According to the Belfast Telegraph, veteran Northern Irish actor J.J. Murphy passed away mere days after filming his first scene for season 5 of Game of Thrones. Heretofore an unpublicized member of the cast, the Telegraph reports that Murphy was cast in the role of Ser Denys Mallister, a senior man of the Night’s Watch who in the novels was the commander of the Shadow Tower and a leading candidate to succeed Lord Commander Mormont. The Telegraph notes he was due to film more scenes, and speculates as to whether the role will be removed from the show or if another actor will be cast to fill it.
Murphy, 86 years old at the time of his death, had decades of theatre experience. According to the Telegraph, he was best known for his work at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast, where actors such as Liam Neeson and Ciaran Hinds cut their teeth and learned their craft alongside him. Our condolences to his friends and family.
UPDATE: HBO’s publicity twitter has released the following statement from David Benioff and Dan Weiss:
Thanks to the intrepid Marino Santirso, Westeros.org is happy to present his diary from the London Film and Comic Convention. Over the coming days, we’ll be posting interviews with a number of Game of Thrones actors that were present at the convention, and as always they’re quite the charming bunch. Marino has provided an introduction to the diary—and himself—here... and as it happens, we’ve also posted the very first interview as well with actor Finn Jones, who plays the famous Knight of Flowers, Ser Loras Tyrell. Finn was actually one of the first actors we ourselves interviewed way back during the first season, and we’re pleased to say he’s as exuberant as always!
You can read Finn’s interview here. As the week progresses, we’ll add further interviews with the likes of Gethin Anthony (Renly Baratheon), Kate Dickie (Lysa Arryn), Daniel Portman (Podrick Payne), and Kristian Nairn (HODOR) !
Well, this is an interesting revelation at EW’s interview with yesterday’s panelists. When asked if he’s writing for season 5, George admits that he is not, in fact, doing so. This will be the first time that the show has not had a GRRM-penned episode. Martin cites his work on The Winds of Winter as the primary reason. You can find the full interview below (the question, and Martin’s response, starts at the 1:10 mark):
The panel’s over, and the big news out of it is that HBO revealed a number of the new cast members via a casting video, seen below (keep reading for HBO’s press release, and a bonus season 4 blooper reel!):
Now that filming is soon to commence later this month, EW—as always!—gets the scoop on just who’s directing each episode of season 5. Some interesting new names in this one, and some interesting details:
Episodes 501 and 502: Michael Slovis
Episodes 503 and 504: Mark Mylod
Episodes 505 and 506: Jeremy Podeswa
Episodes 507 and 508: Miguel Sapochnik
Episodes 509 and 510: David Nutter
As James Hibberd points out, David Benioff and Dan Weiss aren’t taking up director duties as they have with the last few seasons, and other than Nutter every one of the directors is brand new to the series…
Well, sort of. Jeremy Podeswa was set to direct at least one episode of season 2—almost certainly “Blackwater”—when a family situation forced him to drop out. His taking the middle set of episodes may be indicative that there’s some sort of big turn—potentially something action-heavy—taking place in those episodes, given not only the fact that he had been pegged to direct the action-heavy “Blackwater” but has also directed episodes of HBO’s The Pacific, including (with David Nutter) the episode “Iwo Jima” about the Battle of Iwo Jima.
Also of note is the way that every director is directing two episode, contiguous blocks. That may provide some advantages for the scheduling of filming.
The Primetime Emmys have announced their nominations for this year’s award, and the ever.popular Game of Thrones leads the field with a total of 20 nominations in 19 categories, including a number in the “major” categories: Best Drama, Supporting Actor (Peter Dinklage), Supporting Actress (Lena Headey), Guest Actress (Diana Rigg), Writing, and Direction (Neil Marshall for Watchers on the Wall). Other nominations are Casting in a Drama, two entries in the Cinematography category (for Anette Haellmigk, who acted as director of photography for a six of last season’s episodes, as well as Jonathan Freeman, also responsible for several episodes), Costuming, Hairstyling, Interactive Program (for HBO’s use of Instagram and Facebook), Makeup, Music Composition, Prosthetic Makeup, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Stunt Coordination, Art Direction, and Visual Effects.
It’s a tough field in the major categories, especially with Breaking Bad‘s final season under consideration, and performances by its supporting cast in Aaron Paul and Anna Gunn, while a HBO sister program True Detective has Cary Fukunaga’s direction and Nic Pizzolatto’s writing to contend with as well. Still, as they say, it’s an honor to be nominated. The Emmy awards will be handed out on August 25th.
When he was last in LA, we learned that George R.R. Martin was filming something for comedy website Funny or Die, but details were sparse.
Well, now that video has been released—the newest segment of the running “Gay of Thrones” sketch—and GRRM’s appearance is a hilarious homage to nothing less than The Princess Bride:
Didn’t see that coming—brilliant!
Concluding our interviews from February, I had the chance to meet and talk with Isaac Hempstead-Wright—the adorable Bran Stark, who I had last met years ago during the first season filming—and Thomas Brodie-Sangster whose portrayal of Jojen Reed has been a study in maturity and understated performance.
When Isaac saw me, his genuine pleasure at meeting again reminded me of the cheerful, enthusiastic child I’d met years earlier. He’s grown up in a lot of ways—I remarked that Kristian Nairn has mentioned how glad he is that he hasn’t had to carry Isaac on his back any longer thanks to that!—and he (and Thomas) both gave some very thoughtful answers to the questions posed.
So, what can you say of any visions you have this season?
In the books, Jojen knows the date of his death and what happens to him. Is this something present in the show?
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?
(For the rest of the interview, check our Features page!)
Big news for Bryan Cogman, story editor of Game of Thrones and writer of such episodes as “Kissed by Fire” and “The Laws of Gods and Men”. According to Deadline Hollywood, Cogman will be writing the Magic: The Gathering film—the first in a potential franchise of movies—for 20th Century Fox and Hasbro with Simon Kinberg (of X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Days of Future Past, among other works) producing.
(Oh, and before anyone worries that this scripting work will pull him away from Game of Thrones, never fear—Cogman’s participation is confirmed at least through season 5!)
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?
(For the rest of the interview, head over to the Features page!)
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?
(Click here for the rest of the interview in our Features section!)
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?
Read the rest of the interview at the Feature page!
More than a week has passed since “Breaker of Chains” aired to some controversy, all thanks to the sept scene between siblings Cersei and Jaime, a dark moment between them made grotesque by the presence of their dead son’s body in the scene. Outrage was exceptional on many sides as a general opinion formed that what was depicted was a rape scene with Jaime forcing his sister. Matters were thrown into some confusion by certain remarks from director Alex Graves and actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, compounded by a very brief remark from executive producer David Benioff in the Inside the Episode featurette which were construed by some as being contradictory.
This week, however, a pair of new interviews with the actors involved in the scene sheds some further light on what they had intended to achieve. Speaking with Sweden’s Expressen newspaper, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau expanded (Google Translate version) on his earlier remarks, speaking forthrightly but with a clear acknowledgment that what viewers took from it was in many cases different from what he, Lena Headey, the director, and the executive producers had intended. Two brief excerpts: