Not a Blog

Long Night Casting

October 30, 2018 at 4:31 pm
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Casting is now underway for THE LONG NIGHT, the first of the GAME OF THRONES successor series to ordered to film.

HBO has just announced the first cast member: NAOMI WATTS is coming on board as one of our stars.

For more details, check out https://variety.com/2018/tv/news/game-of-thrones-prequel-pilot-naomi-watts-hbo-1202977630/

I could not be more excited.   Welcome to Westeros, Naomi.

Jane Goldman scripted the LONG NIGHT pilot and will be running the show.   She and her team are busy in London right now, neck deep in casting, and I expect some more names will be announced soon.

Meanwhile, there are still a couple of other possible prequels in active development.   I can’t tell you the subject matter of those projects, no, sorry, wish I could.   The readers among you might want to grab a copy of FIRE & BLOOD when it is released on November 20, though.

And speaking of FIRE & BLOOD, tickets are going fast for our big launch at Loew’s Jersey on Journal Square on November 19.   If you’d like to join us, snag one soon and come join me and John Hodgman for an evening of talk about Westeros, in a classic old movie palace.

 

Current Mood: excited excited

HBO Greenlights Goldman Pilot

June 11, 2018 at 9:02 am
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There’s a lot happening these days, so much that some days it feels as if I cannot even keep up with my own life.   So let me beg your indulgence for being late to the party with this news — but, yes, it is true, after more than a year of development, HBO has greenlit the first of the GAME OF THRONES successor shows that we’ve been working on, scripted by the amazing Jane Goldman.

Everybody else has already broken the news, so there’s no sense in me just rehashing.  You can read all about here:

https://www.newsarama.com/40289-hbo-greenlights-game-of-thrones-prequel-series-report.html

or here

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/video/hbo-moves-forward-pilot-order-untitled-game-thrones-prequel-thr-news-1118608

or in half a hundred other places.   Pick the news outlet you like best,

To clarify, what we have here is a pilot order, not as yet a series order.   Though of course we are all hoping that will follow.

Yes, this is a prequel, not a sequel.   None of the characters or actors from GAME OF THRONES will appear in the new show.   All of the successor shows we’ve been developing have been prequels, as I have mentioned before.   This one really puts the PRE in prequel, since it is set not ninety years before GAME OF THRONES (like Dunk & Egg), or a few hundred years, but rather ten thousand years (well, assuming the oral histories of the First Men are accurate, but there are maesters at the Citadel who insist it has only been half that long).   We’re very early in the process, of course, with the pilot order just in, so we don’t have a director yet, or a cast, or a location, or even a title.   (My vote would be THE LONG NIGHT, which says it all, but I’d be surprised if that’s where we end up.  More likely HBO will want to work the phrase “game of thrones” in there somewhere.  We’ll know sooner or later).

We do have a showrunner: Jane Goldman, who penned the pilot script.

All of the news stories about the pilot being greenlit are slapping my own picture up there next to Jane’s, which is very flattering but also a little misleading Remember, they also slapped my picture up on the news stories about the TV development of Nnedi Okarafor’s WHO FEARS DEATH, when they should have been using Nnedi’s picture. I’ve consulted with all of the writers on all of the successor shows, and several of them have visited me in Santa Fe for long days of discussion, and we’ve gone back and forth in email, text, and telephone, so I have definitely been involved… but really, the accolades here should go to Jane.   She has been an absolute thrill to work with… and my god, what a talent.

Those of you who are fans of not just GAME OF THRONES, but of television, film, and sf and fantasy in the broader sense are already well familiar with her work, whether you know it or not.   She’s wrote the KINGSMEN movies, scripted one X-MEN film and did the story for another, did the screenplay for the adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s STARDUST, and for the superhero satire KICKASS as well.   Among lots of other credits.  Oh, and she’s written the script for Disney’s forthcoming live action version of THE LITTLE MERMAID too.   Can’t wait for that one.

I will try to keep you all informed as work progresses on the new show (whatever we end up calling it)… though, given the amount of stuff I am trying to juggle right now, news will probably break on a dozen other places before I get around to it, as happened here.

As for the other successor shows… if you have been following along, you know that we started with four, and eventually went to five.   One of those has been shelved, I am given to understand, and of course Jane’s pilot is now moving to film.   But that does not mean the others are dead.   Three more GAME OF THRONES prequels, set in different periods and featuring different characters and storylines, remain in active development.   Everything I am told indicates that we could film at least one more pilot, and maybe more than one, in the years to come.   We do have an entire world and tens of thousands of years of history to play with, after all.   But this is television, so nothing is certain.

(Oh, and WHO FEARS DEATH is moving along well too, and I am very excited about that one as well.  Selwyn Seyfu Hinds did a terrific job with his first draft of the pilot, based on Nnedi’s novel).

(And yes, before you ask, work on WINDS OF WINTER continues, and remains my top priority.   It is ridiculous to think otherwise.   If I wasn’t busy with WINDS, don’t you think I’d be scripting one or more of these pilots myself?  It’s not as if I’ve never written for TV… )

So cross your fingers and your toes, fantasy fans.   Some good stuff is coming.   And let’s have a round of applause for Jane Goldman.

 

 

Current Mood: excited excited

City of the Angels

November 21, 2017 at 5:36 pm
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I have a love/ hate relationship with Los Angeles.

I spent a lot of time there back in the 80s and 90s, when I was on TWILIGHT ZONE and BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, and in the years that followed, when I was in development hell. A good decade, all told. At least three of those years were spent on the 405, I seem to recall… but in any case, I have lots of good memories of LA, and some bad memories as well. I made lots of friends out there. And even now, my work requires me to visit the City of Angels (which seems less angelic every day, if you’re reading the news) several times a year.

Those visits are usually mixed bags. I do business, which is necessary. Sometimes I come home with awards, which is great. I check in on old friends, always a pleasure (though all of us get older every year). From time to time I make new friends, always a joy. But I hate driving in LA even more than I did in the 90s, if that is possible, and the weather is usually beastly. So bloody hot and humid I don’t know how anyone can stand it. Then, of course, there are the meetings. Some are fun, some are not. Even the best meetings, it seems, seldom lead to anything real.

Last week, however, I had a great visit to LA. The weather, for once, was gorgeous. Not too hot, not too humid, beautiful blue skies, stunning sunsets.

When I wasn’t gazing out over the city from the balcony of my room at the Four Seasons, I was having meetings. HBO meetings, for the most part… exciting stuff, and they all went well… and meetings with some major film studios as well, about possible adaptions of some of my other work. All very exciting. Cross your fingers, cross your toes, I might have thrilling news down the line.

I also got to check in with some of those old friends I mentioned. One of the highlights was the dinner I shared with some of the folks I worked with on BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.

The whole gang could not be there, but we did gather (from left to right) Linda Campanelli (writer), Jay Acovone (Joe Maxwell), Ron Koslow (creator, showrunner), yours truly (writer/ producer), Ron Perlman (Vincent), and David Schwartz (producer). It was a grand gathering. We told some stories and shared some laughs, and of course we all lifted a glass to the memory of Roy Dotrice, our Father… who made it to 94, and still died way too young.

It was an honor to work on BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, and I’m proud of the work we did there.

((Comments permitted, if you STAY ON TOPIC))

Current Mood: calm calm

And Then There Were Five…

September 20, 2017 at 11:39 am
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… GAME OF THRONES successor shows, that is.

Truth be told, we’ve had five scripts in various stages of development for months. Which I believe I mentioned…

But now at last all the deals are signed, and it can be told. BRYAN COGMAN has come on board to pen the fifth of the successor shows. James Hibberd broke the news on ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY.

http://ew.com/tv/2017/09/20/game-thrones-bryan-cogman-5th-prequel/

Bryan Cogman should need no introduction for any GAME OF THRONES fan. He’s been part of the show since the beginning… since before the beginning, actually, since he was first hired as assistant to David Benioff and D.B Weiss way before the series got on the air, before even the pilot had been filmed. From those humble beginnings, he advanced to staff writer, to story editor, to co-producer and producer and supervising producer. Less formally, he has also been GOT’s “Keeper of the Lore,” the guy who knew the canon better than anyone (except me, though sometimes I am not even sure of that). He’s written more episodes of GAME OF THRONES than anyone but Dan & David… including some of our very best ones. If D&D have been the kings of Westeros for these past seven seasons, Bryan Cogman has surely been the Prince of Dragonstone.

