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Nina Gold, director of casting for Game of Thrones, recently spoke during a Bafta masterclass at the Academy of Performing Arts in Hong Kong, and among other topics, discussed the lack of diversity among the Game of Thrones cast. As the South China Morning Post explains, Gold, who has been in the casting business for 20 years, spends a lot of time at drama schools, as well as watching films and television shows, and going to the theater, to scout new talent. Gold’s process in finding the right talent for a certain part is very detailed, as she researches each actor’s background, and tests them multiple times to make sure they are right for the part, for which she is scouting.
As to how Gold became the casting director for Game of Thrones, she wasn’t interested in the job, at first, saying, “It wasn’t really my cup of tea.” Speaking to the lack of diversity for which the show has come under fire for, lately, Gold refers to the fact that Game of Thrones is based on George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, where the appearance of each character is described in very specific detail. This means it is probably difficult to cast a non-white actor in a role based on a white character.
We are more aware that to not take diverse casting seriously is uncreative and silly. We’re all trying to do castings that reflect real life, and real life is full of all sorts of different people. We’ve got to have them all.
I can only imagine the pressure Gold must be under when she casts an actor in a role for Game of Thrones, who looks nothing like their counterpart in the books. Fans of the books are notorious for raging against the show, when a character is changed, for whatever reason. A great example of this is Areo Hotah, who in the books, was described as a caucasian male with white hair, but on the show, DeObia Oparei, a black actor, was cast in the role.
It is a good thing to see casting directors who aren’t afraid to mix diversity into shows that are largely made up of white actors. Hopefully, we will see this trend continue, especially with visionary leaders in the industry, like Nina Gold.
H/T – Watchers on the Wall