Casting News

David & Dan confirm what we already know

Just as most everyone figured, Holly Marie Combs has not been cast as Catelyn in the Game of Thrones pilot. This comes straight from Benioff and Weiss themselves, courtesy of the Westeros forums. In responding to a poster who stated they hoped that the casting of Holly Marie Combs wasn’t true, David & Dan say this:

Don’t worry, it’s not.

Winter Is Coming: No big surprise here. But nice to get official confirmation.


  • Are you freaking kidding me? Did you see her in Charmed? She is not HBO-quality actress.

  • I knew it had to be someone’s bad idea of a joke. Holly Marie Combs is no way near good enough to play the lead female in an HBO drama.

    I know Gillian Anderson is the popular pick here, but she’ll forever be Agent Scully to me. Lena Headey would be my choice to play Catelyn.

  • Lena Headey is such a milf though. And this show needs some class. She could totally play someone on Coronation Street :)

  • I saw a little post on westeros that was mostly ignored but true. the perfect catelyn actor should have great chemistry against cersei. catelyn should have an air of soundness and maturity in comparison to cersei’s evil thing. if i were casting her, i’d pit my favorites against each other in a scene to feel out how the tension emerges. she also should seem right as other roles: queen mother, lover to eddard.

    that rules out agent scully, who is a vampire.

  • Oh yeaah? Anon #2 I think you’re a bloody vampire. Please apologize to Agent Scully immediately or face the consequence of more silly posts.

  • I’ve never seen Lena Headey in anything that I can recall. I really need to start watching more TV.

    Glad Holly Marie Combs isn’t Catelyn, at any rate!

  • why would Catelyn and Cersei need to have any chemistry between them at all? With the exception of the pilot the two women are never in the same scene and in the few scenes they have together they don’t even talk to each other

  • Lena Headey was John Connor’s mom in Terminator TV series. But she is way too skinny. I just don’t see how some people picture her as Catelyn.

  • I think too many people are wishing for super-model types to play the female characters. God, have you read some of the suggestions for Daenerys posted on here. Top-heavy? lol Grow up.

  • Lena Headey is exactly who I picture as Cate in the books. She’s beautiful and can be very kind and yet there’s another side to her that is really quite dark. I can think of no one better for the part.

  • I don’t get Gillian Anderson or Lena Headey as Cat.Definately Holly Marie Combs. I actually hope this role goes to a relative unkown. Heh. Unless Kate Blanchett wants to do it. Yeah I know. Not bloody likely.

  • How about Louise Lombard? British, been in CSI so has recognition, beautiful and right age…

  • A somewhat (okay very) irrelevant question: where are all of the pictures of Peter Dinklage in a crown coming from? Are they teaser production photos or something?

  • Why do I get the feeling that the only reason people are throwing around the name Lena Headey is because she was a queen in 300? Can’t we get some inspired, original castings?

  • Louise Lombard doesn’t look like a bad pick. I just was reminded on another website that Catelyn is annoying after the first book (first few chapters?). And Lady Stoneheart or whatever doesn’t even speak. So now I think just about anyone can play Catelyn and suddenly I don’t care that much. Still, G.A. is going too far.

  • I suppose Catelyn could look like that, but what matters more is whether she can act. I’ve only seen her in 300, and her character in that is pretty one-dimensional, so I have no idea if she’s capable of more.

    And the role of Catelyn will definitely require more. The series isn’t going to work unless it can get the viewers emotionally invested in the Starks fairly early on, which puts a lot of pressure on whoever’s playing Ned and Cat–especially because neither character is automatically sympathetic: Ned is stoic and humorless, and Catelyn is not a particularly nice person (i.e. her treatment of Jon Snow, and then the fact that she basically started the war, and I could go on . . . ). GRRM manages to pull it off, because he’s GRRM, but in a visual medium, with less than perfect actors, it might not work so well. (I’ve always thought Molly Parker was the ideal Catelyn, but she’s a Canadian, not a Brit, and she’s busy with another HBO pilot anyway.)

