Game of Thrones cinematographer David Franco on shooting the show


David Franco is one of the many directors of photography (aka cinematographers) Game of Thrones has employed over the years. An Emmy-award winner, he lensed some important episodes of the show, including the season 5 premiere and season 4’s action-heavy “The Watchers on the Wall.”

Franco sat down with to discuss his work on the show, and to clear up some questions about season 7. For example, have you heard the theory that, at the end of the season finale, the army of the dead marched through the hole in the Wall vaguely in the shape of a Stark direwolf?

It’s a fun theory, but Franco wonders if it was on purpose. “Most of [this scene was] created in post-production, so DPs are not really involved. As far as I know, it is a fan’s vivid imagination, but you never know!”

He also weighed in the Jon-Dany sex scene, also in the finale. “I was not involved in that [particular] shooting for Season 7, but as Director of Photography/Cinematographer, we have a mandate to be consistent with the ‘look’ of the show,” he said. “For the John and Danny scene on the boat, the reason it feels so intimate is that many close-ups were used versus wide-establishing shots, and those close-up formats showed two great actors who conveyed that intimacy.”

And how.

At the moment, the crew is gearing up to shoot season 8, which means at least some people have read the new scripts, although we’re not sure who, As Franco points out, the cinematographers need to read the scripts — all of them, not just the episode they’re shooting — in order to plan for their scenes. “But a new script can always appear just as we about to start shooting and reverse the situation! Plus, shooting multiple endings is sometimes done to keep everyone in the dark, including the actors.”

Hm. So maybe the idea of the show shooting multiple endings for season 8 isn’t as much of a novelty as we thought.

Finally, Franco reminisced about shooting “The Watchers on the Wall,” probably the most momentous episode he’s yet been involved with.

"The hardest scenes are always the battle and action scenes, which require minutia planning on every level to achieve the most dramatic effects—yet still having a safe set. For example, for the ‘Battle on the Wall’ in Season 4, we created a 360-degree shoot with continuous action and sword fighting."

To hear MarieClaire tell it, Franco is involved in production for season 8, but frankly, their headings are so at odds with what the guy actually says, we’re not sure we believe it. The jury’s out on that one.

Elsewhere on the internet, Ellie Kendrick spoke to BBC News about her character, Meera Reed. “I really like that she’s a character who defies convention in terms of traditional representations of femininity,” she said. “We’re quite fixated at the moment with what we call strong female characters, but what I’d like to push for are complex female characters rather than ones who are just strong, and that’s their sole defining characteristic.”

"Not only is [Meera] strong – she’s also kind of vulnerable but she hides that vulnerability with the strength that she has to summon to survive. She’s undergone an incredibly traumatic series of events but she still manages to maintain a calmness and a kindness and a tenderness, which I think is really laudable."

Naturally, Kendrick also admits that it’s pretty cool to get to occasionally kill some zombies. “So, all in all, she’s a pretty well-rounded character.”

Unfortunately, Reed didn’t drop any hints about whether Meera will show up in season 8. We’ll see what emerges when filming starts next month.

To hear about Kendrick’s involvement with Creative England’s Shortflix, a program designed to help young filmmakers who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity break into the business, head to BBC News.

Next: In preparation for Game of Thrones season 8, Emilia Clarke dyes her hair Daenerys Targaryen-blonde

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