Casting Speculation

Leaked Season 2 auditions

We are back in business. Similar to what happened with a number of videos last season, there are a couple of video reads available on Vimeo that appear to be legitimate auditions recorded for the casting directors to see. Thanks to our intrepid Rabbit, we first have Alejandra Cruz reading for Melisandre:

Second, David Wilmot tries for Davos:

You can find two more video reads by Wilmot on Vimeo, another one for Davos (combining the Onion Knight’s lines with those by Maester Pylos in that scene) and a Jaquen audition.

Hear Me Roar: What do you think of these two bids? Auditions are in full swing, hope some casting announcements come our way soon as well.

UPDATE: The Rabbit now also discovered a Balon audition by Jonny Phillips! The video has now been locked.

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  • I gotta say, I really dug Wilmot’s Davos. Obviously there are a lot of auditions we haven’t seen, so I’m not going to say he should be Davos, but I’d certainly be fine with it.

  • Alejandra was very stiff, and pretty bad in general. Looks worked, but thats about it, i guess.

    David was quite good! It seems he gets the character. He has a good look for Davos too.

  • I think David Wilmot could pull off Davos…. he has the build for it and his reading was fairly believable to me. So many aactors out there yet though…..

    Alejandra Cruz I did not like at all honestly.

  • sjwenings:
    Alejandra was very stiff, and pretty bad in general. Looks worked, but thats about it, i guess.

    David was quite good! It seems he gets the character. He has a good look for Davos too.

    Pretty much my impression too. I need to look at the second Davos piece, this was a bit short to really form an opinion.

  • Yeah, I agree that David Wilmot was pretty good as Davos. I’d be fine with having him cast, although there are probably other good candidates for the role that we haven’t seen.

  • Alejandra Cruz’ Melisandre was awful to say the least; felt completely forced. I did like David Wilmot’s impression of Davos, but I think it could be done better.

  • Alejandra’s voice is amazing but I think the reading clearly lacked an understanding of the character, her motivations, and the context.

    I really enjoyed David’s depth and the conflict on his face while he delivered the lines.

    As others have said, I have no context for these videos, no comparison, so these are merely first impressions.

  • The character of Davos deserves to have an actor of universal acclaim and world renown. Someone who has won countless awards and accolades….where’s Morgan Freeman?

  • I love the way he pronounces Jaqen H’ghar. It treats /gh/ as a proper digraph rather than a sorry excuse for a /g/. I wonder if that is from him or if that is what they say they say it in the production as well.

    His Jaqen read was pretty good but I would have liked that he spoke with an accent instead. Since he sticks to saying “a man” about himself it sort of feels weird to have an English accent.

  • The Rabbit:
    Enouh to say: I am just pretty excited for having found some auditions this morning!
    Do not know if I like them or not.

    Great detective work :)

    After having seen Wilmots other two vids, I have to say I like his Jaquen a bit better than his Davos. Can’t really say why though.
    But I too feel that there is room for improvement for both of them.

    As for Cruz, I really think they should go with someone else if that’s the best she can do. Also she’s probably not tall enough for Melisandre :P

    A minor thing: It seems in the HBO version Ned’s letter to Stannis came through. IIRC it was used as evidence for his treasonous acts in the book.

  • The first video didn’t feel like Melisandre, but I like the diretion they’re taking with her looks. Not quite there, even lookwise, but a nice start. She simply lacked her kind of charisma.

    I wonder wether Wilmot could make his eyes a little bit more sparkling with …humor? Then I would be sold on him for Jaqen. With a little more white hair on one side of the head and with his already natural red hair he looks exactly like one of the fanarts out there.
    So lookwise very good. And if he’s able to change the way he speaks a bit (pehaps an other accent?) and makes him a little bit less pitiful and more clever/dangerous, then I’d be sold on him.
    *g* This sounds like much, but I wonder if he could do it once he knows the character better?

    oh, the casting speculations are always fun. Nice to see them start again.

  • I liked Wilmot’s Jaqen better than Davos. And I found Alejandra very stiff and not very good. Also I don’t think Mel should have a spanish accent, they should leave that for Braavos and Dorne.

  • Alexandra… I didn’t like her at all. Looks-wise she was very good, but the acting was very stiff, awkward, and lacked the power and passion Mel has.

    David, on the other hand, was perfect. I will actually be very happy if he is cast, I’ve got no problems with him. Of course many people have auditioned, and there might be a better Davos out there, so I’ll wait and see!

    EDIT: I just saw the Jaqen video. That’s great too! I’ll be happy if he gets either of the two roles! :)

  • Rabbit! Nothing stops her! Great finds, and nice swift post, HmR!

    (That dude types like nine times faster than I do.)

    A couple thoughts:

    1. I don’t really want Alejandra Cruz for any role, much less Melisandre. Sorry!

    2. I was loving what I was seeing of David Wilmot, but I had sworn I’d seen him before somewhere else. Couldn’t place it, but Google is my friend! Sure enough: dude was on The Tudors. Both auditions are beyond solid. His eyes are strong. Hope dude gets something.

    3. Looks like we have (semi) confirmation of both Rorge and Biter, and not an amalgamation. Love it! D&D givin’ us our Clash of Kings!

  • The Rabbit,

    I’m excited you found them too. Pity one of them is abysmal.

    I see Wilmot read for Jaqen – Isn’t that Miltos’ role? : D

    But seriously, out of his three clips his Davos was delivered similar to what we’ve seen on the show. At least he’s got a lot of varying small screen work to show his range in the medium. I’m not sold on it, though.

    IMHO for most of the current cast you can take any scene audio-only and it’ll blow your underwear off. I don’t get that feeling from any of this : (

  • While I didn’t care for Cruz’ take on Mel, whom I think needs an actress with fire in her voice as well as in her eyes, I suspect that she could be better if she had a better understanding of the character; she was playing that part with what I thought was intentional chilliness. I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to see her in a Dornish role; but I wonder if she has a British Equity card? She sounded more American than Brit to me.

    David Wilmot was pretty good. He’s just barelyold enough to play Davos, but I think that that’s a good thing; in general, they’ve been casting parts to skew older than I would have preferred. Wilmot would make a good, solid Davos who would be very watchable in even the most expository scenes.

  • Alejandra’s acting for that audition was very flat. If anything, that series has proven that the look doesn’t have to be perfect, with very descent acting, details are quickly forgotten, but I don’t see it working here. Besides, as far as Melissandre is concerned, her look is not a detail. As someone already said, it’s the right direction though.

    Wilmot as Davos, why not, it could work for me.

  • Alejandra is the right age (IMHO) and has the sexuality I associate with Melisandre, but she’s not imposing and strong enough here. She looks too meek, and not threatening/mysterious.

    David did great, I think. Really liked it. The only nitpick I have is that he looks a bit too noble (probably the eyes), but I guess if he’s cast HBO can ugly him a bit to look more like a smuggler.

    Thanks for sharing those :)

  • hahaha, is that Alejandra chick an actress, really? I was laughing out loud while watching her! I’ve seen kids in school plays who do much better!

    I liked Wilmot as Davos. Of course since he’s the only one we’ve seen there is no ground for comparison, but I liked his honest and conflicted look.
    Didn’t like his Jaqen thought. Jaqen should be more charming and creepy, both at the same time. And he should have an exotic foreign air about him.

  • Dear Lord that was an awful Mel. She sure as heck won’t get it. Wilmot was okay, but I doubt he will get Davos either. But you never know, these are short audition tapes.

    MAn, I want some casting news. We need some new gates, barkgate is old already.

  • No, no, no. Alejandra is trying to scare us. She’s doing Old Nan for crying out loud! Mel is speaking from an inner sense of purpose. She’s not trying to win anyone over or frighten anyone over to her side. She doesn’t need to. After all, resistance is futile. She’s more matter-of-fact and less sales person.

    She’s got a secret weapon. She’s not telling you what it is. She’s not afraid to use it. It’s not fair. She doesn’t care. And you’re screwed!