    Which gets at a nagging concern I have about the news that’s trickled out so far. On the one hand, I’m really glad that HBO is going to be able to do this on the cheap by cutting a deal with Northern Ireland, because it makes the series much more likely to be commercially viable. But at the same time, I hope they still have the resources and the casting leeway to pick people for the key roles who can truly carry the series. I don’t care if they’re recognized names or not, but they’re going to have to be really compelling performers. If the producers have the whole greater UK acting community to draw from, they should be fine. If they’re stuck with just Northern Ireland, I’m not so sure.

    The encouraging thing is that this is something HBO has a real knack for. I can’t think of any HBO series–even ones that flopped–that was poorly cast. And they do a particularly good job with clever villain characters who shouldn’t be sympathetic but who you can’t help liking on some level, which makes me especially eager to see who they come up with for Jaime, Cersei, and Littlefinger.

  • Winter…just a minor correction. The play Dinklage did was actually Richard III–the one about the deformed but fiendishly brilliant and scheming king–not Richard II. Seems like perfect training for the role of Tyrion, doesn’t it? If Tyrion were evil…he’d be Richard III. =)

  • I don’t understand the complaints about Lena Headey being “skinny.” She’s no thinner than most actresses. Do people imagine Catelyn fat? Her sister Lysa is the fat one, not Catelyn.

  • “I just was reminded on another website that Catelyn is annoying after the first book (first few chapters?). And Lady Stoneheart or whatever doesn’t even speak. So now I think just about anyone can play Catelyn and suddenly I don’t care that much. Still, G.A. is going too far.”

    bardamu, Catelyn is going to be one of the most complex characters in the series to play, so no, “just about anyone” couldn’t play her. Which is why there’s so much debate going on here.

    However, if you’re no longer fussed, then cool. Which characters are you more interested in?

  • “Why do I get the feeling that the only reason people are throwing around the name Lena Headey is because she was a queen in 300?”

    Catelyn is a perfect mixture of Lena Headey’s roles (I mean, from 300 and from T:TSCC) She is the real prototype of the strong mother with questionable decisions, lol:D

  • Yeah, Catelyn’s definitely not fat. Lysa is the fat fuck, Catelyn is the one who still manages to get Eddard horny. :P

  • 300 was a horrible film, and I honestly wouldn’t use it to judge its actors’ acting ability. Furthermore, I’m getting a feeling that some of those putting forth Lena Headey are rude 14-year olds who saw 300 and thought it “freaking awesome”. I’m not saying that Lena is a bad actress, just not suitable for this role in my opinion. I know you will have yours. And she is too skinny, no way denying it. Catelyn is not supposed to look like a waif, Lady Stoneheart maybe. PS: Lena Headey will always be Sarah Connor to me.

  • How isn’t she suitable for the role? She’s shown herself to be perfectly capable of playing as Cate. She has every attribute necessary.

  • Show me a British Actress that’s a better fit for Cate than Lena? The size is irrelevant as she’s mostly wearing thicker clothing from that time period due to the colder nature of Winterfell. Even if she wore a tanktop the whole show she is not so skinny that it’s ghastly or obvious. If Catelyn has been described as thick in the books it’s certainly never been reiterated enough to matter.

    And for someone who said that they didn’t see enough of Lena…your right, you didn’t. Anyone who’s seen her work should know she’s more than capable of being a character that’s both hated and loved while also being worthy of being the beauty that mothered Sansa and the image of the Tully family.

  • I’m sure most of the actors mentioned up til now could played Catelyn perfectly well – Lena Headey, Gillian Anderson, Saffron Burrows or whoever. It all comes down to personal preference as to which we think could play her best.

    And in all likelihood, we won’t get any of them, so let’s stop with the insults and swearing, eh? :)

  • Yes, ladies and gentlemen — as incredible as it may seem, there are body sizes that are neither “fat fuck” nor “skinny ass”.

