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Stick ‘Em With the Pointy End

April 11, 2010 at 1:48 pm
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Filming on HBO’s GAME OF THRONES series will be resuming in June, in Northern Ireland.

Maisie Williams, who will play Arya Stark, is preparing for her part by practicing her needlework. I though you might enjoy seeing these recent pictures of her that her mom was kind enough to send me.

Her sword, of course, is the full-scale replica of Needle produced by the good folks at Valyrian steel.

You can get a Needle for your very own Arya at http://www.valyriansteel.com/

Want to Work on A GAME OF THRONES?

March 12, 2010 at 1:10 pm
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I get emails all the time from fans who want to be part of the filming.

Well, now’s your chance.

It would help if you live in Northern Ireland. Or at least the UK or the Republic of Ireland. Some actual experience in film or television production would be good as well. I’m sorry, it really doesn’t matter how much you love my books if you live in South Dakota and have no experience.

Anyway, here’s the skinny:

http://northernirelandscreen.co.uk/page.asp?id=239

If you want to apply, please note the instructions therein and follow them precisely. DO NOT SEND EMAILS OR RESUMES TO ME! I will not be hiring anyone. Nor am I willing to write recommendations for people I have never met, no matter how sincere or enthusiastic you may be.

If this is something you really want, though, hey, take a shot. Can’t hurt. Who knows, perhaps the stars will align, and YOU will end up being Floor Runner #2.

(No, I don’t know what Floor Runner #2 does either. Possibly that’s British for what we called “gopher” when I was in Hollywood. Something to do with running about the floor, at a guess).

The Green Light

March 2, 2010 at 11:32 pm
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Thanks, everyone. The outpouring of enthusiasm has been amazing. The comments are piling up here faster than Ty can unscreen ’em, my phone is ringing off the hook, and my email is exploding. And of course the story is all over the internet. Quite a day.

For the six of you who may not have seen it elsewhere, here’s a production still from the pilot sent out by HBO.

Lots, lots more to come in the days and weeks and months ahead. I will probably not be the best source for most of it, however. I’ll be here writing, while David and Dan will be out in the center of the storm, writing the scripts and supervising pre-production.

On other fronts, I hit page 1311 yesterday. No, not done yet.

For some reason, got nothing written today.

HBO

March 2, 2010 at 2:53 pm
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http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/02/hbo-will-play-game-of-thrones/

http://www.thrfeed.com/2010/03/hbo-greenlights-game-of-thrones-.html

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http://tv.ign.com/articles/107/1073428p1.html

http://scifiwire.com/2010/03/hbo-says-yes-to-game-of-t.php

… and many more.

The Ides of March

March 1, 2010 at 10:38 am
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So… March is upon us. The month when HBO will announce its decision on A GAME OF THRONES.

(Yes, I know, I know, it is not actually the Ides until March 15, but the phrase is so fraught with drama I could not resist).

I have absolutely no idea whether “March” will translate to “early March” or “the end of March.” The decision could be announced today, for all I know. Or maybe they will make us all wait until March 31. The Ides… well, maybe not. I don’t know if I can wait another fifteen days, and anyway that date has ominous connotations. “Beware the Ides of March,” and all that. So please let us know before that, HBO.

From the start of this, I’ve told myself, “Don’t get too emotionally invested in this, or you will be devastated if it doesn’t go.” Wise words, those. I’m a smart guy.

But easier said than done. I’ve failed. I am totally emotionally invested, and if HBO does indeed decide to pass, for whatever reason, I will be gutted.

So let’s all hope I am soon doing the happy dance instead.

Wolves in the Night

February 19, 2010 at 12:33 am
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Saw the remake of THE WOLFMAN tonight. Great visuals, and Rick Baker’s makeup was spectacular, as always (I much prefer the traditional ‘wolfman’ look of the old Universal classics, which Baker updates here, to the hydraulic-snout werewolves of AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, THE HOWLING, THE WOLFEN, etc). Overall, though, I’d give the movie a C, maybe a C+. Anthony Hopkins kind of phones in it, and Benicio del Toro is no Lon Chaney, Jr.

