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.
This was George R.R. Martin’s initial response to the news, the “happy dance” he promised to perform if the news from HBO was good. And it was. He’s since followed up with thanks for the outpouring of congratulations. He does note that for the most part, David Benioff and Dan Weiss—executive producers of the show—will be closer to any news, as they’ll be working on it on a regular basis while GRRM will stay in Santa Fe.
And in other news? He notes A Dance with Dragons has hit 1311 manuscript pages, which is up another 50 or 60 pages from his last page count, showing good progress. “No, not done yet,” he adds.
This is straight from HBO, and recaps all the terrific actors cast… and yes, includes an amazing picture—our first official still—featuring a brother of the Night’s Watch (played by Bronson Webb as Will) in a snowy forest:
Photo caption: Opening scene, Game of Thrones pilot. Shot on location in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Photo Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO
Just got in a direct mailing from HBO on this, with the first official still from the show which, well, you can find elsewhere now. But we’ll have it up shortly once we sort out the uploading issues are sorted out. This is, suffice it to say, brilliant news.
Shooting will commence in June. The most notable detail after the pick up, though? Ten episodes, not twelve as originally planned; if I’m not mistaken, GRRM himself at one point was certain it was twelve that was under discussion, but it seems in the intervening time the plan has changed. Whether it’s for budget purposes or they believe it better suits the pacing of the first novel—or both—is up to speculation. This should set fans to reassessing their fannish breakdowns of the first season of this show.
HBO has ordered a season of Game of Thrones! This news comes via James Hibberd at the Live Feed for THR. Congratulations, to the producers, cast, and crew who were able to make this happen, and many thanks to the executives who made the call. It’s been a long journey for fans, for GRRM, David and Dan, and everyone else—it’s good to see them hit the mark.
Onwards to the next year, and the premiere of Game of Thrones!
It looks like Sean Bean—cast as Eddard Stark in HBO’s Game of Thrones adaption which will get word on whether it’ll get a season order this month—has joined the cast of Death Race 2. It sounds like the film is already shooting in South Africa.
Bean can be seen in theatres now in the rule of Zeus in the film Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, which has been performing fairly well in the box office, according to Box Office Mojo.
Over at HBO‘s Facebook fan page, a thread has been started where commenters can show their support for seeing Game of Thrones greenlit. All it takes is an FB account and a minute, so do drop a note to let the powers that be get another sense at how motivated and supportive the fans of the series are.
According to this interview with Jason Momoa, Momoa expects that he’ll be returning to Morocco as well as Northern Ireland to shoot the Game of Thrones series in late June. Despite the way it’s written—as if it’s a foregone conclusion—we suspect that in fact Momoa was speaking speculatively. The actors have been informed of the prospective schedule if the show goes forward, so that they can plan their professional engagements accordingly with that possibility in mind.
(Thanks to Maxlongstreet at the A Song of Ice and Fire Forum for pointing this one out.)
We’ve been covering HBO’s series of trademark applications for Game of Thrones pretty closely, and decided to follow-up on two points.
First, as we noted in our earlier articles, initially HBO applied for trademarks using the title A Game of Thrones. Last week, however, the A Game of Thrones mark applications have been officially amended to just Game of Thrones, without the article.
Second, the question has come up on occasion regarding just how HBO exercises these marks, as they’re not a manufacturer. The answer is that these trademarks are licensed to those who do produce such content. Case in point, the smash-hit True Blood, which has led the licensing charge at HBO. At Toy Fair 2010, DC Direct exhibited character busts and a neon bar sign for the show. Of course, DC Direct and HBO are both under the Time Warner umbrella, so it’s no great surprise DC Direct would land these particular licenses.
If Game of Thrones goes forward and proves to be a success for HBO, fans can expect the same sort of licensing treatment.
HBO is keeping the U.S. trademark office busy, as we’ve previously reported. Now four new trademark classes have been applied for and entered into the USPTO database for February 9th, which theoretically cover things such as non-alcoholic beverages, jewelery, replica weapons, toys, and games.
Speaking of replica weapons, note that on January 16, GRRM noted in a response to questions that the production’s weapons would be designed specifically for the show, and that Valyrian Steel’s designs would not be used as previously proposed. However, as GRRM has previously noted, part of the negotiations with HBO involved negotiating which rights could not be used by them because of other licensing; only Valyrian Steel can create steel replicas, so HBO’s license extends only to cheaper, plastic toy replicas at this time.
Many thanks for Ninepenny at the A Song of Ice and Fire forum for keeping on top of the trademarking activities.
At the Guardian, Danny Leigh opines that Thomas McCarthy—whose work on the Game of Thrones pilot will help set the visual style for the series to follow if HBO greenlights it—is a “Hollywood Renaissance Man” whose “triple threat” of skillful direction, acting, and scriptwriting makes him a rare talent in this day and age. It’s a well-written opinion piece, and discusses some of the thematic touchstones of McCarthy’s previous directorial efforts.
This clip from an award-winning short independent film features Jack Gleeson, cast in the role of Joffrey in HBO’s Game of Thrones pilot. We’ve seen very little in the way of recent film or publicity stills for Gleeson, so this is a particularly useful video for those wanting a better idea of what the young actor:
(Thanks to The Rabbit and @WiC_Blog for pointing this one out!)
There’s a profile of Peter Dinklage due to his role in an upcoming comedic film. In it, he discusses his views on playing roles which focus too much on the character being a dwarf. He adds that there are certainly great roles written for dwarves, and it seems that Tyrion Lannister may have come up in that context:
‘It would entail me being lazy, and I’m not interested in that,” he says. “It just becomes uninteresting for me and I think it becomes uninteresting for an audience.” Having said that, he notes: “There are great roles that are written for dwarves.”
‘That would include his current project, a planned HBO series called Game of Thrones, based on the popular fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin. Dinklage plays the diminutive Tyrion Lannister in the pilot episode.’
Thanks to Ninepenny at the A Song of Ice and Fire forum for noting this item.
Tom McCarthy, director of HBO’s pilot for Game of Thrones, joins Robert Stromberg in the Oscars race. McCarthy was one of a number of individuals credited for the story of Pixar’s Up, which is a nominee for Best Original Screenplay.