Dan Weiss David Benioff Interview Season 4

David Benioff and Dan Weiss on Season 4: “Making it almost killed us.”

Vanity Fair has released an extended excerpt from their interview with show runners David Benioff and Dan Weiss for the Game of Thrones April cover story.

If we’ve learned anything from the cast and crew so far, Season 4 is going to be big. In this new interview, David and Dan go into detail about what made this season so hard to shoot. The complexity of the show has been ramped up, and we’re in for a lot more action, and of course, bigger dragons.

Is there anything you can say about season four?

Dan Weiss: Making it almost killed us. How about that?

David Benioff: It was the hardest season to shoot.

Did you have the same number of production days?

Dan Weiss: It’s more about what you’re trying to do in those days. The logistical complexity of this year was such a dramatic leap.

Are they more expensive episodes?

Dan Weiss: More expensive. Every year it goes up. Every year it gets bigger budget-wise and accordingly bigger in terms of production logistics. Here, I think, the budget went to here, and the appetite for more new or different kinds of shooting and scenes went even beyond that.

Meaning more fights, more action?

Dan Weiss: The sorts of visual-effect type things that we hadn’t really done before.

I suppose the dragons are effects and they get bigger as the show goes on.

Dan Weiss: Yeah.

David Benioff: So there’s that. And it was more action this season than there ever has been before. And it’s just much more time consuming. To shoot a decent fight, you need to cover all the different angles, and it ends up eating a lot of days. But the actors have gotten better at the fighting. Yesterday we were watching this fight scene with Kit Harington [Jon Snow] in it, and he did this movement — “Is that sped up? Because it looks a little — ”

Dan Weiss: “That looks fake! Let’s take the frame-rate…” But he was actually moving a thousand miles an hour with a heavy sword in his hand. He’s good. He’s really good.

Visit VanityFair.Com for more from David & Dan, including their thoughts on the magical side of the show taking over, and good-versus-evil.


  • all i kno is im still in shock over the GEORGE RR MARTIN interview and how delusional he is in regards to the end game ……………….so sad……please someone tell me any series which has finished on another medium before the author actually ended the series on page………again im just venting and a sad bastard

  • theonetruebastard,

    Please get over it. Very tired of this discussion. Could we talk about the actual article? Do you think production effort and expense will go down again in S5?

  • Dear D&D

    Please don’t die. You’re the only ones who will finish telling this story and I am counting on you for posterity so that my unborn children will not need to suffer the agony of waiting.

    Best Regards,

  • Can anyone find an enlarged version of that picture? I want to read what episode number it says on that clapper.

  • Why do you care? So it catches up (or passes it).

    Who cares?

    all i kno is im still in shock over the GEORGE RR MARTIN interview and how delusional he is in regards to the end game ……………….so sad……please someone tell me any series which has finished on another medium before the author actually ended the series on page………again im just venting and a sad bastard

  • theonetruebastard:
    all i kno is im still in shock over the GEORGE RR MARTIN interview and how delusional he is in regards to the end game ……………….so sad……please someone tell me any series which has finished on another medium before the author actually ended the series on page………again im just venting and a sad bastard

    Me too, but this is not the place to discuss about it.

    Finally we’ve got confirmation that the budget goes up every year. I guess it will stay the same or raise even further next year.

  • Hostile fans. Best story ever written. But let us celebrate our revelation. Not bicker and compete with one another.

  • Of course the budget raises each year. I see a lot of potential for spending dollars in Season 5.

  • Greenjones,

    This is the biggest I could find: http://cs608818.vk.me/v608818159/386c/pycN-hz1UQ0.jpg (about the same size, but a lot more clear) I still doubt you could see the episode number unless you happen to have some mad skill when it comes to zooming pictures (the CSI kind of zooming) :p

    And do they actually use those panels? I always thought that they CGIed buildings and stuff when filming interior scenes.

  • Balerion The Cat,

    I linked the same picture, but my post got blocked, because of the fact that I linked the google picture search result as well, and the url was way to long, lol.
    Anyway, while the picture could be more clear (I can’t really tell), it is still not readable. – Unless somebody here has some kind of super sight.

  • They “almost died” adapting the second half of ASoS? Which, arguably, has the most straightforward of plots?

    This is gonna be a HELL of a ride once the Feast/Dance material really kicks in, folks!


    Just kidding but any comments section is incomplete without at least 20 similar statements

  • hmm what do I see…

    on the monitor I can see the throne room and the painting on the wall looks kings landish. the painting might be used as background with help of shallow depth of focus.
    the set piece in the right corner looks like an exterior piece of the palace.
    the pipes are probably for the wind effect.

