David Benioff Press

Benioff speaks

In a recent interview at KansasCity.com, David Benioff mentions Game of Thrones. The interview talks mostly about his novel City of Thieves but he sneaks in some info about Thrones at the end.

What are you working on?

I just returned from Northern Ireland shooting “Game of Thrones” (an adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire”) for HBO. I’m the writer and the executive producer with Dan Weiss, so we got to do everything, hiring the director, the actors. The shooting of the pilot is done. We’ll find out in March if it will be picked up as a series.

Winter Is Coming: Again with the March timetable. Sounds like an earlier announcement is all but impossible at this point. Man, this is going to be a long wait.


  • I am just fine with it now.
    I have accepted it as a fact.

    We waited before, and we will have to wait now.

    I just hope that while we are waiting, we ll got some news, interviews, etc…
    I am pretty excited about that interview with Isaac, being mentioned in the last blog post…
    Isaac is the one, we know almost nothing about him, and he will be a one of the major roles.

  • Well, its not like we actually know that HBO have decided NOT to decide before march. March might just be when they've told Benioff & co to expect a decision. I expect no guaranties has been made.

  • why march?

    Hmm, blog seems to have eaten my previous reply.

    We know the special effects team aren't working on the pilot until January and the post-production/editing/mixing team aren't working on it until February. I'm assuming that means the delivery date to HBO is in late Februar/early March and the HBO execs will sit down, watch the finished product and then give Dan, Dave and George their final yay or nay answer by the end of March.

    So the final word may be three and a half months away. Put in context, three and a half months ago we already had most of the casting announcements ;-) It'll be over in good time.

    Between now and then we also have the new Dunk 'n' Egg story, which is something anyway.

  • It's just three months… That we can pass disputing who's going to play who in the rest of the show…!! :)

  • Yeah, it looks scary: three months.
    But we waited for the first casting announcement for more than three months, and we survived :)

    We will survive another three months, too.

    If the answer is YES in march, think about the excitement, about the guessing games, and all the little news from the set…

    If the answer is NO, (which I doubt, but possibility exists) be ready for big cry on this blog :)

  • @Whitehead

    "Between now and then we also have the new Dunk 'n' Egg story, which is something anyway."

    where when how?

  • Just to clarify that I thought the sfx work wasn't being done until January, but this appears not to be the case, I misread a prior Westeros news post.

    However, regardless of when that gets down, the post team do not appear to be working on it until February, so HBO still won't get it until later that month or in March.

  • Re:
    @The Mystery Knight
    Part of the new GRRM story leaked a month ago or so. I think it's still available in PDF form here (you didn't hear it from me):

    Twaddle & lies: badly written, badly imagined parody, so so dumb it is a wretched waste of bandwidth to bother with it.

    The poster formerly known as
    Thoros of Myr

  • @Thoros of Myr

    First of all, I completely agree with you. It is among the most wretched, dumb, badly written things I've ever read. I also find it to be mean-spirited and crude. I really don't think this is legitimate now I that I read it more carefully. I can't believe that someone actually wrote this, and if they are proud of themselves, I feel bad for them. The link above is broken, so here's the link.


  • I don't want to be mean, but yesterday (while peeling potatous – restless minds never take a break), I had a perfectly good idea why GRRM is possibly not interested in bringing ASOIAF to an end swiftly. IF this assumption should be true, I would totally understand the strategy. After all, every time one of his older titles gets re-released, quite a few reviews read something like "the book is not bad, but it's not ASOIAF".

    Think about it: the series is by far his most successful literaly work to date. Since it's already more than 13 years in the making and will take about 8-10 more years to become complete, he will presumably never again start a project of this scope, simply because he will already be around 70 years old when he finishs it – old (and hopefully prosperous) enough to retire, if he should feel like it.

    Right now, ASOIAF keeps people looking after him and generates a lot of trafic on his blog and homepage, where he can advertise his other projects ("no ADWD this month, so how about some Wildcards?"). I wonder how much the interest in, for example, J.K. Rowling ebbt away once the Potter books were completed?

    But unlike Rowling (who never has to publish anything ever again), Martin is presumably not at a point where he writes simply for the fun of it, but has still to make a living. Therefore, I forecast "A Dream of Spring" to be one of the last books he will ever publish, even if he could rush it somehow. I am not sure how many of these overseas trips are left in me. is not the attitude of a young, up-and-coming writer who does everything it takes to promote his work – so why not let the current high demand work in your favor?

