Not a Blog

A Tip o’ the Crown

November 10, 2019 at 9:41 am
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You cannot build a house all alone.   Especially not a HOUSE OF THE DRAGON.

HBO recently announced a full-season ten-episode pickup for HOUSE, the first GAME OF THRONES successor show to go to series.   The show is based on material from my imaginary history, FIRE & BLOOD.  Ryan Condal wrote the pilot script and the series bible, and will serve as showrunner for the series, together with director Miguel Sapochnik.

Even Aegon the Dragon couldn’t conquer the Seven Kingdoms all by himself, however.   He needed the help of his sisters Rhaenys and Visenya.  Ryan and I had some great assistance as well, and I wanted to give a tip of the crown to three talented and hard-working young writers who helped to bring this one home.   WES TOOKE was Ryan’s right hand man on COLONY, where he served as an executive producer and wrote thirteen episodes.  CLAIRE KIECHEL is a young playwright out of New York who came to HOUSE OF THE DRAGON after stints on Netflix’s THE OA and HBO’s new WATCHMEN series.  TI MIKKEL came to the show from my own Fevre River Packet Company, where she’s served as a writer’s assistant, helped in the development of a series of short films I hope to produce, and is spearheading the development of TUF VOYAGING as a television series… when she’s not working on her own novel.

Those unfamiliar with the way television works may wonder… if Ryan Condal wrote the pilot and the bible, what did Wes and Claire and Ti do?  The answer is: a lot.  They sat with Ryan every day in a writer’s room at HBO for months, talking story, going over drafts, giving notes, correcting errors (not that Ryan or I ever made any, no sir, not us), catching inconsistencies, discussing character and plot, offering ideas and suggestions, filling in gaps, breaking down the episodes to come and drawing up a roadmap for the first season and all the seasons to follow.   The HOUSE OF THE DRAGON could never have been built without the help of Ti, Claire, and Wes, three terrific young storytellers.   They have my thanks, and Ryan’s.

Current Mood: pleased pleased

The Dragons Take Wing

October 30, 2019 at 2:33 pm
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The dragons are coming… back.

Last night in Hollywood at the WarnerMedia Day, HBO made it official.    We have a green light for a GAME OF THRONES successor show… not just a pilot, but a full season order for ten episodes.   HOUSE OF THE DRAGON is the title of the new show, and needless to say it will be centered on House Targaryen, set a couple of centuries before the events of A SONG OF ICE & FIRE and based upon Archmaester Gyldayn’s imaginary history FIRE & BLOOD.

The new series will be helmed by a couple of great showrunners: RYAN CONDAL and MIGUEL SAPOCHNIK.

Miguel’s name will be well known to every GAME OF THRONES fan.   One of the hottest directors in television today, he directed five episodes for GOT, and won an Emmy and a DGA Award for his work on “Battle of the Bastards.”  Sapochnik will be directing the pilot… well, maybe it is more precise to call it “the first episode”… of HOUSE OF THE DRAGON, and doubtless a number of other episodes as well.   There’s no one better.

Ryan Condal is new to Westeros, but not to me.   I first met Ryan when he came to New Mexico to shoot a pilot for a fantasy western that was not picked up.  I visited his set and we became friendly.  Later Ryan created and served as showrunner for the SF series COLONY, and we had the honor of doing a premiere screening for the show at the Jean Cocteau.   He’s a terrific writer… and a fan of my books since well before we met.   He tells me that he discovered the series just after A STORM OF SWORDS was published, and “I’ve loved the books for 19 years.”   (He is also a huge fan of my Dunk & Egg stories.   In fact, that was the show he wanted to do initially, but I’m not prepared to bring Dunk & Egg to television until I’ve written quite a few more stories).  Working with Ryan on the development of HOUSE OF THE DRAGON has been a dream.

The news is all over the internet by now, of course, so I won’t rehash the basics here.   But you can find good, informed accounts on a number of websites.  Check here:

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/game-thrones-prequel-house-dragon-gets-hbo-series-order-1250974

https://ew.com/tv/2019/10/30/house-of-the-dragon-thrones/

HOUSE OF THE DRAGON has been in development for several years (though the title has changed a couple of times during that process).  It was actually the first concept I pitched to HBO when we started talking about a successor show, way back in the summer of 2016.  If you’d like to know a bit more of what the show will be about… well, I can’t actually spill those beans, but you might want to pick up a copy of two anthologies I did with Gardner Dozois, DANGEROUS WOMEN and ROGUES, and then move on to Archmaester Gyldayn’s history, FIRE & BLOOD.

