George R.R. Martin is back from teaching at the Clarion writing workshop in San Diego. He returns to a flurry of casting news, and has already started adding some method to the madness. First of all, he fully confirmed three of the newest batch of actors – for Sam, Syrio, and Rast. As to the rest, he warns us that the contracts have not been signed yet. We knew that was the case with Conan Stevens, now we need to extend that to Jaime Sives as Jory, and Ian McElhinney as Barristan Selmy. Secondly, GRRM promises four more black brothers to join the cast soon! Thirdly, he seems to regret missing the opportunity to give us some hints. That can be amended perfectly when the new men of the Night Watch swear their oaths.
Here follow excerpts from GRRM’s posts about the newly signed actors:
- The part of Rast, one of the nastier of Yoren’s recruits, will be played by a young British actor named LUKE MC EWAN, a 2009 graduate from the Oxford School of Drama.
- The side used in the auditions for Sam featured the scene where Sam tells Jon Snow how his father Lord Randyll dispatched him to the Wall. A difficult scene, but Bradley-West did an amazing job with it in his reading. This was one of the toughest calls, at least for me, since there was another talented candidate who was also very strong, but in the end JB-W’s heartbreaking performance could not be denied. Bradley-West will be graduating from the School of Theatre at Manchester Metropolitan University on July 16. I am told this was his first professional audition, and I imagine it is his first professional role as well. Going straight from graduation to a pretty significant part in an HBO series… hey, it doesn’t get much better than that. He’ll make a great Sam. (And if the show lasts till season four, he may even get a sex scene!)
- I can also confirm that we have cast Arya’s dancing partner … The London-based Yeromelou has done a lot of stage work, including Shakespearian turns at the Globe and with the Royal Shakespeare Company … I hear that Miltos and Maisie are already sparring on Twitter. Just so.
Hear Me Roar: I am keeping my fingers crossed that they finalize the remaining contracts ASAP, and looking forward to more casting news, this time with hints. Seems a while ago when we last played at that game in earnest. Four black brothers at the same time sounds like a proper challenge. And lest I forget, congratulations to Bradley-West on graduating in three days!
UPDATE: Over at the Westeros forums, I spotted a couple of interesting nuggets of info that came out of GRRM’s signing in San Diego this past week:
I also asked him if having the series dramatized was going to affect how he envisions the characters and he said that was a good question. He thought about it for a second, and then said that there’s one actress (they’re currently in negotations with, so he couldn’t mention the character or the actress’s names) who doesn’t look anything like the character she auditioned for, but she’s so damn good that they want her, and if she does get cast, it’s definitely going to have an effect on the how the character gets written in the book.
The only other thing I remember (and it’s of no interest to anyone, I just thought it was funny) was that I was burbling on about NTLive and Alan Bennett’s The Habit of Art, and GRRM said that they’d tried to get Richard Griffiths for Game of Thrones, but it fell through. I was just joking and said, “Who’d you get instead–Ian McNeice?” and he laughed and said, “Yes, actually.”
Winter Is Coming: So Richard Griffiths was almost Illyrio? And I wonder who this female character is? My guess is Osha.
UPDATE II: GRRM has also confirmed Aidan Gillen as Littlefinger in his latest Not A Blog post. George, like most, knew Gillen from his role on The Wire, and remarked:
I never doubted for a moment that he was American… and was startled to learn, when he first came in to read for Littlefinger, that he was actually Dublin born and presently lives in London.
Fire And Blood: Blew me away too. I went to high school in the D.C. area, and Gillen’s Baltimore accent was spot on. Interesting that Gillen came in to do a live reading.