Speaking of things that go bump in the night, a new producer has been attached to my own werewolf movie-in-development, “The Skin Trade,” according to CNN:
http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/marketwire/0587869.htm

Meanwhile, March creeps ever closer, and with it the HBO decision about whether or not to greenlight the GAME OF THRONES series. I am pretty much out of the loop on this, so there’s nothing I can do to impact it either way… but as much as I have tried to adopt a “que sera, sera” attitude, I’m growing increasingly anxious. All sorts of rumors swirling around the internet, both good and bad. And of course Hollywood has broken my heart before. Ask me politely and I’ll show you my DOORWAYS scars…

Last but not least, there’s Meereen. Can I just drop a hydrogen bomb on the damn place?

Sigh. Well, tomorrow is another day. At least when I’m in Westeros, I forget all about what may or may not be happening at HBO.

It’s a Wrap

November 29, 2009 at 11:48 pm
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Another highlight of my time in Morocco was the wrap party.

For those not familiar with the term, it’s a Hollywood tradition to throw a big party when you finish shooting — or “wrap” — on a movie or television project. I attended quite a few great wrap parties during my ten years in LA, but the GAME OF THRONES wrap party blew them all away. We held it in the Ouarzazate Museum of Cinema, a pretty amazing place itself, complete with local musicians, belly dancers, acres of Moroccan delicicacies, and lots of spirits to lubricate the exhausted cast and crew. And when the museum threw us out, we just adjourned back to the Berbere Palace, where the party continued.

These few poor snapsnots don’t capture a tenth of what went on. But hey, what happens in Morocco stays in Morocco, right?










A great time was had by all… except, of course, for the cast members who shot their scenes in Ireland and Scotland, and the Irish and UK crew who did not get to make the trip to Morocco. The drawback of shooting in so many different places… everyone couldn’t be there together to celebrate the end of the shoot.

Jerusalem

November 29, 2009 at 4:46 pm
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I know that you all want to see pictures from the pilot shoot for A GAME OF THRONES, but alas, I can’t show you the sets, the actors in costume, or any of that good stuff.

Which is not to say that I can’t show you a few other things from my recent trip.

Jerusalem in Morocco, f’rinstance.

Here are some shots of the huge city walls and siege machinery that Ridley Scott built for KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, outside the city of Ouarzazate in Morocco. We did shoot some scenes here… but inside, in a court redressed for our purposes.



That’s my assistant Ty perched on the battering ram, which was full sized, made of real wood, and appeared to be fully functional. Ditto the siege towers and trebuchets Ridley left.

The interior courtyards were equally impressive (alas, I can’t show you the one we redressed and actually used).



I worked in Hollywood for a decade back in my checkered past, and these are the most impressive sets I’ve ever seen. Hell, Scott’s fake castle beats about eighty per cent of the real castles I’ve seen, and I’ve visited a LOT of castles.

I’m obviously going to have to put a city under siege sometime soon, so we can go back to Morocco and play with all these cool toys one of these days.

Magic in Morocco

November 16, 2009 at 11:19 am
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And here I am in Morocco as the GAME OF THRONES pilot shoot winds down. This is likely to be q strqnge looking post. I am typing it from the business center of the Berbere Palqce in Ourazazate on a French/ Arabic keyboqrd zhere many of the letters qre not where my fingers expect to find them. No Qwert Yuiop here.

Morocco is a fascinating place; though oddly it reminds me of New Mexico in q lot of ways. Architecture especially. The Spanish style of NM showing its Moorish roots.

