Game of Thrones: News

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Of Direwolf Pups and Leases

A nice catch from Daniel, a reader at Winter is Coming, who noted the sale of the litter of Siberian Husky puppies which were used for the Stark children’s direwolf pups. The only thing I can add to that is that from what I was told, two puppies were quite pale/white, and were named Milk and Cream; you can guess which of the pups they represented. The last of the litter appears to have sold six days ago. The photo of the puppy with a link to the original information is below.

While we normally eschew rumors, a commenter named Andrew notes that the studio manager at the Paint Hall has informed him that HBO had been asking about provisionally arranging a five year lease on two of the four “cells” in which the huge building is divided. Each cell is 16,000 square feet (1,487 square meters) in size. Andrew also notes that the pilot sets are presently still standing, and he speculates that the five year deal would be so they could leave sets standing from season to season.

We share this unverified item since it’s quite typical for productions to take long-term leases even in cases where a show may not go beyond a season, since the potential savings if the show is a success could make any penalties if the show comes to an end early seem like a reasonable choice. Showtime’s The Tudors had a similar lease with

Ardmore studios outside of Dublin, from what we’ve read. On the other hand, at least one past HBO series—Oz—only leased its shooting location on a year-to-year basis, apparently because of uncertainty that it would ever get a following season.

Finally, we should note that five years is a fairly standard figure for this sort of production lease. It does not imply that HBO intends either to go five seasons, or to only go five seasons if the show lasts so long.

HBO Says Game of Thrones “Fantastic”

Michael Lombardo, head of programming at HBO, gave some comments concerning their pilot for George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones after HBO’s panels closed at the TCA press tour and the news was looking very good indeed! Matt Roush of TV Guide was the first to report via Twitter that the executives will see a rough cut in two weeks, and that the dailies looked good. He also confirmed what we’ve previously reported, that more scripts had been written by the Benioff and Weiss writing team.

Then James Hibberd followed up with a detailed account of the remarks from Lombardo. Some salient quotes follow:

Blame Pod

The young actress Sophie Turner, cast in the role of Sansa Stark in HBO’s pilot of Game of Thrones, has picked up a catchphrase current among the “Brotherhoods without Banners” fan group and the Song of Ice and Fire forum: “Blame Pod”.

The story of how Pod (also known as the Devilbunny) became the source of all mishaps is too long to relate here, but it seems that Ms. Turner (who recently joined Twitter) believes the phrase is applicable to the production and intends to spread it among the other actors. She cites Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) and Isaac Hempstead-Wright (Bran Stark) as two of her fellow cast members she’s passing it on to. We look forward to hearing the phrase from the rest of the cast and crew in due time, as there’s always an appropriate moment in which to blame Pod.

New Harry Lloyd Interview

This Is London’s lifestyle section has an interview with Harry Lloyd, which mentions his role as Viserys Targaryen in HBO’s pilot for Game of Thrones. In the course of the article, which also covers his theatrical work and his role as Will Scarlett in the BBC’s new Robin Hood series, he mentions that the HBO production has heightened his profile and he has begun fielding calls from American agents.

Hope for “Fresh Horses” at HBO

In the course of discussing the latest news out of HBO, that David Milch and Michael Mann were filming a pilot about the world of horse racing called Luck, James Poneiwozik provides some thoughts on HBO’s development strategies. He notes the fact that many of the upcoming or proposed series at HBO are connected to creators who’ve worked with them before: Milch created Deadwood and John from Cincinnati, Terence Winter was on The Sopranos before producing Boardwalk Empire, Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg of Band of Brothers are back for The Pacific, Alan Ball was known for Six Feet Under before True Blood came along, and so on.

Poniewozik, at least, hopes to see more new creators, not just HBO veterans, creating shows in the future at the cable network. He wraps up by remarking that Game of Thrones, with showrunning newcomers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, certainly fits the bill if HBO picks it up, while remarking that the show will have more in common with a gritty show like Deadwood than True Blood despite both having genre fantasy elements.

More Game of Thrones Buzz

MSN Canada joins in the Game of Thrones buzz when film and television critic Kim Linekin  lists the possible HBO series as a show to watch out for in 2010. While this is technically incorrect—it’s all but impossible for the show to air this year if HBO orders a season in March, unless they approach airing it very differently from their standard procedures in the past—it’s still great to see yet another critic getting behind the potential of the series.

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 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.”