  • theonetruebastard,

    2001: A Space Odyssey was filmed concurrently with the book, and the book was published after the film. According to my friend, who is a film/television buff, there are other examples. It’s nothing new.

  • I’m totally at peace with HBO finishing the story first at this point. I figure GRRM will almost certainly at least get TWOW published before Season 6 airs (with Season 5 most likely not having too much spoilery TWOW content). I’ve enjoyed every ep of the show, multiple times, even though I’ve already read the books, so why shouldn’t I enjoy reading ADOS even though I’ve already seen the story finish on HBO? And if they finish up with some differences? Even better.

    That said, GRRM’s “plan” to finish first has basically been blown completely out of the water by what D & D have said lately. No hiatus. No prequel. 7 – 8 seasons max. I’m curious if GRRM will completely sour on D & D and the show when it becomes inevitable, in his mind, that they will finish before him. I really hope he is able to come to terms with it and not let it bother him too much.

  • theonetruebastard:
    all i kno is im still in shock over the GEORGE RR MARTIN interview and how delusional he is in regards to the end game ……………….so sad……please someone tell me any series which has finished on another medium before the author actually ended the series on page………again im just venting and a sad bastard

    The closest example is Scott Pilgrim, the author sold the movie rights after the first volume and eventually the movie was finished before the last (6th) volume was finished. This resulted in the movie and the graphic novel having ifferent endings.

    They waited though for the last volume of the novel to be published before they released the movie

  • theonetruebastard,

    Yeah it happens all the time with anime and manga. I am letting my inner japanese cartoon geek show, but its not uncommon for an anime (the tv show) adaption of a manga (the comic) to pass up the source material. If the makers of the show don’t want to take a hiatus or make filler, and its popular enough that they do not just want to leave it unfinished, they will just make up their own end. Usually with shitty results… see Fullmetal Alchemist or Claymore. Then the source material just keeps going on.

  • Ok, so while trying to figure out what was the episode was on that clapper, the image on the other monitor caught my eye and remined me of a scene from the forshadowing video, so I went and rewatched it. So here is a screencap: http://imgur.com/1wos3Io

    I am now sure that this is the clapper we see in that picture.

  • OT: Here is an interview with Michael Huisman where he discusses the show and his character, Daario. http://blog.zap2it.com/frominsidethebox/2014/03/game-of-thrones-season-4-michiel-huisman-says-daario-is-different-and-thats-ok.html

    Speaking of the look, were you and David and Dan ever concerned that viewers might not realize that this is the same character as Daario in Season 3?

    Um, no, because … I don’t know. I think it’s just very cleverly written and very clear from the very first episode that I’m Daario. I think that’s not a concern.

  • Cersei’s Brain or ED

    first off i wasnt trying to argue or annoy you so dont get snippy there bud, and i posted this comment in this thread because in ALL comment sections , someone complains about this topic i just happened to be one of the first so i knew a lot of people would see my venting and hopefully vent with me

    Cubicz and Summer

    Thanks …..Second, i very much enjoy reading all the comments and was just looking for people out there who could answer my question and who sympathized with the furstation that george and D&D cause with their clear contradictions (from george suggesting they take a year off or do a “prequel” season , to D&D saying 7 will be the lucky number) even though you kno the 7th will be broken into two a la the sopranos but again i digress point is there is NO WAY the show can be wrapped up apporpriately in 7 season PERIOD and that too me is very very SAD

  • D&D are the Howland Reed of the real world. They are the only ones who know what really happens and are the ones we’ll depend on to finish the story.

  • Greenjones,

    Balerion The Cat,

    Not sure if you tried Photoshop? but in case you haven’t got access and are wondering if it might help, I’m afraid not. Although you can zoom in over 3,000% the picture is nothing like high enough resolution to be able to read it. You can’t even tell that’s it writing when you get in close. (Although it’s very good for some of the other piccies people have put on here from high quality trailers’n’stuff. Especially the ones that look very dark on the screen, you can suddenly see whole lot more detail.) Not terribly helpful I know, but just in case anyone was hoping that might be the solution.

  • Tyrion Pimpslap,

    I wonder what he means by “cleverly written.” Will they, for example, show him in shadows, sporting a new scruff, cutting his own hair? Or maybe just a line (“Heeeey, Daario, I see you cut your hair. Good look” —except well written.) It would be a good way to make the transition.

  • theonetruebastard,

    but it’s best to settle for that for the time being. I mean, what can you do? Stomp your feet, cancel your HBO subscription, never read another word George writes again*. Following serial media can be great and rewarding, but there is always the risk that something doesn’t get finished, or you don’t like the end result. The best is to enjoy the ride.

