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Critics Look to 2010

As 2009 drew to a close and 2010 started, critics have been writing about what they’re looking forward to in the coming year. James Poniewozik, an early booster of the HBO’s Game of Thrones project, kicked it off by expressing his hopes that HBO will greenlight the season come March.

Ken Tucker over at Entertainment Weekly said much the same, joining what’s a growing number of television critics and commentators who have reason to believe the adaptation of George R.R. Martins’ bestselling fantasy series could make for terrific television. This is hot on the heels of the print edition of Entertainment Weekly making a mention of the project as we reported yesterday.

Entertainment Weekly on Game of Thrones

In its latest issue, Entertainment Weekly makes a mention of HBO’s proposed Game of Thrones series in a column by Lynette Rice.  The article’s not up on the web, but the relevant excerpt has been provided by sharp-eyed reader AboutYeaHigh:

Television Zombies Podcast

The Television Zombies podcast has Winter is Coming proprietor, Phil (aka Halfhand on the A Song of Ice and Fire Forum) on for an episode focused on HBO’s Game of Thrones production. A fun listen, and Phil’s kind enough to give Westeros.org a shoutout—thanks, Halfhand!

Buzz for Harry Lloyd and HBO

Over at the U.K.‘s Guardian newspaper, actor Harry Lloyd is on their 2010 Hot List, where it’s written that Lloyd describes HBO’s Game of Thrones with, “relish as a ‘dark, political intrigue set in a fantasy world… with incest’.” Newsweek has another list, “Most Important People in 2010”, which includes HBO president Sue Naegel. In the couse of describing reasons for why she is important and various projects on tap, the entry also notes “a potential order for the hotly anticipated fantasy series Game of Thrones”.

(Thanks to Winter is Coming and readers ninepenny and the rabbit for bringing these tidbits to light.)

Harry Lloyd Interview

An interview with actor Harry Lloyd, cast as Viserys Targaryen, in the Gay Times mentions his enthusiasm for the project and the role. The relevant paragraphs can be found on the third page  of the feature, transcribed below:

Game of Thrones Forum FAQ

Adam Whitehead, aka Werthead, of the Wertzone and the A Song of Ice and Fire forum has posted a lengthy and detailed FAQ for the forum’s Game of Thrones series section providing answers to common questions regarding the production. You can find it at the forum.

Tamzin Merchant in Tudors S4 Promo

Tamzin Merchant, cast as Daenerys Targaryen in HBO’s pilot for Game of Thrones, is featured in her role as Catherine Howard in the course of this promo for Showtime’s The Tudors, entering its fourth and final season this April. Some choice (and rather racy) imagery in the course of the trailer, and one quite beautiful one of Merchant on the floor with a mask.

HBO Game of Thrones Trademarks

Due to a tip shared over at Winter is Coming, it seems HBO filed for merchandise-related trademarks for Game of Thrones back in June, and most recently renewed an application on December 9. The text of that filing can be found here, and the rest of the filings can be found here.

O’Meara Update

Halfhand of Winter is Coming points that the original source for our post about Peter O’Meara expressing interest in Game of Thrones, this fuller release from PRWeb, makes things seem more like a hope of the actor’s rather than any sign of a clear commitment for a role should the production goes forward. It also reveals that he did in fact audition, as speculated, but was passed over for the part of Jaime Lannister (a fate dealt to Jamie Bamber, and according to rumor Garret Dillahunt as well) in favor of Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. O’Meara is quoted as saying:

“Well, I did read for HBO Game of Thrones but the role went to Nikolaj Coster Waldau. That hurt like hell because I love the David Benioff script. He’s a genius writer. His ‘City of Thieves’ is my favourite novel of the last ten years. If I have any new years career wish its to join the world of fire and ice he’s creating with HBO. Fingers crossed. Failing that I’ll happily play a Vampire in the next Twilight saga. I’ll bring my own teeth.”