(For the autograph collectors among you, signed copies of all these books are available via mail order from the bookshop at my Jean Cocteau Cinema, https://jeancocteaucinema.com/shop/ )

Ryan Condal has already done a considerable amount of writing on HOUSE OF THE DRAGON, but a lot of work remains ahead of us.   There’s a writer’s room to be assembled, episodes to be broken down and scripted, a cast and crew to be assembled, budgets and production details to be worked out.   As yet, we don’t even know where we will be shooting… though I expect we will revisit at least some of the countries David & Dan used for GAME OF THRONES (Ireland, Iceland, Scotland, Croatia, Morocco, Malta, and Spain).  I expect to be involved in all of this to some extent… and, who knows, if things work out, I may even be able to script a few episodes, as I did for the first four seasons of GAME OF THRONES.

But… let me make this perfectly clear… I am not taking on any scripts until I have finished and delivered WINDS OF WINTER.  Winter is still coming, and WINDS remains my priority, as much as I’d love to write an episodes of HOUSE.

As exciting as the series order is, I would be remiss if I did not also mention the bad news.   HBO also announced that it has decided not to proceed with the other successor show we had in development, the one I kept calling THE LONG NIGHT (though it was, and remains, officially untitled), the pilot for which was shot in Northern Ireland last spring and summer.  Set thousands of years before either GAME OF THRONES or HOUSE OF THE DRAGON, and centered on the Starks and the White Walkers, the untitled pilot was written by Jane Goldman, directed by S.J. Clarkson, and starred Naomi Watts, Miranda Richardson, and a splendid cast.   It goes without saying that I was saddened to hear the show would not be going to series.   Jane Goldman is a terrific screenwriter, and I enjoyed brainstorming with her.   I do not know why HBO decided not to go to series on this one, but I do not think it had  to do with HOUSE OF THE DRAGON.  This was never an either/or situation.  If television has room enough for multiple CSIs and CHICAGO shows… well, Westeros and Essos are a lot bigger, with thousands of years of history and enough tales and legends and characters  for a dozen shows.   Heartbreaking as it is to work for years on a pilot, to pour your blood and sweat and tears into it, and  have it come to nought, it’s not at all uncommon.   I’ve been there myself, more than once.   I know Jane and her team are feeling the disappointment just now, and they have all my sympathy… with my thanks for all their hard work, and my good wishes for whatever they do next.

 

 

 

Current Mood: excited excited

Double Butter, Please

October 6, 2019 at 4:30 pm
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I am tickled to report that GAME OF THRONES has taken another award.

This time it’s the MTV Golden Popcorn Award.

Here’s the list of this year’s winners.

http://www.mtv.com/news/3128177/2019-mtv-movie-tv-awards-winners-list/

The trophy just arrived, and it is certainly eye-catching.  (And heavy!)

I usually take butter (real butter please, not “golden flavor”) on my popcorn, but gold makes for a nice substitute.

Thank you, all.

I want my MTV.

Current Mood: bouncy bouncy

Emmy Times Four

October 2, 2019 at 10:01 pm
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I’m just back from ten days in LA, and the Emmy Awards… where GAME OF THRONES once again won the Big One as the Best Drama.  It’s the fourth win for GOT… and, along with Peter Dinklage’s fourth victory as Best Supporting Actor in a drama, and all the trophies our amazing crew snagged the previous weekend at the Creative Arts awards, helped HBO once again take home more Emmys than any other network, channel, or streaming service.

Of course, we lost a few as well.   Alfie Allen and Nicolaj Coster-Waldau were also finalists in Best Supporting Actor, but lost to Peter.   GAME OF THRONES had three directors nominated (David Nutter, David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, and Miguel Sapochnik), David & Dan were up again for writing, and  we had no fewer than FOUR finalists in Best Supporting Actress in a drama (Maisie Williams, Sophie Turner, Lena Headey, and Gwendoline Christine, all of them superb), but as often happens when a show has more than one nominee in a category, they ended up splitting the GOT vote.  Kit Harrington was nominated as Best Actor in a leading role, and Emilia Clarke as Best Actress, but the Emmys went to others.   The Emmys are nothing if not competitive, and there were some wonderful performances last year… from a whole host of shows.

But it IS a honor just to be nominated, especially now, in this day and age of peak television… a sentiment all of our finalists share.   They can all be proud of the work they did, and of the recognition they received from the members of the Academy.

After eight seasons, GAME OF THRONES leaves the air with more Emmys than any other primetime series, comedy or drama, in the entire history of television.   Not too shabby, I’d say.   I am very pleased to have been a part of setting that record.