    *I’ve actually done that, with both authors and TV writers

  • Well if anything good came out of the Pompeii movie, it’s that Kit Harington apparently leveled up his sword skills. Very excited for the battle at the Wall. Giants and mammoths… and explosions? Can’t wait.

  • Luka Nieto,

    “Cleverly written” is a strange way to phrase whatever they did. I’d just assumed they would call him Daario and people would either have to buy the change or not. Unless he means they’ll retcon him into being a Faceless Man, then I don’t know what he could be referring to.

  • theonetruebastard,

    Ugghh, just ugghh. The post you referencing is a whole two posts down page. Please take your whining and bitching there. It is so, so tiresome to constantly read that drivel.

  • Greenjones,

    I think they are referring to show watchers who only know the names of the most prominent characters. My very intelligent friend has just watched the first 2 seasons twice, and the third season once, and still has trouble with names of some of the most important characters. He doesn’t go on the internet and check out charts or whatever to help out.

    So saying the name Daario will do nothing for casual viewers. I think this is what they are talking about. Book readers will instantly know once they hear the name, of course.

  • It can never be about good and evil because these characters will never be able to work together. In LOTR we’re just told Dwarves and Elves don’t like each other. You can’t help being like … okay guys, get over it and defeat the terrible evil and then you can go back to your petty bullshit later if you want. No one watching Game of Thrones is going to be like, oh Arya, get over it and save Cersei from that White Walker.

  • Abyss posted three videos of Maisie interviewed on the previous thread. In this video the fourth of that con she was at, she’s asked whether Arya will warg anytime soon. It looks as though we won’t get her warging Nymeria this season. She referred to it as something she’d hope would be in future seasons rather than something that has already been incorporated in the show.

  • Anonymous,

    Exactly. They need to either make a visual transition or introduce some expositional dialogue, which can always be awkward: “As you know, I am the guy who betrayed the Second Sons and pledged to serve you.” I guess good writers can make it considerably less awkward, but still… I’d rather they bridged it in a visual medium, which can always be more elegant. I can even imagine it; the new Daario actor in shadow, but with the wig from the previous guy, cutting his own hair or having it cut.

    Actually, now that I think about it, the hair change might just be a great idea: by having his hair cut and a new beard, casual viewers will just think that’s exactly what happened to the actor, instead of a cast change. The change in style distracts from the change in facial features (although not the voice and acting style, but oh well.)

  • Greenjones:
    Tyrion Pimpslap,

    And we got the Roose! Michael McElhatton!

    Awesome! The Roose is Loose!

    From that article: “So now, in Season 4, there is a major shift in power… and without giving too much away, I am not in it a huge amount, but when I’m in it, it’s fairly full on and it’s about gaining further power basically.”

    To me, that sounds like he’ll only be in four or five episodes, but within those episodes, he’ll have a significant amount of screentime. It should be fun to watch Bolton play the game this season, working to consolidate his hold on the North and, hopefully, put that Bastard of his in his place a time or two.

  • Jared,

    That would be cool if at least an episode or two gave that particular storyline some solid screentime. I still wonder how it will all play out. We know he’s in episode two (from Fat Walda’s actress’s CV crediting her there) but where? Does “gaining further power” refer to FArya or to Moat Caillin? Or something else? We’ll see. This is one of the storylines I look forward to most and I hope we get some nice father-son interactions from it.

  • If D & D thought S4 was expensive and tough to shoot wait until they have to tackle Drogon invading the fighting pit and the siege of Mereen in ADWD

  • Darkstar:

    Ugghh, just ugghh. The post you referencing is a whole two posts down page. Please take your whining and bitching there. It is so, so tiresome to constantly read that drivel.

    Agreed! About a hundred people said the same thing as you there almost verbatim, so just in case you thought you had an original thought, you were wrong.

  • Anonymous,

    good to know thanks for the info……..

    DARKSTAR be careful ser your one of my fav characters so i will let your insolence slide this once

  • Easteros bunny,

    Easteros bunny
    why would i troll or enflame (is that what your tryin to infer) i LOVE GAME OF THRONES i LOVE GEORGE RR MARTIN i LOVE ALL OF IT, which is why its so frustrating and i would think commenters would feel the same instead you and these other idiots think im tryin to get attention or some ish im tryin to vent and speak with other people who feel the same im not tryin to do anything other than talk about a topic i love and WILL love till i die end of story get a life (LOVE THIS SITE TOO BTW)

  • A big part of Danny and Dario’s relationship in the books is her sending him on missions and then waiting on pins and needles for his uncertain return.

    So I wonder if the “cleverly written” transition for his appearance could be that Danny has sent him on a undercover recon mission towards Meereen (or somewhere else) and he semi-disguised himself to do it?

