HBO has informed us that the character of Magister Illyrio Mopatis, scheming benefactor to Viserys and Daenerys Targaryen, has been recast. Roger Allam, a well-known actor of stage and screen, has been cast in the role after Ian McNeice had to withdraw from the part. McNeice had filmed the role for the pilot, butthe recasting of Daenerys and the consequent necessary reshoots led to a scheduling conflict that could not be sorted out.
Among notable roles played by Allam are Inspector Javert in the first London staging of Les Misérables, two Laurence Oliver Award-winning theatrical roles in 2000 and 2001, sleazy television presenter Lewis Prothero in the film adaption of Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta, and a leading role in the new film Tamara Drewe. Below is an interview with actor from September 8 during the U.K. premiere of the film:
Update: HBO has been in contact with us regarding Minister McCausland’s blog post, clarifying that the meeting in question was more of a formal meet-and-greet, where “the Ministers acknowledged the positive impact that filming Game of Thrones has had on the local creative industries and regional economy and encouraged HBO to continue filming here if a second series is commissioned”. That quote being from our source at HBO, though the emphasis on if is ours. In fact, we’re told Mr. Roewe was there primarily to check-in on the current production.
Our take on all this is that the Northern Ireland ministers are naturally very keen on a second season, and so this colored the minister’s description of the meeting. From HBO’s perspective, any references to a second season were purely hypothetical. That said, our original report can be found below.
The first clear hint of this was Winter is Coming receiving a report via Samantha Hirst that the role of Lommy Greenhands was being cast for the end of the season (suggesting he’ll be glimpsed in the final episode), when that character is primarily to be found in the second novel (and season). Now we know that the talk for a second season is going on at high levels, thanks to Northern Ireland Minister of Culture, Nelson McCausland.
On his blog, he writes that he and Arlene Foster, another government minister, has met with Senior Vice President for Production, Jay Roewe, this last week to discuss the production. To quote Mr. McCausland:
Emphasis ours. For those who are unaware, the U.K. uses the term series for what we call seasons in the U.S.
This is not to say that the series is already a go for a second season. If they want to be able to have a second season, they must start planning efforts now, but it’s a good sign to see HBO sending their Senior Vice President for Production to start hammering out details with the local authorities.
As a side note, we noticed that Samantha provided more details of the casting call for Lommy, with rehearsals in October and filming ... in Malta. If that’s accurate, we’re guessing that not only is Malta being used for scenes in the East, one of its medieval towns or cities could well be used to represent areas of King’s Landing such as the quarter called Flea Bottom.
We’ve collected screen captures from HBO’s latest video releases (missing just a couple of Ned shots from the 2010-2011 preview) and have posted them at our gallery. If you’ve seen our dissection of the videos, you’ll have seen all of these, but if you click through you’ll find that each image has additional commentary from us. Much of it pertains to comparisons to the novels, especially in regards to thematic details such as armor, clothing, and the like.
Please feel free to comment and share your thoughts on the images. We plan to add the original teaser screencaps to the gallery in time.
For those concerned about spoilers, there are none which are not already self-evident from the trailer and behind the scenes video.
One other thing that HBO has released is their overall 2010/2011 preview, featuring a number of the productions they’re readying to knock the socks off of subscribers. At the very beginning and towards the very end, we get glimpses of Sean Bean as Eddard Stark, the Lord of Winterfell and one of the central characters of Game of Thrones. These clips are not part of the promo teaser or behind-the-scenes material, so are worth a look!
This two brief clips are from the very first scene where we see Ned, executing a deserter from the Night’s Watch.
Images coming later (sorry, folks, it’s quite late!). First, the teaser:
9 seconds: Jon Snow (Kit Harington) on the Wall.
10 seconds: Ser Hugh of the Vale jousting at the Hand’s Tourney.
10-11 seconds: Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) and someone we can’t identify.
14 seconds: Arryn men-at-arms, presumably in the Vale.