Parting is such sweet sorrow, though… it was wonderful to share the moment with all the friends I’ve made during our run, but there was a bittersweet feel to the occasion as well, knowing that this would be the last time all of us would be together.   I could not help but think back to my days on TWILIGHT ZONE and BEAUTY AND THE BEAST in the 80s.  I still see some of the writers and actors I met on those shows from time to time, but others I have lost track of entirely.   That’s the way it goes in television and film.  Will I ever again have the privilege of working with some of these incredible talents who helped bring my books to life?  One never knows…

One thing I do know.   I’m not done with Westeros, and HBO isn’t either.   I have WINDS OF WINTER to finish… and A DREAM OF SPRING… and more Dunk & Egg stories… and the second volume of Archmaester Gyldayn’s history.   And we hope to have some exciting news about the successor shows soon as well.

Stay tuned.

Current Mood: bouncy bouncy

I Could Tell You…

September 16, 2019 at 5:18 pm
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… but then I’d have to kill you.

Yes, yes, I know.   The internet is full of stories about a second GAME OF THRONES prequel moving closer to  production.   There are stories in the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, DEADLINE, dozens of other places.   You’ve seen them, I suppose.   Since one cannot put the genie back in the lamp, here’s a link to one of the most complete, from ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY.

https://ew.com/tv/2019/09/12/game-of-thrones-prequel-targaryens/

Many people have been emailing me since these stories hit the web, asking me to confirm or deny.

Sorry.   Can’t.   Well, not much, in any case.   Yes, I can confirm that HBO put several GAMES OF THRONES successor shows in development at one point.   There were four to start with.   Then five.   Then three.   I’ve said all that before.   Jane Goldman’s as yet untitled show, which I am still not supposed to call THE LONG NIGHT, is one of those.   The pilot on that one wrapped a month ago and has been in post-production.  I am expecting to see her first cut soon.   (Last month in Belfast, I got a behind-the-scenes look at some of her sets, and they were spectacular).

The show stirring up all the internet headlines right now is one of the others.   Also a prequel.   Set thousands of years after Jane’s show in the history of Westeros.  And yes, it is based on material from one of my books.

((FWIW, those who have read FIRE & BLOOD will realize it contains enough materials for a dozen shows)).

This one has a title, but no one else has revealed it, so I had better not either.  ((But it’s not the obvious title)).

It has a script and a bible, and both of them are terrific, first rate, exciting.   They’re the work of RYAN CONDAL.   I first met Ryan when he came to New Mexico a couple of years ago to shoot a pilot for a fantasy western called THE SIXTH GUN, based on the comic book.   That show did not go, though I had the pleasure of screening the pilot at my theatre, the Jean Cocteau.   Later we also did a premiere for COLONY, the aliens-in-LA series that Ryan created and ran.   He’s a helluva strong writer, and a huge fan of A SONG OF ICE & FIRE, Dunk & Egg, and Westeros in general.   I’ve loved working with him, and if the Seven Gods and HBO are kind, I hope to keep on working with him for years to come on this new successor show, the title of which is…

Ooops.  Almost slipped.   Can’t say yet.

I can say that there will be dragons.   Everyone else has said that, so why not me?

I do want to point out that “moving closer to a pilot order” is NOT the same thing as “getting a pilot order.”  Would that it were.   This is encouraging, this is exciting, but don’t buy the couch just yet.   When HBO actually gives us a pilot order, you will hear me shouting it from the rooftops.   A series order, and I’ll be shouting even louder.    But we’ll see.   Right now all the signs are good, but nothing is confirmed.

Some websites are suggesting that the news about Ryan’s show moving forward means that Jane’s show won’t.   If that’s so, no one has told me.   I don’t think it’s so.   I love what Ryan has done, but I’m excited about the possibilities for Jane’s series as well.  Jane and I had dinner in London (at Rule’s, great spot, oldest restaurant in England, Charles Dickens and H.G. Wells ate there, it was a thrill to break bread with their ghosts), and her enthusiasm was palpable.   The world of Ice & Fire is a WORLD, boys and girls.   Huge continents, ten thousand years of history, cities, deserts, oceans, mysteries, triumphs and tragedies.  If there were indeed eight million stories in The Naked City in the 50s, surely there are eight billion stories to be told about Westeros, Essos, Sothoryos, and the lands beyond the Sunset Sea, south of Oz and north of Shangri-La…

And in these days of a hundred networks, channels, and streaming services, I think television has plenty of room for two shows set in Westeros… or hell, maybe three or four… I still want to do SPEARCARRIERS, after all.

 

Current Mood: bouncy bouncy

Casting Wild Cards

September 10, 2019 at 6:00 pm
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No, no, sorry, no news about the Wild Cards television shows being developed by UCP for Hulu.   Except, well… some scripts have been written, and we’re all very excited.  Our fingers are crossed.   Toes too.

Meanwhile, however, it is never too early to play the casting game.   Even writers are powerless to resist.   Witness this video, of interviews made two years ago in Santa Fe, when the development process was just beginning.

((Comments permitted, but ONLY about casting the Wild Cards tv shows))

 

 

 

 

Current Mood: bouncy bouncy

HBO, GOT Smash Records

July 16, 2019 at 2:55 pm
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The nominations for the Primetime Emmy Awards were announced this morning in Hollywood, and HBO and GAME OF THRONES both set new records.  GOT collected 32 nominations, a new record for the number of nominations for one show in a single year.. and by doing so, extended its previous record for the most nominations ever earned by one series, drama or comedy.  And HBO racked up a total of 137 nominations, 20 more than second-place finisher Netflix who came in with 117.

GOT is a finalist in the Best Drama category, and also earned nominations for directing (three finalists out of five), writing, and acting, among many many others.   Of special note is the Best Supporting Actress Drama category, where four of the six finalists are from GAME OF THRONES:  Lena Headey, Gwendoline Christie, Maisie Williams, and Sophie Turner.   A pretty spectacular showing for our amazing cast.

You can read the full list of nominations here:

https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/16/entertainment/game-of-thrones-emmy-nominations/index.html

https://www.vox.com/2019/7/16/20696364/emmy-nominations-2019-full-list-nominees

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/lists/2019-emmy-nominations-list-see-all-the-nominations-1221226

My congratulations to David Benioff, Dan Weiss, our producers, directors, and all the rest of our amazing cast and crew… those who were nominated and those who were overlooked alike, they all have reason to be proud.   They came together to create the most popular television show in the world, and the most acclaimed, nominated, and awarded series in the entire history of television.   And they did with a fantasy, a genre that previously had gotten very little respect.   GAME OF THRONES changed television, and let us hope that all the fantasy shows that follow — some GOT prequels, many not — will take the torch we lit and carry it proudly.

This year’s winner will be announced in LA on September 22.

 

 

 

Current Mood: bouncy bouncy

The Regular-Sized Council Meets

April 14, 2019 at 9:33 am
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Current Mood: mischievous mischievous

Just Foolin’

April 2, 2019 at 10:00 am
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Okay, it’s April 2, time to fess up.

Yesterday’s Wild Cards post, the leaked footage and all, was our April Fools prank.

I hope we fooled some of you, and gave you a few moments of fun… or horror.

But no, we are not doing Wild Cards as a daytime soap opera.

What IS true is that we are developing two shows for Hulu… but we’re still a long way from letting the cameras roll, alas.

My thanks to Andrew Miller and his merry band of pranksters, who put together our little jape.  And to the talented actors who joined in the deception and helped him work up that fake footage.

 

Current Mood: mischievous mischievous

A Little Leak…

April 1, 2019 at 8:35 am
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This was not supposed to go public.

Everybody (well, everybody who has been paying attention) knows that we are developing two Wild Cards television series for Hulu.   Andrew Miller has taken the reins as showrunner, a writing staff has been hired, and they have been hard at work for months.

What was NOT supposed to be known is how far they’ve come.  Not only have some scripts been finished, but the first show has gone into production and has been shooting.  That was supposed to be a deep dark secret, however.   We wanted to surprise the world.

It’s hard to keep secrets in Hollyweird, however.  And now it appears that some of the rough footage has been leaked by person or persons unknown.

Of course, there’s a lot of green screen there.   No SFX in yet.   Very early days.

Showrunner Andrew Miller has forwarded me this statement about the leak, and the footage:

Dear Wild Cards Fans,

This past week there was a security breach from one of our very own team members on the Wild Cards set. Although the PA in question was terminated, we were unable to stop the leaked footage from being disseminated online.

The premature and largely negative reaction is completely unfounded. As any intelligent Wild Cards fan will know, this footage is raw and incomplete, with a great deal of VFX work still to be done. Not to mention sound, editing, music and color correction. 

We have pledged to develop the Wild Cards book series into the greatest daytime soap opera ever produced and we stand by that pledge.

We know you have likely already seen the footage in question but in an effort to take hold of this unfortunate narrative we present the leaked clips here, unfinished but unashamed. Knowing that you, the discerning fan will be able to see the brilliant potential in what we’re creating.

The cast seen in these clips are just a few of the brilliant daytime actors we have lured to our adaptation. Daytime Emmy Award winner GREG RIKAART (Days of Our Lives, Young and the Restless), Daytime Emmy Award winner EDEN RIEGEL (All My Children, Young and the Restless) and multiple Daytime Emmy Award nominee THORSTEN KAYE (Bold and the Beautiful, All My Children).

We are so proud of their work and that of our brilliant crew. And are counting the minutes until we’re able to share the final results with you… Every single afternoon at 1pm.

Until then,

The Wild Cards Team