A tweet led us to take a look at the Game of Thrones IMDB page, to see if there had been any changes in the visual effects lineup ... and it looks like there is. Once the pilot was shot, the search for a long-term arrangement in terms of visual effects started, and it appears that a newer, London-based VFX company by the name of BlueBolt will be in charge of coordinating the visual effects work for the production.
Though new, BlueBolt has some very impressive credits via its founders, with their showreel featuring visual effects scenes from Troy, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Poseidon, The Quantum of Solace, and many more. Their new company is credited with providing special effects for Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and Sherlock Holmes.
The new VFX producer specifically for the production seems to be Paddy Kelly, whose credits include Avatar, The Golden Compass, and several of the Harry Potter films. It looks like Kelly himself may be based at BlueBolt’s Dublin facility. BlueBolt co-founder Angela Barson appears to be the VFX supervisor for at least one episode.
The Making Game of Thrones site has a new post which provides some obscure quotes from recent work on the production. Some of the remarks make us think of Wyvernwood’s Tollymore photos, where a number of different scenes were recently filmed, at least one of which would have involved dead bodies (and possibly fighting leading up to them).
Via WICnet, it seems someone named tek has already decoded Lysa’s coded message. Wow! Full details behind the extended text:
Bryan Cogman provides a post written during the Shane’s Castle tourney filming for HBO’s Game of Thrones, filmed back in August, and it’s full of interesting details ... like the Fruit Ninja craze that has swept the crew. And that the tourney—depicted in two separate chapters of A Game of Thrones—is split across episodes IV and V. But one detail leapt out at us as just the sort of thing we love best, that graphic artist Jim Stanes was working on the production and that he had done a great design for House Royce (Bronze Yohn and his sons were at the tourney in the novels).
We quickly found his blog, where we noticed he worked on Kingdom of Heaven (David, Dan, if you’re reading this—we’ve always imagined the Dornish look much like that!) and then @straphe pointed out to us that Stanes had uploaded the Targaryen arms back in December. I did a little more digging and stumbled across this beauty, described as a coded message from the production.
Before the image loaded, I of course thought it was Lysa’s to Catelyn .... but the script is so radically different from our own (which is what is being used for Westerosi)
. Of course, the fact that he uploaded it back in December suggests it was from the pilot, where only Lysa’s message to Catelyn really makes any sense.
The Making Game of Thrones site from HBO has a brand new entry in the Artisans series, revisiting production designer Gemma Jackson as she discusses the functional winch built for scenes shot in Castle Black. This makes a nice companion piece to Bryan Cogman’s earlier post. You can watch the video below:
It’s interesting that the lift is basically a repurposed industrial building site lift, with much of the machinery tucked away and some work done to make it seem like a primitive medieval contraption of wood and iron.
Via the Rabbit, we have what may be the very first image from Game of Thrones filming in Malta:
Posted by Flickr member bertiebears, he describes it as the set for another film, The Devil’s Double, being filmed in Mdina. He appears to be in error as that film has wrapped production and is, in any case, a story about Saddam Hussein’s double. This morning, a Game of Thrones extra said he was 100% certain that was an exterior shot being filmed for King’s Landing and added “yes gold cloaks on horseback. Girl to right in foreground wearing exactly same costume as female Tourney peasants.”
Compare the costuming of the horsemen to the gold cloak in the background of this screencap, and the costuming of the extras on foot to what’s seen here and here. Note in particular the white-bearded man in red and white robes—possibly a septon—in the Sandor tourney screencap, and the white-bearded man in the background of the Malta photo wearing what seems to be the same garment.
We have to say, the costuming of the people on foot is a little baffling to us, as our first thought was that these may be Pentoshi. The clothing depicted here is extremely similar to Graeco-Roman costume of the ancient world, and seems markedly different from the glimpses had from the In Production behind the scenes video. But given that the extra in question has taken part in filming over a number of days, including the tourney that featured so many extras, we’ll take it as a given that commoners in King’s Landing wear some notably different costumes from the nobility.
In what appears to be a confirmation that Game of Thrones will use Malta for at least some King’s Landing exterior scenes, musician Wilko Johnson—cast as Ser Ilyn Payne, the royal executioner—will be filming there, according the Essex Echo and their discussion with his manager. It’s indicated that he had filmed for a week in September in the Belfast area, and there’ll be more shooting later this month in Malta. The article provides a great quote:
“He pulled his usual scary face on the set, but the director told him ‘you don’t need to do scary, you are scary’.”
There’s a new post on HBO’s Making Game of Thrones site from writer and production right-hand man Bryan Cogman. Dating somewhere from mid-August, we think, he discusses filming scenes for episode III and IV at the site of the Castle Black set in Magheramorne Quarry. He notes that the set contains both exterior and interior locations, and lists a few of them as well as well as the functioning winch elevator.
