Not a Blog

Two Out of Three

July 16, 2010 at 11:38 am
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Hiya, kids, hiya, hiya.

Okay, you’ve managed to puzzle out two of the three castings I hinted at yesterday. Congratulations to whoever was first to come up with the right answer.

“The first never says a word in the books.” No, not Ilyn Payne. (I told you he hadn’t been cast yet). It’s Lord Jon Arryn. Who is dead before the books begin. We do hear others quoting things he said, but never from Lord Arryn himself. But in the series, he will appear on screen in a flashback scene.

“The first flew by night to find the truth.” In my Hugo-losing novella “Nightflyers,” the scientist Karoly d’Branin leads an expedition to find the truth behind the legendary volcryn, voagers through interstellar space. In the 1987 film NIGHTFLYERS his name his changed to Michael d’Branin, and he is portrayed by the fine British actor JOHN STANDING.

Sir John Standing is a distinguished veteran of stage and screen, and the descendant of a great British acting family. We’re incredibly honored to have him as Jon Arryn. And hey, maybe he’s even forgiven me for NIGHTFLYERS.

“The third birthed a monkey, a pimple, and a loon.”

Yes, it’s Ser Alliser Thorne, master-at-arms at Castle Black, who fastens those nicknames on three of the young recruits that he is training.

“The third was a supervillain, and once ambled amongst oak trees and hollies, where he might have come across a golden rose.”

Playing the part of Ser Alliser we have DEREK HALLIGAN, who played the supervillain Dr. Nightshade in TONIGHT WE FLY, and also appeared in the British soap opera HOLLYOAKS, where he might have encountered Finn Jones, our Knight of Flowers (the golden rose). His reading was lights out. I sure wouldn’t want him chewing my ass in medieval boot camp.

As for the second lord… the one where the clue is really really obscure… you bunch o’ jugheads haven’t come close to that one yet, heh heh.

Meanwhile… lots more casting announcements coming soon. Ser Vardis, Pyp, Grenn, Maester Aemon, Bronn, Lady Lysa, Sweetrobin, Yoren, Old Nan, Septa Mordane, and more… and maybe even a big one that you have all been eager for. But you’ll read those elsewhere first, most like… though I will echo when I can. Some terrific actors coming your way.

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Recasting Royce

July 15, 2010 at 8:46 pm
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Just a brief note to confirm the other news in Mo Ryan’s blog this morning.

Yes, there’s been another recasting (and possibly a few more in the offing).

David and Dan and HBO have decided to reshoot the prologue sequence from the pilot. For the very best of reasons, I think: to make it better.

I’ve seen the pilot, or at least a rough cut thereof, and I thought the prologue sequence was quite good, actually. But this will be the opening scene of the entire series, the first introduction to the world of Westeros for millions of viewers, so “quite good” was not good enough. We want to make it great.

So we reshoot. The only problem with that being, life moves on and so do actors. Other roles come along, dates don’t always work out, schedules refuse to mesh, even with the best of intentions. And that’s what happened with our prologue.

Everyone loved Jamie Campbell Bower and his performance as Ser Waymar Royce… but since our pilot wrapped, JCB has gone on to win one of the lead roles in the new Starz series CAMELOT –no one less than Arthur Pendragon himself.


Unfortunately, Jamie’s shooting schedule with CAMELOT conflicted with our own, so there was no way he could come back and reprise his performance as Ser Waymar. But we wish him luck with his new (much larger) role… and who knows, if GAME OF THRONES should happen to have a longer run than CAMELOT, maybe one day he can come back and play another (much larger) role for us.

Meanwhile, for our reshoot, Nina Gold has found another terrific young British actor to don the sable cloak of Ser Waymar Royce. His name is ROB OSTLERE.