    In short, the ego is all wrong. Think less Margaret John and more Alice Krige as the Borg Queen in Star Trek: First Contact. “I am the beginning. The end. The one who is many …”

  • I really really really want David Wilmot in this series. Davos would be awesome. Jaqen would be too, buuuut, yeah, I’m in THAT camp. (<3 Miltos). But good lord, Wilmot's eyes are -intense- and a gorgeous color. And his grasp of the characters, the scenes. He would be an amazing addition.

    Good luck to him!

    As a note: I didn’t hate Alejandra Cruz. I think she has potential, just a lack of ‘getting it.’ Her accent is a little bit too thick – but easily fixed with a dialect coach. She just has to… understand the character better. She has potential that just didn’t come out.

  • Guybrush Threepwood: Alejandra’s voice is amazing but I think the reading clearly lacked an understanding of the character, her motivations, and the context. I really enjoyed David’s depth and the conflict on his face while he delivered the lines. As others have said, I have no context for these videos, no comparison, so these are merely first impressions.

    Oh really, so you know Melisandre’s motivations even though there hasn’t been any Melisandre PoV until ADWD, which hasn’t been released yet.

    No one who has read just the first four books know Melisandre’s motivations == some people think she is actually working for the Great Other, etc.

  • I liked Wilmot, but he doesn’t have to scowl all the time, does he? I wonder how he would look handling his little bag of fingers around his neck! :)

    Cruz, I’m sorry, she’s beautiful, but that was waaaayyyy too campy for me. If this show was like Hercules or Xena, she’d fit in, but this show ISN’T like those two, is it? :)

  • I really liked David Wilmot, but I’m not sure what part would be best for him? Of the two, I’d say he’s more suited to Davos, but I always pictured Davos as stockier and more of an older man, an old sea salt with dark hair. I liked his reading though – hope they can use him on the show.

    I think he’s not right for Jaqen, though a lot can change once they costume someone up, etc. I pictured Jaqen as younger and he was described as very handsome, and I think David is a bit too weathered. Also, the voice was wrong – definitely needs an accent, and a prettier more polished voice. Jaqen speaks almost foppishly, his charm is what makes him appealing, he’s very smooth, and I wasn’t getting that from the audition tape.

    Alejandra had the right look for Mel, older than I expected, but I did not find her menacing enough…

  • I agree that the Melisandre audition probably suffered due to a lack of familiarity with the subject matter and character. She looks the part but the acting wasn’t there at all. There was almost something too modern about her mannerisms and tone in some parts, and I wonder if the actress just doesn’t feel at home in something “period”.

    I liked Wilmot quite a bit in some parts but not so much in others. I thought his second Davos audition was better than the first (more variation in his facial expression). I really liked his Jaqen, but I think he might have to put on some kind of an accent, unless they go in a different direction with the character than in the books.

  • I liked the first actress, but not as Mel. She would make a good Arianne Martell though.

    Wilmot has a good animated face, I could see him pulling off Davos. Not how I pictured a Davos, but he seems to be a good enough actor. I liked hearing his take on Jaqen but I wouldn’t want to see him cast there. Jaqen is supposed to be much younger and a lot better looking. In the books, women were swooning at him in Harrenhal. I’d like to see someone much younger in the role. Oh and the accent – something more vaguely foreign.

  • Melisandre is a really tough part. Not too many lines that are not about preaching a fantasy religion, which is something that can come off as ridiculous or campy really easily. Lot of it comes down to the scripts of course but Mel is someone who has an extremely powerful presence, if she’s in a room no one is going to not notice her, if she says something everyone is going to listen. Almost all of her characterization in the books is done through how other people are both enamored and terrified of her.

    To make it short, Alejandra misses the mark by a mile.

  • Alejandra Cruz is a beautiful woman, but like Becky I think she’d need some coaching to really make the part hers. The accent and gestures are unnatural; she’s too stiff and not commanding enough. Mel needs to exude charisma, to terrify and seduce in near-equal measure. She needs to show total confidence in her beliefs, to seem as if she’s gracious for preaching the grand, glorious truth to benighted Westeros rather than needing people to believe her.

    I really liked David Wilmot, on the other hand. I’m surprised that I found his Jaqen stuff even better than his Davos stuff, since I always imagined Jaqen looking a bit more exotic for some reason. He’s a good actor and I’d be happy to see him somewhere on Thrones.

  • Wilmont was good! He has a look that could fit a few characters. Most likely, Davos will go to a bigger name…but I wouldnt mind seeing him in a recurring role. Sallador Saan, Mance, Halfhand (!!!!), or even the blackfish.

    While we are talking about casting…one of the castings I am really looking forward to is Dontos. A tough role to pull off with more scenes than you would think.

  • People should not be so quick to condemn actors based on audition tapes. Actors in auditions put their hearts and souls on the line. It is very hard. I know. I have cast people before for commercials. It is a very brave thing to do. Try to show a little more empathy.

    You may not like her audition, but there’s no need to use such quick, harsh comments.

    Okay, bring the snark to me now.

  • Ingemar Svensson:
    I love the way he pronounces Jaqen H’ghar. It treats /gh/ as a proper digraph rather than a sorry excuse for a /g/. I wonder if that is from him or if that is what they say they say it in the production as well.

    His pronounciation is his own assumption – if you watch his first Davos reading it’s pretty clear by his Cersei and Myrcella that he hasn’t gotten any pronounciation guides. ^^

  • First impression, loved Wilmot’s Davos. I think he has the skills and the look, with the right direction he could take the already excellent performance given here and blow minds. Since he’s around for the next 3-4 (or more!) seasons he can’t be a huge name like Bean.

    Cruz, not so much, like everyone else here, I don’t like it, but at the same time I feel everyone is being ridiculously hard on her. I like the look, but the accent should be scaled back/altered, with the right direction she may be able to put enough force behind her voice that she could potentially become Mel. I wouldn’t be sad if she isn’t cast, however. I have no attachment.

  • Cruz is hawt! Unfortunately, she doesn’t command presence the way Melisandre should.

    I like all of Wilmont’s reads. His facial expressions (his eyes especially) and his looks are great. I hope that he gets some role in Thrones.

  • I liked the look of Wilmont. I can’t really judge the acting on such a small reading, but he does look like how I pictured Davos!

    yeah, I like him. I watched the other vids, his Jaquen was pretty good also, but he looks better as Davos.

  • Not digging the Melisandre one, she is suppose to come off as scary and she came off almost comical. Not saying the actress is bad, just not right for Mel.

    I’m digging the Davos audition wouldn’t mind him in the role.

  • Is it wrong that I’m rooting for David Wilmot because he’s a dead ringer for Josh Homme? I liked both of his videos, you could definitely see the talent coming through the sparseness of the audition.

  • David Wilmot is fantastic in his Davos readings. He has the canny, weathered character of Davos down perfectly.

  • I’m thinking that we won’t get any casting news until season 1 is complete…they wouldn’t want to take any attention away from the last 2eps imo…

  • ogbebaba,

    First off, Ian Mcshane is a @#$@$@# LEGEND. The guy kills any scene he’s in and even made a terrible movie like the latest pirates barely tolerable. For those who don’t know him, he’s Al from Deadwood. He’s got the acting chops AND the experience in sexposition (Deadwood fans will get this joke). That being said, I think he’s a bit too old for Davos. Not sure on the canon of the series but I’ve always imagined Davos as old but not older than Stannis. In his late 40’s at the latest. Ian Mcshane would make anything work but I would much prefer to see a younger guy play Davos.

    If you wanted star power to replace the void of Sean Bean, Ian Mcshane could EASILY play Stannis Baratheon. In fact, he’d be a terrifying Stannis. This guy can play the hard bad ass mothe@#$#@ without blinking twice and would LOVE to see him cast on that role. Consider how prominent Stannis eventually becomes, he would be the ideal candidate for the role. The question becomes is he even available? Anyone know of his casting availability?

  • The Davos ones were fun to watch, but mostly becuase we got to hear some of Stannis’ dialogue.
    “…an abomination born of incest between Cersei Lannister and her brother Jaime Lannister,”
    “Jaime Lannister, The Kingslayer, call him what he is…”
    “… and Jaime Lannister, The Kingslayer”
    “Ser Jaime. Whatever else he is, he is a knight.”
    “…and ser Jaime Lannister, The Kingslayer…”

    *lol* Stannis is such a great character.