  • a funny coincidence:
    both the gizmodo review and engadget review of nook (the B&N Kindleslayer [notch-notch, wink-wink, see what i did there]) have been done by people who apparently read GoT (the first mentions it, the other one shows it in pictures and video)

  • Yeah, I totally see all of us taking out ebook readers to a signing session, so GRRM can sign out 1st edition .pdf of ADWD… I guess I'll stick to real books in this life, as well as to vinyl records (wherever possible) ;-)

  • @Dunkeltroll: I think i remember a interview were he said, that he would love to write all books first and than publish them. This was not possible at the beginning because of our god called money. This is not a issue anymore because he sold enough, 2.2 million books in the US alone (wikipedia, =4mio worldwide?), even if he gets one or two dollars per book he is on the save side.
    I hope this is what he does at the moment while the fanbase distracted by the pilot. Look at what True Blood did with Charlaine Harris booksales (http://www.rhodes.edu/14051.asp ). Financial it would be the best for George, Bantam and HBO if they release as many books as possible while the series is on air. I'm sure someone at Bantam has done his math homework.

  • Yes, makes sense – IF the show gets a go, because this would boost the demand even further (and, counting on a rather short attention-span of the general TV-audience). But in case the show doesn't happen, he might be better off saving the best for last, so to speak.

    I'm not one of the people to narrow GRRM down too ASOIAF, mind you. My first contact to his writing were some short stories (more than 20 years ago), later I read "The Armageddon Rag", and then veeeery much (2001) later, it happend that I asked myself "what else did that guy write?" and came upon ASOIAF. Since then, I read "Windhaven", "Hunter's Run" and "Fevre Dream" ("DotL" still waiting on my shelve), and had a good time with all of 'em. I also read more short fiction and checked out "Wildcards" (but wasn't inpressed, maybe because of the translation – will give it a second try with "Inside Straight").

    But there ARE quite a few Epic-Fantasy-Die-Hards out there who love ASOIAF, who won't touch anything else. These people may check out something else by their favorite writer while waiting for his next EF entry, but move on once he's done with the genre. And while I can imagine GRRM to write some more one-shot Westeros novels, I guess he will not start anything like ASOIAF ever again.

  • And what if the N.Ireland troubles kick off again. Be sure that HBO would pull the plug quicker than you can say………..

  • "It's depressing for me to imagine GRRM working on The Mystery Knight, while ADWD sits there unfinished."

    The bulk of THE MYSTERY KNIGHT was written during the writing of AFFC. I asked George about it during the AFFC signing tour and the story was 90% finished back then. He has only spent a few days working on it since then to finish it off and put it in WARRIORS.

    "And what if the N.Ireland troubles kick off again. Be sure that HBO would pull the plug quicker than you can say……….."

    …let's move production to Dublin?

    The Troubles won't kick off again as they did before, the two sides have way too much to lose. If things did start getting back like the 'bad old days' my guess is that HBO would start looking for somewhere else to base production, and given the dire state of the Irish economy I can imagine the (southern) Irish government offering their various studio facilities at a strong discount, especially since they are losing THE TUDORS once its final season rounds off production in a few months.

    There's also the Welsh Dragon Studios near Cardiff (which was on the news just a few days ago), which apparently have a payment scheme attached to them not dissimilar to the one for the Paint Hall.

  • Peter Jackson is speculating that the Temeraire series (which the author has said might be 9 books) might work best as a mini-series on HBO rather that features with one movie per book. I presume he means one mini-series per book. I don't think he's approached them at all about it, it's just speculation. I hope it doesn't turn into a situation where that series and GoT are competing with each other at HBO, say around season 3 of GoT.

  • Everyone,

    while this is completely unrelated to GoT or GRRM, you should check out Patrick Rothfuss interviewing Joe Abercrombie – simply because it's great fun!

    Read Joes introduction first (cynical & self-centered bastard he pretends to be) on his blog, then continue at Pats blog and maybe join his fundraiser while you are at it. Enjoy!

  • Yawn…

    In other news a huge snowstorm is threatening to screw up finals week at the college where I teach.