Ostlere is a relative newcomer, a recent graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts who has appeared in the films THE TASK (just completed, not yet in release) and TORTOISE, and the tv series THE DOCTORS. He’s actually an actor we’ve had our eye on for some time. Last year, when we were casting the pilot, he read for several parts, and was a strong contender for all of them. And though ultimately he lost out on those roles, he impressed all of us so much that we kept bringing him back. We knew he was someone we wanted to work with. It’s great to have him as part of the show at last.

(If only, ah, briefly).

As for the other rangers in the prologue sequence… nothing has been settled there as yet, but there is a chance that those roles will need to be recast as well. We may also need to recast one other player, NOT from the prologue, again for reasons concerning a reshoot and schedule conflicts. But we’ll see. Every effort is being made to work these things out.

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Along Came a Spider

July 15, 2010 at 3:17 pm
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… and to confirm the story that Mo Ryan broke earlier today in her column, the role of Varys the Spider will be played by CONLETH HILL.

Born in Northern Ireland, in County Antrim, Hill has done his share of televison and film, but is probably best known for his work in the theatre, which ranges from serious drama to musical comedy, and everything in between, including roles in THE PRODUCERS, LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY, WAITING FOR GODOT, and A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM. He’s appeared on stages in Belfast, Dublin, Edinburgh, London, Toronto, and on Broadway, where he was nominated for a Tony Award for best actor. Hill has also twice been awarded the Laurence Olivier Theatre Award, once for best actor, once for best supporting actor.

He has his own website at where you can find out a lot more about him, and even see some amazing video clips. Hill, like Varys, is quite a chameleon, an actor who truly disappears inside the characters he portrays, more than capable not only of bringing the slimy, simpering eunuch to life, but also of showing us all the other faces of King’s Landing’s master of whisperers.

With Varys, Littlefinger, Grand Maester Pycelle, and Ser Barristan all cast, King Robert’s small council lacks only Lord Renly… and he’ll be joining them soon. (Sorry, you will need to wait for season two for Stannis, off brooding on Dragonstone). It is going to be amazing to see all these actors sitting down together at the council table…

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The Watcher Sees All

July 15, 2010 at 2:11 pm
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More casting news from Mo Ryan of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE:

The Watcher. Hmmmm. Wonder if Mo is a Marvel Comics fan.

Her announcements are about roles other than those mentioned in my hints, FWIW, so don’t confuse those.

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Two Lords and a Sword

July 15, 2010 at 1:38 pm
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Hiya kids, hiya, hiya, hiya.

This time we have two lords and a knight.

The first never says a word in the books. The second gave up one lordship and received another. The third birthed a monkey, a pimple, and a loon.

The first flew by night to find the truth. The second is a merry man from the god of war. The third was a supervillain, and once ambled amongst oak trees and hollies, where he might have come across a golden rose.

Who are they?

EVENING UPDATE: Not bad, not bad. But I’m glad that I’ve been able to stump you for longer than it takes for my webpage to refresh. For a change. At of this moment (about 7:45 PM Santa Fe time), you’ve got the sword but not the lords. A few of you may be sniffing on the trail of another. The last… well, mea culpa, the clue there is really obscure.

Look for big casting news on the morrow. Lots of parts, not necessarily including these.

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The White Knight

July 15, 2010 at 12:13 am
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The ranks are filling out on HBO’s GAME OF THRONES.

Ser Barristan Selmy, Barristan the Bold, the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, will be played by Ulsterman IAN MCELHINNEY, Belfast born and bred.

Ser Barristan is a veteran of tournament and battle, and McElhinney a veteran of stage and screen who has been acting professionally since 1981. He was a pope on THE TUDORS, a captain on HORATIO HORNBLOWER, a priest, a doctor, a detective… though I believe this is his first turn as a knight. He’s no stranger to the Paint Hall, though; the huge shipyard soundstage where we’ll be doing much of our filming was also the place where they built the CITY OF EMBER, in which he had a role.

McElhinney is another terrific addition to our cast. He’s a splendid actor, and his readings captured all of Ser Barristan’s dignity and nobility. I can’t wait to see him in his Kingsguard armor and long white cloak.