  • Silverstar, you’re right: we will get someone much better than all of them combined (though Gillian doesn’t really add to that sum with her inability to smile…
    come on admit it!!!! You know she can’t!!!)

    So anyway, “Catelyn is going to be one of the most complex characters in the series to play”.. I used to think that, but that’s because my memory is not so good. Then I remembered.

    Also I believe that GRRM kills the characters he gets tired of because he doesn’t want to write them any more.. It finally clicked for me, it all made sense.

    The thing about Cat to me anyway, was that she was a very important person, but she was just not that interesting. She’s actually a displaced unhappy princess ‘braving’ the north.

    Because Ned married his brother’s bride, she was not even his true love, only a dutiful thing. What does she think about that? Not much in the books; maybe a little jealousy misdirected to Jon. So she’s a typical gal, who is not that smart or compassionate beyond the regular court life intrigue. She was privileged in life before marriage but otherwise quite average in all things.

  • Grace Park for Catelyn. She smiles so well unlike Anderson. And she looks exactly like I pictured Cat.

  • Anon, I wouldn’t agree that she can’t smile, no. It’s be nice if people could stop telling me what I think or don’t think.

    I also strongly disagree that Catelyn is not interesting. I find her one of the most interesting characters in the series. Other people do not. Either opinion is absolutely fine.

    It’s fairly obvious that people are just arguing and being insulting for fun, now, and as I really don’t enjoy that kind of thing, I’m going to bow out of this discussion now, having made my opinions known. Everyone, enjoy the rest of the debate :)

  • Grace Park is a beautiful woman, but the anon who said that she should be Catelyn needs to have a brain examination.

  • Grace Park is Korean. Damn fine looking woman, pretty good actress, too, but the Tullys are not Asian, sorry.

    Also I believe that GRRM kills the characters he gets tired of because he doesn’t want to write them any more.. It finally clicked for me, it all made sense.If that were true then Bran, Arya and Sansa would have been dead a long time ago. He has said he finds it very hard to write for most of his child characters and doesn’t like it much. It’s kind of a slog for him most of the time. It’s hard for him to get in the mindset and mode of speech that is believable as children’s POVs.

  • Anonymous: you suck.
    Silverstar: Yes, people are just arguing for fun. Someone people like that, other people do not. Either opinion is absolutely fine. I saw Gillian Anderson smile once. Once. I watched a little bit of that Dickens adaptation recently after hearing so much hype about her and it was just as expected: she was the unsmiley-est women EVAH.

  • Brude… HUH? Bran, Arya, and Sansa are incredible characters. Though at first, Sansa was fairly boring, but she is much more interesting after so much ill luck and some hard growing up. Sansa saved herself from GRRM's terrible wrath.

    Also I must remind you that the Tullys are in fact Korean. And I quote (from A Game of Thrones) << "Do you think he did?" Ser Rodrik asked her quietly when they were alone again. "After all, the Tullys are of the Korean persuasion." >>

  • Bran is boring. I wish GRRM would save himself the trouble of writing the Bran chapters and kill him off.

  • As long as I feel the same outrage that I did when I read of Ned’s unfortunate end… I could care less who they cast.

  • Lena Headey doesn’t seem to fit the part to me. She doesn’t seem very “northernish” to me. IMO of course.

  • Lena Headey wouldn’t have to seem northern though, she would not be playing a northern character. She would be playing a southerner who lives comfortably among northerners without ever truly becoming one of them.

    Headey was one of my earliest picks for the role way back in the day, but I ruled her out once she committed to T:TSCC. Now that that’s cancelled (woe) I’d be up for it. Her voice is lighter/higher than I’d like, it takes away from the ideal gravity, but her facial expressions are pretty perfect, and she’s a decent actress. For what it’s worth, I had the idea (not claiming to be the first or only) after seeing her as Guinevere in NBC’s Merlin, way before she ever played Gorgo. It’s true it would be a little like typecasting at this point, but I would rather her than many other feasible choices that are being floated around. Certainly more than Combs, and she’s probably a more appropriate height than Gillian Anderson.

