In an interview with Vanity Fair, HBO‘s president of programming Michael Lombardo discusses HBO’s past and present Emmy success, far and away the most nominated and award-winning cable network for the last number of years. In the course of the discussion, Lombardo brings up Game of Thrones, where he has the following to say:
“The fact that it was genre, i.e. a little bit of magic, in a world that is not in fact real was irrelevant to the storytelling. The human drama that I read in the page, the characters as scripted by David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss]—I was hooked on the pilot after reading it, and I’ve done this enough now to know that doesn’t happen all the time and when it happens you need to pay attention to it. Because to have a great show, I got to tell you, what you have to start with is a great script. It was a great script.”
Thanks to Nymeria_WiC for bringing the interview to our attention.
Thanks to Zanthia2, we now have an image of the Castle Black film set at Magheramorne Quarry after filming has commenced there. As you can see, part of the quarry wall has been painted white, which fits reports we’ve had from extras. The picture was taken from a nearby island:
One detail that leaps to mind is the structure on the quarry tier immediately above the white-washed section of wall. It looks like an arch and a low wall around it. We’re not 100% sure, but we think this could explain word that actor Brendan McCormack was starting filming in the middle of this month. Could it be that McCormack, in the role of Ser Vardis Egan, will be shooting scenes set of the climb up to the Eyrie at the quarry? If so, that structure we see there could very well be one of the way castles, perhaps Snow or Sky.
Alternatively, the structure—if it does have anything at all to do with the production—might be used to show one of the gates and tunnels that lead through the Wall.
Thanks to Zanthia2for the photo, and Winter is Coming for the retweet.
George R.R. Martin has confirmed all four guesses that we’ve listed (with added Youtube videos featuring performances): Lalor Roddy as “Assassin”, Simon Lowe as “Wineseller”, Mark Lewis Jones as Shagga, and Clive Mantle as the Greatjon. He also adds a fifth name to the mix, Susie Kelley, cast in the role of innkeeper Masha Heddle.
He’s taking off for Australia and the Worldcon there on Monday, so does not expect he’ll be providing updates for when other roles—he lists Ser Ilyn Payne, Prince Tommen, Princess Myrcella, Rickon Stark, Mirri Maz Duur, “and more”—are cast and can be announced.
Conan Stevens has a terrific update on what he’s been doing, besides putting on more muscle (by his estimation, he’s gained 7kg—about 15 lbs.—since he arrived in Belfast). He identifies the riding trainers, The Devil’s Horsemen (who have an extremely long list of prior credits), and comments that his extra bulk has led to some alterations to his costume. He’s coy about the details of the costume, but his remark that, “Ser Gregor Clegane will be the centurion tank of Westeros,” and, ” the weight is spread over my entire body rather than having all that weight just hanging off my shoulders,” certainly suggests that he’s in a suit of plate armor, just as the character is described in the novels.
Other details of note? Just as was reported from the pilot film set, it seems a documentary crew is on hand preparing extras for DVD/Blu-Ray and (Stevens speculates) pre-airing promotion. The crew caught Stevens and Rory McCann, cast as Sandor Clegane, rehearsing their big fight scene. Conan wraps up by noting that since joining in the production, his career has been making great advances, with a number of productions showing interest in his involvement once he gets back to Thailand.
Below, you can find a video of The Devil’s Horsemen company performing at a medieval faire:
Although George has not confirmed the guesses at the four set of clues, we’re very confident in the guesses that have been put out there… so why not cover the actors?
The first “man with no name”, we believe, is Lalor Roddy. He’s been a guard (in The Guards) a garda who’s seen a UFO (in Summer of the Flying Saucer), he knows Murphy’s Law (having been in a show of the same name), he’s seen sleeping dogs (Circles of Deceit: Sleeping Dogs), he’s eaten a girl (Boy Eats Girl), and he’s met the greatest creation of Kavalier and Clay (The Escapist). At a guess, we think he’ll be a would-be killer in Winterfell.
