast and GRRM has some clues for his identity. We think we know who this is already, however. The role was originally lined up for an esteemed, world-class actor according to GRRM, when Pycelle was written into a new scene for the pilot which we later learned was removed for time and never filmed. And one name has been commonly recommended for him, a name that’s near and dear to GRRM’s heart: Roy Dotrice, who read the first three novels for the audiobook versions.

An actor with a long career in film and theatre, Dotrice has certainly been a popular choice for a part, and Pycelle or Maester Aemon were really the only two choices for him. Martin once stated some years back that Roy Dotrice would have been his pick for Barristan Selmy, when the ages matched up better.

As to why we’re so sure?

“has lived many lives, brief but numerous.”—Dotrice starred in the play, Brief Lives, and has had many, many roles as well.

“In his youth he fought in the wars that some say inspired all of this.”—He played Edward IV in War of the Roses, a miniseries from 1965.

“He has been a king and a god”—Besides playing Edward, he was also George IV in Shaka Zulu, and he played Zeus in Hercules: The Legendary Journey.

“He’ll always be daddy”—And of course, he played the role of Father in Beauty and the Beast, which GRRM had a hand in producing and writing.

Updated Cast List with Photos

Here’s an interesting attempt to gather together photos of announced cast members for HBO’s Game of Thrones. It sets the pictures side by side with the art of popular A Song of Ice and Fire artist Roman V. Papsuev, also known as Amoka. Papusev’s portraits started as a fan project, but he has received the praise and support of series author George R.R. Martin, and has been hired to produce art for professional publications such as The Art of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire and The World of Ice and Fire (forthcoming).

Finn Jones is Loras Tyrell

What started as rumors has now come to pass, as young British actor Finn Jones has been cast in the role of Ser Loras Tyrell, the Knight of Flowers. A young, brash knight, younger son of a great lord of the realm, Ser Loras is famed for his youthful beauty and his prodigious skill on the tourney ground. GRRM adds some more details, noting that while the decisions had been made to cast him when rumors came out, the actual contracts and the like had not been signed until very recently.  GRRM adds that the audition scene for Ser Loras was a scene from the third book, A Storm of Swords.

Embedded below is a reel of Finn Jones:

Game of Thrones Trends

What follows is a comparison of Google’s search volume from U.S. addresses for the phrases “Game of Thrones” (blue) and “Boardwalk Empire” (red), their two new shows. Boardwalk Empire has an amazing pedigree, with Martin Scorsese as producer and director of its pilot, and a host of well-regarded actors, as well as rumored buckets of production money unlike any pilot every filmed. And yet . . .

The 1 month timeline is screwy, but it does let us see the relative spike in search traffic volume for Game of Thrones when the teaser and sub-site premiered as compared to Boardwalk Empire‘s more modest spike in activity after their promo and newest trailer release. It looks like GoT had three times the search volume following the teaser, a huge gain presaged by the report that the first novel ended up on Amazon.com’s Movers & Shaker list for awhile.

Of course, we’ve been getting more about Boardwalk Empire for longer, but it’s interesting to see on the “max” scale that the show has only on a couple of occasions spiked above the volume for the Game of Thrones phrase. Some significant portion of that volume (especially back before 2008) is due to the novels, of course, but the huge spikes of late—and the upward trend seen in the “max” scale—are definitely in large part due to the series. This show has more pre-production buzz than any show HBO’s ever aired before, near as we can tell—probably a motivator for such an early unveiling of the sub-site (have we said thanks for that, yet? Thanks, HBO!)—and if we look how True Blood trended, it’s possible that the series could bring down the internet if it pushes the right buttons for HBO viewers.

New Call for Extras

Extras NI, a casting agency in Northern Ireland, has put out a fresh call for extras for HBO’s Game of Thrones. Some excellent details here about the production and what they’re looking for in terms of extras. They list shooting as taking place from August to December (which more or less fits the late July to December dates we’ve been provided before), We’ll paste the salient bits below the cut, but it looks like there’s an opening casting call on June 26th, between 2pm and 6pm, at the Holiday Inn on Ormeau Avenue in Belfast.

Vote for Game of Thrones

All right, after the teaser, the picture, and the goodies, it’s time to show HBO just how crazy we are for their adaption of Game of Thrones.

Just head on over to Television Without Pity and vote for the series in their massive, 24 category Tubey award. TWoP is one of the largest TV fan sites on the web, and the Tubeys are garnering some attention, so this is a great chance to help get the word out there.

Where’s the show? In the very last category, “Most Anticipated Show of 2010-2011”. Vote now!

Quicktime and Wallpapers

HBO’s release of the teaser and their opening of the official site for the series—an unprecedented move for a series almost a year out from airing! Straight from the sight are a number of high-resolution images of Ned Stark, perfectly suitable for a widescreen desktop or mobile phone:

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They’ve also released a Quicktime version of the teaser which is slightly higher quality, which can be downloaded here. Thanks to paulo at WICblog for digging these out.

What Didn’t We See?

So, the teaser and the still of Sean Bean as Eddard has drawn a mountain of attention. We’ve sliced and diced the teaser, dissecting it to point out what it shows.

But what didn’t we see that we would have expected to see? I’m not talking Daenerys Targaryen or Catelyn Stark—roles that have since been recast and which will have to be reshot. But roles that, at least to our knowledge, haven’t been recast?

Well, the Stark children are missing, but in 20 seconds you can’t really touch on them. We don’t see Jason Momoa as Drogo directly, but that’s probably because his scenes would have been with Tamzin Merchant, the former Daenerys Targaryen. But it’s perhaps a little surprising that we don’t see the direwolf dead in the snow, and it’s very surprising that there’s no clear look at the Lannisters (though we hint that there’s a rather unclear look in our teaser dissection), who are the primary antagonists (kinda-sorta) in the first book(s). Especially when they’re led by three recognizable actors in pop culture circles: Lena Headey, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and Peter Dinklage. Why weren’t they featured, at least briefly? If not all three—since Ned was the sole Stark representative, basically—then why not Dinklage as Tyrion? And for that matter, how about Mark Addy as Robert? Though the laughter may have been him…

A press for time is probably the answer, but we have to say, we’d have foregone some of those repeated shots of the rangers or the Dothraki for a split-second look at Dinklage as Tyrion. Perhaps the next teaser, HBO? ;)