  • Vin Sidious,

    I don’t think he will be happy about it, but if he was going to turn terribly spiteful over it, I don’t think he’d be sitting down with D&D laying out his end-game for them.

  • theonetruebastard,

    Listen, I understand you are frustrated. All I am saying is why not go down page to the post that started this most recent round of teeth gnashing and post your diatribe there? It is not relative to this post at all.

  • mariamb: Yes – the photos (and the article) are much appreciated. Great Dane, indeed! Thanks for the link.

    Hmmm, hmmm. I agree.

  • If people are sniping this much right before the happy event of Season 4 arriving, I wonder how much worse it will be before Season 5 when everyone whines about the series suddenly losing all of its viewers and fun before such a scenario even happens. Honestly, just get a grip. You didn’t read any book the rest of us haven’t. This site is for the show, and what keeps people talking about the show is people willing to have a conversation instead of being subjected to a rant.

    I am really looking forward to this season, I think this will be the best yet. The effects, the drama, lots of action and conflict.

  • Darkstar ok i will agree to that, my apologies for choosing this post which your right was not on that specific topic……. its just this vantiy fair piece is the most frustrating and the more and more i see its culminates hah and in this post i was like first to comment (which never happens) so i knew people would see it and help me understand like with the anime/magna stuff and scott pilgrim finishing on another medium which i never knew but helps clarify that this is not THAT crazy but again i will post this kinda stuff with the article the topic pertains too…..just make sure obara doesnt tree you down there in the mountains. :)

  • Balerion The Cat,

    Breaking news on the piccie. Once again apologies if someone’s already posted this but I can’t see it in this thread *everyone else GET ON WITH IT WOMAN WE DON”T NEED THE BACKSTORY*. They had Vanity Fair in the newsagents on the way home. Top line says Game of Thrones, underneath that two words I can’t read which look like the same two words on the clapper in the picture you linked to. Underneath that what looks like 202 11N 1. Numbers might not be exactly right but they certainly don’t look like the ones in your linked-to picture. That help at all?

  • Skipjack,

    agreed i am done with the rant, i need to be happy about the EPICNESS that will be this season…..end of storm of swords has so many climaxes , show really looks like they captured the scope even better than before ….book readers and show watchers will all be needing new smallclothes by the end …cant wait

  • Lulu’s Mum,

    Yeah thanks. Maybe it’s for episode 402. Or maybe as someone suggested it above its the same shot we saw in the Foreshadowing of the Throne Room and its of 406.

  • Greenjones,

    Don’t know what any of the numbers mean but there’s nothing that looks like a 4. There’s another smaller row right at the bottom. In the linked-to piccie it looks like writing but in the VF one there’s definitely more numbers including 506 (I think). It’s big enough to read in VF but not clear enough, so you’re gonna need the original picture if you’re really keen. Hope I’m helping here rather than boring you to death :O(

  • Given all the action, I can imagine this was a tough one to manage. They don’t seem to be minimizing some scenes, a la the tourney in Season 1 — which would have taken weeks to get right.

    So many of the great scenes in previous seasons were primarily dialogue or relatively simple. Think of Season 1 – Baelor or Fire & Blood’s climatic scenes were well done with interesting shots and lots of extras, but they won’t really be nearly as time consuming as a battle or a big fight scene.

  • Anyone have any theories of what will happen to Gendry on the show? I find it a hard sell to put him back with The Brotherhood. EmergencyAwesome from YouTube predicted that Gendey would replace Aegon. I found that prediction awful and ludicrous and have not been able to take EmergencyAwesome seriously since then

  • Turncloak,

    I’m guessing he’ll be in King’s Landing, somehow get involved with the people there, and then either track Brienne/Pod or march out with Jaime when he goes to Riverrun in S5. I’m also still keeping fingers crossed that he’ll either forge, or will help forge Oathkeeper and Widow’s Wail (in the Artisan video you can see Tommy Dunne, the sword guy, and Charles Dance in what is described as the Red Keep forge, and there could easily be other people in that scene. Besides, I’m expecting them to have an actual expert around when they’re playing with fire and liquid metal, and not just actors and crew.)

  • This message should give all pause and make us think about the monumental work behind the scenes and what it takes to bring this show to life! I for one cannot fathom the effort it must take each and every year and the pressure these guys are under!

    All this so then all the fucktards and jerk-offs can come to sites like this one and spew their bile and utter nonsense which amounts to little more than brain farts which they think are actually enlightened thoughts…

    Here is a word of advice take all that bullshit and cram it up your arses and think a bit before you open your traps. As the saying goes, if you don’t have something good to say don’t say it!