I’d love to tell you more about the series Bryan will be working on… but we haven’t done that for the other four successor shows, so we shouldn’t for this one either. All in good time.

I can say that, like the other pilots, it will be a prequel rather than sequel, a successor rather than a spinoff. Bryan’s series will be an adaptation, and one that will thrill most fans of the books, I think, set during a very exciting period of Westerosi history. And I’ll be working with him every step of the way; we’re going to be co-creating the show.

Meanwhile, Jane Goldman, Brian Helgeland, Max Borenstein, and Carly Wray are all at work on the other four successor shows. I’ve been working with them as well (some more closely than others), and I’m excited by some of the ideas they’re coming up with. HBO should have a wealth of material to choose from. (And that’s not even counting the four weird-ass series concepts I’ve come up on my own, just for the hell of it. There are eight million stories in the naked city, and maybe ten times as many in Westeros and the lands beyond the narrow seas).

You should not expect to see all five shows, though, at least not immediately.. much as I might love the idea, HBO is not about to become the GAME OF THRONES network… but we could possibly see two or even three make it to the pilot stage, with one series emerging on air in 2019 or 2020… and the others maybe later, if they come out as well as we all hope. Then again, maybe… but I should not speculate, you folks get WAY too excited. Truth is, no one knows. Least of all me.

For now, suffice it to say that Bryan Cogman has signed on, and we’re thrilled.

Current Mood: bouncy bouncy

Who Fears Death Finds Its Scriptwriter

September 14, 2017 at 5:54 pm
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We’ve found our scriptwriter for WHO FEARS DEATH, the television series we’re developing for HBO based on the award-winning novel by Nnedi Okorafor.

His name is SELWYN SEYFU HINDS. He’s written television, film, comics, journalism, history. He’s a producer as well, and will be a co-executive producer on WHO FEARS DEATH, as well as writing the pilot. We’re very excited to have him aboard… and to finally be able to announce it, now that his deal has closed (these things take a while).

You can find out more about him on IMDB, or hear him speak (though not about WHO FEARS DEATH, not yet) here: http://www.blackisonline.com/2015/02/the-jam-ep-15-w-selwyn-seyfu-hinds/

It was not an easy selection. We considered dozens of terrific writers, finally winnowed it down to half a dozen strong finalists, and interviewed each of them at length. I was not able to be in LA for the interviews myself, thoughI took part by phone… but executive producers Michael Lombardo and Angela Mancuso, our development executives from HBO, and of course Nnedi Okorafor were all in the room for every interview. All of us loved what Selwyn had to say about WHO FEARS DEATH, and how he would like to bring it to the screen. It’s a powerful book, but not an easy adaptation by any means… but we think we’ve found the right writer for the assignment.

I was also pleased to see Michael Lombardo and Angela Mancuso finally credited in the news stories about Selwyn and WHO FEARS DEATH, since the last round of stories made it sound as if I was doing it all by myself. Even now, though, some of these stories are getting it backwards, talking about how I “added” Lombardo and Mancuso. Ah, no… rather, they (and Nnedi) added me. This was their project from the start, I’m the new guy in the boat. But I’m thrilled to be here, and I’m excited to be working with Michael, Angela, Nnedi, and now Selwyn. We all share the same goal: to make this extraordinary novel into an extraordinary television series.

((I will leave comments open, but only for discussion of WHO FEARS DEATH. All off topic comments will be deleted)).

Current Mood: excited excited

Just Sayin’

August 23, 2017 at 4:09 pm
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Oh, about those successor shows…

‘Nuff said.

Current Mood: mischievous mischievous

The Swords Are Drawn

July 22, 2017 at 4:29 pm
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For all you fans of sword ‘n sorcery, and/ or my own ‘fake histories,’ the new anthology from Gardner Dozois, THE BOOK OF SWORDS, has been scheduled for release on October 10, and is now available for pre-order from Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Book-Swords-Gardner-Dozois/dp/0399593764 and many other online booksellers. I imagine your favorite local bookseller is taking orders too.