15 seconds: Tyrion in the Vale held prisoner by a unknown man-at-arms (possibly Bronn’s fellow sellsword, Chiggen, who may be unnamed)
16 seconds: Sandor Clegane fighting his brother, Ser Gregor Clegane. The Mountain that Rides looks MASSIVE. His armor is a hauberk of steel plates, rather than plate armor as with some other knights glimpsed earlier on.
17 Seconds. Eddard Stark, King Robert, Varys, and Grand Maester Pycelle at the small council table. Robert and Eddard are arguing. Big tapestry in the background.
19 seconds: What we believe is the final Game of Thrones logo, or near enough.
And now the behind the scenes promo:
8 seconds: Shot of the tourney ground. Baratheon banner notable.
9 seconds: Targaryen banner… where would that be hanging? Hmm. Alas, the dragon has four legs—this may be our fault! It’s supposed to be two, in fact, but perhaps it’s a creative change.
9-10 seconds: A youth fighting with a stick. We guess this is Prince Joffrey, heir to the Iron Throne.
11 seconds: What we guess is a wildling fighting someone. Don’t want to spoil. ;)
11-12 seconds: Catelyn Stark. Michelle Fairley looks amazing.
19-21 seconds: Jon Snow sparring. We suspect this is Grenn, played by Mark Stranley. A lack of helmets noted, tut-tut.
29 seconds: A bunch of Baratheon guards and what we intially believed to be a blurry glimpse of Jaime Lannister with a positively leonine mane of blond hair. The red cloak is certainly suggestive. However, now we think that he is in armor in this scene. Another set of arms are glimpsed here as well, which is nice: a rooster on red. Perhaps one of the hedge knights attaching themselves to the king’s train?
29 seconds: On the monitor, Ned Stark cleaning Ice, from the start of the novel.
32 seconds: A brief glimpse of someone we don’t recognize. We are told by HBO that this is in fact an extra.
32 seconds: We’re told these men in the foreground are Lannister guardsmen. A distictly Asian flair to their armor, but still recognizably plate armor. The helmets are the most striking pieces, seeming quite like samurai helmets, but it’s hard to say what they look like when the visors are down. Behind them is a gold cloak.
32 seconds: Some sort of Northern lord or Stark servant? Not an identifiable actor.
37-38 seconds: Viserys Targaryen, played by Harry Lloyd, using a single-edged sword which we initially thought might be an arakh. However, the Dothraki in the background, who may be Jhogo (Elysa Gabel), seems to have a long-hafted, sickle-like weapon hanging from his horse. He also seems to be wearing some sort of vest or lamellar armor. A bit of a change from the novels, in which the Dothraki disdain armor.
43 seconds: Dothraki travelling through willows. This would be the material that was shot in Ballymoney.
45 seconds: Ser Jorah Mormont, played by Iain Glen. Part of the same travelling sequence.
56 seconds: George! With Richard Madden. Shortly after, David Benioff dates the interview: a couple of weeks after George visited the set for the pilot.
1:00 minute: The Stark direwolf on the Wall.
1:01: Ser Alliser Thorne (Owen Teale) and who we believe to be Rast (Luke McEwan), possibly attacking poor Samwell.
1:03: Very padded Bran fighting against Prince Tommen.
1:04: Catelyn Tully hiding from danger, and Tyrion Lannister enters the scene from behind the camera.
1:07: The massive Conan Stevens practicing his fight choreography.
1:08: The lovely Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) and a very brief glimpse of Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) sitting next to her. I’ll bet the fastening of his doublet is a mockingbird. On Sansa’s other side, Arya. Jeyne Poole seems to have fallen by the wayside, which I believe has been previously confirmed.
1:09: Kit Harington practicing with Mark Stanley.
1:10: Sean Bean as Eddard Stark in ... well, King’s Landing certainly.
1:10-1:11: Peter Dinklage as Tyrion, hair dyed, and a great crimson-and-gold leather jerkin.
1:11: Mark Addy as King Robert (looking very relaxed with a styrofoam cup and a bar of chocolate! Obviously between takes) and Lena Headey looking marvelous as Queen Cersei. Their children, Prince Tommen and Princess Myrcella, can be glimpsed just at the end. Just off camera is Sandor Clegane.
