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.
Showtime has posted up a new, lengthy trailer promoting the final season of The Tudors, and it features quite a lot (and quite a lot) of Tamzin Merchant, the actress cast as Daenerys Targaryen in HBO’s Game of Thrones. She plays the ill-fated Katherine Howard, a young woman thrust into the arms of the mercurial Henry VIII. It’s this role that brought her to the attention of George R.R. Martin, according to previous remarks he has made.
Thanks to About Yea High at the A Song of Ice and Fire forum for pointing it out.
Now that Game of Thrones is greenlit, it’s time for fans to pile into the Casting Polls sub-forum. Forum member Smouldering Hound has started a fresh series of threads for suggesting actors to fill the many, many roles that may need filling as the nine additional episodes of the series start shooting in June.
If you’re new to Westeros.org and its forum, it should be noted that David Benioff and Dan Weiss—the executive producers of the series—are members of the forum, and while the pilot was rolling into production they specifically asked fans to pitch suggestions for roles. Our suggestion threads then seemed to have an effect as a number of roles cast were pretty much spot-on to names fans put forward, and hopefully this chance for fans to express their further ideas is going to help them to choose some more, great actors.
Some caveats: if you’re just signing up for the forum, please be patient, I manually approve the queue a couple of times a day (manual approval helps cut down on spam bots quite a bit). Also, when posting, try to focus on British actors—95% of the roles are going to go with actors who are part of the British actors association, as special exemptions are needed for non-Brits.
HBO is covering more ground than I realized. Thanks to a tip from raijap, we have this trademark filing with the U.K.‘s Intellectual Property Office. Very similar, for the most part, to the various U.S. trademark filings covered in previous posts, but presented in a much more readable package.
At a guess, with E.U. harmonization, this probably means these marks are good throughout the E.U. Interestingly, the representative legal firm is Spanish, and the second language of the filing was Spanish. This highlights how increasingly international HBO’s business is becoming.
Continuing the trademarking saga, HBO’s submitted documents on February 22nd for a International Class 009 trademark coverage for Game of Thrones To quote the text, that covers: “games; discs, cartridges and cassettes; downloadable virtual goods for use in online social networking sites; amusement gaming apparatus adapted for use with an external display screen, television receiver or monitor; sunglasses; all the aforementioned goods relating to an ongoing television series”
This doesn’t mean, of course, that HBO is getting into the gaming business (or sunglasses, for that matter, which is really “one of these things does not belong with the others” territory). But it does mean that they’re continuing to cover their bases. Speculatively, this may be opening a way for creating a promotional Flash game, such as Starz!‘s recent Spartacus: Blood and Sand and a number of other shows have had.
Those Northern Ireland ministers are a talkative bunch, to say the least! After recently being quoted discussing the boost the Game of Thrones production can provide to the local economy, the minister Nelson McCausland offers this tidbit:
“...it is expected that each series [British term used for season] will be one year in production, with an overall budget for each series of around £30m.”
That’s about $45 million U.S., or roughly $4.5 million an episode. This is slightly less than the $5 million per episode rumored for Deadwood, and significantly less than the $9 million or so per episode of Rome in the first season (but it was a significant outlier as one of the most expensive television programs, filming in one of the most expensive locations in the world). However, it’s also significantly higher than the budget of many hour-long dramas on network television, and seems to make it more expensive than Showtime’s The Tudors. It should be remembered, however, that certain significant tax breaks, matching funds, and other support were offered to the production if they based themselves in Belfast.
A 1:1 comparison may not work very well, in that light, since the $4.5 million an episode in Belfast may easily equal $5 million or more spent in the U.S. Given that still image, and given the highly talented crew (especially in terms of visual effects), I suspect this is more than sufficient to set some jaw droppings when the show airs.
At the Irish Times, an article discusses HBO’s order of a season of George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones, and includes comments from Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. The Northern Irish government estimates that the project could generate as much as £20 million ($30 million) for the local economy.