This is NOT one I co-edited with Gargy (people keep getting that wrong), so I haven’t read any of the other stories yet, but it looks to have a helluva lineup, with originals by Lavie Tidhar, Daniel Abraham, Scott Lynch, C.J. Cherryh, Robin Hobb, Ken Liu, Cecelia Holland, Walter Jon Williams, and many more. And of course it also includes “Sons of the Dragon,” a chronicle of the reigns of Aegon the Conquerer’s two sons, Aenys I Targaryen and Maegor the Cruel, for those who cannot get enough of my entirely fake histories of Westeros. That one has never been published before in any form, though I did read it at a couple of cons.

Speaking of fake history… regulars here may recall our plan to assemble an entire book of my fake histories of the Targaryen kings, a volume we called (in jest) the GRRMarillion or (more seriously) FIRE AND BLOOD. We have so much material that it’s been decided to publish the book in two volumes. The first of those will cover the history of Westeros from Aegon’s Conquest up to and through the regency of the boy king Aegon III (the Dragonbane). That one is largely written, and will include (for the first time) a complete detailed history of the Targaryen civil war, the Dance of the Dragons. My stories in DANGEROUS WOMEN (“The Princess and the Queen”) and ROGUES (“The Rogue Prince”) were abridged versions of the same histories.

No publication date has been set yet, but it’s likely that we will get the first volume of FIRE AND BLOOD out in late 2018 or early 2019. The second volume, which will carry the history from Aegon III up to Robert’s Rebellion, is largely unwritten, so that one will be a few more years in coming.

And, yes, I know you all want to know about THE WINDS OF WINTER too. I’ve seen some truly weird reports about WOW on the internet of late, by ‘journalists’ who make their stories up out of whole cloth. I don’t know which story is more absurd, the one that says the book is finished and I’ve been sitting on it for some nefarious reason, or the one that says I have no pages. Both ‘reports’ are equally false and equally moronic. I am still working on it, I am still months away (how many? good question), I still have good days and bad days, and that’s all I care to say. Whether WINDS or the first volume of FIRE AND BLOOD will be the first to hit the bookstores is hard to say at this juncture, but I do think you will have a Westeros book from me in 2018… and who knows, maybe two. A boy can dream…

Meanwhile, you’ll have Gardner’s anthology to fill the time. Keep your swords sharp!

Current Mood: quixotic quixotic

A New Season

July 17, 2017 at 11:01 am
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So the seventh season of GAME OF THRONES is underway. I hope everyone out there enjoyed last night’s premiere episode.

Here in Santa Fe, we had an exciting night at the Jean Cocteau Cinema. Maybe a little too exciting… fans began lining up well before noon, and at the end we had to turn a hundred people away. Times like this make me wish I had a larger theatre. Those who did get in seemed to enjoy the show, though, and those who didn’t get in got our special GOT popsicles. We had some nice costumes turn up too, along with barbarians on horses. (I’ll post some pix when they send some).

Seven seasons… that’s still hard to believe. Where have the years gone? It seems like only yesterday we were off in Morocco filming the pilot.

One more season to go for GOT… but with five (5!) potential pilots in development, it seems likely that there will be one or more successor shows along eventually. I’d love to tell you all about them, but then I’d have to kill you. They’re all prequels, though, I let that slip already, and several of them are….

Current Mood: busy busy

Season 7 is (Almost) Here

June 21, 2017 at 12:19 pm
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HBO’s latest trailer for season 7 of GAME OF THRONES is here.

And for those in New Mexico, we’ll be screening a season 6 marathon at the Jean Cocteau before the season 7 premiere. Check the JCC website for dates and details. Admission is FREE.

Current Mood: pleased pleased

About Those Spinoffs…

May 14, 2017 at 6:01 pm
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So while I was on the road out California way, the story broke about the four GAME OF THRONES spinoffs that HBO is developing. And of course the news has since spread everywhere, all over the web and all over the world.

Yes, it’s true. More or less. Though, as is all too common these days, various distortions and misapprehensions have crept into some of the reports along the way. And television being the fast-moving business that it is, there have already been some further developments.

For what it’s worth, I don’t especially like the term “spinoff,” and I don’t think it really applies to these new projects. What we’re talking about are new stories set in the “secondary universe” (to borrow Tolkien’s term) of Westeros and the world beyond, the world I created for A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE. It is a world, and a pretty big one, and if there were eight million stories in the naked city back in the 50s, just think how many more there are in an entire world, and one with thousands of years of recorded history.

