This past February, I had the opportunity to interview a number of actors in London. One of the ones I was most eager to meet—because she had been rather difficult to get an interview with previously!—was Sibel Kekilli, who plays Shae. Although given the early date of the interview it was difficult to approach anything discussing her big turn this season, it was a good chance to catch up with the actress.
An award-winner in her native Germany for her powerful work in films such as Head-On and When We Leave, Kekilli proves to be a very enthusiastic interview subject—a lot of exclaimations, a lot of smiles, and not a little laughter.
What was it like, when you first got involved in Game of Thrones?
Continuing our interview series—this is the first of several we’ll release in the run up to the final episode of season 4—I had the pleasure of speaking to Liam Cunningham (who I’d interviewed back in Season 2) and Carice van Houten (brand new interview subject!) regarding season 4. Both were charming, as expected, and had great fun talking back and forth as they answered questions regarding their fondest memories, their weirdest scenes, and more.
Carice, we know Liam prefers to learn the story through the scripts and was advised by the producers that he didn’t need to read the books. Do you feel the same about it?
How would you describe the journeys of your character?
One of the actors who has been most elusive among the regular cast has been Aidan Gillen. We’ve hoped to interview him for a number of years, but could never make it work… until, that is, earlier this year when I traveled to London to take part in a round of interviews with Gillen, as well as a number of actors.
I recall back when the show was announced that all sorts of names flew about for various roles, but Gillen’s name was easily the most common fan suggestion for Petyr Baelish. Those suggestions were largely based on his role as Carcetti in HBO’s groundbreaking The Wire, I suspect, but I admit at the time I hadn’t gotten past the show’s first season so didn’t know him from there. But we here at Westeros.org also latched onto the name when it was suggested, because of his charming, fearless, devilish performance as Stuart Russel T. Davies’s Queer as Folk.
With many notable roles under his belt, in film, television, and theater, the Dublin-born actor proves a very knowledgeable, extremely thoughtful interview subject. He takes his time with all his responses, thinking them through. And, as you’ll see, he’s more familiar than most of the actors with the source material….
Without being too spoilery, what sort of character does Littlefinger takes this season?
How much do you know about what lies ahead for your character? You’ve read the books, I know, but do you know what lies beyond that?
With Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Bryan Cogman’s been the member of the Game of Thrones production we’ve had most opportunities to interview, and as always it’s been a pleasure as we range around various behind-the-scenes aspects of the production, as well as some in-depth discussion of Bryan’s work as a writer for this season in regards to “Oathkeeper” and “The Laws of Gods and Men”>. See below for the full interview, as we discuss filming in Iceland, the growth of the scale of the production since the early days, who Bryan’s idol is, and more!
All right, welcome back to what’s turning into an annual chat, Bryan. I think Nikolaj’s the only person we’ve interviewed as often at this point.
Hah. As I recall, this season included your first trip to Iceland for filming—usually none of your material was shot there, is that right?
Iceland really looks stunning. This time around the shooting was in the summer. Lots of sunlight, relatively warm weather?
Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to interview a number of actors in London. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau has been our most frequently interviewed actor, I believe—he’s always been quite game to talk to us!—but they’ve always been just with him. This time around, Gwendoline Christie joined him, and I finally got to see at first hand what the show is like as the two actors spark off one another, sending zingers one another’s way with much laughter. And sometimes the zingers aren’t just directed at one another, as you’ll see below ...
Nikolaj, since we spoke last year we’ve seen that your character has become more human and likable. Do you feel that progression continues this season?
In past seasons of Game of Thrones, we’ve posted impressions based on the screeners we received from HBO. This year, we’ve decided to change things up a bit, however, by turning to our Youtube channel to discuss some very early thoughts—not a review, thoughts!—on the first three episodes of the upcoming fourth season. You can find that video below:
Last month, I had the opportunity to sit down with a number of the actors involved in Game of Thrones, to talk about the journey so far, and perhaps to draw out a few hints about what’s to come. First up in this interview series—leading up to and into the next season—I had the pleasure to talk with Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) and Rory McCann (Sandor Clegane), the latter of whom I’ve never had the pleasure of interviewing before. We have a chance to talk the joys of Vine, the pleasures of Iceland, and how their characters get along as season 4 commences.
Maisie, many people have mentioned you as a very impressive actress. Do you have any method you use, or have you just picked things up since you started the show?
How does it feel not to get to act with Sophie?
That Game of Thrones is a global phenomenon is without a doubt. It appears in scores of foreign markets, has events around the world where actors are eagerly sought after as guests, and the fan base reaches to some of the remotest places in the world. So it’s no surprise that the exhibitions of the show’s props and costumes have ranged widely, across both hemispheres. Usually, these have been specifically tied to promoting the TV show, but in at least one case they have been used for quite a different purpose: educational. At Stockholm’s Royal Armory, Sweden’s oldest museum and part of the royal palace complex (which happens to be one of the largest royal palaces still in use as a royal residence), a new exhibition titled Power Games (Maktspel) was launched last week exploring depictions of power in television and cinema. Set alongside costumes and artifacts from Sweden’s 16th century were costumes from the films Elizabeth and Elizabeth: The Golden Age as well as Game of Thrones.
