Not a Blog

No News Is No News

June 30, 2010 at 12:25 am
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Sorry, no casting puzzles for you today.

Offers are out on quite a few parts, both major and minor, but I’m not aware of any deals closing besides the ones already announced. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe next week. Who knows? These things can take time.

Meanwhile, readings and auditions continue for a lot of other roles, and I’ve been reviewing tapes when I can. Lots and lots of kids of late. Mycah. Rickon. Tommen. Myrcella. Casting kids is really tough, especially when they only have a very few lines. Sometimes you get lucky and find someone like Maisie or Sophie or Isaac, with acting chops far beyond their years, a real instinct for the art. Those are the rare exceptions. Most kids… well, they can look great, and they try hard, and maybe in a few years they will be terrific… but right now, they’re just kids reciting lines. They never become the character. So the search goes on. But I’ve got every confidence that David and Dan and Nina will turn up someone great, even for the small parts (and maybe we already have, I haven’t finished reviewing all the kids yet, not even close).

The auditions for the part of Ser Ilyn Payne are the strangest I’ve even been witness to. Ser Ilyn has no tongue and no lines, of course, so the actors just have to stand there and look mean & scary, reacting to the dialogue of other characters being read to them by the casting assistants. No words to work with, just their mouth, eyes, facial expressions. Talk about challenging.

I know there are aspiring actors and actresses reading this. You guys have all my empathy. It’s a tough, tough profession you’ve chosen. Good luck to all of you.

Dancing in Circles?

June 27, 2010 at 1:32 pm
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((Some of what follows may be vaguely spoilerish. Don’t read if you hate spoilers).

A DANCE WITH DRAGONS just got a little shorter.

What’s happened is, I’ve decided to move two completed chapters, from Arianne’s POV, out of the present volume and into THE WINDS OF WINTER. This is something I’ve gone back and forth on. Arianne wasn’t originally supposed to have any viewpoint chapters in DANCE at all, but there’s this… hmmm, how vague do I want be? VERY vague, I think… there’s this event that would of necessity provoke a Dornish reaction. The event was originally going to occur near the end of the book, but in one of my forty-seven restructures I moved it to the late middle instead. And the timeline then required that the Dornish reaction happen in this book and not the next one, so I wrote the two Arianne chapters and was going to write a third… and a chapter from another POV that would be a necessary complement to them, and…

But no, I’ve restructured again, and put the original precipitating event back close to the end of the book. Which means the Arianne chapters can be returned to WINDS, where I had ’em originally. It also means that I don’t have to write that third Arianne chapter and the complementary chapter from the other POV… not yet, anyway… which moves DANCE two chapters closer to completion. (The move did mean I had to revise two chapters from another POV, which took place after the event in last week’s draft, but now take place before said event, but fortunately that was just a matter of tweaking a couple of lines).

I suppose this is a good news/ bad news situation.

Bad news for those who want DANCE to be really, really, really long, as long as STORMS OF SWORDS or longer. This move makes DANCE four chapters (two written, one partly written, one entirely unwritten) shorter.

But it’s good news for DANCE, since I’m now two chapters (the ones I hadn’t finished) closer to completion. And hey, it’s even good news for WINDS OF WINTER, since I now have four chapters done for that one (an Arya, a Sansa, and two Ariannes).

This, of course, is assuming that I don’t change my mind again tomorrow and put everything back the way it was last week.

I am dancing, boys and girls, I’m dancing as fast as I can. But some days it does feel as if I am dancing in circles.

Another GOT Hire

June 25, 2010 at 1:38 pm
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Everyone is all in a frenzy for casting news, I know, I know… but it takes a lot of talent to make quality television and film, and not all of that talent is in front of the cameras.

David Benioff and Dan Weiss and the good folks at HBO have been assembling a terrific team for GAME OF THRONES. I thought you all might like to hear about one of the latest hires come aboard — world-class makeup artist PAUL ENGELEN has signed up to do the hair and makeup design for our series.

You may or may not have heard of Mr. Engelen before, but if you’ve seen a TV show or a film in the last couple of decades, you have certainly seen his work. His credits include Ridley Scott’s recent ROBIN HOOD, Narnia, CASINO ROYALE, V FOR VENDETTA, KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, TROY, GLADIATOR, James Bond, Tarzan, A FISH CALLED WANDA, LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS… oh, and something called STAR WARS too.

Oh, and he’s been nominated twice for the Academy Award for best makeup, and five times for a BAFTA. Won one of the latter, too.

He’s a exciting addition to the GAME OF THRONES team, and we’re all thrilled to have him on board.

Quarry Query

June 25, 2010 at 12:16 pm
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The LARNE TIMES broke the story a “massive castle” being build in an old quarry near Magheramorne for HBO’s GAME OF THRONES. The quarry is about forty minutes north of Belfast, near the town of Larne.

I can confirm that, more or less. The set being built at Magheramorne will be our Castle Black. Not actually THAT massive a castle — much of Castle Black will be created in post with CGI — but it will come complete with a fully operable winch elevator, David and Dan tell me.

Google tells me that “the gobbinsite at Magheramorne quarry is found as a rare filling of vugs and vesicles.” I have no idea what that means, but hey, it sounds like it came straight out of someone’s fantasy novel. Gobbins, vugs, and vesicles all in one place. I hope they don’t attack the castle. Those gobbins are mean sonsobitches.

Let me caution anyone reading this, however — please DO NOT go rushing off to visit Magheramorne. Quarries can be dangerous places, and construction sites doubly so. We don’t want any fans getting hurt. Besides, why spoil the illusion? Castle Black will be best viewed on screen, in all its glory.

(And no, HBO will not actually be building a 700 foot high wall of ice. We tried, but the cubes kept melting).

Good News from Great Britain

June 23, 2010 at 3:31 pm
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The Jack Vance tribute anthology that I co-edited with Gardner Dozois, SONGS OF THE DYING EARTH, has been announced as one of the finalists on this year’s shortlist for the British Fantasy Awards. We’re in the Best Anthology category, natch.

LOCUS has a full list of nominess available at http://www.locusmag.com/News/2010/06/2010-british-fantasy-award-nominees/

Needless to say, Gardner and I are thrilled by the news. It’s a great honor for us, and for Jack Vance, without whose seminal work modern fantasy would look very, very different.

If you haven’t read the book yet, hey, never too late… and after you’ve read these Vance tributes, by our all-star lineup of writers, go and read some of Jack’s own books. Fantasy doesn’t get much better.

Fessing Up

June 23, 2010 at 1:25 pm
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Time to pull back the curtain on the latest roles cast.

No big surprises for those who read the comments on the last two entries. You guys did an amazing job with the clues, as always. I can see I’m going to have to make them harder in future. Either that, or we need to start hiring more obscure actors.

But not this time around.

“The old maester has lived many lives, brief but numerous. In his youth he fought in the wars that some say inspired all of this. He has been a king and a god, but he’ll always be daddy to me.”

The answer to this one will be no stranger to anyone who has ever enjoyed the series as audiobooks. Yes, it’s ROY DOTRICE, our once and future audiobook reader.

Roy is an extraordinary talent who first took up acting in a prisoner of war camp during World War II, and has been working constantly ever since. Among his many, many roles was his portrayal of King Edward IV in the classic BBC production of THE WARS OF THE ROSES. He’s also in the Guinness Book of World Records for his one-man show, the play BRIEF LIVES; most performances by an actor in a one-man show. (If you ever get a chance to see it, do. It’s a great play, and Roy is wonderful). He played Zeus in HERCULES and XENA. But for me, of course, Roy will always be Father, the role he performed on BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, where I was a writer/ producer for three seasons.

Working with Roy Dotrice for those three years was a singular honor, and one of the highlights of my decade in Hollywood. He’s the sort of actor who will take every line you write for him and make it better. Not to mention, he knows some great stories about Charles Laughton. He was my first and only choice as reader on the Ice & Fire audiobooks, and he has done an amazing job there as well… not simply reading the text, but acting it out, giving every character his or her own voice. He may be in Guinness for that as well: most voices by a single actor on an audiobook.

The moment the HBO project was given the go-ahead to film, we knew Roy had to be a part of it. The only question was which role. We ruled out Arya, Bran, Dany, and Tyrion, though he’s done a great job with all of them on the audiobooks. Instead Roy will be playing Grand Maester Pycelle. It will be a real thrill to be working with him again, and I have no doubt that he will elevate every scene that he’s in.

“He doesn’t have a lot to say, but he says it a lot. He’s not a muslim, not a pagan, not a scientologist, but he might be a town in Scotland.”

HODOR! Hodor, Hodor, Hodor. And yes, clever ones, it’s KRISTIAN NAIRN.

I don’t know Kristian the way I know Roy, since I have never had the chance to work with him before, but of course I’d seen his audition tapes, and I am looking forward to meeting him the next time I visit the set. He’s a huge guy, though — only two inches shorter than Hodor is in the books — and hails from Belfast, where he’s involved heavily in the local music scene.

You can find out more about Kristian on his myspace page at: http://www.myspace.com/kristiannairnmusic

And hey, I’m told that Kristian has already memorized all his dialogue for the entire season!

Meanwhile, casting continues. We’re close on half a dozen other roles. Some of them may be hinted at here, others will be first announced on HBO’s own GAME OF THRONES website, or through Mo Ryan, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, and the other entertainment media. Watch this space. Watch ALL those other spaces too, especially if you’re a fan of Harper Lee.

and another

June 22, 2010 at 5:35 pm
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He doesn’t have a lot to say, but he says it a lot. He’s not a muslim, not a pagan, not a scientologist, but he might be a town in Scotland.

and another

June 22, 2010 at 5:30 pm
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The old maester has lived many lives, brief but numerous. In his youth he fought in the wars that some say inspired all of this. He has been a king and a god, but he’ll always be daddy to me.

Clearance Sale at Valyrian Resin

June 22, 2010 at 2:19 pm
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All good things come to an end, alas.

Valyrian Resin’s line of Ice & Fire minibusts is one of those. My license with Haute Products has now run its course and expired, so there will be no more releases.

(A pity. Their sculptor Justice Joseph was working up some great figures).

HOUND STANDARD

There’s a silver lining in the cloud, however. To move its unsold inventory, Valyrian Resin has just anounced a special sale on the resin minibusts still in stock.

DANY STANDARD

Jed Haigh writes:

=======================================================================
We are having a sale to clear out the remainder of our inventory. This is a great opportunity for anyone who hasn’t purchased pieces to get them at a discount. But don’t worry, if you have already purchased pieces, we will give you even more of a discount if you wish to purchase more pieces.

Our new website is still at the same web address: www.valyrianresin.com.

NED STANDARD

Our new web-store is located here: http://stores.valyrianresin.com/StoreFront.bok

You can click on the Shoppe button on any page of our website to access our web-store. The Ice and Fire page of our website features some previously unreleased design drawings you may want to check out.

NED VARIANT

Here’s how the sale will work. All Variants and Regular pieces when purchased individually, or two at a time are $10 off. If you buy a set of variants, or a set of regular pieces ( a set is a set of three variants or regular pieces) you will receive $40 off. If you are a repeat customer send us and email and we will further discount your purchase!

DANY VARIANT

All of these discounts are already applied to the different products on our web store. So if you purchase individual pieces or sets the discounts are already applied. However, for repeat customers, you must email us to get the further discounts we are offering!

Also, if you are a retailer or just a group of Ice and Fire fans who have come together to purchase a bunch of pieces, you may qualify for a wholesale rate for even further discounts! Just send us and email (either by emailing jhaigh@valyrianresin.com) or simply by clicking on the contact button on any page of our web-site and we can discuss group and wholesale rates.

Thanks for your support

Jed Haigh
Valyrian Resin

================================================================

HOUND VARIANT

Supplies are limited, and no more of these figures will be produced, so once these are gone, that’s that. If you’ve ever wanted one of these collectibles, this is the time to act.

The Knight of Flowers

June 19, 2010 at 1:52 pm
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I suppose I could still hint around about this… something about holly and oaks and a bill, I guess… but it seems rather pointless, since (1) you guys would solve such hints in about twelve seconds, and (2) the answer has already leaked out on Twitter and has been picked up by some of the fan sites.

So instead I’ll just confirm the reports. We have our Knight of Flowers. The part of Ser Loras Tyrell in the HBO series GAME OF THRONES will be played by Finn Jones.

Jones is a talented young British actor whose previous credits include the long-running British soap opera HOLLYOAKS and a cop show called THE BILL. I haven’t seen either of those myself, but I have seen Finn’s audition for Ser Loras (the scene where Loras confront Jaime and Brienne at the gates of the Red Keep), which was terrific.

(There’s a YouTube video with clips for those who might be interested: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOsUFwKxAPk There’s also a YouTube fan video from a young lady who seems to be madly in love with him, which I guess just goes to show that (1) he’s a great choice, and (2) Sansa isn’t the only one. That one you’ll need to find for your own selves, however).

So… House Tyrell is now represented in the GAME OF THRONES.

I should mention, by the way, that the earlier report of Finn Jones’ casting was somewhat premature. At the time the news leaked out, via tweet, Jones had been cast and had been approved by HBO, but the deal had not yet closed. In fact, it was not until this morning that HBO officially informed me that the deal was set. Which is why nothing has been said until now. You have to understand the way the process works, folks. Many audition, they are winnowed down to a few finalists, a choice is finally made after much internal discussion and weighing of alternatives, the choice is submitted to HBO for approval, approval is given (or sometimes, rarely, not — in which case it is back to square one)… and then negotiations begin with the actor’s agents.

But not every deal closes. Sometimes you can’t get together on the money. Sometimes there is a problem with the dates and shooting schedule. Sometimes, in between the audition and the callback and the final offer, the actor gets another job… a movie or another TV show (you and I may think it mad, but truth is, most actors would prefer, say, a lead in another production to a supporting part in ours)… and elects to take that instead. Lots of things can happen.

And no one wants to announce an actor, only to have the negotiations dead end for one reason or another, or the actor withdraw. Which is why I will never post anything here until the deal is closed. So keep that in mind the next time you hear a rumor on Twitter.

There should be more casting news soon, by the way. Another five or six parts have been cast and approved… but the negotiations are still ongoing with the actors in question and their representatives, so I will say no more. You’ll have to wait. (But David and Dan and Nina have found some great people, so the wait will be well worth it).

Today belongs to Finn Jones. Three cheers for bold Ser Loras!