  • Melisandre is going to be a VERY tough one to pull off. Her lines, read aloud, really tether the cheesy line. If you try and be too powerful, it will be unbelievably campy. If you pull back a bit on the camp, you’ll appear bored and wooden.

    This part’s gonna need some talent behind it.

    Joseph Campo for Melisandre!

  • I wouldn’t say Cruz is a bad actress, but she really wasn’t in her element here.

    Wilmot on the other hand I thought was terrific.

  • Ian Mcshane is too old for Stannis or Davos, but Robb does have a certain battlehardened granduncle.

    David Wilmot is good and has long list of theatre, television and film credits, I hope he gets some part in GOT.

    BTW Happy Birthday Peter Dinklage!

  • TastesLikeTheSea,

    We need some star power with Bean, Addy and Momoa gone. These people just won’t do(Even though the guy was pretty good).

    Indeed, could you picture Antonio Banderas as Jaqen? Or Johnny Depp with an accent (or even Banderas first, and Depp when he changes his face, so Depp would get a couple of minutes in season 2 and one or two scenes in season 4. Imagine the Twitter reaction, lol, “Whoa, they just switched Antonio Banderas out for Johnny Depp, this guy is soo going to come back”). Hehe, way too high profile, I know. In any case, I’m looking forward to seeing Jaqen come to life.

  • Oh wow, Ian McShane for Stannis….that would be AMAZING!!

    As for these two audition tapes: I agree with everyone, Cruz was bad, Wilmot was good. But I really don’t see Wilmot as either of these two roles. He’s not foreign/exotic enough for Jaqen; not…something enough for Davos.

    But what do I know…it’s too hard for me to tell from casting videos what someone would be like on the show.

  • Ian McShane is a terrific actor, but too old for Stannis.

    I also like David Wilmot, but I’ve always seen someone a bit like Sean Hughes as Davos. Perhaps not him, although I think he could do it, but someone like him. Okay – heap on the scorn!

  • I say again, Patrick Stewart as Stannis. Cap’n Picard with a goatee and being all Shakespearean ala I, Claudius would be epic.

  • DaveB,

    I agree. I always read Mel with a kind of creepy “evangelical” voice and demeanor. All smiles and platitudes about her Lord, until challenged, then Wham! the fire shoots out of her eyes. I don’t think this actress has that kind of presence.

  • In my opinion, Mel’s speeches need to have real power behind them. I’m not talking volume, but that real emotional response you get when watching, say, Momoa do his monologues.

    The idea that you can’t judge how an actor will perform based on an audition is true to an extent, but keep in mind that casting directors have the luxury of saying “no” to hundreds of people. When GRRM says that someone blew him away in an audition, it’s because someone took the limitations of the audition and showed them what they could bring to the screen regardless. Momoa’s haka, for example, most certainly impressed folks enough to make it into the final product, if only in spirit.

    David Wilmot impressed me with his abilities even through the limitations inherent in a video audition.

    It should be noted, however, that although they’re soliciting readings for a role, they may also courting bigger names or that they don’t already have someone in mind for a role.

  • I watched Wilmot’s stuff again, and I’d love to see him as Davos, I think he’d play it extremely well. Obviously there are others to choose from, but I really like his take on Davos. The conflict shows on face and he’s just rough enough and just noble looking enough for the role. To those saying he’s not old enough, I say it’s not hard to age someone up on screen.

  • As others have said, Cruz looks like Melisandre, and even has a vocal timbre and accent that fits her, but she just doesn’t seem like that good an actress.

    Wilmot, on the other hand, doesn’t look exactly how I pictured Davos (he looks like Edmure honestly) but I could be totally happy if he got the role.

  • Here Be Dragons,

    Agreed. It’s going to take a little bit more than the “old gypsy woman” imitation to bring this one to life. Personally I feel, while this may be blasphemy, that D&D may want to consider some changes to the character. Maybe make he more subdued, whispery (of course until she unleashes her fury).
    I always felt Eva Green was on the right track as far as casting was concerned, but felt she was too high-profile to do it. Then she signs on for Camelot :) Though, with the way that show is going, maybe she’ll be available Season 2.

  • ok for all you people saying McShane is too old tell me why? What does the age of the character of Davos have to do with anything? It makes no difference to the character at all.
    I would love to get a actor with mcshane’s talent in any roll but Stanis has to be younger than Robert so age matters there and him as the black fish would be great but i would rather get him in a larger roll

  • ogbebaba

    Because he is too old – Ian McShane is nearly 70, and whilst Davos is certainly an old smuggler past his peak, 70 is far too advanced an age. Given the high mortality rates in Westeros, where guys in their prime seem to be in their late teens, you would expect a guy of 70 to get a little more respect if only for his longevity. Hell, the actor playing Maester Pycelle is younger than Ian McShane.

    Davos is also quite a physical role: think of the Battle of the Blackwater and its aftermath where Davos is shipwrecked and barely hangs on. Could a 70-year old survive that?

    And whilst Ian McShane as an actor is obviously awesome, what he excels at is the commanding performances, such as Al Swearengen, and Blackbeard, roles where he is top dog. This is not Davos, who is completely subservient to Stannis. As talented as an actor is, they have to be right for the role.

    re: the auditions, I think Ms Cruz is completely wrong for Mel. Far too quiet and susurrant and not dominating, powerful or sexy enough.

    David Wilmot however, I thought was pretty damn great- a good look for Davos, and I thought he caught that sense of torn loyalty very well (as far as one can see from such a short clip).

    His Jaqen performance was pretty decent too.

    On a side note, could the incorporating some of Maester Pylos’ lines indicate the cutting of that role? Or is it just something the actor has done? I don’t see why that would be advantageous; to cut Maester Cressen would make more sense if cuts are to be made.

  • ogbebaba,

    I think people aren’t terribly concerned about an actor being too old for Davos, but rather Stannis.

    Davos IMO should look at least 40 as he has two sons in their 20’s who captain ships in the Battle at Blackwater. I always figured that Davos was a bit older than Stannis, maybe 10 years or so.

    Edit: LOL I stand corrected, I guess some people do care… but to me any age between 35 to 70 would be OK.

  • I’m liking Phillips as Balon! Mind you, the performance does make the Balon-Theon relationship seem rather similar to the Twyin-Jaime/Tyrion one. It didn’t stand out so much to me when simply reading it…

  • I liked both men quite a bit. I preferred Wilmot’s Davos over his Jaqen, but obviously he has a good Jaqen look.
    Didn’t care much for Cruz’s reading.

  • I like Balon. He seems a little too, hm, what’s the word.. hobo? Drunk? I pictured Balon as out of touch and stuck in the old ways, but not really that far gone.

    Still, I wouldn’t complain if this guy was Balon. :)

  • Phillips does a great job. Much like Season One, I think a lot of Season Two roles can be picked up by folks most of us need IMDB to recall. I’d much rather have HBO showcase lesser-known talented actors and spend their money on non-casting concerns.

  • Quick thoughts on each:

    Mel: The video was playing choppy for me so I only got about 30 seconds in, but that was enough. No thanks.

    Jaqen: Wilmot obviously has talent, but I don’t think he is a good fit for Jaqen.

    Davos: Now Davos on the other-hand, I really like him for this role. He has an honest face, which I think fits the character (despite being a smuggler in the past Davos is an honest and honorable man now). I would not be at all disappointed if he was cast as the Onion Knight.

    Balon: Yes! I like this guy as Balon. He has the right look and the intensity is there. I can already see Alfie Allen being all intimated by this guy.

  • Phillips’ audition is the best of the bunch. he has the look & the temperment of Balon from that short clip

    not a fan of Cruz at all & while Wilmot wasn’t bad in either, he didn’t fit in my mind. plus, i’m still holding out hope for Colm Meaney as Davos!

    much thanks to The Rabbit for finding these!