    About her physique: the Tullys are broader and bigger than the Starks (probably not as tall as the Lannisters though) and not lean. That said, Cat’s never said to be fat. I personally don’t think Headey is all that skinny though. I think the ideal body frame would be Natascha McElhone with a tiny bit more weight, but I don’t want her in the part.

  • Actually if someone can find me a person with McElhone’s physique, Anderson’s talent, Headey’s expressions, and Rosamund Pike’s voice, I’ll be happy. There’s just never been one actress that seemed perfect for the role. But I think talent will trump other concerns.

  • Brude… HUH? Bran, Arya, and Sansa are incredible characters. Though at first, Sansa was fairly boring, but she is much more interesting after so much ill luck and some hard growing up. Sansa saved herself from GRRM’s terrible wrath.They are fine characters, but GRRM has said he doesn’t like writing children. Not that he doesn’t like the characters, just writing them is hard for him.

  • Brude, no one doubts it’s difficult for the old Cap’n Marsh to get into the mind of a 6 year old lordling….

  • LOL yeah I’m sure dinkalage would be happy with that choice. And it would surely create some great chemistry between Tyrion and Cat.

  • Romantic, you unwittingly put dinky in Dinklage. Not cool, man. No sir, not at all.

  • Anonymous, any reason for the snark? I’m a consumer giving feedback on a potential TV show, is that a problem?

  • Misstopia, if you read that anonymous’s previous posts, it appears that he, she, or it has a penchant for nastiness. It’s not targeted specifically at you.

    (Would they spell that “targetted” in England?)

  • Okey doke … well moving on, Headey actually said she didn’t like how much weight she lost for T:TSCC and that she finds it frustrating to have to slim down for Hollywood producers.

  • @Aoede: nope, it’s spelled targeted on both sides of the ocean. The rule is that you double if the final syllable is stressed (as in per’mit – permitted). What differs is the final L, which is always doubled in British English, regardless of stress (‘travel – travelled).

  • misstopia, actually that was targeted at you. Don’t take advice from someone who can’t spell target. I was making fun of how you phrased your “modest” expectations. I don’t have a problem: It was funny, and Rosie Cotton as the perfect Catelyn is funny too.

  • @Marko: Ah, thank you for clearing that up. For some reason I had a notion that stress was disregarded in all cases in BrE, but obviously words like "targetted" fall a little less than easily on the eye.

  • Well don’t shoot me down with this, but I’m looking for something else to read, and in keeping with the book the screen scenario (sort of), are those twilight books worth a read? I have no idea about any of them. Just wondering whether its all hype from teenage girls, or something more?

  • Well jack, though Twilight is sort of ok-ish I would recomend that you read Fevre Dream by GRRM. The reason is that it is too a vampire related book and thats its fucking great. I doubt anyone having read aSoIaF first would really like Twilight. I thought the books was far better than the movie, but then againg the movie would actually be on my worst 10 movies list.

  • Jack, assuming you're not trolling with the Twilight reference… Joe Abercrombie's books are good if you're looking for a cynical mud & blood fantasy. The series starts with The Blade Itself)

  • Yes, Abercrombie is definitely sth I recommend as well, second only to Martin. A good series to fill the void ;)

  • Twilight is a series of sexual fantasies by a repressed Mormon housewife. In short, it blows diseased donkey appendage and swallows the issued matter.

    The sheer number of fangirls that like it makes me lose faith in the intelligence of humanity. Fear the spending power of the average American teenage girl combined with her paucity of brain cells.

    If you’re looking for an entertaining fantasy read, try The Dresden Files.

  • I have to disagree about the sexual fantasy part. No sex. None at all. Until the last book where it is like a PG-13 rated film. The books are decently entertaining fluff. Not brilliant, not horrible. Mostly aimed at women, but I’ve known some men (and no, they weren’t all gay, either) that liked them. Not on par with ASOIAF. I suggest Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels Trilogy. Not as many subplots as GRRM, but still very good, IMO.

