Game of Thrones: News

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Extras Staying Hairy

A small update, as production preparations on HBO’s Game of Thrones begins to pick up pace as the late June start date draws nearer. Over at Extras NI, they’re again recommending that extras avoid cutting or dying their hair, and that male extras consider frowing out their beards and getting a “timeless look”. One funny bit of trivia in the recent past was that for the pilot, members of an Irish heavy metal fan forum were recruited to play extras because they had the requisite look. Seems like Extras NI doesn’t want to be in that position again.

Most notably, they’re recommending that extras stay with this look until January 2011. This fits pretty well with our previous information concerning the many weeks of shooting, beginning in late June and apparently running through the end of the year.

Hat-tip to Winter is Coming for bringing this update from Extras NI to light.

TV Drives Book Sales

Variety has a brief report on television success for literary adaptions turning into publishing success. The obvious example is Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse series which, boosted by the massive smash hit True Blood, have increased her sales across all her books. The article doesn’t mention the fact that all her Sookie novels were holding on to places on the New York Times Bestseller List (paperbacks) for weeks on end as the series surged in popularity week over week. We’ve had it at secondhand that sales of Harris’s books increased twenty-fold thanks to True Blood:

True Blood isn’t the only example, however. The Dexter series on Showtime has given the original novels (especially the first, which most closely formed the basis for the series) a significant boost, with sales having “have doubled every year since the series debut”. Another genre show, The Vampire Diaries, has helped sell a million additional copies of the series on which it’s based.

Random House is indicated as certainly being hopeful that HBO’s series will prove a success and will help fuel the growing fanbase for A Song of Ice and Fire. However, they do acknowledge that the significant length of the novels of the series—especially compared to the much shorter, lighter, self-contained Harris novels—mean that a greater commitment is needed from readers, and that this commitment may reduce the size of the boost in a series which is already very popular by any standard.

FX Producer Moves On

Via her blog, visual effects producer Julia Frey has indicated that her professional involvement in HBO’s Game of Thrones has ended. As she notes, chances of her being involved for a full season were slim, so this was no surprise for her, though of course many fans assumed she’d be part a continuing part of the series. Having first come to our attention back in October, Frey has proved very approachable via Twitter and was among the members of the project who joined fans for drinks at McHugh’s in Belfast (where she revealed an impressive poker face).

Where does this leave Game of Thrones? Our guess that the almost exclusively U.K.-based shooting will lead to much of the permanent crew being from the region. If we had to speculate, visual effects supervisor Robert Stromberg is also unlikely to return, given his recent successes (Avatar, Alice in Wonderland) which likely leave him much in demand for other big-budget film work.

Besides Twitter, those who’d like to continue following Julia Frey’s doings are recommended to follow her blog, and also her separate blogging site, Safety Graphic Fun, devoted to weird and amusing safety signs from around the world. Best wishes, Julia.

Sean Bean joins Age of Heroes

The new WWII Drama Age of Heroes has cast its leads, and Sean Bean is among them, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Filming is due to take place beginning in early April. If a success, the film could lead to two planned sequels to make a trilogy.

In related news, Death Race 2—in which Bean was cast as the primary antagonist at the beginning of March—has already wrapped shooting and is aiming for a June release. Given the quick turn around on smaller productions such as these, we’ll suppose that Age of Heroes won’t film for more than a month or two, and so will not conflict with Game of Thrones

GRRM Writes Episode 8

George R.R. Martin has confirmed that he’ll be writing episode 8 of HBO’s Game of Thrones.  This means that David Benioff and D.B. Weiss will write episodes 1 (the pilot) through 3, episode 5 and 7, and then the final two episodes. Bryan Cogman will write episode 4 and Jane Espenson will write episode 6, as we’ve previously reported.

Jackson Returns

Variety reports that Gemma Jackson, an award-winning production designer, is returning to resume those duties on HBO’s Game of Thrones after having done so for the pilot. It seems that her contract with the production did not, strictly speaking, lock the production or Jackson to signing on for the series but now it’s moot, as she’s signed on.

Her previous credits include HBO’s magesterial John Adams (for which she won an Emmy). She appears in is “Making Of” video at the 1:40 mark, discussing the gigantic set and how it was reused to represent several different cities:

(Watch past that mark to see Gemma Jackson later on, when the sets and locations are discussed, and to see Robert Stromberg—visual effect supervisor for Game of Thrones—showing some of what can be done with digital mattes.)

Fans Petition for BSG Composer

An online petition has been started by fans, attempting to bring composer Bear McCreary to the attention of HBO and the Game of Thrones producers. McCreary has extensive credits, having composed the music in part or in full for such series as Eureka, Human Target, Terminator: The Sarah Connors Chronicle (starring Lena Headey, cast as Cersei Lannister), and most famously Battlestar Galactica and its spin-offs Battle Star Galactica: The Plan and the currently-airing Caprica.

More on Michelle Fairley

We’ve sprinted about the ‘net to try and learn more about Michelle Fairley, the actress now cast in the role of Catelyn Stark following Jennifer Ehle’s departure. From what we can find, Fairley is a very private person and maintain a low media profile, as noted in this Belfast Telegraph chat.

Catelyn Recast: Ehle Out, Fairley In

The Hollywood Reporter notes some very big news, and probably one of the bad pieces of news that GRRM has recently alludedto : Jennifer Ehle is out of HBO’s Game of Thrones. Replacing her is Northern Irish actress Michelle Fairley, who played Hermione Granger’s mother in the Harry Potter films.

Update: The Live Feed provides a little more information, stating that the source for this news revealed that Ehle’s departure is a behind-the-scenes issue, and not at all performance-related, apparently to knock down “blogosphere” rumors that claimed that HBO was not entirely happy with the pilot to begin with.

Harry Lloyd Also in Jane Eyre

According to Harry Lloyd (Viserys Targaryen in HBO’s Game of Thrones), he’s also part of the new Jane Eyre film going into production next week in the U.K., joining Tamzin Merchant. At the 1:26.20 mark of this BBC Radio 1 interview with fellow cast members from “The Little Dog Laughed”, he states he has a small part and that he just came off the read-through for the script.

Thanks to shelikeswaves on Twitter for the heads-up!

Tamzin Merchant in Jane Eyre

It’s being reported in the media that the new Jane Eyre film, starring Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland) and Michael Fassbender (300), will also feature Tamzin Merchant. The project starts filming next week in the U.K., according to the reports. Merchant, who’ll star as Daenerys Targaryen in HBO‘s Game of Thrones, can be seen in Showtime’s The Tudors beginning next month, as the young, doomed queen, Catherine Howard.

Hat-tip to Admiring Tamzin Merchant, a fan site for the actress, for pointing out this news.

Jane Espenson - Game of Thrones Writer

The big news today is that Jane Espenson—a writer best known, perhaps, for her work on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but also with significant writing and producing credits on Battlestar Galactica and Caprica—will be joining HBO’s Game of Thrones as a freelancer writing the sixth episode. The news was broken by Maureen Ryan of the Chicago Tribune.

In the course of it, she also confirmed previous reports that Bryan Cogman would write the fourth episode and that George R.R. Martin would write an episode in the series. She added an additional piece of new(ish) information, as well: Benioff and Weiss will write the remainder of the episodes in the ten-episode season. While the original plan seems to have been Benioff and Weiss to write all the episodes but the one GRRM wrote, when the news of Cogman’s writing chores were announced this cast into doubt just how many more scripts they would personally pen. Now we know.

A Look at the Budget

After much research and math, we’d like to share our newest article: A Budget to be Reckoned With. Taking the facts and figures made available in the wake of the greenlight, we exhaustively try to sort out what the purchasing power of the reported £30 million ($45 million US) budget is compared to similar productions, past and present. It’s not a straightforward calculation, as average wages, tax incentives, and other such things have to be worked into it. However, the end result is that there’s serious cause for some additional jubilation: this is a big production by any reasonable standard.

Production Notes

After chasing about for more information on the visual effects of HBO’s Game of Thrones—see our in-depth article—we now have some new information we can share via IMDB. There, a 2D supervisor from Look Effects is listed. Looking up their website, which is replete with demo reels and clips of their work from various films and television programs, one can see they have extensive experience. Among the projects they’ve worked on? Lost and Pushing Daisies on television, The Spirit and Speed Racer (major compositing projects which used green screen heavily) for film.

After contacting the supervisor (Brad Kalinoski), I’ve sent an update to IMDB to correct his listing: his role is a VFX, not SFX, position.  He also clarified that his position is 2D supervisor at Look Effects, “Im the manager of the dept, I oversee all the artists, the comp/digital supervisors and answer and assist with the VFX supervisors internally and clients.”

What else out of the IMDB grab bag? We spotted the choreographer Javier de Frutos in the list.  We can only assume he provided choreography for the dancers during the wedding of Daenerys Targaryen to Khal Drogo. And then there’s Simon Brindle, who’s listed as supervisor of the costume armour department. At least at some point he worked with Artisan Armours in the U.K., and his credits include A Knight’s Tale, Oliver Stone’s Alexander, and the upcoming Clash of the Titans remake. A sampling of his work from Alexander can be found here and here.

There’s also a music supervisor, Mary Ramos, whose credits include a number of Quentin Tarantino projects. From what sources have told us, the pilot does not have an original score or score composer as of yet, but presumably Ramos will be involved in that process, as well as working out how to work in the music from Corvus Corax into the Winterfell feasting scenes shot at Doune Castle.

Call for Crew

North Ireland Screen is facilitating hiring for HBO’s Game of Thrones, with a lengthy list of some 90 positions. This goes to show how major a production this is, and there’s certainly a lot of opportunity for those with experience in film and television to find a place in the extensive crew.

Just remember to follow the instructions carefully. Note that there’s presently an unclear part to the instructions, however, which we’re clarifying here: provide CV with full contact details and in addition provide contact details for two references in the industry.