  • All-for-Jonny! That Balon audition outstanding! Love the whole vibe of it. Hints at alcoholism, inadequacy issues. Very nuanced. We need someone like this to play Balon. Balon is one of those characters that could come off as unmemorable or two demensional if played by a weak actor or someone that lacks understanding of his character. I’ll be disappointed if this guy doesn’t get the part.

    I liked Jaquen too!

  • sean oflynn,

    Completely unrealistic. His film career is very successful right now, and Stannis isn’t even a lead, just a large supporting role. Not gonna happen.

  • Yeah, plus do we really wont a huge chunk of the budget spent on a single movie star when there’s a bunch of quality TV actors out there.

  • I think you all know my stance on Ian McShane (that he’s f***ing awesome), but he’s too old for Stannis. That’s not fanboy nitpicking; he has to be younger than Mark Addy. He’s also an absolutely magnetic actor, and Stannis is, by design, kind of charisma-less (OK, THAT might be fanboy nitpicking, since the character is important and I doubt they’d cast a plank in the role.)

    I’d be cool with him as Davos, but if you’ve been listening to me around these boards, you’ll know that I think his dream role is MANCE RAYDER. As I said before: book/season 3 is Jon Snow’s version of Donnie Brasco, and Mance is his Lefty. If you’re going to have a fantasy-world version of Al Pacino, you couldn’t ask for a better fit than McShane. It’s a potentially great role, just as Stannis and Brienne are the “plum” roles for season 2. And yes, I would very much believe McShane at the head of an army of Wildlings.

    That Wilmot guy seems cool, and I’d absolutely buy him as Davos. He looks an awful lot like that other actor that I recall people hyping for the role–the Scottish guy who played Vincent Van Gogh on the last season of Doctor Who. Forget his name. I wonder if that suggests he’s being approached as well?

    Oh, by the way, I have a prediction: no matter who’s cast as Brienne, people will complain that she’s too pretty.

  • Prankster,

    I agree, he’s not right for Stannis, but I’d been holding out hope for McShane as Balon. Though if they go with a younger Balon than I think this Jonny Phillips guy has the right kind of look and presence. Maybe McShane as Balon and Phillips as Euron Crow’s Eye…

  • Jonny and David do a very good job in these two videos. To think that the casting crew gets hundreds of these and quite a few of them are probably good, damn hard job deciding who to cast.

  • Steve the Pirate,

    Right. It’s worth remembering that a lot of the unrealistic favorites that get thrown around here were perfectly reasonable choices at the time they were cast in whatever is making people recommend them.

    As an example, when McShane was cast in Deadwood he had an impressive body of work but nowhere near the name recognition he has now. In my opinion, it’s best to look at actors similar to McShane *before* he was cast in Deadwood. That’s how HBO seems to operate for the majority of roles. Not a current big name, someone ready to be one.

    Phillips is currently in that position.

    That’s not to say they may try to get one or two larger names for new characters next season. I just don’t expect them to kill the budget getting folks with film careers.

  • Cruz has a good look for Melisandre, but her delivery is really off. Of course, that could be helped by good direction.

  • Just saw the Balon audition, the guys perfect !!
    Can we have him, please ? ? :D

    The Melisandre audition is absolutely horrible.
    Quite liked the Davos one though :D

  • Not sure about the others, but holy crap do I love the guy doing Balon. It would be awesome if he got the part!

  • DaveB,

    I was thinking the same thing! Ha! People keep tossing names of actors out that are old enough to be Marc Addy’s… and therefore Robert’s father – not younger brother!

    The Balon audition was VERY good. He was subtle when needed, direct and powerful when called for and had layers of complexity in his reading… not just the expected notes! The voice was about how I heard him in my mind, but I always saw him moe weathered I guess. Nothing the HBO wardrobe and FX team could knock out in minutes….

  • paulgude,

    McShane was on The Pillars of the Earth, so someone was able to afford him on a TV budget, somewhere. I agree they can’t just get any actor they want, but they can probably afford to add a “name” at least once per season, especially since we’ll be without Bean or Addy next year.

  • Did these actors just post their auditions on Vimeo? I feel like for a show this big, real contenders would be kept under wraps. I could be wrong though.

  • It is absurd to jump on the bandwagon of one actor having only seen one audition out of at least many dozens.

  • Zack,

    The thing is, Balon Greyjoy isn’t really much of a role. If you’re going to cast someone like McShane, you want to give him a juicier part.

    Now, either Euron or Victarion Greyjoy could be a better role. But I still think Mance Rayder’s the best part for him.

  • Wow, I didn’t realize McShane is almost 70!! he IS way too old for Stannis…but in my defense, he looks much younger than 70. :)

    LOVE this Balon audition!!!

  • Howland Reed,

    You have to start somewhere. It is okay to get preemptively excited. As we see more auditions and hear more news, opinions will surely change.

  • Mel – definitely no.

    David Wilmot – Not my mental picture of Davos, gotta see more of him. Not thrilled, not disappointed either.

    Johnny Phillips – wait a minute! this guy has something! As K26dp point out, he’s a Balon or even better, I can see an Aeron Damphair in him.

    Is it too wild to put Keith Allen as Balon?. TBH, I’ve never seem him anywhere, but I like the prank it would be.

    And 2 things:

    1- Please, people, stop putting on big names for small roles. That’s NOT gonna happen. No Mark Strong (pity), no Ian McShane (Stannis? Really?), no Patrick Stewart (so we have a role for a bald guy.. let’s call PS!!).
    2.- After 1st season cast, I have more than full confidence on Nina Gold and her team. Who would’ve bring out the names of Harry Lloyd, Emilia Clarke, Mark Addy or Michelle Fairley two years ago? And they’re outstanding on their roles. We’re in more than capable hands here.

  • Prankster,

    Speaking of Pillars of the Earth veterans, what about Rufus Sewell? I’m not suggesting him for either Davos or Stannis, mind you, but I wonder if there’s something in Westeros for him? Maybe Mance Rayder? There’s a Nina Gold connection from John Adams after all…

  • I’m most excited just to be hearing dialogue from season 2. At this point any news on production is exciting to me, season 2 is still a long way away. :)

  • Prankster,

    I agree that McShane is a much more viable prospect for the show (in whatever role) than, say, Strong signing on as Stannis.

    Also, I agree what you said in the spoiler tags has merit, hence my “one or two larger names” concession.

  • God ! I’m so greedy !..This just makes me want to see what other auditions they’re seeing. The actress has the right sort of physical qualities , and you did get the feeling she was reading almost cold. She might do better with a bit more input… but, meh.

    Really like Jonny Phillips , he could obviously capture the scathing contempt Balon showers on Theon.

    David Wilmot seems like the kind of actor who could do justice to any number of characters … guys, who knows exactly what a smuggler looks like ? I think he has possibilities.

  • Shadowcat85,

    There are a few methods to get these to casting directors via the web. When I auditioned for something in Spokane (which I didn’t get) I used a file-sharing service my agent suggested, but they basically just wanted a clickable link. Vimeo is probably easier to use,

  • Alejandra Cruz for Melisandre?: No. Definitely not.

    David Wilmot for Davos?: Okayish — but in all honesty, I am sure they can do much better. Still, David Wilmot is not a bad actor and might do. If he does not get the part, I hope he is encouraged by the nearly warm fan-reception. We’re picky fans David.

    Johnny Phillips for Balon?:
    Now we’re talking. Not too damn shabby at all! Whether there are better candidates for the role is for Nina Gold et al to judge — but if the test is “is this actor more than good enough”? Then the answer is “yes”. I’d say he’d make a pretty good Balon Greyjoy. Whether there are even better applicants is unknown.

    In all honesty, Johnny Phillips he might be an even better choice for Aeron Damphair, perhaps, an excellent choice for Damphair. Assuming we even HAVE a Damphair in GOT, which is not at all certain, given the cuts to the Iron Isles story arc which may prove necessary.

  • Howland Reed,

    It doesn’t hurt anything to say you liked an audition either. People could like ten people for the same role if they wanted.

    Given how much hopefuls for season one were slammed after we found their videos, I’m happy to see there are people folks like.

