Today marks the 73rd birthday of one George Raymond Richard Martin, known and beloved as George R. R. Martin, or GRRM for short. George has posted a brief remark on this happy occasion at “Not a Blog”, quoting from T. S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”.
A spate of reports concerning the FromSoftware’s forthcoming RPG Elden Ring, as the developers have provided game journalists access to previews of the game and interviews with the developers. The game, from a developer already extremely famous for its Dark Souls series, added George R. R. Martin to its creative team when the game first entered development. Now, in an interview transcribed at The Verge, Yasuhiro Kitao from FromSoft reveals that GRRM’s participation was very early on and quite particular.
A newly-released screenshot from Elden Ring.
Back in February, we connected some dots following our stumbling across Vince Gerardis’s Startling Inc. site listing a number of titles that he had in production and development. Among the items there was a note: “Dark Winds at AMC”. We speculated that this was based on Tony Hillerman’s crime novels and that GRRM was involved due to a post he made back in June 2018.
This is now all confirmed thanks to James Hibberd at The Hollywood Reporter:
“The network has ordered Dark Winds, which is based on author Tony Hillerman’s iconic Leaphorn & Chee books, which follow two Navajo police officers in the 1970s Southwest.
“The series is created and executive produced by Graham Roland (Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan) and stars Zahn McClarnon (Fargo), who is also an executive producer, and Kiowa Gordon (The Red Road). Vince Calandra (Castle Rock) is the showrunner and also an executive producer. Chris Eyre (Smoke Signals) will direct the pilot and executive produce. Other executive producers include George R.R. Martin, Robert Redford, Tina Elmo and Vince Gerardis. In a rare move, the production has secured permission to film on tribal lands in New Mexico.”
There’s also a statement from GRRM that Hibberd reports, indicating that Chris Eyre (who directed the accoladed film Smoke Signals) and Robert Redford(!) reached out to ask him to become involved and help bring Hillerman’s Leaphorn & Chee series to television.
Zach McClarnon as Hanzee Dent in the 2nd season of Fargo
Well, more correctly, it sounds like something from A Song of Ice and Fire is coming to Broadway, as HBO is not formally involved in any way (but has the option to invest)...
You may remember this post from a month ago, where we stumbled across Vince Gerardis’s website for Startling Inc., which listed a project called “A Song of Ice and Fire with The Works” as being in development. Interestingly, we checked a couple of days ago, and that reference was gone. But the project was not, in fact, dead. It is, in fact, very much alive. Producers Simon Painter and Tim Lawson (of, ahem, The Works Entertainment; although, notably, The Works is not named in the piece, while Kilburn Live is… so perhaps this is a project they’re doing separately from their company?) are working from a story provided by George R.R. Martin to write a spectacular stage play—targetting, New York’s Broadway, London’s West End, and Australia—concerning the events at the Tourney at Harrenhal.
As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, George R.R. Martin has renewed his overall deal with HBO, this time for a reported “mid-eight figure” contract that spans five years. An overall deal is one in which any new ideas or pitches a creator generates will belong to the studio. George first signed an overall deal with HBO back in 2013, which was then renewed in 2016. The article proceeds to run through the five projects in various stages of development, as well as House of the Dragon which begins filming next month if all goes to plan. We did like the speculation on the animated project:
It’s one of those days again, it seems. Shortly after we shared news on the status of the Wild Cards TV adaptation, George R.R. Martin posted his own update. The first was an item we had forgotten to post an update about, namely that just after we revealed that Sandkings was in development at Netflix, by sheer coincidence Collider had learned in an interview that director Gore Verbinski (Rango, Pirates of the Caribbean) was set to direct it, with screenwriter Dennis Kelly (Utopia) writing the script for the high-budget film adaptation of the famous, award-winning science fiction horror story.
George goes on to fill in some details on some other projects, some of which touch on things we recently revealed.
Screenshot from the 1995 Outer Limits adaptation of “Sandkings”. The “castle” features the face of Dr. Simon Kress, played by Beau Bridges in the episode.
Is A Song of Ice and Fire in development at someone not named HBO? Strangely, that may be the case from something we uncovered following yesterday’s post on some recent development updates.
This led us to some digging and and we discovered that Vince Gerardis’s new company Startling Inc. has an official website with a long, long list of various literary works that are in development at various studios, networks, and production companies. As an science fiction and fantasy fan, a lot of the titles are familiar—works by Robert Silverberg, David Eddings, Kim Stanley Robinsion, Larry Niven, Greg Bear, and more are all represented. But Three of these are of special interest to fans of George R.R. Martin: Wild Cards, Sandkings, and something titled A Song of Ice and Fire without HBO explicitly linked to it.
A fan-made ASoIaF logo from artist Ertaç Altınöz
UPDATE on March 4, 2021: George R.R. Martin has posted about the development of In the Lost Lands.
“Some recent piece of development news regarding George R.R. Martin has slipped out the last couple of days. First, GRRM and Kalinda Vazquez are set to develop Roger Zelazny’s novel Roadmark for HBO. A science fiction/fantasy blend, the basic concept is of a mysterious, endless road that travereses time, space, and alternate realities that travelers can use to explore and even try to change the past, present, and future.
Martin has posted about it at his “Not a Blog”, noting that it was one of five pitches he made to HBO as part of his overall development deal with them, all of them based on notable works of science fiction and fantasy that he believed could work well adapted. Vince Gerardis, who helped package Game of Thrones, will also have a co-executive credit.
