Feb. production status report: Silence is not golden

It has been almost a month since the last production update and over two months since we have received any updates from Benioff and Weiss via the Westeros forums. I had hoped that by the time the monthly update rolled around again there would be more concrete news to report. Unfortunately that isn’t the case.

The last update they gave us (on Dec. 3rd) they told us they expected to be able to reveal to us a confirmed shooting location and information on a casting director and where to send resumes, audition tapes, etc within a month. It’s been over two months now and we still haven’t heard anything. So what gives?

If you boil it down, there are really only two reasons for the current lack of updates from the producers right now. They are:

1) The pre-production phase is going slower than they anticipated and there is no news to report. The reasons for this could be any number of things. It could be that HBO is having difficulty nailing down a shooting location. It could be that Benioff and Weiss are busy with other projects and attempting to multi-task has caused progress to be slow. There could be some financial hang ups. Maybe they are still awaiting a budget approval? It could be any or all of these things. Obviously there is no way of knowing.

2) Progress is being made and the producers just haven’t updated the fans yet. Could be that a shooting location is set, a casting director in place, budget is approved and they are in the full swing of pre-production. Certainly if the rumor over at AICN is to be believed, there are some casting negotiations going on. Maybe they are too busy to update us regularly? Although checking their profile over at Westeros shows that they have been logged in since Dec. So either David or Dan or, more likely, an assistant is logging in semi-regularly but yet still no updates. Maybe HBO has asked for Benioff and Weiss to keep a tigher lid on the production? With the script leak and now the Dinklage rumor, it is possible that David & Dan are being extra cautious with the information they give out. Or it could be that they want to wait until they have some really big news (read: Dinklage as Tyrion) to report before they give us an update?

Hopefully what is going on is more a case of option no. 2 and not option no. 1. Personally I am leaning more towards the second option. I am really, really hoping that we get an update soon and maybe accompanying it will be the big casting news we are all waiting for? Even if there is no big news, it would be nice to at least hear that the production is moving along and that there haven’t been any hang ups. Heaven knows, ASOIAF fans have already had their fill of delays.


  • I hope option no. 2 is also the one. We have heard some rumors so I guess we could have a case of ”when there is smoke there is a fire as well”.

  • Time-Warner, who own HBO, posted a Q4 loss of 16+ BILLION dollars.

    That might be your answer right there.

    HBO has been a little cash cow for them, and diverting 100+ million on a fantasy series may have to wait while everything is so completely uncertain right now.

    Still, one would think doing some of the preproduction wouldnt be all that costly and if done right could save the production some money once they begin filming.

  • True, and I don’t know if anyone else has noticed this, but HBO has been spending some advertising dollars… they’re all over TV and the internet right now.

    Could mean A.) they’re hemorrhaging subscribers and are trying to make it stop, or B.) are taking advantage of the cheap advert rates to gain even more of the market.

    My guess is it’s a little of both. Just remember, not too long ago they were crowing about 29+ million subscribers. I am willing to bet you many people have tossed their premium cable packages to save money. Time (and Variety magazine) will tell…

  • Q4 loss but it was their Cable and Network segments that actually had growth, and most of th “loss” results from the $24.2 billion noncash impairment slicing into th value of their “goodwill and intangible assets”. Again the credit crisis affecting everything. Even with the down turn of the fourth quarter they still pulled a 1% revenue growth for the year, and they have a lot of revenue set to flow in for 2009. The Next Harry Potter Movie being a cash cow ready to go to market.

  • We still have lots of time before the summer shooting schedule. I would also say that perhaps D&D are realizing that keeping the fanbase informed is a double-edged sword. It gives fodder for us, the people who want to see it, but also gives fodder for those who just want to bitch and moan about everything. If I were running this thing, I would honestly say that the risk of fan backlash over some of the details far outweighs any positive praise over things like Dinklage or locations. In other words, I wouldn't tell the fans very much…

  • I would also add that silence is not a bad thing. For example, if it’s true Dinklage wants in on this production, it makes some sense to keep silent for now until they’re sure they want him and he is able to do so. If they went out yelling about Dinklage wanting the job, it might discourage other dwarf actors from applying, possibly even somebody more suited for the role. If they do find someone more suited (hard to believe as it may be) it would be unprofessional to drop Dinklages name and then turn around and hire an unknown. Because Holywood is run by agents, you can bet they already have a mountain of dossiers to go through for each of the scripted characters. Some may be big names. And as a courtesy, you wouldn’t want to drop a big name unless you were going to hire them for the role. The same goes for directors etc. Since this project has been in Variety and has gotten some industry recognition, it’s hard not to see how at least some progress has been made in selecting at least some of the crew.