  • The woman trying for Melisandre would probably be pretty good if she were a little more fluid and enunciated more. I do like the accent, I think that works for Melisandre because she’s not supposed to be from Westeros.

    The guy playing Davos was okay, but the guy trying for Balon blew it out of the water. Excellent.

  • Just to clarify, I thought the guy playing Davos more than looked like how I pictured Davos, anyway, and he seemed to do okay on the acting side of it too.

  • I know it’s been mentioned before, but I still think Henry Ian Cusick (Desmond, from Lost) would make a kick-ass Davos.

  • Caedes:

    1- Please, people, stop putting on big names for small roles. That’s NOT gonna happen. No Mark Strong (pity), no Ian McShane (Stannis? Really?), no Patrick Stewart (so we have a role for a bald guy.. let’s call PS!!).
    2.- After 1st season cast, I have more than full confidence on Nina Gold and her team. Who would’ve bring out the names of Harry Lloyd, Emilia Clarke, Mark Addy or Michelle Fairley two years ago? And they’re outstanding on their roles. We’re in more than capable hands here.

    Mark Addy is a film veteran. He’s well known from The Full Monty, A Knight’s Tale, and, um, The Flintstones sequel (what, I didn’t say he was only in GOOD movies). He’s almost as much of a “name” as Sean Bean.

    While I agree that it’s silly for people to call out huge names for tiny roles, it’s not unreasonable to speculate on getting well-known actors for a couple of parts–the crucial thing is that they have to be *good* parts, worthy of the expense and effort involved in getting a recognizable face. I think Stannis, Davos, and Mance Rayder, among others, are all genuinely meaty parts that would be worth landing a well-known actor for. (I feel the same about Brienne, except there aren’t any well-known actresses who really fit the part.) Balon Greyjoy…not so much.

    Likewise, there are a couple of small but cool roles that would be well-suited to a traditional “guest appearance”–Oberyn Martell has been mentioned before, for instance.

  • I thought of the lot the Balon audition was the best, although the Davos one was very good too. I didn’t like Wilmot for Jaqen; I imagine the character as being younger and maybe a bit more exotic.

    That said, I wouldn’t mind seeing Keith Allen audition for Balon. Who better to play Theon’s dad than Alfie Allen’s dad. I’m not sure if Keith would do a good job or not, but it would definitely be interesting to see his take on the character.

  • really like david and jonny.

    alejandre trys too hard to tell an epic story.
    i can’t imagine her making melisandre a believable character.

  • Caedes:

    After 1st season cast, I have more than full confidence on Nina Gold and her team. Who would’ve bring out the names of Harry Lloyd, Emilia Clarke, Mark Addy or Michelle Fairley two years ago? And they’re outstanding on their roles. We’re in more than capable hands here.

    This is exactly right. If there is anything which the 1st season proved, it is that Nina Gold & Co. were almost perfect in their casting choices.

    While I’m still not entirely sold on the look of Lena Headey as Cersei, I don’t believe that was ever a casting issue. D&D deliberately decided to de-emphasize Cersei’s sexuality as a femme fatale. Having made that choice and having decided to go with another concept for Cersei Lannister, they then cast the role in accordance with the concept. To be clear, I have ZERO complaints with Lena Headey’s acting. She has acquitted herself more than ably.

    And I think it is fair to say that for most fans, Cersei was the only question mark in the cast after the first season. Again, not because of Lena Headey, but because the character in the TV series is deliberately intended to be somewhat different than the Cersei in the books. Every single other role for every other character with more than a couple of lines was pretty much SPOT FRIKKIN’ ON. An outstanding ensemble cast was ultimately put together.

    The casting in Game of Thrones is not only in good hands — it’s demonstrably in the best hands there are. Nina Gold et al have my complete trust to get it right.

  • Prankster: That Wilmot guy seems cool, and I’d absolutely buy him as Davos. He looks an awful lot like that other actor that I recall people hyping for the role–the Scottish guy who played Vincent Van Gogh on the last season of Doctor Who. Forget his name. I wonder if that suggests he’s being approached as well?

    Tony Curran and yes there were rumours a while back that he was in talks for a role with Davos being the most likely.

  • Jambo: I know it’s been mentioned before, but I still think Henry Ian Cusick (Desmond, from Lost) would make a kick-ass Davos.

    I’ve always said HIC would be a good Davos but I believe he’s got a new series starting in the U.S so is out of the running (probably).

  • I would like to see Benedict Cumberbatch for Rhaegar Targaryen (if/when ToJ is shown), I think he totally looks like he could be a sibling of Daenerys and Viserys (as portrayed onscreen).

    And David Wenham as Edmure Tully.

  • Wilmot’s reading was perfect IMHO; understated, humble, stoic, gruff and working class. I would be very pleased were he to be cast!

  • I like Wilmot’s look for Davos, though he is a bit young for the role, and his reading was pretty good. He has the right kind of world-weariness and as Winter said, an honest face. I don’t think Davos’ age matters as much in the show, since it mostly has to do with his having seven kids & I assume most or all of them will be cut.

    Like others, less sold on him as Jaqen, but he was passable there as well. That he can even halfway pull off two such different characters speaks well of his versatility.

    (That said, whoever first suggested Harry Lloyd as Jaqen really hit on something; I now can’t get that image of him out of my head. Pity).

    Phillips was quite good, overcoming a disadvantageous camera angle to put in an impressive audition. Unless the competition is very stiff, he should get a callback.

  • paulgude,

    Fair enough. I just get mildly frustrated when people say comments along the lines of “this guy IS Davos” as if that’s the final option. I am happy that we, the very diverse fan base that we are, don’t have a say in casting. I prefer to put my trust in the artistic vision of individuals.

  • Weirwood:
    I would like to see Benedict Cumberbatch for Rhaegar Targaryen (if/when ToJ is shown),I think he totally looks like he could be a sibling of Daenerys and Viserys (as portrayed onscreen).

    And David Wenham as Edmure Tully.

    Woah, hadn’t thought of Benedict as Rhaegar! I have been picturing Rhaegar as Karl Urban in LotR (he played Eomer) lately. But Benedict does look like he could be Harry and Emilia’s sibling.

    Mormegil: Tony Curran and yes there were rumours a while back that he was in talks for a role with Davos being the most likely.

    I want Tony Curran as Stannis. Like, really bad. I know about people complaining that we shouldn’t waste his red hair in a role with a wisp of black hair, but I’m saying: We (ok, they, the producers) shouldn’t waste his TALENT in a role such as Edmure.

    Wilmot’s reading was perfect IMHO; understated, humble, stoic, gruff and working class. I would be very pleased were he to be cast!

    I agree. I like him very very much. I don’t get why everyone is ”warm” and ”just ok” with him. I’m sure there are many great actors out there, and I’d be super happy if they got the part, but he’s certainly one of them! Great, not just ok.

  • Shadowcat85,

    To expand further, the Internet is the delivery method for these, not the destination.

    Using my experience as an example, rather than come to Seattle for auditions, the casting directors solicited video auditions to decide who to call in to see in person. If you made it to the *next* round of casting, you actually traveled to Spokane for a callback. While I didn’t move to this stage, my friend Basil did and was actually cast.

    So, we’re actually just seeing the initial stages here.

  • Cruz for Melisandre? NOPE

    Wilmots for Jaquen? Nope: too rough… I see Jaquen as silky, silent (as a snake), swift (as a deer) – this Jaquen sounds like any common Westerosi
    for Davos: why not, but I thought Davos should be uglier, older (how many grown up sons???)

    Balon was ok, I wouldn’t mind if it was him.

  • Wow that audition of Jonny Phillips is really good! I can’t see Wilmot as Jaqen. The actor who’ll play Jaqen should (in my opinion of course) give of a sense of playfull danger. Wilmot doesn’t have that since he looks pretty plain, but that’s why he’d make a fine Davos: plain but strong.

  • I agree with most everyone else here. Terrible Mel, capable Davos (although not sublime), and sublime Balon. Cast Jonny Philips NOW.

  • The Balon casting was good, i would not mind if Philips played him.

    I hope they cast Dina Meyer (Starship Troopers) for Melisandre.