None of these new shows will be ‘spinning off’ from GOT in the traditional sense. We are not talking Joey or AfterMASH or even Frazier or Lou Grant, where characters from one show continue on to another. So all of you who were hoping for the further adventures of Hot Pie are doomed to disappointment. Every one of the concepts under discussion is a prequel, rather than a sequel. Some may not even be set on Westeros. Rather than ‘spinoff’ or ‘prequel,’ however, I prefer the term ‘successor show.’ That’s what I’ve been calling them.

Yes, I am involved, and have been for months. I had my first meeting with HBO about the possibility of a successor show back in August, when I pitched them two possible series. (One of those is among the concepts being developed, one is not). In the months that followed, other writers were brought in and pitched other ideas. Ultimately HBO decided to go ahead with four separate developments, to be written by Max Borenstein, Jane Goldman, Brian Helgeland, and Carly Wray.

It was stated in some of the reports that I am working with two of the four writers. That’s not quite right. I’ve actually been working with all four of the writers. Every one of the four has visited me here in Santa Fe, some of them more than once, and we’ve spent days together discussing their ideas, the history of Westeros and the world beyond, and sundry details found only in The World of Ice & Fire and The Lands of Ice & Fire… when we weren’t drinking margaritas and eating chile rellenos and visiting Meow Wolf. They are all amazing talents, and I am excited to be working with them. In between visits, I’ve been in touch with them by phone, text, and email, and I expect there will be a lot more back-and-forth as we move forward.

And there’s more. We had four scripts in development when I arrived in LA last week, but by the time I left we had five. We have added a fifth writer to the original four. No, I will not reveal the name here. HBO announced the names of the first four, and will no doubt announce the fifth as well, once his deal has closed. He’s a really terrific addition, however, a great guy and a fine writer, and aside from me and maybe Elio and Linda, I don’t know anyone who knows and loves Westeros as well as he does.

Some of the reports of these developments seem to suggest that HBO might be adding four successor shows to the schedule to replace GAME OF THRONES. Decades of experience in television and film have taught me that nothing is ever really certain… but I do think it’s very unlikely that we’ll be getting four (or five) series. At least not immediately. What we do have here is an order for four — now five — pilot scripts. How many pilots will be filmed, and how many series might come out of that, remains to be seen. (If we do get five series on the air, I might have to change my name to Dick Direwolf).

The one goal that EVERYONE involved shares here is to make these new shows just as good as GAME OF THRONES itself. No easy task, mind you. David Benioff and Dan Weiss are a tough, tough act to follow, as all those Emmys demonstrate.

I can’t tell you what the shows will be about (well, I could, but I won’t), but I will tell you a couple of things they WON’T be. Which will disappoint some of you, sure, but better to do that now than later, I think.

We’re not doing Dunk & Egg. Eventually, sure, I’d love that, and so would many of you. But I’ve only written and published three novellas to date, and there are at least seven or eight or ten more I want to write. We all know how slow I am, and how fast a television show can move. I don’t want to repeat what happened with GAME OF THRONES itself, where the show gets ahead of the books. When the day comes that I’ve finished telling all my tales of Dunk & Egg, then we’ll do a tv show about them… but that day is still a long ways off.

We’re not doing Robert’s Rebellion either. I know thousands of you want that, I know there’s a petition… but by the time I finish writing A SONG OF ICE & FIRE, you will know every important thing that happened in Robert’s Rebellion. There would be no surprises or revelations left in such a show, just the acting out of conflicts whose resolutions you already know. That’s not a story I want to tell just now; it would feel too much like a twice-told tale.

More than that, I will not say. Feel free to makes your guesses, if you like… but I am not going to be confirming or denying anything, so don’t expect replies.

And yes, before someone asks, I AM STILL WORKING ON WINDS OF WINTER and will continue working on it until it’s done. I will confess, I do wish I could clone myself, or find a way to squeeze more hours into the day, or a way to go without sleep. But this is what it is, so I keep on juggling. WINDS OF WINTER, five successor shows, FIRE AND BLOOD (that’s the GRRMarillion, remember?), four new Wild Cards books, some things I can’t tell you about yet… it’s a good thing I love my work.