Game of Thrones showrunners’ prank made Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams cry

Image: Game of Thrones/HBO
Image: Game of Thrones/HBO /

Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss were known for playing pranks on cast and crew members, and some of them…yeesh.

James Hibberd’s new Game of Thrones oral history book, Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon, looks to be full of fascinating behind-the-scenes tidbits, and we keep learning about new ones. Entertainment Weekly has just published an excerpt from a chapter entitled “Mummer’s Farce”, which is all about pranks played by co-creators David Benioff and Dan Weiss. An early one came at the expense of actors Sophie Turner (Sansa) and Maisie Williams (Arya) just as they’d finished filming the original, unaired pilot.

“We told Maisie and Sophie that since they were underage, they couldn’t come to the pilot wrap party,” Benioff said. “So we told them they were going to have a special underage wrap party at McDonald’s. They started crying.”

They were, of course, eventually invited to the real wrap party, but since it wasn’t clear that the show would actually get picked up, that didn’t help with the crying. “They came to the real wrap party and cried through that — because they thought they might never see each other again.”

Benioff and Weiss played another practical joke Rob McElhenney, one of the creators of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, a big fan of the series, and a friend of the showrunners. Benioff and Weiss had worked with McElhenney on Always Sunny, and took his advice to hire director Matt Shakman to helm the episode “The Spoils of War” after the original director had to drop out.

Shakman was a great choice for the episode, but Benioff and Weiss couldn’t resist toying with McElhenney. “We thought it would be funny if we told Rob that it was not working out with Matt and that he was a total disaster,” Weiss said. “He would feel so guilty because he recommended him.”

"We went back and forth [on email] slowly, not throwing it out there all at once, asking questions like, ‘So when Matt’s on set, how does he usually behave?’ Rob was all, ‘What‐what‐what’s wrong?!’ We told him we’re going to have to step in and take over the episode because it’s turned into such a mess."

Shakman himself was on the sidelines: “I forgot about that!” he said. “That was the darkest practical joke. Rob was legitimately tortured about it. He was so concerned for me and was like, ‘What can I do? Who can I talk to?’ It went on for way too long.”

Next. Wait, Bruce Willis tried to sabotage a key Game of Thrones scene?. dark

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