In a brief post at “Not a Blog”, George R.R. Martin shares some thoughts on the previous year. A dark time, as he notes, with the global pandemic, and the loss of a number of friends such as Susan Ellison, Kay McCauley, Ben Bova, and Phyllis Eisenstein, while other friends are in poor health. Still, he is hopeful for the future, especially as one of the more positive developments last year was the best writing streak he’s ever had on The Winds of Winter.
In his own words:
“I wrote hundreds and hundreds of pages of THE WINDS OF WINTER in 2020. The best year I’ve had on WOW since I began it. Why? I don’t know. Maybe the isolation. Or maybe I just got on a roll. Sometimes I do get on a roll.
“I need to keep rolling, though. I still have hundreds of more pages to write to bring the novel to a satisfactory conclusion.
“That’s what 2021 is for, I hope.”
We’ve reported previously that James Hibberd will be publishing an in-depth oral history of Game of Thrones—filled with new interviews and never-before-heard anecdotes from behind the scenes—titled Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon. Over at EW, a lengthy excerpt has been posted sharing a wide-array of comments from producers (Benioff and Weiss first and foremost, as well as Bryan Cogman), actors (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, Jason Momoa, Mark Addy, Iain Glen), and executives (most notable Michael Lombardo and Richard Plepler) concerning the original pilot which was heavily reshot by Tim van Patten, including recasting of several key roles. There’s some decidedly new details just in this short excerpt, which bodes well for the rest of the book’s insights. Below are a couple of quotes from GRRM himself that are interesting.
George R.R. Martin has posted a new entry to his Not a Blog, titled “Back in Westeros”, which discusses the self-imposed isolation he’s been in for much of the year. In a mountain cabin somewhere in the mountains of New Mexico, George has been making progress on The Winds of Winter, and reflects on how the periods in his career where he’s been the most isolated have also been among his most productive.
Towards the end, he gets a little more specific about what he has been working on lately in terms of point of view characters, and one of the one he names is a bit of new information as their presence as a POV had not been confirmed until now.
(No, this is not actually his cabin!)
George R.R. Martin has updated his “Not a Blog” page with a long post discussing the current state of affairs in the world, a number of which impact businesses and initaitives he is involved in: Meow Wolf has closed its doors for now, and GRRM has followed suit by temporarialy shuttering the Jean Cocteau Cinema as well as the Stage Coach Foundation (however, he notes employees of both organizations will be paid for the forseeable future). However, in the interim, the Beastly Books store that shares a location with the Jean Cocteau does remain open for the time being for those looking to take some comfort in the familiar act of browsing shelves and picking up something to read.
In the course of writing on this, however, George does touch on those who are concerned about his own well-being. Never fear, he says:
For those of you who may be concerned for me personally… yes, I am aware that I am very much in the most vulnerable population, given my age and physical condition. But I feel fine at the moment, and we are taking all sensible precautions. I am off by myself in a remote isolated location, attended by one of my staff, and I’m not going in to town or seeing anyone. Truth be told, I am spending more time in Westeros than in the real world, writing every day. Things are pretty grim in the Seven Kingdoms… but maybe not as grim as they may become here.
That certainly does sound foreboding.
News is moving fast. We posted just a little while ago about Condal’s series getting a rumored pilot order… and now word is that the show, titled House of the Dragon, now has a full series order for ten epiodes, according to Variety. Condal and Miguel Sapochnik will be co-showrunners, with George R.R. Martin and Vince Gerardis as executive producers alongside.
This is an amazingly fast news day, to say the least.
At the end of September, the Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience will perform at the Santa Fe Opera. Santa Fe happens to be George’s home turf, and as it happens this performance will be extra special because it’s being put on as the first major fundraising event for the Stagecoach Foundation, founded by GRRM to advance education and opportunities in the film and television field in New Mexico. Net proceeds from the event will be donated to the Stagecoach Foundation, and to entice attendees some very unique opportunities are being offered as part of various VIP packages which include a pre-show meet and greet with both George R.R. Martin and award-winning composer Ramin Djawadi as well as a photo opportunity. Some additional goodies listed below, according to the various tiers.
VIP Front Row Meet & Greet Tier: ticket, signed leather-bound set of A Song of Ice and Fire, two passes to Meow Wolf, and a Faceless Man coin.
VIP Gold Meet & Greet Tier : ticket, signed Fire & Blood, two passes to Meow Wolf, and a Faceless Man coin.
VIP Silver Meet & Great Tier: ticket, two passes to Meow Wolf and a Faceless Man coin.
Tickets are sold through Ticketmaster, and a handful of non-VIP tickets still remain.
Over at Not a Blog, George R.R. Martin has shared thoughts on the close of Game of Thrones, how it might be compared to his plans for the final two novels in A Song of Ice and Fire, and more. Well worth a read as a reminiscence and commentary for those who wonder about these things. It’s been a long road for George, for everyone who worked on or covered the show, and for the tens (hundreds?) of millions around the world who’ve watched it.
I had the great privilege to accompany George and Parris to a visit to the set as the first season filmed (the image above comes from that visit, George and I moving down a dark hallway in the Paint Hall studio, led by Bryan Cogman to one of the several sets in that colossal space).