  • Dear Echo Chamber,

    Has anyone noticed Christoph Waltz in Inglourious Basterds? That guy was amazingly!

    Seeing great performances makes me afraid for GoT. The freshness that was once the idea of talent like Dinklage, Thomas McCarthy, Jennifer Ehle is averaging out to B list after all is said and done. It's like I'm snapping out of a dream–I'm realizing now what the final tally is.

    In a way, I blame the online fans for making suggestions out of BSG, X-Files, Star Trek… boring junk like that. It puts the expectations of the fans at a low level, and it leaves a bad taste in my memory.

    Should it be surprising to me?

    Again, coming out of a dream, now.

  • @Anonymuff

    You really consider Dinklage to be a boring or even average choice?

    I'm wondering which actors you are displeased with and why. And which actors you would consider better yet somewhat realistic choices.

  • "The freshness that was once the idea of talent like Dinklage, Thomas McCarthy, Jennifer Ehle is averaging out to B list after all is said and done."

    I took that to mean that Dinklage, Thomas McCarthy, and Jennifer Ehle were fresh choices for Anonymuff, and things went downhill from there. They all had indie/critical acclaim but didn't do much television.

    I think Joseph Mawle was another cast member along those lines, and personally think Harry Lloyd is going to do a great job. (SPOILERS: Granted, those are characters with a low shelf life.)

    The younger cast members might fit into this category too, but the difference is that they don't have the longevity of the others to back up claims of their brilliance. Still, they definitely wouldn't fit into B-List, having not been around long enough to be on any list.

    To be honest, I don't really have a problem with any of the actors in that regard. In my opinion HBO dramas give actors a great chance to do more with what they've got, so even "B Listers" get an opportunity to shine.

    That said, I have to agree that the degree of love folks have for stars of their favorite shows, and they way that that influences their suggestions can get a little depressing at times. I'm guilty of this myself especially where it comes to past HBO dramas.

    Still, though, as an example, Katee Sackhoff is 30,5'6½", and from Portland. I've never watched BSG, but the suggestion for her as Brienne leads me to believe that she was good enough in it to completely blind folks as to whether or not she's suitable for the role. Yes, she may be a good actress, but there are plenty of actresses who would be more suitable.

    Again, I acknowledge that I can be just as bad, but looking at it from Anonymuff's perspective it really does seem like fans would be more excited with getting someone from one of their favorite TV shows than a critically acclaimed actor they've never heard of. When written out in a sentence like that, it stands to reason.

    Granted, some might feel that Momoa as Drogo is an example of just that sort of principal at work. Still, I'm trusting that even though Momoa was on a show not everyone liked, they saw something in his audition that told them he'd work for this. While some fans far removed from me might have wanted to see him cast because he was on a SyFy Channel show, I like to think that HBO cast him despite it.

    That's one reason why I'm glad HBO is casting this and not us.

  • That's one reason why I'm glad HBO is casting this and not us.

    I agree. One of the things I'm noticing a lot with the fan casting choices nowadays is that they pick a favourite actor or actress, and then just going round trying to get him or her considered for as many roles as possible, rather than trying to find an actor to suit the role. Of the top of my head, I can't remember who is was now, but there was some actor I remember seeing suggested for Ned, Jaime, Littlefinger and Theon…

    With regards to the cast mentioned by Anonymuff, Dinklage was no surprise, but I think McCarthy and Ehle were both choices that really pleasantly surprised the fans – people that no one had really thought of, yet who were very, very talented and who bring a certain amount of prestige to the project because they are neither of them associated at all, as far as I know, with fantasy shows. To my mind, that's the kind of actor we need, really. I hope that HBO will play up Ehle's role in the show a lot, as I think having her onboard will actually do wonders for attracting non-fantasy fans, in a way that having Lena Headey and Sean Bean won't, as they are both very much associated with fantasy style shows.

  • Take the gun out of your mouth, Anonymuppet, and sit down with me and have a Snickers bar. Your hunger for an epic fucking series hasn't sailed off to Germany. These are the dog days of waiting, where we reflect on everything that's good for the Nth time and finally decide something has to go wrong. We look at the sell-by date and wonder; has our awesomesauce turned slightly sour?


    Let's go over this again.