Linda and I were invited by the armory to take part, and so off to beautiful Stockholm we went! Given early admittance, we had the Iron Throne to ourselves for awhile. Besides the opportunity to take a shot on the Iron Throne, the exhibit features a terrific array of costumes. The gowns from Elizabeth are, suffice it to say, truly amazing… but a major part of the focus is on Game of Thrones, and with the help of HBO Nordic the museum delivers. Eleven costumes from show, as well as props, make their appearance, beginning with a look at one of Cersei’s gowns and Joffrey’s outfits.
It’s always a pleasure to interview writer and story editor Bryan Cogman, who has so far written an episode of each season, including what are amounting to two of our personal favorites of the series: “What is Dead May Never Die” and his season three episode, “Kissed by Fire”.
Below, I talk with Bryan about the episode, the introduction of new characters, his proudest moments, and much more. It’s a lengthy one but, we hope, a good one. Enjoy!
All right, thanks so much for taking the time, first off!
Now, often episodes seem to have their titles decided at the last minute—George’s episode went through a couple of different names before it was settled. Was “Kissed by Fire” always the title you preferred for your episode?
Continuing our interview series, next up is actress Rose Leslie, who had a memorable turn as Ygritte last season.
In this interview, she gives some hints about things to come, discusses just how often Kit Harington smiles, and much more. I note one place where she laughs… but truth be told, she laughs often and was clearly enjoying herself immensely at being involved in a project like Game of Thrones.
What can you tell us about season 3?
Why is Ygritte interested in Jon Snow? What piques her interest?
Continuing our series of interviews, this time it’s Iain Glen on board. Playing Jorah Mormont, he may be rather (a lot) different from the character in the novels, but the dignity and gravity he brings to his performance is a terrific counter-point to Daenerys Targaryen’s youthful energy and determination. In the below interview, we touch on topics such as his luck in filming locations, his views on the violence in the show, and just how Jorah feels about Daenerys.
How is this season for Jorah and Dany this season?
Last week, we received the first four episodes of season 3 of Game of Thrones to review, courtesy of HBO. While our individual episode reviews and coverage will be held until the corresponding episodes air, it has become something of a tradition to share our general impressions of those early episodes. We did it for the first season, and we did it for the second season, so it seemed only right to do it again. The process of discussing even vague impressions will probably reveal some semi-spoilers, so reading on isn’t going to be a good idea if you prefer to stay unspoiled!
But lets just give a general summing up first, and get into the nitty gritty after: these four episodes are on the whole quite good; not perfect, but they may well be the strongest first four episodes as a whole for the series to date (certainly, they’re stronger as a unit than last season’s first four, though none of them are as good as “What is Dead May Never Die”). Some of our biggest fears going into this season seem, so far, to be unfounded. But there are some issues, such as the fact that a number of the anticipated new characters are rather underwhelming when they finally hit the screen and that there are one or two (largely invented) storylines that don’t really feel like they’re gelling for us. Still, each subsequent episode goes from strength to strength, each one better than the last. So why do we feel cautiously optimistic? We recall that last season, too, the third and fourth episodes impressed us the most and left us pretty excited about what was to come… and then the cracks started to show and real problems developed that led to some major disappointments. Four episodes in a show like this is not enough to really gauge how the rest of the season will be, especially in terms of how well they’ll translate what’s in the novels to the screen.
Now, on to some more specifics.
This is the third in our series of actor interviews leading up to the premiere of Game of Thrones on March 31st (April 1st in the UK, Scandinavia, and elsewhere).
And as it happens, this is also our third interview with Nikolaj to date, and he remains as charming and entertaining as always. The interview transcript below doesn’t really go very far to indicate just how engaging he can be to talk with, and how funny. Despite the provison from HBO that details for season 3 were not really permitted to be discussed, Nikolaj provided some small suggestions about how the story may go in the course of discussing the series, his character, and the fans.
So, what can you tell us about the new season?
One of the real pleasures of the press junket this year was getting to talk to a member of the cast I’ve not met previously… and perhaps no cast member has really excited me as much as Gwendoline Christie, the imposing Brienne of Tarth.
The actress seemed practically born for this role, and she made quite an impression in her all-too-brief appearances in the second season. The third season promises to give us a lot more of the Maid of Tarth, as she travels through the dangerous, war-torn riverlands trying to deliver Jaime Lannister to King’s Landing as Catelyn Stark commanded her to do.
What can you tell us about this season of Game of Thrones?