1:12: Arya (Maisie Williams) and Bran (Isaac Hempestead Wright) having fun. Wonderful!
1:17: A knight in armor. Ser Hugh of the Vale? Hard to tell.
1:19: Two direwolf pups. Awww!
1:25: Daenerys Targaryen among the Dothraki. We beleve that’s Jhogo behind her, and his armor seems more like woven leather than lamellar or scale.
1:26: A better glimpse of Princess Myrcella and Prince Tommen. Followed by some direwolf emboridery, and then a shot of Kingsguard in ceremonial armor. Alas, it lacks the white cloaks, or any nod to it (even their armor is white in the books), but it’s an interesting look at least. Of all the things we’ve seen so far, we’d call this the most “stereotypically” fantasy. But hey, at least they have the “intricate suit of scales” thing going. Then they’re followed by some Lannister men, if the red that predominates reveals anything. Finally, that character from earlier. He and the other individual are extras, HBO tells us.
1:27: Michelle Fairley as Catelyn. Love the look, love the blue with her hair. Behind her, some of the sellswords who accompany her. And then the black-helmeted Ser Gregor Clegane followed by Ser Loras Tyrell, the Knight of Flowers, is a truly magnificent helmet that evokes flowers and plant life. Marvellous!
And to wrap up the initial burst of new media from HBO for Game of Thrones, here’s their new still of Daenerys Targaryen, played by Emilia Clarke. Gorgeous!
Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO. Used with permission.
HBO’s listened to what you wanted to hear, folks! Visit Making Game of Thrones, a new site where the producers will be blogging a bit about the process behind making the series, sharing unique details and information with all the fans.
Watch the new Game of Thrones promotional video below!
And here is the In Production preview!
Brilliant, isn’t it? More in a bit as we provide our preliminary dissection of what we’ve all just seen courtesy of HBO.
After digging around a bit, we’ve learned that the preview of Game of Thrones that’s part of the True Blood pre-show will feature both new footage as well as an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the production. And on top of that, as previously reported, media sites such as Westeros will be receiving a new still to share with everyone on the web.
Via e-mail, HBO has informed media sites that the True Blood pre-show starting at 8:40 EST will feature “previews of upcoming HBO Original Programming including Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, Mildred Pierce, In Treatment, Big Love, Eastbound & Down, Bored to Death, Enlightened and Curb Your Enthusiasm.” A little bird has whispered to us that there’s some sort of long trailer already floating around in the labyrinths of HBO, but whether the pre-show preview will be that or another short teaser like the first teaser remains a question.
HBO promises to have the video up on the web—probably at the official Game of Thrones sub-site—within minutes of its airing, which is good news for those of us overseas (*ahem*). Also, a new still from the production will be sent to media sites to post online. Suffice it to say, Linda and I will be getting to bed late…
Notice how Game of Thrones leads the list of shows? Could be coincidence… or it could be a sign that HBO is aware of just how massive the interest is in the series on-line. A little bird has also whispered that some eyebrows were raised at how many hits that first little teaser earned…
Any odds that this time around, Daenerys Targaryen will be featured? Emilia Clarke has some gorgeous new portrait photos posted, taken by renowned celebrity photographer Lorenzo Aguis. Could be sheer coincidence, of course, but… one never knows.
One of the features of Game of Thrones is the number of characters—some quite significant—who are children. Two smaller parts along these lines have now been filled, according to Winter is Coming: Callum Wharry as Prince Tommen Baratheon and Aimee Richardson as his elder sister Princess Myrcella. We reported on her casting for the pilot last year, although it was indicated then that hers was the sort of role that may be recast if the series went forward. Clearly, that’s not the case.
Thanks to the Dagbladet interview with Amrita Acharya, which revealed that HBO’s Game of Thrones will be airing on Canal+ in Norway, we’ve done a bit of digging. An agreement appears to have been made in February between Canal+ Scandinavia (a separate entity from Canal+ in France, Spain, and other countries) and HBO. This 3 year agreement gives Canal+ Scandinavia exclusive first airing rights to HBO’s content, somewhat similar to the Sky-HBO deal we have previously reported on for the U.K.