    It's not TV, it's HBO. This is the only channel that can do this series justice. Showtime is hot on their asses, and Dexter has his best knives out and sharpened. The Former Home of Tony Soprano can only rely on Cajun vampires so many months out of a year. They want this to be a home run as much as we do, but they're not going to treat it like Mutt Lange treats a Def Leppard album. There is no "safe metal."

    The Dinklage selection wasn't so much inspired as it is obvious. Jennifer Ehle was a good choice, and I think she's going to do her Jennifer Ehle-est in the series. She's sort of something you can count on. You know what you're getting. Catelyn won't be hated.

    But I'll still say most of the other selections are reaches–and for the most part I like them. Sean Bean playing a role in which he can't throw out those little emotional twitches he's famous for may seem to some like hamstringing the man, but I rather think of him as a healthy world-class sprinter who just got a crutch yanked out from under him. Go stoic, sirrah, and go far. I think we're going to see his hidden depth again.

    Tamzin Merchant is fucking good. And fucking hot. Bam! Skankerine Howard is not the be-all, end-all of her emotional range.

    Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as a heavy? A villain? What? Has never happened. I think the man could be hungry for it. And when our Lion of Lannister turns his little moral compass around… Hell yes.

    Terminator Mom Lena has never done a Lannister either, but I've seen Cerseiesque looks in the depths of her reptilian eyes. She's going to be a scary good Cersei. I don't make many guarantees (it's basically that and Fern Gully II will suck) but I guarantee Queen Gorgo is gonna rock the twincest.

    Are people really worried about Jason Momoa? Really? Khal Drogo? Is there that much that needs to be communicated by this character? He needs to attract the chicks and look badass. So long as he looks menacing and doesn't go all surfer dudethraki on me, we're cool.

    The biggest reach? Thomas McCarthy directing. I think it's a risk. I'm hoping he had an inspired pitch and wasn't a package deal with Dinklage. I loved The Station Agent. I loved The Wire (and hope he picked up some cool directing tips while acting in it). It doesn't mean dude is the next Peter Jackson. We'll see.

    But I think we'll be foine. Foine! A Song of Ice and Fire is gonna be on tee-vee. And it's my most favorite-est series of all time. Flounder and me, we agree. "Oh boy, is this great!"

  • Note on the Peter Jackson musing about doing a fantasy novel adaptation series with HBO. I wonder if he and Thomas McCarthy had a conversation about Game of Thrones when they were working on Lovely Bones as Director/Actor.

    "So what are you working on next, Tom? Really? So they're in the market for that, are they?"

    I'm not worried about McCarthy at all, though. I like what he does.

  • I think right now Momoa is suffering from that old problem of some folks being unable to see actors play any role that doesn't have a similarity to one they've done before.

    His nice guy persona is great for speaking engagements, but like you say, I doubt we'll see a hair of it in Drogo.

  • It'd be interesting to see what casting suggestions people made if they were asked to do it without suggesting anyone who has been in a previous HBO show, or anyone who hadn't been in a previous fantasy show, perhaps. We might get some unusual and interesting suggestions.

  • personaly i don't even try to sugest anyone cus i don't know many actors…that is why i like to read what you guys have to say about the topic

  • Great news my man.. Martin wrote me an email once.. very nice guy.. His work is very detailed and Id love to see it on HBO.. Im sure its be VERY graphic, if you know what im saying !!

    Maybe ? Is it possible for me to get information on how to send in a portfolio or a resume or something.. Id love, as a huge fan, to get into this series.. :)

  • It's interesting, I rather think a more likely conversation was had over dinner between McCarthy and David Benioff, as Benioff's wife is Amanda Peet, who in turn starred opposite Tom in 2012! along the lines of hey! so you want to do more directing Tom, you know what I am working on this project next year GOT…..

    The casting is fantastic believe me, from the children upwards. There is no weak link. The 2 producers were hands on at every stage of shooting. Tamzin is going to look amazing, Drogo is one scary looking giant of a man, Addy perfect, Bean spot on, in fact all the actors fit the roles so well it is uncanny!! the unknowns are going to blow your socks off!!! Even the dire wolf pups were well cast.

  • dustin: At this point you are most likely going to have to wait until the show gets picked up before they start hiring again. If that happens, then you could try sending in your info to their production office in Belfast. The address is on the FAQ.