  • Oh, forgot… Sarah McLeod/Rosie… She’s 5’7, and looks-wise, wouldn’t make a bad Catelyn.

  • Hiya Jack!
    Having been one of those who first read ASOIF and then happened to read the Twilight books, firstly just so see what all that fuss was about.
    I have to say. They can’t compare to ASOIF. But in my opinion nothing can :).
    But all in all I was really pleasantly sursprised. It’s really alluring! You get sucked in, just like a good book should do to you. It’s an original storylilne, even though vampires are not a new idea.
    And frankly, I hated the movie at first – because I saw a poorly cut version through a friend. But it has grown on me! It’s not lifealtering, but it’s great entertainment.
    Surely people will disagree. But once I came over my minor issues I read them all nearly through and through – neglecting work and social life – not so proud of but true nonetheless.

    (With ASOIF it was the very opposite, which was a novelty to me… I didn’t want to read it almost at all, and not too much at a time – in order to make it last longer… Would waver with itching hands over it, as if it were a bewitched artefact, the box of Pandora, the Holy Graal, the bottle of booz to an alcoholic.)

    But if you feel like it – go for them! Do the library thing if you are unsure.
    All in all, an uneven “quadrology” (?) – but well worth a couple of hot summer evenings…
    Oh and the movie is now (proper version) one of my higher picks at the moment, and I have watched it a couple of times or so.
    Comfortmovie and comfortbooks.
    Enough of the unexpected, excitment, and romance to make a good book.

  • I don’t know if I’m alone on this but I would prefer to not have any of the actors from Lord of the Rings in this. It’s not that I have anything against them but I just want this series to totally stand apart from Lord of the Rings and having the same actors would just draw unwanted comparisions. I won’t be upset if they do go that way but it’s just something I see a lot of people wanting for this series that I happen to disagree with.

  • I don’t know about the Twilight books, but people at a showing of the movie in the theater were laughing during parts that were not supposed to be funny. The girl has a huge repertoire of facial expressions that I call “nuance on constipation”.

    I read Fevre Dreams and that is the reason I know Mr. Martin has serious issues with writing the ending to a story.

  • Unless you're a 14 year-old girl or a flaming gay, you wouldn't enjoy Twilight books. Trust me your time is better served reading instruction manuals than that tripe.

  • Could we please get another update. I check this site almost everyday and I would like something new to read about the series, anything.

  • Hayllo comrads. I am from Ireland and haive access to many secrets which I can relayte here for the right pryce. I live beneath the hill o'erlooking the paint hall and often sneak down to hide beneath the casting couch of the pilot producers. My good friend Peter auditioned for Bran but he was rayjected for being far too'oold. I tell you that I have never seen so many yanks on our island. crayling with them. i trye to tempt them with a pot of me goold, but they respaictfully decline and eat many avocados. cheeray-oh now.


  • What, you got too anxious and tried to tip your mug too quickly?

    Anyway, Twilight *is* a sexual fantasy. Look at the descriptions, for fuck's sake. I have never seen a work (other than lousy fanfiction by tween girls who think they're good writers) that devoted as much effort to those. Mary/Marty Sue/Stu anyone?

  • Comment on Anon above William:
    Well, I am a 23 year old woman, and I enjoyed them. Flaws and all.
    SO maybe we could all agree, as previously stated about a trillion other things on this site, that people like different things. And I think that everyone should firstly and foremostly mind their own taste. For any vampire/highschool
    (no denying it)/love-story lover Twilight is worth reviewing on your own.
    And I think it's a shame not to try ANYTHING, just because someone hated it. Sure there must be someONE hating ASOIF… Unprobable, but statistically likely. ;P

    And about it being a sexual fantasy.. I wouldn't deny it- but then again so are all lovestories!! Basically it's a story about two 'people' not only highly unlikely to match up, but rather being against all of nature's laws! And they are drawn together body and souls – unstoppably, soulmates.
    Which romancelovers in general love. Something we (romantics) all like to dream could happen to us.

    Agree with William – but probably there is nothing to tell since they are busy casting and bejng tightlipped..?

  • Anyway – this is not a Twilight forum ;)
    Guess we are all just so stomping in one place waiting for news on ASOIF… Biding our time, squabbling, deviating from subjects…

  • I would recommend "The Lies of Locke Lamora" by Scott Lynch to any GRRM fan. It has to be one of the best debut fantasy novels ever, just really fantastic. Book 2 in the series, "Red Seas Under Red Skies" is also good, but not nearly as good.

    Locke Lamora is a wonderful character an The Gentlemen Bastards, his crew of rapscallions, are terrific too.

  • Gotta agree with Brude. Like Martin he writes chapters in a very creative way that works great. What he does is to write two stories going every other chapter following the story of the current and the younger main character. Seriously, this is a good book.

    I do not however, have great faith in The Gentlemen Bastards as a whole. The story has moved very fast forward, great if it was three books, but for seven -oh no. Part of what keeps you stuck in the books is the mystery surounding Locke- a problem you cant solve when there is five more books. Also the second book lacks much of the way chapters was written in the first book.

    And to the Anon that questions Martins way of ending books- what the hell are you talking about? Fevre Dream, Windhaven and Hunters Run all have good endings. In fact Fevre Dream and Windhaven have fantastic endings.

  • Fever dream has not in fact a fantastic ending. I think it sucks. The book as a whole was very memorable though, I would recommend it anyway.

  • Thor: "300 was a horrible film"

    eeeeee rofl

    300 was a masterpiece in comparison to Troy.
    Oops, (David Benioff).

    Also 300 was a fucking awesome movie in comparison to XMen Wolverine.

    Oops David Benioff again.

    What I don't get is why the world at large that mentions Benioff in relation to GoT don't mention that Benioff has scripted much more amazing work, movies like Kite Runner and Stay. I don't get it. I guess they must think GoT fans are a bunch of idiots.

    Speaking for myself, they are right. Not sure about the rest of you. TTFN

  • Just speaking from a guy perspective here because I'm sure most women found 300 exciting enough. As a guy watching 300 half-naked men posing in variously heroic poses and making impromptu speeches on their manly greatness, I was not particularly impressed, particularly considering all the hype that compelled me to (tor ahem)rent it. I thought I was gonna vomit when I heard the same bloke yell/snarl: "… something, something, Spartans!" for the twentieth time. And yes I'm not a fan of American football.

  • why not the actress who plays the Queen in the NBC's dead Kings? (to me was very HBOish)

  • Lena Headey – Catelyn – excellent choice (holly marie combs – won't do
    Cate Blanchette – Cersei
    Dany – Kristen Loken, Christina Cole
    Sansa – Lisa Reisert
    Khal Drogo – Naveen andrews, Daniel Dae Kim, the Rock – all are exotic enough
    Jamie – alexander Skarsgaard (sp) – no contest
    Theon Greyjoy – the first guy (Cabral?) that auditioned on the YOuTube audtion video

    Laure Pypher, Natalie Dormer – would be great

    Stephen Moyer, Stuart Townsend, john RhysDavis, Eric Bana, Cillia, – could easiy see them in a variety of roles

    Cillian Murphy would be great; Michael Fassbender, Joseph Beattie

  • I'm confused as to why so many people were against Combs. No one really cited any specific problems they had with her acting ("Have you seen 'Charmed'?" is not a specific explanation).
    And as for this whole "HBO-quality drama" thing, being on a certain network doesn't guarantee quality.
    In any case, I agree that Saffron Burrows might be a good choice for this show.

  • My spouse and I absolutely love your blog and find many of
    your post’s to be just what I’m looking for. Do you
    offer guest writers to write content for yourself? I wouldn’t mind publishing a post or elaborating on a lot of the subjects you write regarding here. Again, awesome web log!