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.
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.
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.
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.
The BBC has a new report examining why the anticipation level for Game of Thrones has been so high, interviewing fans and booksellers.
Of particular interest are producer Mark Huffam’s comments, reiterating that the natural, unspoiled beauty of Northern Ireland played a part in convincing HBO to set the fantasy drama there. He cites several locations as examples: “There’s the Mournes, Tollymore, the Antrim Coast and Shane’s Castle to name but a few.”
And from the article, just because it’s amusing: “The demand for suitably hairy extras was so great that some had to be recruited from local heavy metal message boards.”
British actor Donald Sumpter, cast in the role of Maester Luwin in HBO’s Game of Thrones, has been announced to provide his vocal talents towards the new, direct-to-DVD motion captured Ultramarines film in the Warhammer 40k setting. At the 4:05 mark, Sumpter is interviewed, and it gives a great chance get a look a the actor playing one of the many memorable characters in the series. Alongside Sumpter, the likes of John Hurt and Terence Stamp (who has received some support among fans as a possible choice for Tywin Lannister) will also provide their talents to the production.
Much more about Ultramarines can be found at the Wertzone, which brought the video above to our attention.
It’s nothing we’ve noticed before, but it seems that the production of Game of Thrones was officially carried out by an entity called Fire and Blood Productions. At a guess, this was essentially a temporary production company created specifically for produce the pilot. It’s a nice nod to the series.
It’s also opened up some new production information for us. For example, for the technical gearheads out there, we now know that the popular and widely-used ARRICAM Lite was among the camera systems used on the production, shooting 35mm film, as was the ARRIFLEX 235, a light-weight handheld 35mm film camera which may have been used for spontaneous angles… or, one might speculate based on director Thomas McCarthy‘s previous films, the light handhelds could be used to provide a more inimate, “you are there” feeling to certain sequences.
It also reminds us that Jeremy Woodhead, listed as make-up artist and hair designer for the pilot, has an extensive career, including major films such as The Lord of the Rings and Munich.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Greg Spence is now associate producer of HBO‘s Game of Thrones. According to Wikipedia, an associate producer, “usually acts as a representative of the Producer, who may share financial, creative, or administrative responsibilities, delegated from that producer.”
Spence has a significant amount of history with HBO in similar roles, having been associate producer on their award-winning miniseries, John Adams and Generation Kill, and the recent film Temple Grandin. He also appears to have extensive experience in post-production management, suggesting one of his roles will be to oversee post-production of episodes.
According to actor/writer Michael Goldstrom, his writing partner Bryan Cogman—listed as script editor for the pilot—will be writing the fourth episode of Game of Thrones. We know they’re already at work sorting out scheduling matters, and it seems they already have at least some idea of the first season breakdown and who’ll be assigned to writing various episodes.
Robert Stromberg, visual effects supervisor for Game of Thrones, shared one of the several awards James Cameron’s Avatar won at this year’s Oscars, the award for Achievement in Art Direction. Stromberg was later noted as having given one of the most moving back stage interviews after the win, sharing his survival of a life-threatening illness thirteen years ago which gave him a new perspective on life and his work.
Many congratulations to Mr. Stromberg, whose efforts for Game of Thrones we’re all looking forward to. If you want a more recent example of his work, however, we recommend taking a look at Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, on which Stromberg was production designer, helping to bring Burton’s whimsical visions into reality.
This has been the busiest week for news about HBO’s Game of Thrones since the filming of the pilot, with a host of new information. To help gather all in one place, here’s our weekend recap of all the notable tidbits:
There are a couple of new, interesting details in his update: besides confirming that the plan remains for him to write one episode per season, and indicating he believes the show would air starting April or May 2011, Martin notes that a “return to Morocco is also possible, and other locations may be used as well.” It had previously been assumed that Morocco was going to be definitely be used to film the rest of the scenes on the eastern continent featuring Tamzin Merchant’s character, Daenerys Targaryen, but it appears that that assumption is wrong. The reference to “other locations” could mean that sites in Scotland such as the previously-used Doune Castle—where the fact that the site was open to the public led to certain leaks which were said to have annoyed HBO and the production team—have just as uncertain a future, doubtless for budgetary reasons.
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, the Danish actor cast as Jaime Lannister, provides some of the first actor reactions to the media following the announcement of HBO’s pick up of Game of Thrones. The two articles are in Danish, but in summary he notes that he’s to start filming somewhere around July 1st, that it seems Tom McCarthy will be reprising his directorial roll for the first episode to film (which is something we’ll look into), and that though his character is “bad guy #1” to start with, as with other HBO dramas, things are rarely so black-and-white.
Our rough translation follows:
BBC North Ireland has this report discussing HBO’s Game of Thrones, including an interview with local producer Mark Huffam (who reveals that Shane’s Castle was used in the pilot—a detail we never knew before, I believe).
One interesting detail? The Northern Ireland government provided a £1.6 million (roughly $2.4 million) incentive for the production, and promises more cash incentives for continuing production. As we have previously discussed, this would be in addition to the cut-rate price given for leasing the Paint Hall, and the tax credit that could equal as much as $6 million.
For those wondering about some of the footage shown in the video, the fantasy cottage/building featured at one point is from Your Highness, and is not something that would be used for the Game of Thrones pilot.
It again note the importance of Mark Huffam, a local producer, in helping to land the project in Northern Ireland. More interestingly, an approximate shooting schedule is given—June through to December, which fits pretty nicely with the rumored 30 weeks of filming a source has provided in the past—and then a list of shooting locations beside the Paint Hall.
Most of them are familiar to those who followed the production closely: Tollymore Forest Park (where the opening scene, featured in the first official publicity still, was shot) and Castle Ward (where scenes of Winterfell’s courtyard and gate appear to have been filmed). However, a new name enters the picture: Shane’s Castle in County Antrim. The castle proper has been ruined for almost 200 years, but from the description it sounds like the estate itself may be ideal for filming of exteriors in wide-open spaces.