  • Indeed, we really have had our fill of delays. And I'm not just talking about the next book, either – this whole HBO deal was dropped on us TWO YEARS AGO, when they confirmed the series had been optioned. Since then, we've suffered an interminable waiting period, the only real news in that time being that the series pilot had been greenlit. If you think back, we haven't been giving ANYTHING concrete from D&D, other than some communications on the Westeros forum and a mention or two in some interviews.

    They haven't given us ANY information to go on. We are fucking chomping at the bit here, guys – please, GIVE US SOMETHING! GIVE US ANYTHING!!!

  • Maybe they’re pissed about the whole leaked script thing. I can only imagine they aren’t happy with anyone who is disclosing their secrets and pointing others to where they’re at.

    I’m just saying…

  • Keeping things like casting (until they hire a casting director) and location (until the shooting sites are finalized) secret, would make sense to me as well. I just wish there would be more news as to what actually has been done. I’m not a huge fan of rumors (my praise of the “script” notwithstanding) but I really don’t see the harm in filling us in when milestones along the production process have been reached. I’m guessing that there have been some snags along the way that have slowed things up a bit. Hopefully these guys won’t need five years to make a pilot…but if they did at least then they would be on track with GRRM’s schedule ;P

  • Just had a question. Winter, where do you get your info? Do you have anyone’s ear or are all of your excellent posts and topics the results of researching stuff that’s available online? If its the latter you do a great job pulling the needles out of the haystacks.

  • A 1 month delay on an informal promise to update fans isn’t really a big deal. I’m willing to guess we’re pretty low on the priority list. And that’s how it should be.

  • Anon> I don't think any of us feel D&D OWE us an explanation or a progress update – and if anyone does, they're being silly – but it would certainly be NICE if they could hook us up with some info …

  • I’m just keeping my fingers crossed and hope for the best. If this turns out to be anywhere (I hope better) near as good as “ROME” was then I will die a happy man. Even the prospect of finally having a large scale fantasy project being brought to the small screen, especially on HBO, is exhilarating.

    Actually I want them to take their time and work really hard on this one. The better the finished product is, the better the chances that HBO will commit to the show. In my dreams I envision a 7 seasons run for the show… It think that the level of quality they should aspire to is that of Peter Jackson and the LOTR trilogy.

    Also, think about the amount of work there is to be done on a project of this scale, to say that it is daunting is probably an understatement. I cannot even begin to imagine what this guys have ahead of them. Just think, Jackson started working on the LOTR trilogy in 1995?!?!?!? It was a long and exhausting process , just convincing a studio to take a chance on the whole movie project, until New Line agreed to pony up the cash.

    All the people involved in this must realize that if this project comes to fruition, they will most likely have to dedicate almost a decade of their lives to this thing. Not an easy commitment to make. While I want to get some updates here and there, I am not terribly dissapointed, as long as everything is proceeding according to plan, and this project is moving in the right directiob.

    My main concern is that “A Song Of Ice And Fire” is done the right way, and that it is treated with the love, passion, imagination respect and appreciation it deserves!

    Given the quality of the source material, this show will hopefully change the landscape of television and what it possible to bring to the small screen. If Jackson did it for the movies, they can do it for TV. “Band Of Brothers”, “ROME”, “Deadwood”, “John Adams” and “Generation Kill” were the appetizers, I am now ready for the main course…”A Song Of Ice And Fire”!!!!!!

  • I think it’s just taking along time and there’s no point updating us until there is something worthwhile. In many respects the only news I’m really interested in hearing is casting, directors and additional writers. The location seems to be uk based and that’s good enough for me.

    People need to remember that shows like Deadwood and Rome took a long time to surface (David Milch admitted he initially wanted to do Deadwood in Rome until he discovered a Rome show was in development). The deadwood/Rome incident also means we don’t need to worry too much about all the progress on the rival shows as they could all start at different times.
    My final example would be the “sequel” to Band of Brothers, “Pacific” which I think was announced at least 5 years ago and is still being made.

  • While it is true that a promised update has not been given, so far it’s nothing compared to the impatiently awaited Episode 3 of Half-Life 2.

    The Episode is in production for about 18 months and all we’ve been shown so far are 2 concept art images (!). Also, the creators, Valve, promised to give us some update on Episode 3 by the end of 2008 or at the very beginning of 2009, but nothing happened. You’d think they would have a stockpile of concept art images they could just dive their hands randomly into and give us just to silence us, but no, they don’t do that. So, we players of HL2 games are getting more and more nervous that the game may actually not be published this year…

    So, fear not, the update will come.