Marrakesh is amazing qnd I wish we hqd hqd more than q dqy to explore it. From there it was a four hour drive over the high sunk baked passes of the Atlas mountqins to Ouarzazate, the film center of Morocco. This plqce is pretty astonishing as well. The city looks as if it was built yesterday, with wide treeless streets lined by huge pink hotels and apartments and new contstruction everywhere. Outside the desert stretches away to the distant mountains, flat and dry and dusty, dotted with ruins and abandoned cities none of which look even vaguely Moroccan. Egyptian pharoahs stand twenty feet high, crusqder castles loom on the horizon, here’s a Chinese fortress, here Sodom (or maybe Gomorrah), here a Roman ampitheater. I have q felling that Tombstone mqy be over thqt next ridge. From afar they look as if they hqve been here for centuries, but then you get up close and you realize they are all abandoned movie sets. The oldest have begun to crumble beneath the sun and sand, but they are still damned impressive;

Most imposing of all are the walls of old Jerusalem that Ridley Scott built for KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, which loom in the distance as you take the mqin road into the Ouuazazate, still surrounded by a ring of huge wooden siege towers and trebuchets, now crewed by lean brown dogs. One small portion of the Jerusalem set, redressed and repainted, became the courtyard of Illyrio’s manse where Dany first meets Khal Drogo. Thqt was the scene they were filming zhen Ty and I arrived, and it looked gorgeous.

I’d say more; but this keyboard is driving me batty, and my time is running out in any case;

Tonight the wedding!

Dublin Days

November 6, 2009 at 11:25 am
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And here we are in Dublin. Ireland has been exciting but exhausting. We had a huge turnout last night for the signing at Eason’s, with a queue that seemed to go on forever, but I finally scrawled everyone into submission, and afterwards I signed all the stock as well. If you missed the signing, or happen to live a thousand leagues away, you can still get an autographed copy of the SONGS OF THE DYING EARTH hardcover or any of the Ice & Fire paperbacks by phoning, emailing, or dropping by Eason’s on O’Connell Street. They even have a few trade paperbacks of DREAMSONGS.

Afterwards we adjourned to a nearby pub for a lively evening of Guinness and conversation with the local fans. I met the good folk who will be running next year’s Octocon, where I’ll be GOH, and hoisted a few with the hardy survivors of the Eason’s event. Didn’t stagger back to the our hotel till after midnight, by which time Temple Bar was roaring. Ah, if only I were twenty years younger…

The Belfast event on Tuesday was also a hoot and a half. The crowd was much bigger at Dublin, but in Belfast some of the cast of the HBO pilot dropped by to sign books and meet the fans as well. My thanks to Ron Donachie, Richard Madden (Best Dressed Man in Scotland), Alfie Allen, Kit Harington, Maisie Williams and Sophie Turner (and their moms) for joining the festivities. And to the lovely Ros, Esme Bianco, who dropped by McHughes afterwards for the moot. Matthew Hughes, one of the authors who contributed to our Vance tribute anthology, also turned up at Eason’s to help me sign SONGS OF THE DYING EARTH.

In between signing and mooting, I’ve been hanging round the shoot, trying not to get underfoot. “How is it going?” everyone wants to know. I think it’s going great. Wednesday’s location was amazing, so real I could hardly tell where the real castle ended and our fake castle began. I saw Bran and Tommen swatting at each other in the yard, Joffrey taunting Robb, the Hound growling at Ser Rodrik, while Arya displayed her wretched needlework to Jon above, and it all looked wonderful. Saw some of the footage from the crypts too, and that looked amazing as well. Yes, some things are not exactly as they were in the books, that’s inevitable with any adaptation… but these are my characters and this is my story, and it’s thrilling to see ’em come to life.

Last night in Belfast I got to meet two more of the cast, quite unexpectedly. Some of the Moroccan players were in Ireland for costume fittings. I ran into Ian McNeice for a brief moment outside the hotel, as we were waiting for our rides, and the night before we bumped into Dany — the amazing Tamzin Merchant, who is even more beautiful in person than she is on screen — into the dining room. What a terrific cast Nina Gold has assembled.

Also toured the Paint Hall, though we didn’t do any shooting there while I was in Belfast. Some of our sets are going up, and look great. And in another part of the building the huge castle sets from the big budget (compared to us, anyway) feature YOUR HIGHNESS are still standing. Their great hall is pretty eye-popping and they built an impressive castle yard as well.

Tomorrow I’m off to London . Signing at Forbidden Planet on the 11th, Then it’s off to Marrakech.

Life is magical and full of joy (but no, I have not been seeking out football scores, so don’t tell me. TIVO is getting all my games).