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Ser Ilyn Payne

July 14, 2010 at 6:37 pm
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I’ve been looking over tapes of half a dozen actors auditioning for the part of Ser Ilyn Payne in the HBO series. The strangest auditions I’ve ever watched, since all the actors do is stand there and react silently to the lines being read at ’em.

No decision on Ser Ilyn yet, BTW. But soon, I think.

Meanwhile, though, the talented folks over at Dark Sword Miniatures are about to issue their own version of Ser Ilyn, sculpted by Jeff Grace. Here’s a couple of peeks at the green:

More details on Ser Ilyn and several more new Dark Sword releases can be found on their website at

And… back on the TV series… look for a whole bunch of new casting announcements soon.

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The Long Wait Is Over!!!

July 14, 2010 at 4:12 pm
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No, no, not THAT long wait, sorry…

The somewhat shorter long wait was the one I meant.

The sixth and final issue of THE HARD CALL, our Wild Cards miniseries, is now on sale at your favoirte local comic book shop. Go out and snatch up your copy! Better yet, snatch up ten!!!

Scripted by Daniel Abraham (author of THE LONG PRICE QUARTET and the forthcoming fantasy epic THE DAGGER AND THE COIN, and creator of Jonathan Hive), with art by Eric Battle, THE HARD CALL is an original tale of the Wild Cards universe, not an adaptation of a story from the books. The first five issues of the comic were published by DBPro, but with number six, Dynamite steps in to wrap up the tale.

And for that other long wait… I’m working on it, I’m working on it.

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One Loyal Man

July 13, 2010 at 11:54 pm
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I can confirm another of the leaked castings.

The role of Jory Cassel, captain of guards and right hand man to Lord Eddard Stark, will be filled by Scottish actor JAMIE SIVES. Yes, ironic as it sounds, we will have a Jamie guarding Ned.

Jory is the nephew of Ser Rodrik Cassel, Winterfell’s master-at-arms, and the son of one of Ned’s companions who died at the Tower of Joy. Though young, he commands the escort of fifty guardsmen who accompany Ned to King’s Landing.

Born in Edinburgh, Jamie Sives has been acting professionally since 1999, though his bio says he really wanted to be a footballer. His long list of credits includes an appearance on DOCTOR WHO which fans of that show might recall. He’s also featured in two of this year’s movies — the comedy GET HIM TO THE GREEK and the 3-D remake of CLASH OF THE TITANS.

So far as I know, Jory will be the only one of the Stark guards in King’s Landing with a speaking role. The rest of the Ned’s men — Desmond, Fat Tom, Hullen, Vayon Poole — will be there, but as extras, featured extras, and background characters.

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And Here’s Petyr

July 13, 2010 at 6:08 pm
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The big casting news I was hinting about yesterday broke even before I finished hinting, in THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER:

So there you have it. Petyr Baelish, master of coin for the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, will be played by the amazing Irish actor AIDAN GILLEN. ((“Big news about a small digit,” get it?))

Gillen is best known to American audiences for his superb turn on THE WIRE, where he played Tommy Carcetti, an ambitious city councilman who runs for mayor for Baltimore… and loses most of his ideals along the way. Carcetti was a brilliantly written character, and Gillen played him brilliantly, painting a vivid picture of a charming, intelligent, well intentioned man slowly seduced by power. And he did it all with a Baltimore accent that was so convincing that I never doubted for a moment that he was American… and was startled to learn, when he first came in to read for Littlefinger, that he was actually Dublin born and presently lives in London.

British audiences knew him first for his role as Stuart Alan Jones in QUEER AS FOLK, but he has extensive credits in both television and stage. He’s a winner of the IFTA (Irish Film and Television Award), and has been nominated for a BAFTA and a Tony.

He should make for a perfect Littlefinger, and I look forward eagerly to seeing what he does with the role.

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