  • Balerion,

    With the exception of Peter Dinklage, I wouldn’t expect any more non-commonwealth performers due to union rules.

  • The Mel audition was not very good. Not believable for the role. David Wilmot did well and seemed very intense, but like someone else said, I think it should be somebody older since he has grown sons in the story. Hope they find more of these auditions.

  • Darquemode,

    Dominic West of HBO’s “the Wire” and “300” with Lena Headey is 4 or 5 years younger than Mark Addy, a perfect Stannis.

  • Cool! I don’t think I was around when S.1 auditions leaked. But this is cool!
    For the lady, I really liked the intense spanish accent more than I thought I might. Other than the accent, I am not sure she had the intensity right yet.

    The Davos guy has a great look, and great eyes.

    The Balon guy could be good too..

    I was trying to imagine them costumed, and opposite the people. It was fun..

  • Jenny,
    His ‘grown’ sons are only early twenties, so Davos could be middle-late forties – I think with the way he has wrinkles on his face, he looks old enough. They could grey up his hair if they have to.


    In other news, I really liked that Balon, vocally. Potential, there.

  • Dude, Dina Meyer is not going to be Melisandre, for so many reasons I won’t even bother listing them.

    I’ve watched a few other clips of David Wilmot online, and he’s quite good. It’s hard to judge an unfamiliar actor with a brief audition vid, but the other shows and stuff show me he can play lots of characters on GoT. He was on The Tudors for several episodes. And hey, with his age and looks, he could even play Edmure, should they audition him for that.
    Davis is not old, and his ‘grown’ sons are not that old either. The smallfolk seem to shack up at a young age, so Davos could’ve started having kids by the time he was 16. I think anything 35ish and up is fine for his age range.

  • I am by far most pleased with Balon. Excellent! :) In my mind’s eye, I can see the scene already, with him in costume, on the Seastone Chair…his inflection, pacing, the expressions in his face and eyes all worked together towards his performance.

  • Balon… Jonny really, really got the character right. I don’t know if they’ll be cast, but from what I see season 2 will have just as strong a cast as season 1.

  • I always feel weird when watching auditions, almost giddily embarrassed, because it seems so intimate I guess. Anyway, that said, a couple things:

    I agree with a lot of people that Phillips is so good he should be considered for a bigger role. Which he probably will, didn’t a lot of actors from season one audition as other characters than they ended up with?

    Secondly, while I do think they’re going to want a ‘bigger name’ hook, it makes most sense they’d choose a smaller part. Like, hmm, Balon Greyjoy!

    And finally, a big problem that I have when reading the books and doing ‘mental castings’ is that Stannis’ demeanor always makes me envision him older than he is. Like, significantly older. So when people suggest Patrick Stewart or Ian Mcshane for Stannis, my brain goes ‘Oh yeah, makes so much sense’ and I have to stop myself to remember, oops, he’s the younger brother.

  • You know, in my very first reading of ASOIAF I’ve ALWAYS pictured Mel to be none other than Monica Belluci. Sure she’s a movie star but tv shows aren’t what they used to be (higher budget, better quality) and in light of many movie stars going back to the small screen it’s not inconceivable. HBO is also not a random tv network, considering they got Eva Green to play in Camelot it’s not a stretch to get this italian bombshell for our Mel. She would be the right age, old enough to have a commanding presence and still young enough to exude blatant sexuality.

    Despite the excellent storyline and budget, we ARE going to lose a bunch of big names. Signing on household names as a recognizable star would do a lot to keep the buzz going into season 2. Out of 10 episodes in the second season, I think the role is big enough to give her enough attention but small enough to minimize her commitments.

    Less, you guys feel she’s too old for Mel as well (which is ridiculous, just google some of her images. XD

    PS: Sure Mcshane is close to 70 but he doesn’t look 70 or act 70. I guarantee you he’ll make the meanest and baddest Stannis the show will ever see.

  • Wilmot and Phillips are good.

    Of course, there are probably a few dozen candidates, so I reckon their chances are low (for the sheer amount of competitors alone).

  • Drfunk: PS: Sure Mcshane is close to 70 but he doesn’t look 70 or act 70. I guarantee you he’ll make the meanest and baddest Stannis the show will ever see.

    Question is: Could he be Mark Addys younger brother? Answer: Absolutely not.

  • These auditions are amazing!! At least the Wilmot and Phillips were pretty damned good.

    But concerning the whole Ian McShane thing….keep in mind that this show NEEDS to make it own actors. Just like GOT is gonna make Peter Dinklage bigger, Masie, Issac, Sophie and Jackie will be made into stars as well. And we all know that Kit Harrington IS Jon Snow. So just like Ian McShane is Al Swearengen, we need somebody else to do the roles of Davos, Stannis, or Mance Raydar.

    I wanna see a slightly recognizable but relatively new face playing these characters. Notice how HBO didn’t go ahead a grab James Gandolfini for one of the lead roles in GOT. Or Timothy Oliphant. Or Dominic West. They grabbed the ocassional supporting or lead role coming from an actor whose role landed him some regonition. Example being Aiden Gillen.

    Besides, keep in mind that Stannis is YOUNGER than Robert. So getting someone whose in their 70s won’t make too much sense. Davos is also somewhat young. 35 to 40 I’m guessing. And Mance Raydar is also young. Once of the most surprising things about the character is his age. Before read SOS I thought the guy was at least in his 50s or something. That was before Jon Snow encountered him.

    Point is we need fresh faces. Not McShane. Not Stewart. Not Strong. But new faces that are recognizable but still somewhat evasive to viewers and fans alike

  • sjwenings,

    Also, while it seems like fans are always trying to find reasons while their favorites will work despite issues with age, height, etc., most casting directors are trying to narrow their choices from many actors that fit their criteria rather than trying to shoehorn in additional people who don’t.

    Casting Natalia Tena when she was initially younger than GRRM’s concept of Osha is one thing, casting an actor significantly older than another as the “younger” brother is something else entirely.

  • paulgude:
    In my opinion, Mel’s speeches need to have real power behind them. I’m not talking volume, but that real emotional response you get when watching, say, Momoa do his monologues.

    When you say power in Mel’s speeches do you mean like a female firebrand (no pun intended) preacher?

  • Julian Walker,


    We ran into this with season one. While some of the roles were cast with known actors, look at the top choices for Varys:

    Stephen Fry, Rowan Atkinson, David Bamber, Timothy Spall

    Choices for Bronn:

    James Purefoy, Dominic West , Garrett Dillahunt, Richard Armitage

    Instead we got Conleth Hill and Jerome Flynn, both of whom are amazing in their roles, but neither of whom someone would have named off the top of their head.

    That’s not to say it isn’t fun to play-cast people we know in these roles, but I embrace the fact that we’ll be seeing a lot of new faces.

    Again, that doesn’t mean I don’t see the benefit for maybe one or two more well-known actors added to the cast, but more than that and I’d be very surprised.

    (Not upset, just surprised.)

  • Awesome Balon reading! Balon in my head was quite a bit older than that actor, but he read really well.

  • paulgude,


    I think the perfect example of an “ideal” casting was Charles Dance as Tywin.
    Not only he matches the description to a tee (muttonchops aside), he has more than the acting chops, and, more importantly, he was the right age and the right price. British, not-so-great-a-name-but-not-an-unknown.

    I think we should be searching on this terms for the majority of season 2 cast.

    Which reminds me… What are the new characters confirmed to appear on S2?

  • Sleeky,

    Not exactly.

    It’s a “fire” of sorts, but not bombastic, necessarily. It’s a bit ineffable, but I think Eva Green has it in this scene from Franklin:

    Granted, the feeling would change because of the context. However, that “thing” certain actors have seems present no matter the role. It’s not necessarily the words themselves, just the underlying passion behind them.

    Again, this isn’t an endorsement for Green, just that someone with that inner spark is needed, in my mind.

  • Off-Topic:
    Is this already known?

    Airlock Alpha announces the 2011 Portal Award nominees, with 15 television shows, five movies and some of the biggest names in the genre competing for a spot in the winner’s circle of the 12th installment of the awards.

