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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.

Jason Momoa as Conan

The pictures from the Conan shoot in Bulgaria are flooding pretty much every geek film site out there, but we thought we might as well hop on the bandwagon and point them out, as some of them feature Jason Momoa in the titular role. He looks suitably barbaric, which is a good sign for his role as Drogo in HBO’s Game of Thrones and certainly even more muscular than when we last saw him at the pilot wrap party.

Will he retain that level of muscle tone for the reshoots? It’ll be interesting to see when the we get our first look at him as Khal Drogo in publicity stills as the air date approaches.

Praise for Tamzin Merchant

It’s interesting to read GRRM’s high praise (there are spoilers) for Tamzin Merchant—formerly cast as Daenerys in the pilot for HBO’s Game of Thrones—and her performance in the fifth episode of the Tudors. It’s very clear that he’s saddened that she will not be continuing on with the series. Obviously, the reasons for Merchant’s departure from Game of Thrones are unknown, and may never be revealed, but it does not seem very likely that it had to do with GRRM (and perhaps other producers?) having any issues with her performance.

No decision has yet been made in casting for Daenerys Targaryen, from what GRRM has recently indicated, but we expect it will be nailed down by the end of the month or, at the latest, the beginning of next month.

More Casting Quotes

GRRM has more remarks to share concerning the ongoing casting process for HBO’s Game of Thrones. Most notably, no one has yet been cast, but they are getting close on some roles, he thinks. He adds that he’s uncertain that he’ll be able to provide hints, as he did for the pilot, but if so he promises to use the Froggy the Gremlin image on those posts to indicateit.

A short snippet from his post follows, naming some of the characters whose audition tapes he’s been reviewing:

“I’ve been looking at many audition tapes. Varys. Littlefinger. Pyp. Grenn. Sam. Ser Gregor. Renly. Bronn. Septa Mordane. Jory. The Old Bear. Even Marillion. And probably some other characters that I’ve forgotten about, writing this off the top of my head.

“Some very hard choices await us. For some parts, a wealth of great possibilities, and no way to go wrong. For others, two or three strong contenders, then it tails off sharply. For a few, we have yet to see anyone who excites us, so the search goes on.”

GRRM on Casting

At his “Not a Blog”, George R.R. Martin shares some odds and ends. Among them are some interesting remarks on the casting process, in which he notes that casting is roughly in order of a character’s appearance, so some roles (such as Tywin Lannister and Shae) will be cast later. They are “mostly concerned with filling parts for the pilot reshoots and episode two.” Obviously, Daenerys is one of those parts, but we’ve previously been told that many of the characters with no lines in the pilot—Tommen has been mentioned—were given to extras, essentially, and would now be recast with their permanent actors. Via Twitter, I know that the young actress for the part of Myrcella in the pilot has or will be auditioning to retain the role.

He also adds, regarding actors who’ve auditioned: “Some actors are household names who would be recognized by any film or television fan, some are veteran character actors, some are brilliant young newcomers. A wealth of choices. There are a lot of fine actors out there.”

Daenerys Audition Tape

Charlotte Salt—who I recognize from the previous season of The Tudors, in which she played Lady Ursula Misseldon—has apparently posted her audition tape for the role of Daenerys (which HBO recently confirmed was recasting), or possibly a practice run for it, on YouTube. It’s an interesting look to how these audition tapes might look from other actresses.

Thanks to Abyss at Winter is Coming and Jonias Snow at the A Song of Ice and Fire forum for bringing it to our attention.

The Difficulty of Adaption

The comment thread to GRRM’s post announcing the completion of the first draft has proved fruitful. He’s confirmed that so far as he knows, the character of Ros, “the Red-Headed Whore”—played by Esmé Bianco—is the only one added to the series so far who is not original to the novels, and reveals that she may appear in later episodes; having liked Ms. Bianco when he met her, he even floats the idea of including her character in the novels. Martin also makes this priceless remark, in regards to the script which he called “too long and too expensive”: “Too many characters, too many settings, too many SFX shots. What meathead wrote this novel, anyway?”

Later, however, Martin speaks seriously on the difficulty of adapting the series. He emphasizes that the first season is very faithful to the novel, but he anticipates increasing difficulty as the story spreads over a wider geographic area, with more and more characters introduced, some who may become prominent in later novels but who could well be cut when their role appears small. He can’t guarantee that the future seasons will be as faithful, but “the intent is there”.

The Pointy End

The first draft of episode 8’s script is now in to David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, according to GRRM, who says it’s “too long and too expensive” but that’s the case with all the first drafts of screenplays and teleplays he’s ever written. He notes that it is tentatively titled “The Pointy End”—a familiar phrase to A Song of Ice and Fire fans—but that it’s not been decided whether they’ll even use titles.

He finishes with a quote from King Kong, in reference to A Dance with Dragons: “He was a king in his world, but we’ll teach him fear…”

Sean Bean in Black Death

Sean Bean‘s starring in Black Death, a medieval action/horror film which opens late next month. The trailer’s just been released, and one notices that Bean probably looks pretty close to how he’ll look as Eddard Stark, beard and all:

Thanks, once again, to raijap for retweeting this one.