Westeros forum user BlueRose sat down with George R. R. Martin and Parris, Martin’s longtime girlfriend, and conversed about HBO and the Game of Thrones pilot. There were quite a few interesting tidbits to come out of the conversation. Here is BlueRose’s recount of what was said:
We got on the topic of the HBO pilot, and Parris told me that HBO is furious that the actor announcements keep getting leaked for the pilot. Apparently HBO really likes and wants to do its own big announcements, and they think they have an internal leak, or possibly two. They are hunting for the leaks, who will be fired and their names muddied in the industry for years. Parris said that it is also possible that it is someones partner/roommate/coworker who is announcing this stuff, either innocently or purposefully wanting to share it because they are a big fan. Whatever the case, HBO is angry. This is probably good news for us, because it means they care enough that they want to do good press about it.
George also confirmed to me (and again later at his reading) that Jaime and Theon are cast, and that Dany is down to 3 choices.
The other thing I learned was that when the True Blood HBO series came out, the book sales went up 2000%. The editor of the True Blood books came by and chatted while we were there, and she said HBO is very enthusiastic about backing True Blood with a big line of merchandise and that George should expect the same treatment if the series gets picked up. I got the impression from George that he is fairly confident that he will get one season to start, although he didnt come right out and say it.
Relatedly, at his reading George said that the pilot is setting an HBO record for the highest number of series regulars hired, and that’s quite possibly not a good thing because they have to hold onto them all so they dont have to recast in the middle. He mentioned that Jaime Lannister is almost not present in aCoK at all, so the actors contract will have to be structured in a way so that he understands he will have season 2 off but will be back to full time in season 3.
Also at the reading, George said that the hardest role to cast is Bran. He’s he youngest main character, the most magical, and he is crippled, which is a pretty hard role for a 10 year old boy.
Winter Is Coming: I guess HBO trying to shut down the leaks explains why the rumors have really dried up for this round of casting. I haven’t heard anything about any possible actors this time around and every other major announcement (Dinklage, Bean, Ehle) I had heard a rumor or two prior to the announcement. It is encouraging to know that they care enough about the series to want to make sure the publicity is done right though. Although I find it humorous that they insist on shutting down leaks so they can make a “big announcement” – which consists of a short article posted on The Hollywood Reporter at 11 PM on a Sunday night!
Nice to hear George is confident of at least one season. It certainly seems that those who feel that HBO is going to give them that one year to see if the series can gain traction are correct.
A little disconcerting to hear that HBO is setting up the biggest regular cast in their history. HBO has had some large casts of series regulars in the past so this is quite a feat. It certainly means the budget is going to be big. The good news is that despite the large cast, they seem set on acquiring quality actors. Not just throwing up a bunch of no-names to keep the budget down. So again, HBO is showing their commitment to this project.
Lastly, the Bran role being the toughest cast makes sense. It seems, based on some of the reports we got on here, that they may have had to go back and do a second round of open auditions after they didn’t like who they got the first time around. This role is going to be very tough to fill. I just hope they can find that one special kid. I have faith in Nina Gold here.
UPDATE: BlueRose edited to add this info:
The current start date for filming of the pilot is October 12th, but George said that the date has been pushed back several times already so not to take that date as set in stone. The majority of the pilot will be filmed in Northern Ireland, and the Irish government has thrown themselves behind the project, which has resulted in many Irish technicians, staff, behind the scenes employees being hired.
Scenes for Dany will be filmed in Morocco.