Peter O’Meara Hopeful for HBO’s Game of Thrones

Via the A Song of Ice and Fire forum, we learn that Irish actor Peter O’Meara seems to hope that he’ll be involved in Game of Thrones next year via this press release that’s making the rounds.

Over at Winter is Coming, speculation runs that O’Meara auditioned for a role in the pilot and was passed over, but has been told by the casting director and/or producers they have in mind for another role if HBO greenlights the series. O’Meara, a veteran of film and television productions, has been associated with HBO producitons before—he had a role in the acclaimed miniseries, Band of Brothers, as 1st Lieutenant Norman Dike.

Sophie Turner and the Playbox Theatre

A brief article from the Coventry Telegraph features an image of Sophie Turner—cast in the role of Sansa Stark—and another young actress, both alumni of the Warwickshire-based Playbox Theatre. Mentioning the various professional jobs three of the theatre’s young members are partaking in, the article mentions Ms. Turner’s role in HBO’s pilot adaption of Game of Thrones.

David Benioff Interview

The Kansas City Star has an interview with David Benioff, co-executive producer and writer of HBO‘s Game of Thrones adaption. Benioff, an A-lister among screenwriters in Hollywood, is also a notable novelist and the interview largely concerns itself with his literary production. However, on the second page Benioff is asked about current projects. He responds: “I just returned from Northern Ireland shooting “Game of Thrones” (an adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire”) for HBO. I’m the writer and the executive producer with Dan Weiss, so we got to do everything, hiring the director, the actors. The shooting of the pilot is done. We’ll find out in March if it will be picked up as a series.”

This is yet another confirmation that March seems to be pretty unequivocally the date at which HBO’s decision will be handed down. Anything earlier or later than that will be pretty unusual, and perhaps significant.

Updated: GRRM on Morocco

GRRM provides some photos from the former Kingdom of Heaven Jerusalem set near Ouarzazarte in Morocco, in his latest “Not a Blog” post. The pictures are quite excellent, and show some freestanding large-scale props such as battering rams, siege towers, and trebuchets that are still in good shape. George notes that while he offers a picture of one of the courtyards in the set, he couldn’t show the redressed courtyard used for Ilyrio’s manse during the filming.

In a follow-up post, he shares pictures from the Game of Thrones wrap party. Picture #2 shows director Tom McCarthy, and #4 and the final picture (where he’s jamming on a guitar) shows actor Jason Momoa of Stargate: Atlantis fame.

Several commentators, including myself, asked George to identify the group of women surrounding him in one of the photos. He has replied, indicating that, “The gorgeous young ladies in the pictures with me were the dancers at Dany’s wedding to Khal Drogo, whose wild, erotic celebrations lead to wanton coupling and arakh fights. Not Moroccan, no. They actually all came from London, and flew down with the cast and crew.” He thinks the dancing and swordfighting sequence in that scene should be quite amazing.

Jamie Bamber as Jaime Lannister?

Jamie Bamber (of BSG fame) auditioned for the role of Jaime Lannister in HBO’s pilot for Game of Thrones, a part that ultimately went to Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. This was revealed by him to Jackie, who reported it at the A Song of Ice and Fire Forum, at the Cylon Attack convention this past weekend in London.

Bamber would have been interesting in the role, although Jackie speculates that perhaps his average height ultimately weighed against him when the character of Jaime is supposed to be tall. That said, we know from remarks from GRRM and from at least one actor that has auditioned that the audition process leads them to keeping in mind actors for future roles. If the series goes forward, we may well see Bamber in a secondary role later on.

Update on HBO Greenlight Date

In a comment on George R.R. Martin’s Livejournal, his partner Parris says that what they’ve heard is that “HBO will make a decision sometime in the spring - perhaps by the end of March.” End of March is certainly a longer time period than many expected, and the possibility of the decision not coming until April or even May is sobering. A January 2011 premiere if there’s a greenlight seems almost impossible if there’s no decision until the latter part of spring.