Winter is Coming is in no way associated with HBO. We’re just a bunch of nerds who love Game of Thrones. You know that. But you’d be shocked — shocked, I tell you — by the number of people who write to us wondering if we can help them get a role on the show, or even when we’re holding auditions. To all those hopeful people: we’re sorry, but we have no say over who HBO puts on Game of Thrones. If only…
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some guidelines you can follow. At the moment, the production is in the midst of filming the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones, so your chances to nab a cameo are running out. But then again, word is that filming on season 8 could go as late as August of 2018, so there’s still time.
So, if you want to be an extra on season 8, what should you do?
The important thing is to stay vigilant. HBO has a couple of casting agencies it routinely uses when looking for extras to fill out crowd scenes or battle scenes. One of their go-to companies is ModExpoR Internacional, a casting service operating out of Spain. ModExpoR did a lot of work on seasons 6 and 7, and with HBO again filming in Spain for season 8, we can only expect it will use the agency again.
Here’s what one of their casing notices looks like:
This particular notice was looking for people to film scenes near the Spanish village of Zumaia. That area stood in for the beaches of Dragonstone in season 7 — you can see the fruit of this notice in the scene from “The Queen’s Justice” where Jon Snow and Tyrion Lannister reunited, for instance.
The notice lists the day of the call, how much the extras will be paid, and what kind of applicants are needed. In this case, ModExpoR wanted men aged 20-50 in good physical condition. They had to be willing to shave their facial hair and couldn’t have any visible tattoos. So we’re probably looking at Dothraki warriors.
Importantly, the notice also states that they’re looking for people in the community, and asks that applicants bring their Spanish identification cards and their Spanish social security numbers. Unfortunately for those fans willing to cross mountains, oceans and rivers to appear on the show, casting agencies are very often only interested in using local talent. For a show as big as Game of Thrones, there’s plenty of demand in their own backyards, and it’s logistically difficult for them to import performers, so why would they bother?
And even if you can attend the casting call, you’ll face stiff competition from a lot of fans just as eager as you to get on the show. Get through all of this, and you’ll be fitted for costumes and maybe even be given some physical training, if the scene calls for it.
So it’s difficult to become an extra through ModExpoR, although doable. We recommend checking the site’s Facebook page periodically for announcements. You could even contact them directly to ask questions, although you’d be far from the first person to try that.
For scenes filmed outside of Spain, HBO is known to use The Extras Department (formerly Extras NI), an agency that touts itself as “the official supplier to Game of Thrones for all background roles in the UK & Ireland.” The company’s Facebook page even as an image from the Battle of the Bastards as its header, so it pushes the Thrones connection.
Here’s a sample of a call The Extras Department put up last year on its Facebook page, although it’s since taken it down:
We are currently casting for a featured extras role that requires a male aged 30 to 60 with missing front teeth and is comfortable with this being shown on camera.
CRITERIA FOR APPLICATIONS:
1. Male aged 30 to 60.
2. Must be flexibly available from Sunday 4th September – Friday 9th September.
3. Ideally 5’8” – 6’2” & Medium build (but please don’t let this put you off if you are slightly outside these sizes)
4. Must be legally allow to work in Northern Ireland.
5. Paid role, rates will be discussed upon booking
If you meet the above criteria please email Ali – production@BY 9AM on THURSDAY 25TH AUGUST with the below information:
Ensure “MALES WITH MISSING TEETH” is written in the subject line and include the following:
3. A clear and recent photograph – Including shots where missing teeth are clearly visible. (Must be able to see hair/head. No hats please)
4. Contact number
5. Approximate Measurements
6. General availability between now and 15th September in case of schedule changes.
Due to our current high workload, only the successful will be contacted.
Once again, the call outlines what the agency is looking for and specifies that applicants must be legally allowed to work in the area. So if you want to be on Game of Thrones but don’t live in an area where it films, the first step is probably to move there. A high barrier to jump.
HBO has been known to use other casting agencies as well, such as the Manchester-based Lemon Casting, although for the past couple years ModExpoR and The Extras Department have been their main go-tos.
Then there are the meatier roles — a few months back, we learned that HBO was looking to cast seven new roles for season 8. An authoritative mercenary, a sassy Northern girl, a rough-and-ready sailor…Bringing up these roles now is pretty moot, since they’re more than likely already cast. But even if they weren’t, they’re much harder to nab than a few days’ work as an extra. To land one of these parts, you’d need to find an agent who can shop your acting talents around to Hollywood producers. And since HBO is headquartered in Los Angeles, which is also where most of the world’s agents are, it wouldn’t hurt to move there.
So getting on Game of Thrones is a bit of an uphill battle. But with only one season left, it may be worth it for the most passionate among you to try. And if it doesn’t work out, there are always those spinoffs waiting in the wings…