    Leading the way are both a newcomer and a fan favorite: HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and Fox’s “Fringe.” Both received seven nominations, including Best Series/Television.

  • It’s fascinating how casting directors can pick people out from such simple videos.

    Haven’t had a chance to watch any of them (company coming over shortly,) but I certainly will.

  • Where is the spoiler warning for those audition tapes?!

    I mean, obviously they’re season 2 dialogue, so in that sense they’re season 2 spoilers. But there are definitely season 1 spoilers in them as well.

  • Robert,

    I’d be happy if he got any role…. on any show I watch. Ha! He would make a good Stannis.

    I liked the idea that someone brough up of Mathew Macfadyen too.

    I honestly never pictured any actors I knew as I read the books the first couple times. So this casting is fun for me! Seeing who matches up with the image in my mind’s eye.

    Now when I read the books, I do picture the cast of Game of Thrones and it tweaks how I see the book… I wish I could get Headey and Turner out of my head as Cersei and Sansa. I enjoyed disliking Cersei in the books – a lot! In the series I am mostly apathetic towards her, which is sad, and I miss the firey Cersei from the books.

    Sansa has been written as even more unlikable than in the book… I would not have thought that possible before watching the series. I have hopes they evolve her one-tone role and Sophie (or D&D) adds some subtlety next year.

    Overall though I trust the casting crew completely. They have either done brilliant spot on casting for roles or they have done brilliant against type casting for almost every member of the cast. In my mind they already won the Emmy for casting!

  • Prankster: While I agree that it’s silly for people to call out huge names for tiny roles, it’s not unreasonable to speculate on getting well-known actors for a couple of parts

    But much less likely if they’re long-running roles. Sean Bean and Mark Addy only had to commit to one season. Stannis is in at least three books, and Davos is in at least two (probably more, I’m not convinced he’s dead).

  • thegrateone:
    Where is the spoiler warning for those audition tapes?! I mean, obviously they’re season 2 dialogue, so in that sense they’re season 2 spoilers.But there are definitely season 1 spoilers in them as well.

    Huh? It would be pretty strange for someone to deliberately watch videos that obviously contain season 2 dialogue if they don’t want to find out about anything that hasn’t been on the show yet. I’m not saying there aren’t some pretty strange people on the Internet, but still, that’s taking spoiler warnings a little far.

  • I could see Jonny Phillips as Balon. I’m liking David Wilmot’s Jaqen, but I’m seeing him more as Edmure. Wonder what kind of read he’d do if it was for Edmure….
    Not seeing Alejandra Cruz as Melisandre. I never “heard” her in my head as talking with a Spanish accent. This actress just doesn’t fit for this particular part.
    And about Joseph Campo, I seriously hope they get him on the show, he’s great!
    Now all I need is a Quorin Halfhand casting thread…. Ahem, hint hint WiC, HmR, Fab, anyone.

  • Just saw the Balon audition… I liked it ;-) One of the thing that transpired from the book about Balon was how intimidating he was for his son, he certainly is a scary father here. I think he was the best of the three. Then again, that scene is full of intensity, so if done right it’s probably easier to convince then the Wilmot scene, but Wilmot was als quite good at being rather perplexed at what Stannis is telling him.

  • Loving Jonny P as Balon. He could get next season ‘hotter than in my mind’ award. This seasons Ser Jorah and Ser Barristan current title holders. Not that us fangirls/like minded fanboys are complaining.

    Still pulling for Tony Curran as Davos and Tim Roth as Stannis. I think that is actually do able.

    British, not-so-great-a-name-but-not-an-unknown

    As my Mum’s Charles Dance love can asttest, he is far more well known in the UK/Commonwealth Contries. He’s just older/not the leading man any more.

  • Assuming the dialogue they’re reading is from real preliminary season 2 scripts, there’s a bit in the second Davos one that suggests a slight plot simplification they may have made: Stannis says that he was the only one Ned told about Cersei’s secret. In the book, Stannis never got Ned’s message, but he knew already from having worked with Jon Arryn in King’s Landing. Seems to me like a reasonable way to streamline Stannis’s backstory a little.

    Also I really, really hope they keep that piece of letter-dictation dialogue (“Jaime… no, Jaime the Kingslayer… no, Ser Jaime the Kingslayer”… etc.) – just a perfect example of why Stannis is such a great character.

  • Honestly, that Balon audition really worked for me, so much so that I almost forgot that he was an actor auditioning for a role but really Balon talking to Theon in a tower by the sea.

  • Mormegil,

    Alexander Dubrovsky,

    Oh so fondly dubbed “Clavdivs” in my family , I , Claudius is the most re-watched and most borrowed thing in my DVD collection… I’m feeling a bit ambivalent about what they could add … maybe better sets..more extras…but Rome fell far, far short in terms of dialogue IMO…probably more sex and gore..but if that’s the main thrill , I’ll be sticking to the one that’s already damned near perfect for drama.

  • Ouch, Cruz is not a good choice for Melisandre! I hope they’re not seriously considering her.

  • My pick for Stannis would be Jason Isaacs, I think he’d be perfect for the role as he can do steely eyed and has great acting chops and has done fantasy before in the Harry Potter films.
    For Davos, when I was reading the books for some reason my mental images alternated between Pete Postlethwaite from when he played King Lear and Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips, but for obvious reasons neither are going to happen. It’s got to be someone with an air of gravitas who has slightly gone to seed, but still has a spark about him deep down. Tricky casting.
    Melisandre’s description is she’s got a womanly shape and a heart shaped face. Someone like Alyssa Milano maybe? Again someone who has done fantasy before and not too A list to do some TV work. Maybe not mysterious enough and they’ll probably want to cast someone younger.

  • Darquemode: The Balon audition was VERY good. He was subtle when needed, direct and powerful when called for and had layers of complexity in his reading… not just the expected notes! The voice was about how I heard him in my mind, but I always saw him moe weathered I guess. Nothing the HBO wardrobe and FX team could knock out in minutes….

    Really liked the Balon one. Mainly because of his eyes. Jonny Phillips has the eyes for Balon Greyjoy. I picture Balon as a man of quiet intensity. The right sort of look from Balon should stop Theon dead in his tracks. Phillips has the tools, and seems to understand the role (at least how I envision it).

  • I think Indira Varma would make a good Mel. She played Niobi in HBO’s Rome. In fact, there are some really great actors from that show that I could see as characters for ASOIAF.

  • Shadowcat85: Did these actors just post their auditions on Vimeo? I feel like for a show this big, real contenders would be kept under wraps. I could be wrong though.

    There’s probably a buttload more up on vimeo, but they’re properly password-protected and hidden from the public. I’d say that posting audition videos is highly commonplace today, but usually the actor (or actor’s agent) would take proper measures to ensure it’s not public.
    It’s basically the same exact thing as NY’s Anthony Weiner: some people just suck at the internet :)

  • So yeah she was just not right at all for Mel. I mean from looks to understanding the character she was just wrong.
    Wilmot is awesome as Davos. Just awesome. The other guy as Balon was…okay. I think they’ve got the right direction but just something missing from what he did. There wasn’t that hard bitten, reined in malice bubbling under the surface. As for Ian mcshane. mmmm yeah he needs to be on this show but we (my wife and I, not the “royal we” though I don’t mind if you bow to me) think he would be an amazing king beyond the wall. he’d be an older mance but oh the mance he would be…

  • David Wilmot did a passable Davos. Not bad for a simple video sample. Not sure about him as Jaqen H’ghar. I wonder if he might be a good Edmure Tully?

    The Balon sample was OK. As others have said, not enough bitterness and venom.

    I did not buy the Cruz interpretation of Melisandre at all. Not the right look and not even close to the right personality. Melisandre is all self-confidence and strength of personality. She is absolutely sure in her convictions. The Cruz sample wasn’t even close on that score. No gravitas. No aura of righteousness. Just sort of flat. Combined with not being the pale-skinned, red-haired beauty of the Melisandre described in the books, and it just doesn’t work.

  • Did not like Cruz, though her looks are good. Might be my opinion would improve with a different accent but for now a solid no.