A representative for Canal+ in Sweden has confirmed that Game of Thrones is part of this agreement, and will air both on the regular network and their HD network in all of Scandinavia (Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden) at the same time. Although the Dagbladet report suggests a Fall or Winter 2011 air date, Canal+ in Sweden says they don’t have a firm air date as of yet but they promise to keep in touch with Westeros.org when there is new information.
[Filler about HBO’s previous sucesses] The norwegian girl has been cast in the new HBO show ”Game of Thrones”, which is currently being filmed in Ireland and Malta. The show is based on the series ”Song of Ice and Fire” by George R. R. Martin. The cast is comprised of several well-know actors, such as Sean Bean, best known for his role as Boromir in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. ”This is of course incredible. I have a supporting role, but I am in eight of the ten episodes of the first series. I play Irri, the maid of one of the main characters”, Acharya says to Dagbladet. A learning experience The Tromsø native received her education at The Academy of Live and Recorded Arts (ALRA) in London, and has mostly done theater work so far. She says the transition to a production like Game of Thrones is enormous. ”There is a massive crew involved. The budget is huge, and the sets are gigantic. Even though I’m not a main character, this really is a great learning experience.” And the 23-year-old has a lot to look forward to. Her career is really kicking off, even though it’s only been a year since she got her bachelor’s degree at ALRA. [Information about her other projects, (TV series Doctors, movie The Devil’s Double), background, (Katmandu, Ukraine, England, Tromsø), rejection for Norwegian citizenship, Visa to the UK expiring.]
At the end, the articles notes that Canal+ will air Game of Thrones in Norway beginning Fall or Winter 2011.
Just some quick details that have come out since the Ballycarry filming. We’ve already identified one of the chapters the filming represents—Eddard Stark’s third chapter—but it seems more was filmed than just that scene over these three days. It appears that scenes from Sansa’s first chapter were also filmed there, including the introduction of Ser Ilyn Payne (played by musician Wilko Johnson). The weather’s said to have taken a bit of a turn for the worse, especially compared to the very fortunate clear weather for the tourney scenes. Shooting on Friday may have run very late if this article is to be believed, claiming as it does that Sean Bean was not able to attend a Handsworth football match due to “a midnight film-shoot”.
For those closely following the production schedule, there’s an interesting report in comments from DrNick, posted over at Winter is Coming. He notes via a friend involved in the production that 2nd unit work has begun this week that will shift over to Malta on the 20th and become the main unit at some point. Filming in Malta is expected to last six weeks or more. As we’ve previously reported, Malta will be the key location for scenes set on the eastern continent, particularly the Dothraki scenes but we also expect that at least some part of the Pentos scenes will be filmed there.
We’ve had a few reports from Dragon*Con, where Jason Momoa has been hanging out this weekend, signing autographs and participating in panels. We’ve had a couple of reports from fans who’ve had a chance to chat with him. First, Sidney reports that Drogo’s braid reaches to Jason’s knees (if you’re wondering, yes, that’s somewhat longer than Drogo’s braid is described in A Game of Thrones, but that’s quite a minor detail!)
And some interesting details from 10zlaine. First and foremost, Jason unequivocally indicated that the Twitter account using his name is a fake. See the photographic proof, a very fierce Momoa holding up a signed paper in which he wrote, “It’s a fake twitter account. Kill that motherfucker. I am Jason Momoa.” Remember, folks, if a celebrity account isn’t verified, be wary.
Now, as to HBO’s Game of Thrones, 10zlaine notes that Jason indicated he was going to go back to filming very soon after Dragon*Con; we’re guessing this will be shooting interiors and some exteriors in Northern Ireland before filming shifts to Malta in October. Jason also remarked that he’s working hard at learning some lengthier chunks of dialogue for Drogo, made difficult by the fact that it’s all in David J. Peterson’s Dothraki language created for the series.