  • Michael: That thought had crossed my mind as well. But this is Hollywood. Leaks are going to happen. Especially when you have a project that has been in the works for over two years. The script that has been leaked is probably a year old as well.

    I have to assume they would have been expecting a script leak, particularly on a project like this with an existing fan base that is rabid for any info on the pilot. The overall reaction to the script from the fan base has been positive, and it seems the excitement level for the project has gone up. So in the end the script leak may be a good thing, showing David & Dan they are doing things right and showing HBO they may have a hit on their hands.

    LNH: I don't have any insider info, no. All the concrete news in my posts is just info that I've picked up online. Of course, at this point that news isn't much, so my posts contain a healthy amount of speculation too. Thanks for the compliments!

  • Odds are they are working 16 to 18 hour days getting the production together leaving little time for thought of anything else. That’s about what it is for those running something like this to get it together in time. It’s an enormous amount of work and there never seems to be enough time to get it all done.

  • I agree that these producers are defitnely not what the OP had as his option 1. I know one of them (or I should say have met one awhile back) and have seen both of them work and they very focused and responsible people. Either there not talking or HBO has constricted them for many various minor reasons. Its one of those 2 period. But the BBC involvement, at least for me, says that the pre production will be slower than it would have without them. And this is for good reasons, there a very thorough company.

  • HBO seems to always take a while to develop their shows. Which is a good thing IMO.

    You would definitely want this pilot – and it is only a pilot, correct? Something we may never see? – to be as strong as possible for the decision-makers at HBO.

    While I agree that not hearing any direct news for a while can be disheartening, I wouldn’t doubt that the producers, or at least their assistants or proxies, are still monitoring the message board.

    Following some of the blogs/podcasts from producers of existing shows, I’ve found that you don’t get much extra info from them at the start of the season b/c they are still in production on the final half.

    It’s only towards the end when they have time free to pay attention to the fans. (if they have the energy for it – they are people with lives beyond this one thing, after all)

    So I would take this as a good thing – they are up to their eyeballs in the very time-consuming and frantic job of pulling something together that doesn’t exist yet, and probably don’t have time for much else.

  • Yeah, but let’s be honest … it only takes a few minutes to craft an email. Even a blurb that says ‘We ARE working on it, we’re very busy, more real updates coming soon enough’ etc

  • it seems that winter is not coming,rather it is gone.
    renaming the site in “Winter-is-Over”would maybe fit better.

  • The script leak is probably a cause for concern, although much less of one than if it was an original series. I mean, people yelling “OH MY GOD GOLLUM DIES!” before Return of the King came out weren’t exactly telling people anything that half of the audience didn’t already know ;-)

    At the same time, HBO probably weren’t too happy with it, especially the detail with which people were going through it. But on the inverse side, it may help convince them of the enthusiasm and popularity of the books.

    The main cause for the radio silence is more likely that pre-production is starting to get underway and this requires both writers (who have other projects ongoing as well) to suspend everything else and start work on the series proper, with not as much time for announcements as might be wished.

  • Thats bullshit. Nobodys so busy they can’t spare a minute or two. And thats all it takes to update us.

    So its gotta be a consius decision. Either they don’t want too much negativity from hardcore fans about things beeing less than perfect or they simply haven’t done much yet, so theres not much to update about.

    For some reason i’m also considering the possibility that they might not even make the pilot. But haven’t HBO commited to making it? Could someone reassure me?

  • In response to Boore, the producers have no obligation to update anyone on anything. They don’t owe it to anyone, and most definitely not to ungracious, impatient people like you. They will make an announcement when they feel like there is something substantial to announce and that is their decision to make. Also, can you please learn how to spell? Your grammar and punctuation is so horrid.

  • The producers ought to be advised that they are missing out on a huge unique opportunity however. There is a fanbase!

    They would be fools not to use us.

    Sorry, but if D&D don't have their act together by ComiCon in late July of this year, I wouldn't hold out ANY hope of this thing being decent.

    Things we should see by ComiCon: Some cast members… Production artwork… Perhaps a finished scene… Costumes….

    This is really a no brainer. This is the single biggest marketing event of the year in fantasy. So, I'm giving them SIX (6) WHOLE MONTHS to figure this out. After that, I'm just not going to not pay attention to this.

  • In response to Anonymous that responded to me. I did not actually say they owed us an update. Only that they surely have the time. And i even suggested the same as you, that maybe not much has happened yet.

    And my grammar is less than perfect, but guess what – not everyone has english as their native tongue. I’m from Norway, and not exactly fluent, but honestly I see people that write worse english than me everywere on the web.