  • Silverstar, yes it has, in fact it is a screen grab of that shot that has been used as an id picture on the web for Bran on a host of sites. This kid did nearly all his own stunts despite having a double on hand, being thrown from castle windows,climbing castle walls and jumping from parapets,riding ponies. All I can tell you is he got a standing ovation from cast and crew at the wrap.

  • @Spiros:

    Your double-remark makes me think: did they hire another child to break his neck in Isaacs place? Or a summersaulting stunt dwarf who also doubled for Peter ?!?

  • Spiros, I meant that Jackson got the idea to do a fantasy book show adaptation for HBO after hearing McCarthy talking about something similar. The basics of the pitch are way too close to Game of Thrones to be coincidence in my opinion. It's a little odd to me that he didn't use the show as an example when he said HBO was ready to do fantasy. It sounded almost like he either didn't know about the project, or was purposefully ignoring it. Either way, I don't think HBO would have two dragon shows at the same time. I haven't read the other set of books, but I'll bet Game of Thrones is more HBO's flavor. It couldn't work on NBC, whereas the other one might. I've got my fingers crossed that Jackson was simply referencing HBO as an example, and isn't planning on pitching to them. The exec who wasn't sure about McCarthy might be an example of someone who would champion a different project due to Jackson's name. Internal conflict at HBO would suck. Then again, if (as some expect) they'll be switching off directors from episode to episode like many HBO shows, I think Game of Thrones is right up Jackson's alley.

    I think McCarthy came in as part of Dinklage's deal. I still think it's good for the series, though. He does good work.

  • Dinklage was a favorite pick for Tyrion, and McCarthy (while a great director) was an unconventional choice for a fantasy epic. I think Dinklage recognize the difficult interpersonal themes in the book, and trusted McCarthy to approach the script with sensitivity after the work they did together on The Station Agent.

  • There's one battle scene in TEMERAIRE with about 300 dragons , half of whom are trying to drop several thousand French troops into Kent as an invasion beach-head.

    Yeah, I can see that being done on a TV budget. Even a HBO budget. You'd need the money that went into BAND OF BROTHERS and probably a whole lot more. I'm not seeing it happening, unless they change the story from the books a great deal.

    And to be honest, Jackson doesn't need to worry about any more than one movie. The first book is lightweight fun. The later books are pretty dull. Once you get over the cool premise, the books never really go anywhere interesting.

  • Good point, Adam. I was thinking of Game of Thrones' adult subject matter rather than budget concerns when I said it needed to be on HBO, and thought Temeraire might be tame enough for a network.

    I hadn't even considered the cost the production.

  • @Paul G,

    Thanks for making sense out of my post. I wrote it during a state of mind directly after seeing a screen acting performance that utterly blew my mind, and I was thinking how amazing it would be to have someone with that level of intensity in GoT. My next thought was: Christoph Waltz's too good for GoT. Sad thing to think up, and it surprised me. I know it's not the first time an excellent actor has been called "too good" for TV.

    @About Yea High
    I don't agree with most of what you are saying, starting with "it's not TV it's HBO", that sinister HBO slogan.

    ….It's fucking TV.

    The actors you defend, I have no reason in the world to be excited about them. Most of them are merely functioning TV actors and starlets. I'm sure they are perfect matches, but since none of us have seen their performaces in GoT, there's nothing to defend. I like your overly optimistic attitude.. sorry it didn't catch on to my end of the wire.

    I'm relatively excited about the story these actors will be trying to put into life… I guess. I liked the books. But I won't mind dropping it at the first sign of crap, and I won't be terribly surprised. Crazy thing to say maybe. I have an overactive imagination. That's just me. Now think about the millions of people who haven't even read the books.

    I am intrigued on how they are going to make this GoT series "not TV" as you put it.

    For the most of you that are already avid HBO fans or Sci-fi TV fans, HBO has you locked in for GoT no matter what. But you are not enough.

    In other news, I read the first book of Temeraire.. meh. I didn't read the second one because it had bad reviews.

  • Actually, only HBO fans are locked in. The rest of us still have to make the choice to buy HBO, and even among fantasy fans, that's not a 100 percent buy in.

    I actually WOULD be surprised to see crap out of HBO. Even when they fail, like with John from Cincinnati, it's because it's too obtuse and intellectual rather than because it's crap. (Eastbound and Down being the exception that proves the rule). The reason we keep saying it's a perfect fit is that Films don't have enough time to tell the story right, regular TV doesn't have the patience or quality to tell the story right, while HBO has the time, the patience and the quality that can be found in no other visual medium. Basically, if it wasn't on HBO, it would most likely not be worth watching, but since it is, it's got the best shot it can possibly have.

  • I think most people would be surprised to find out how much talent and skill there is to be had out there. The actors involved in this project all seem to be very good. One fine example is Iain Glen, who will be playing Jorah Mormont. Dinklage, too, is a very good actor. Does that mean they are beyond all critical reproach? No. But have faith that the actors have the raw material necessary to produce a worthy product.

    I say 'raw material' because actors, particularly in film (whether cinema or TV or webcast), have a peculiar job. To paraphrase one screen actor–who described his job in terms of painting–the director is the painter, and the actor is just trying to be the best shade and texture of blue that he can be, while somebody else tries to be red, etc. How good will the directing be? Well, McCarthy is a very good director. It remains to be seen whether or not you (or you, or I) agree with his vision of the story. More importantly, it remains to be seen whether or not the HBO decision makers like his vision of the story.

    And, all marketing aside, HBO is TV. It is. But TV is just the medium for story telling, and unless the limitations of the medium are unacceptable, the question is not whether or not HBO is TV, but what kind of TV HBO is. As for that, I think that they permit directors and screenwriters more artistic license than any other U.S. network (except maybe Showtime) and give them bigger budgets than any foreign network (and also Showtime) I'm aware of. I think that tends toward the golden mean for just this kind of story-telling, the epic kind. Would a budget big enough to capture the best talent in the world be nice? Yes. But I am not convinced that the absence of such a budget will ruin this project.

    To sum up, I think everybody agrees that if this were on NBC, we would probably be disgusted by it. (Now that I think on it, if NBC offered to option the series, Martin probably would have turned them down.) It's on HBO, and HBO strives to maintain an image of high quality programing. HBO will try very hard to not pick up a series that their customers will think is crap. If they can expand their subscriber base at the same time, they will be glad to.

    So if anybody wants to worry that GoT will be a debacle of the highest order, go right ahead. If it is, I doubt we'll get the chance to see it. And if we do see it and you still think it is, look to your expectations first and the quality of the work second. Having GoT on HBO will not be world-changing, but it's not likely to be crap.

    *knocks on wood*

  • Wowie wow wow!

    Some nice thoughts here!

    There's no way to disagree. I get it… IF GoT gets greenlighted, it must be good. If it doesn't, it must be bad. So I don't have to worry either way!!!… unless…

    The main difference between showtime/HBO and networks is the profanity and nudity. Just because they smoke herbs in Bored To Death doesn't make it less boring. The theme of the decade on HBO has been: dysfunction is not just OK, it's also fun! GoT is a bunch of dysfunctional misunderstandings between families. It's like when Mr Roper caught Jack saying something gay, but actually he was balling Mrs Roper. By balling I mean helping her move the couch. But unlike Three's Company, GoT is immersed with gratuitous bloodshed/cut to incestuous sex scene. And hoo'ers. Lots and lots of hoo'ers. HBO loves them hoo'ers! LAWLZ!!

    Yes! Yes! HBO is the best network GoT could be aired on! I stand corrected! Bring on the blood and the sex!!! I came for the gang bang!!!

    Me like blood sex and magic on TV vewy vewy much!!!

  • Bunny Foo Foo,

    You incorrigible troll.

    This is what you just said in your last post:

    "I have absolutely nothing to say! I just like getting attention! Look at me, mommy! Look at me!"

    Well. I ain't your mommy. But I'm looking. Now what are you going to do?

  • I hate rabbits. If you lilly livered bow legged varmit care teh slap leather with me, in case ya get any idears, ya better know yer dealin with. I'm tha' hootiness, tootiness, shootiness bob tailed wild cat in the west. [fires his guns at the ground, levitating himself for a second] I'm tha' fastest gun north, south, east, and west of tha' pecos.

  • I leave for a week and come back to Yosemite Sam and Bugs Bunny doing battle on a comments thread?



    P.S. Where's Elmer Fudd at? It's vewy vewy quiet, wabbit.