Yesterday and this morning have seen a number of small items of note, many via Twitter (and some of those thanks to fellow fan Nymeria_Wic) which we tweeted about, plus a new item or two which leads this post off:
Location shoots seem to have been a major focus of HBO’s Game of Thrones production over the last couple of weeks. Castle Ward has been used extensively to represent Winterfell, and a reader of Winter is Coming photographed an area of Tollymore Forest Park which was clearly prepared for use. Tollymore was the location of the prologue scene during the pilot, and due to recasting it was one of the scenes scheduled to be re-shot for the first episode.
We now have a brief report from a fan, Emma Galbraith, who indicates that she, too, came across the Tollymore filming location almost two weeks ago. Besides that, though, she reveals some information that’s new to us. She indicates that an estate on the outskirts of Saintfield has been used for filming, and that the production has also been sighted in Saul, both in County Down.
The Making Game of Thrones site has a new photo posted, featuring the Hand’s seat in the small council chamber. This chair was previously glimpsed in the “Raven” teaser, and drew some commentary from us in our screencapture gallery. Looking at it from this vantage point, we see we were well off the mark in suggesting it seemed inspired by the Rococo period.
While getting back into the swing of things after his trip to Australia, George R.R. Martin has provided some interesting updates on casting.
The role of the youngest Stark child, Rickon, has finally been filled with the a Belfast-native child actor, Art Parkinson. He very briefly appears in the 2008 Northern Irish horror film Red Mist (produced by Mark Huffam, a key member of the Game of Thrones production):
He seems about 5-7 years old here, so we suppose he’s in the 7-9 range, a good deal older than the 3-year-old described in the books.
More notably, the role of the maegi Mirri Maz Duur—a character who appears late in the first novel, and plays an important role in the narrative—has been given to Mia Soteriou (George writes Sotiriou, but the production confirms that Soteriou is correct). A vocal coach and theatre composer as well as an actress, she appeared in the international hit Mamma Mia!, and has a number of theatrical and television credits in the U.K. Looking at her photos, she certainly looks the part.
Finally, there’s been a minor change in the role Elyes Gabel is playing. Originally cast as the Dothraki warrior Jhogo, he has been redubbed Rakharo, another of Daenerys’s personal guards. The reason given was that it was felt Jhogo sounded too similar to Drogo. We discuss the differences between the two characters, such as they are, on our characters page.
Vicinanza, along with Hollywood-based partner Vince Gerardis (who also shared a co-executive producer credit), ran the Created By management and production company which represents the film and television rights for most of the notable names in science fiction and fantasy, both past and present (among them are Stephen King, Larry Niven, Robin Hobb, Joe Haldeman, Isaac Asimov, and of course George R.R. Martin). It seems clear from the co-executive producer credit that Created By had a direct hand in bringing Game of Thrones to television. They are specifically mentioned by Martin when he first announced the HBO option on the series way back at the start of 2007.
Vicinanza had recently expanded his involvement from simply representing to having a more direct hand in developing projects, with his most notable other credit being one of the executive producers of FlashForward, which was based on Robert J. Sawyer’s novel of the same name. However, our understanding of Vicinanza’s co-executive producer status on Game of Throneswas that it was more a notional than a working position, and that his day-to-day involvement in the series was substantially less than GRRM’s.
Our condolences go out to his friends and family. A memorial service is planned on October 1st.
There’s been a new update on HBO’s official Making Game of Thrones site, this time a video—the first in an Artisans series of videos (yes!) from award-winning production designer Gemma Jackson. Here it is:
Notable details we spotted right off: a rendition of the 7-pointed star of the Faith, a closer look at the direwolf on the Stark banners, and the king’s feasting pavilion at the tourney fields.
We’ve found some interesting information that has some indirect relevance to HBO’s Game of Thrones, concerning Starz’s Camelot. This Arthurian drama which may well be called a direct competitor to Game of Thrones, and may have been so even when both were just ideas floating around the networks. As we’ve speculated in the past, Camelot may have been the Arthurian project that was being considered by HBO as an alternative to Game of Thrones at the time when Chris Albrecht still ran the Warner Brothers subsidiary, and if so it doesn’t seem like much of a coincidence that it ended up with Starz now that Albrecht runs that cable company.
In any case, back in July the Wall Street Journal reported that the per episode budget was around $7 million, an extraordinary sum more than half again the speculated budget for Game of Thrones: So extraordinary, in fact, that we cast doubts on it in our report. As it happens, we were right to. In a press conference at the end of August, executive producer Morgan O’Sullivan apparently confirmed that the budget was 34.7 million Euros. This comes out to about $46 million for the 10 episode series, which is exactly the same as what we believe Game of Thrones to be at.
The $7 million per episode budget may have been nothing but hype ... or it may be a hint of the fact that the purchasing power of Starz’s money in Ireland means the show has a budget equivalent to $7 million compared to a similar show filmed in the United States. The interesting thing, of course, is that the Irish and Northern Irish tax incentives and other advantages for film and television productions are pretty similar. That would then fit our own speculation that Game of Thrones stands nearer a $6.5-$7 million per episode budget when compared to a similar production in the U.S., when these incentives and other benefits are factored in.
One last thing for Game of Thrones fans. Executive Producer Morgan O’Sullivan had this to say about the future of Camelot, and the words certainly apply to HBO’s epic fantasy drama: