Not a Blog


July 31, 2010 at 1:22 pm
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No, this is not the promised post about Charles Dance. Later.

Just kicked Aeron Damphair’s scraggly arse out of DANCE WITH DRAGONS. He only had the only chapter, and it will work better early in the next book than late in this one. (That’s how it looks to me today, anyway. I reserve the right to change my mind).

So DANCE has gotten a smidge shorter. But is still not done.

The good news is that I seem to have written more than a hundred pages of THE WINDS OF WINTER already.

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A Few Odds, Some Ends

July 30, 2010 at 8:02 pm
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Nightmarish day yesterday. The computer virus that we’ve been battling for weeks… often hammering it down, but never entirely eradicating it… upsurged again, and totally messed my Windows machine, so Ty had to spend the whole day dealing with it, and I could never get on line to read my emails.

He was finally successful, so I’m back in business. In fact, the computer is running better than it has for weeks. Maybe Ty has finally slain the beast. But I won’t celebrate too soon.

Of course, just one single day away from my email meant that I had more than a hundred letters in my inbox when I did get back on this morning. ONE DAY! Aieeee….

On other fronts, I see that Mo Ryan broke the Charles Dance casting while I was in computer hell. Yay, Mo. I’m very pleased by this one, and will post more about it later. Got a couple other castings I should talk about as well… but it has dawned on me that there’s no way I can talk about them ALL. Not if I want to do anything else. There are just so many.

The first week of shooting in Belfast went well, I hear, although the weather screwed with them a bit and pretty much confined them to the Paint Hall. Wish I could have been there.

I missed the San Diego Comicon as well, as previously posted. But I did have a presence. IDW announced the DOORWAYS comic, as below… and Bantam Specta debuted the gorgeous new 2011 Ice & Fire calendar, with its stunning Ted Nasmith art.

The calendar is now officially on sale and available, at all good bookstores that sell calendars. Also on Amazon. And they are shipping now. People are already receiving their calendars. Yes, we thought we would try something new this time, like actually sending people the calendars that they order. I hope you like this innovation. (This is not an invitation to rehash the mess we had with the 2009 calendar. That horse is dead. We know, we know. Believe me, we know).

Oh, and I also wanted to mention LIGHTSPEED, a new on-line SF magazine edited by the talented John Joseph Adams. Their current issue reprints a story by some Martin guy from the dawn of time, called “… for a single yesterday.” You can read it here:

The way LIGHTSPEED works, JJA informs me, “you can read all of our content for free, but it’s serialized on the website throughout the month, one story and one article per week. If you want to read the week 4 story now–or if you just want it in convenient downloadable formats–you can just buy the ebook version.”

So: electronic magazines. Wave of the future.

Finally, might mention that I finished a chapter of the DANCE today. I had one last chapter about this particular character — I will call him Fred — to finish, and then I am done with him for the book. Of course, in the writing, it turned into three chapters. So I finished a Fred chapter a week ago, and a Fred chapter an hour ago, and yet I STILL have one Fred chapter to finish. Sigh. The horizon recedes continuously before me.

Time to go eat supper. Bye.

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Winter Is Coming… to SKY

July 28, 2010 at 8:44 pm
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My readers in the UK have been emailing me for months, wanting to know whether GAME OF THRONES would be shown over there. The answer (I hoped) was “yes,” but I could not give details, because (1) I didn’t know, actually, and (2) some major negotiations were going on behind the scenes.

But now the GUARDIAN has broken the story, so all can be told:

The short version: SKY has bought the UK rights to the entire HBO catalog of original shows, past and present.

So, yes, GAME OF THRONES will be seen in the UK… on SKY.

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You Guys Are Scary Good, the Sequel

July 28, 2010 at 7:48 pm
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And it did not take you very damn long to figure out the second role as well.

The part of Shae, the camp follower that Bronn the sellsword finds before the battle of the Green Fork and delivers to Tyrion Lannister, will be played by the amazing SIBEL KEKILLI.

Shae needs no introduction to any Ice & Fire reader, I would imagine. If you’ve forgotten her, you obviously weren’t paying attention, so get off the internet at once and go and reread the books. There may be a pop quiz.

Sibel Kekilli is a German actress of Turkish descent, who crashed onto the film scene in a big way in 2004 in an award-winning film called HEAD-ON, after being discovered by the casting director while shopping in a mall in Cologne. She’s won both the Bambi Prize (the deer) and the Lola Award (cherry cola, L-O-L-A Lola, and if you missed that clue, you obviously haven’t been listening to enough Kinks). The Lola is the “German Oscar,” and Sibel has actually won it twice. She’s also won the Tribeca Award and the Golden Orange Prize.

I want to say a few words about her audition, which I thought was extraordinary. A lot of beautiful young women read for Shae. The scene they were reading was the first meeting between Shae and Tyrion, in his tent on the Green Fork the night before the battle. Shae is a camp follower, a prostitute, and she is, of course, coming on to Tyrion in a big way. There is a LOT of sexual heat in the scene, as written and as played. And all of our Shaes were sexy as hell. Watching them one after another would fog up anyone’s glasses.

But there’s another dimension to Shae as well. She’s not as practiced and hardened at this as a more seasoned pro. There’s still a girl next door quality to her, a sense of vulnerability, playfulness, and, yes, innocence. And it’s that quality Tyrion responds to, that quality that brings him back to Shae, and drives all that follows. He knows what she is, consciously, but down deep he wants to believe that he has found another Tysha.

All of our Shaes were hot as hell. But only a handful of them captured that other quality, maybe three out of twenty, and Sibel was the standout. It’s easy to see why she has won all those awards. Watching those auditions, any red-blooded male would want to take every one of our Shae candidates to bed. But Sibel made you fall in love with her as well.

She’s going to be amazing. And I can’t believe you figured out who she was so fast!

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You Guys Are Scary Good

July 28, 2010 at 7:10 pm
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I cannot BELIEVE how fast you guys unravel even my most obscure and difficult clues. The CIA should be looking to hire you all to break cyphers.

(I’m going to “Adult Content” this post, which I’ve never done before, because… well it will be pretty self-explanatory).

Anyway, yes, you nailed the first one in three blinks and a winks. The role of Dany’s handmaiden Doreah will be played by ROXANNE MCKEE.

Doreah was one of three slave girls given to Dany as a wedding present by her brother Viserys (big brother’s gift), though of course Viserys got the girls from Magister Illyrio Mopatis, which is why I misremembered them as the fat man’s gift. Irri and Jhiqui are Dothraki, but Doreah came from the pillow houses of Lys.

Roxanne McKee was born in Canada (the great white north), but moved to England, where she appeared in the soap opera HOLLYOAKS (the land of oaks and hollies). She has thrice been nominated for “Sexiest Female” in the British Soap Awards, winning twice (she was the sexiest female twice, NOT the sexiest female once). Her most recent role was in a film called F . She has also appeared on LILY ALLEN & FRIENDS, and Lily of course is the sister of our Theon, Alfie Allen.

Doreah is given to Dany to instruct her in the erotic arts. Viserys himself vouches for her skills. We had a lot of beautiful young women reading for the role, so this one was a tough call. Congratulations to Roxanne on winning the part.

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Riddle Me This

July 28, 2010 at 5:22 pm
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Big brother’s gift is the sexiest female. The sellsword’s gift is like cherry cola. Take twelve steps to big brother’s gift. No, no, the other one. Big brother’s gift is not the sexiest female. The sellsword’s gift was shopping when they found her. Big brother’s gift has known a lot of ups and downs. No, no, the other one. Big brother’s gift is a friend of the kraken’s sister. The sellsword’s gift once won a deer. Big brother’s gift came from the great white north to the land of oak and hollies, where she was the sexiest female, sometimes. Yes, that one, The sellsword’s gift tackles life head on. Big brother’s gift gets a F. No, no, the other one. Controversy and the sellsword’s gift are no strangers. All the gifts are hot, hot, hot… but that’s not a clue, just a comment.

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A Change on the Small Council

July 28, 2010 at 4:50 pm
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It saddens me to announce that we’ve had a casting change on the HBO series.

My old friend Roy Dotrice, who had been scheduled to play the part of Grand Maester Pycelle, has had to withdraw from the show for medical reasons. Roy was a colleague of mine from our days together on BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, where he played the part of Father. More recently, he was my own personal choice as the reader on the audiobooks for A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, and did a wonderful job of reading the first three volumes (a schedule conflict required us to use a different reader for book four), playing all the parts and giving each character his own distinctive voice. Roy would have magnificent as Grand Maester Pycelle, and I was eagerly looking forward to seeing his council scenes with Varys, Littlefinger, and Ned.

Unfortunately, his health does not permit him to continue at this time. I just spoke with Roy, who is presently in Los Angeles receiving treatment. He tells me that his doctors say that, with three or four months of treatment, he should be back to his old self, and “right as rain” by Christmas. David and Dan and the folks at HBO were as distraught about losing him as I was, and all of us wish him a speedy and complete recovery. Once Roy is back to full health, we hope to find another role for him in the series. After all, he’s played them ALL on the audiobooks.

Good luck, Roy. All your fans and friends will be thinking of you.

Meanwhile, back in Belfast… they have this saying in the theatre, you know the one… “the show must go on.” And so it must. The redoubtable Nina Gold and her team faced a huge task in finding someone to fill the shoes of a Roy Dotrice, but as ever, they have done a smashing job. The role of Grand Maester Pycelle will now be played by JULIAN GLOVER.

Glover has a list of credits in stage, screen, and television that’s just as long as that of Dotrice. The two of them have worked together, in fact — when I mentioned him to Roy, he responded that Glover was “my old mate from the Royal Shakespeare Company.”

Our new Pycelle will be no stranger to fans of SF and fantasy. He was an Imperial officer in THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, and he’s appeared in DOCTOR WHO, TROY, HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS, INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE, and even SPACE: 1999, among countless other films and television shows. More recently, he’s been seen in THE YOUNG VICTORIA and in the forthcoming PRINCESS KAUILANI (with the lovely Tamzin Merchant).

Roy Dotrice will be missed, but Julian Glover will make Pycelle his own, we have no doubt. Last I heard, he was already in Belfast, being fitted for a long white beard.

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Lights, Camera, Action

July 26, 2010 at 1:03 pm
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It’s evening in Belfast, and the first day of shooting is now in the can.

Feels strange. Exciting, but also… I don’t know, maybe I’m feeling a bit of empty nest syndrome. My kids have left home, and are making their own way in the world.

I’d wish good luck to everyone involved in the HBO production, but I recall that you never say that in the theatre. Maybe everyone concerned break several legs.

And me… well, a blank computer screen awaits. Still a lot of story to tell.

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The Only Living Boy in New York

July 25, 2010 at 8:08 pm
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… or Santa Fe, as the case may be.

Half the editors I know have spent the weekend at comicon in San Diego, hobnobbing with many writers I know, attending fabuloous parties, enjoying great meals, and drinking in bizarre but fascinating human tapestry that is SDCC.

Tomorrow, off in Belfast, the cameras begin to roll on the HBO series. Northern Ireland is way ahead of us, so it’s tomorrow there already. Only a few hours now.

And here I sit at my computer, still shoveling Snow. And snow. The snow won’t stop. The squids don’t like it much.


I’m missing all the fun, just to make more fun for you guys.

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DOORWAYS Coming in November

July 24, 2010 at 2:06 pm
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I am thrilled (really) to reveal that today at the San Diego Comicon IDW Comics announced their plans to publish a miniseries and graphic novel of DOORWAYS, the television pilot that I created, wrote, and produced for ABC from 1991 to 1993.

The first issue will be published in November.

— Tom, an emergency room doc at a Los Angeles hospital,
— Cat, a half-feral fugitive from an alternate timeline.
— Thane, the manhound, part human, part animal, part cybernetic, stalking Cat from world to world at the behest of his alien masters.

This first DOORWAYS series will be based on the revised version of my script, not (not not NOT, please note) on the TV show as shot. In other words, the characters as they appear in the comic will not look anything like the actors who portrayed them in 1993, in the version (the bloated two-hour version) of DOORWAYS that was released on video way back when. (This is purely for legal reasons and should not taken as a reflection on the actors, all of whom were terrific, especially Anne Le Guernec, the young French actress who played Cat).

A graphic novel is only as good as its artwork, of course. The art for DOORWAYS will be provided by the amazing Italian artist Stefano Martino (well, born in Italy, but he’s lived in France and is presently in Spain). Fans will know him for his outstanding work on IDW’s DOCTOR WHO comic. I selected Stefano personally from among a dozen candidates, and I love what I have seen of his stuff so far.

Stefano is working directly from my original teleplay, so we have not needed to bring aboard a scriptor as on some of my other recent comic projects. This time around, the writer is me. And doing this as a graphic novel rather than a television show means that we are not straight-jacketed by studio budgets or the state of SFX in 1993… so, for instance, our manhounds no longer need to be guys in rubber suits, and we should be able to have much more fun with the aliens and their technology.

DOORWAYS is the great “might have been” of my career in Hollywood. It was the closest I ever came to getting my own show on the air. Two years of my life went into it, and unsurprisingly, I came to love the characters and their world. Worlds, in this case. When DOORWAYS slammed shut on me, and I had to say goodbye to Tom and Cat and all those stories that would now remain forever untold, it felt as though a part of me had died. But now IDW has opened that door again and I can’t tell you how pleased that makes me.

In the summer of 1991 when I pitched to pitched the concept for a new weekly science fiction series to the suits at ABC, network television had done plenty of space travel and time travel shows , but one of the great tropes of science fiction remained largely untouched — the parallel worlds story. “What if” stories, sideways-in-time tales, worlds where the South won the Civil War, where the Roman Empire never fell, where Pete Best was still drumming for the Beatles… we could do them all, in an action/ adventure framework with some romance and sexual tension and an on-going Fugitive overplot for garnishes.

And if IDW’s new DOORWAYS comic finds an audience, it’s my hope that we will do them all… starting with the first draft of my pilot script, which featured an entirely different alternate world from the shooting script, and then going on to the six never-produced back-up scripts… and then maybe, just maybe, creating brand new original tales (tales NOT written by me, so please don’t get your panties in a twist, ICE & FIRE remains first priority, any new DOORWAYS scripts will be penned by writers I hire and supervise, as with those five other back-up scripts from 1992-93, at least until the SONG is sung) that will take Tom and Cat to worlds we never would have dreamed of doing on a weekly television budget…

The DOORWAYS open in November. Reserve a copy at your favorite comic shop.

(Did someone mention SLIDERS? Slowly I turned… step by step, inch by inch, I… but no, really, don’t do that. That’s a sore spot. One might even say a festering boil.)

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