The second “man with no name” was pointed out by hadespuppy: Simon Lowe. He’s neither simply (Simon), nor high (Lowe), has been on the beach (in Beachy Boys) and crossed the Mersey (in “Mersey Beat”), been on “Doctors”, and went down in flames in Hindenburg: Titanic of the Skies. We’re guessing he’ll be a certain wine seller who’ll meet Daenerys.
As to the two named roles, the first of these we believe is Welsh actor Mark Lewis Jones as Shagga (who’s fond of goats), one of the wildlings who joins Tyrion’s following. Jones is Welsh (rabbit or rarebit), and has played a nobleman (Uther Pendragon in Mists of Avalon, King Olaf in the new “Merlin” TV series), a moron (in Morons in Outer Space), and a hog (Mr. Hogg in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World).
Finally—and we can’t believe we missed this one (we figured out all the clues but hadn’t put them together), but thankfully a commenter at Winter is Coming put the pieces together: Clive Mantle as the Greatjon, Lord Jon Umber, putting to rest questions as to whether the character would have a role. Robert Clive was a famous British empire-builder in India but never conquered the whole thing, Mickey Mantle chased after Roger Maris for the homerun record, he holds the record as the tallest actor to play Little John at 6’5” in Robin of Sherwood (we even thought of this particular fact, and missed—we own the DVDs!), and was in the recent remake of The Poseidon Adventure.
Below we’ve linked to what videos we can find featuring each of the actors. Prize has to go to Mark Lewis Jones, who stars in a short fantasy film newly posted to Youtube just a week ago.
And again, clues from George R.R. Martin for two more roles, this time for named characters:
“The first guy loves goats, the second likes his meat tough. The second guy never conquered India. Is it rabbit or rarebit? The first guy might know. The guy who had more dingers than anyone but the guys who liked the juice, well, the second guy isn’t that guy, or even the guy who chased that guy all summer. The first guy has been a nobleman, a moron, and a hog. The second guy holds a record: the biggest little guy. The first guy has been every flavor of cop. The king of the deep knocked the second guy topsy turvy.”
The first actor is clearly cast as Shagga son of Dolf. The second, we guess, is cast in the role of the Greatjon, one of the Stark’s more memorable bannermen.
GRRM has a new set of clues that seem to be for actors cast in roles that, in the books, are not given names. The clues are as follows:
“The first guy is a man with no man, who is up to no good. The second guy is a man with no man, who is up to no good. ((Maybe they’ll get names eventually, hey. Our red-headed whore did. Just sayin’)) The first guy has been a guard and a garda, he’s slept with beasts and eaten a girl, he knows that anything that can go wrong will go wrong, he’s seen sleeping dogs and flying saucers, and met Kavalier and Clay’s greatest creation (or did he)? The second guy is not simple and he’s not high, but he’s been to the beach and crossed the Mersey, seen his share of doctors, and once went down in flames. Oh, the humanity, the humanity.”
Two quick thoughts: the first may be
Lalor Roddy (been in The Guards, has played a garda in a film concerning a flying saucer, has appeared in The Escapist...), while the second must have been in a film or program concerning the Hidenburg disaster.
Also, at a guess, the two roles that come to mind—nameless men up to no good—are the catspaw at Winterfell and a would-be assassin out in the East.
Welsh actor Owen Teale, a Tony Award-winner who has appeared in dozens of television and film productions (including genre works Robin Hood, Doctor Who, and The Last Legion), has joined the cast of HBO’s Game of Thrones. Teale will be playing the role of Ser Alliser Thorne, taking over from Derek Halligan who was previously announced in the role. Teale first came to light when Belfast-based photographer John Boucher posted this Tumblr post about running into the actor on the street and asking him to be part of his Through-the-Viewfinder portrait series.
Below, you can see Teale starring in the short film Auto-de-fé, a heart-rending portrayal of two people coming to the end of their relationship:
Just a quick mid-week recap of the news that we’ve had from the production so far, as there have been a few relevant tweets, articles, and blog posts of note.
Television Without Pity’s Tubey Awards are being voted on, and Game of Thrones is among the nominees for “Most Anticipated Show of 2010-211”. If you can take just a moment, just head over there and vote! The category is on the final voting page, being category #12.
Northern Ireland Screen has posted the 2009-2010 Annual Report (PDF) on their website, which reviews the various productions, goals, and funding they were involved in over the previous year. We’ve previously reported on early reports regarding the publication, but this is the first time the public will have been able to see it.
Most notable? HBO’s Game of Thrones is very heavily featured. The cover pages make use of the first official still from the pilot, and there are references to the production through out the whole thing. There’s almost no new information to speak of that’s specific to the show, except for the fact that NI Screen gave their maximum grant of £1.6 million (roughly US $2.5 million) to the production not once, but twice: once to help fund the pilot, and once again for the first season. This was nearly 60% of NI Screen’s total grants made in the 2009-2010 period. You can read more regarding the budget of the series, and NI Screen’s funding of it, in our article, A Budget to be Reckoned With.
One last tidbit, a quote from the report which made us chuckle (and which is, we think, our first mention in a governmental publication):
‘Activity on the web was frantic, with the two main blogs "Winter is Coming" and "Westeros" vying with each other to be the first to publish hitherto unknown facts and information about the cast, locations and budget and to announce whether it would go to series.’
This weekend we shared an ITN report regarding Sean Bean filming in London for the spy thriller Cleanskin. In the article, ITN notes that the production is a six week shoot, which led us to speculate that most of Bean’s scenes in HBO’s Game of Thrones will have to wait until October. However, as a poster notes, Cleanskin actually started filming in late February.
The filming that ITN was covering was a brief, one day reshoot, and not a sign that Bean will be occupied for weeks with that production.
We know that filming is presently going on for scenes set in Castle Black, as actor Luke McEwan (cast as Rast) tweeted he had finished his first day of work this past Friday, and we know that the Hand’s tourney is set to film starting around this coming Friday. But it seems something else is up for mid-August: shooting scenes set at the Eyrie and/or Vale of Arryn.
Or, at least, that’s what Brendan McCormack’s agents report on his profile page, indicating that he begins filming in mid-August. McCormack, cast as Ser Vardis Egan, will have a somewhat expanded role compared to the novel according to author George R.R. Martin, who indicated that he’ll be taking some of Ser Brynden Tully’s role.
At a guess, they’re either going to be able to make use of some of the exterior sets (such as the area of the tourney ground, or perhaps even Magheramorne quarry) to represent parts of the Vale of Arryn and the Mountains of the Moon, thereby minimizing amount of travel the crew has to do, or they’ll be doing some interior shoots at Paint Hall to represent the Eyrie.
But not for HBO’s Game of Thrones. In fact, Sean Bean is the lead in a new action/thriller film Cleanskin, which is filming in London as we type this. According to ITN, which provides a photo & brief video interview of the actor in his current look,
the film will be shooting for the next six week.
This fits with the news that much of the Winterfell footage is waiting until September to be filmed. Given that we had reports of Bean being available the first week or two of shooting, we suppose that they’ve done some work with him, but not a lot. The bulk of his scenes as Eddard Stark—both in Winterfell and King’s Landing—will have to be filmed at the end of September and right through to December, when filming is scheduled to end.
Just a few bits and bobs of information regarding HBO’s Game of Thrones production, for those who’re interested in the nuts-and-bolts.
I’ve only been and filmed a single episode so far, and I haven’t met Sean Bean. He’s in another part of the storyline than the one I’m in. He’s mostly filming in Ireland, while the storyline I’m part of is filming in Malta. There’s a lot of established as well as fresh actors involved, and the sets are really huge.
Given that she says she’s filmed, it seems fair to say that the majority of her scenes will be in Malta, but there are some things (interiors, primarily, we expect) that are being or will be filmed in Northern Ireland.