    I would really like Wilmot as Davos! I can almost picture him in my mind reaching for the finger bones at his neck. Great look for it too; I think his talent is better suited for the bigger role, and I wasn’t really feeling his Jaqen audition. Looks like he definetely has the experience.

    Liked the Balon audition as well.

  • obsidian,

    Ah! I watched them all a few months ago (I was too young when I was a kid, my parents loved it but of course wouldn’t let me watch it), the budget was a lot smaller than Rome, and it was also a lot slower, so it felt more like a play but you quickly get into it. And as you said, the dialogs were brilliant, and in the pantheon of infamous female characters, Siân Phillips’s Livia should be on top of them all! BBC did say Rome was the spiritual sequel (although since they took liberties in both, things didn’t add up between the two to be the sequel), but now I’m not surprised they’re doing another one. For those who knows the old one, it won’t beat it, but for those who’ve never seen it, it could still be succesful. Time will tell…

  • Rocky:
    My pick for Stannis would be Jason Isaacs, I think he’d be perfect for the role as he can do steely eyed and has great acting chops and has done fantasy before in the Harry Potter films.

    Jason Isaacs IS Stannis in my mental image!

  • Son of Snow: Jason Isaacs
    I think Jason Isaacs is commited to a show called Awake so would be unavailable for Stannis.

    Correct. Which is a shame, as I don’t think that Awake is likely to make it on US Network TV. I’m not saying he would necessarily make a great Stannis — (though he might.)

  • I’d be happy with Wilmot and Phillips as Davos and Balon. They did really good jobs with their readings and if they are that good without any directing and without any visuals I’m quite sure they would be very good in the show. I of course can’t know if they are the best of the auditions but they are more than good enough.

  • I always pictured Melisandre as Monica Belluci – doubt that they could get her though.

  • Caedes,

    I think you’re completely right re: big names like, for example, Patrick Stewart for Stannis. On the other hand, I would love to see Christopher Eccleston as Stannis — I think he looks ascetic enough and he could pull of this part both looks-wise and acting-wise. He’s also well-known enough without being too high-profile for the part.

  • The guy auditioning for Balon reminds me a bit of Viggo Mortensen. He should definitely play either Balon or, even better, damp hair. He’s fantastic!

  • I’m also not feeling this actress as Melisandre. We need a bit more fire, confidence and allure.

    Davos was OK, and Balon really good, though!

  • For those concerned about looks, particularly age and height. Those are really the least of our concerns. Characters can always be made and shot to look a certain way. There were many complaints that Mark Addy was not tall enough for Robert. Obviously he worked out. We all have to remember the acting is more important than the look. I’m sure they could have plucked the ugliest little person they could find but would they be able to act like Dinklage? That being said I don’t like this girl for Mel, more appropriate for Arianne of Dorne. I like the guy for Davos and barring a knockout audition by someone else I really like Phillips for Balon.

  • The Davos and Balon auditions were really pretty good. Wilmot really captured Davos’ sense of inner conflict and resolution, with just his facial expressions. That’s the kind of skill needed for that particular character, because so much of Davos’ POV is inner monologue, which won’t translate well on screen.

    As far as Melisandre, I have to agree with the comments I’ve read. It’s not about knowing the character motivations, so much as understanding that this woman is dedicated to her cause – and beyond that, she oozes power and sensuality. When she’s not chanting, she’s purring with confidence. Pointed stares and pursed lips and whispered resolve. Melisandre inspires fear through her presence, but she also distracts with the same, which is how she gains her followers. It’s going to be hard to find someone who can unnerve with a smile, and seduce with a look, all while talking about her god.

  • Titus Crow,

    I wholeheartedly subscribe to the “Trust HBO to make it work” sentiment *after* someone is cast. It’s a good way to console yourself if Nina Gold in her infinite wisdom picks someone that you think is wrong.

    Applying this idea to make an actor *not* picked by HBO a viable candidate for Mark Addy’s younger brother despite being 24 years his senior seems to be stretching its usefulness to me.

  • Sorry but I really have to scratch this itch;

    Stannis is not Robert’s younger brother. He is, in fact, his older brother.

    As the leader of the rebellion and with Stannis, as Renly put it in show, having “the personality of a lobster”, it perhaps com es as no surprise that he was made the King despite being the younger brother.

  • When I read Melisandre, she comes off, in my head, like a Delores Umbridge or Kai Winn. Albeit a younger sexier version. But that same self-assured, smug zealotry.

    I wasn’t feeling that from this audition.

  • Jonny Phillips would be excellent as Balon. Great work!

    And for my one and only fan-casting wish, I’d love to see Henry Ian Cusick as Davos. He had some of the best episodes of LOST, and unfortunately that show didn’t use him enough. It would be great to see him as the onion knight.

    Thanks Rabbit for your detective work!

  • Just looked it up on Wiki of Ice and Fire. King Robert’s definitively the oldest out of all the Baratheon siblings.

  • And did I mention that Johnny Phillips is pretty much perfect as Balon so far? I haven’t seen the other auditions tapes so there’s probably a better one out there. But for now I could see this guy ripping Theon a new one in the next season.

    By the way, do we get to see any of the other Greyjoy siblings aside from Asha next season??

  • Bravo, Jonny Phillips! Two thumbs up.

    What is important in this scene is the source of Balon’s position and his probable influence on Theon.

    Balon was ready for that exchange with Theon. He dwelled on Theon’s return for “nine years” (actually, ten years). Balon speaks from ripened prejudice. Yet, he doesn’t come across as rehearsed. His talking points flow like politically partisan rhetoric.

    Balon’s words and tone have to be offensive enough to make Theon’s later attempt to win his father’s approval plausible but not so offensive as to make rebellion by Theon against his father more plausible.

    That is the way Mr. Martin wrote it. That is the way Mr. Phillips played it. Great job.

  • Factchecker,


    It’s an interesting psychological phenomenon that so many people think this. As if it’s impossible for a younger sibling to have the stereotypical “older sibling personality” that Stannis has. It is indeed possible for a younger sibling to be quieter, less rowdy, less outgoing, more prickly, and less personable than his older sibling.

    Also, Stannis did spend much of his childhood as the “oldest” Baratheon at Storm’s End because Robert was fostered with Jon Arryn from a young age, so perhaps he picked up some of these traits – though as Cressen sees it, this is just how Stannis has always been.

  • Am I the only one that thought Edmure when they saw David Wilmot? He could pass for Cat’s younger brother even though I can’t recall Edmure’s approximate age. I know he didn’t audition for him, and I don’t remember if they are even casting Edmure for Season 2, but for some reason I really want to see him in that part after seeing his auditions. Jonny Phillips did a good Balon. I liked him in the role. Seeing him like that I can see why Theon would do what he did. Basically what Mike Chair said in his spoiler.

  • Wilmot and Philips are really good. I have to agree I’d like to see Wilmot as Edmure, his Davos and Jaqen readings show some diversity.

    Philips looks very much how I pictured Balon, and he plays the part well. I did picture him a bit more shouty, but the but the shabby intensity he brings to the quieter bits is very convincing.

    Cruz didn’t seem to be able to get into character, but her look and her accent work well.

  • I don’t understand why so many people like the Davos audition. So the guy can furrow his brow and look concerned while saying Davos’ lines…that’s about all I took away from it. The Mel one was painful, I stopped it after her first sentence it was so cringe-worthy

  • It’s a ‘No’ to Cruz’s audition from me. I picture Melissandre as a lush Celtic looking woman like a young Rula Lenska.

    Wilmot and Phillips are too young to play Davos and Balon.

  • I agree with other comments regarding that screen test — awful, flat, uninspiring.

    I strongly believe British actress Ruth Wilson (or someone of her calibre) would be PERFECT for Melisandre. Very talented, intensive, intelligent, and superb actress! She has presence and thensome. Check out this (and other YouTube) link(s) featuring her:

  • Well, I can’t see the Davos audition because it’s locked. But Alejandre Cruz gave what I consider a very flat performance there. Not my cup of tea at all. I think Christina Hendricks would make an awesome Melisandre.