Not a Blog

Here Come The Dragons

May 5, 2022 at 5:43 pm
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Are those dragons I see?

Yes indeed.

It’s May, which means the August 21 premiere of HOUSE OF THE DRAGON is only a few months away.

And HBO has just released a new trailer, to give you another taste of what you’ll be seeing.

Enjoy.

Current Mood: excited excited

Random Bits of This and That

April 29, 2022 at 11:13 am
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Lots of things going on.  Good things, bad things, big things, small things.   No time for a long blog post just now, but here are a few random comments about all and sundry, some of which may interest some of you.

Looks like the Jets and Giants both did very well in the first round of the NFL Draft.   But you never know.   Both teams desperately need help, so I hope they picked the right people.  My Sundays in the fall have been a weekly kick in the gut the past few years.

DARK WINDS debuts on June 12 on AMC and AMC+.  The trailer is everywhere, so check it out if you have not seen it yet.   I was one of the executive producers on this show, a six episode adaptation of the Navajo detective novels by the late great Tony Hillerman.   Graham Roland wrote the pilot, and Chris Eyre directed.   Zahn McClarnon stars as Joe Leaphorn and Kiowa Gordon as Jim Chee.   They all did great work.   Chris, together with Robert Redford, were the ones who brought me into this project a few years back, and I am glad that I was able to help get this made… but if you love the show, and I hope you will, credit belongs to Bob and Chris and Tina Elmore and their team, to our amazing actors, and of course to Tony.

Parris and I really enjoyed the new HBO Max series MINX, a sexy sitcom about a feminist porn magazine in the 70s.   The clothes, though… I swear, I owned some of those clothes.   Might be I still do, I never throw anything away.   Watching MINX did give me flashbacks to the 70s, though.   Which is good and bad.   The 1970s were my own Dickens Decade: it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

Or is that now?   Yeah, maybe now.   A lot of good things have happened for me, undeniably, but so many of my friends have died over the past two/three years… we have a war in the Ukraine which could turn into a nuclear holocaust… public discourse has turned poisonous and toxic, along with much of social media, free speech is under attack, our democracy is under attack… the news is profoundly depressing.

There was an article in THE ATLANTIC recently about how social media is making us all stupid.   An impressive piece, though it was also profoundly depressing, since the author does not see a lot of hope.   You can check it out at  https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2022/05/social-media-democracy-trust-babel/629369/ There’s a lot to think about there.

My people tell me that the renovations have been going well on the Jean Cocteau Cinema, Santa Fe’s original art house.   We hope to reopen soon, with a renovated auditorium and brand new seats.   Big comfortable seats.   Fewer of them, mind you — our capacity will shrink from 130 down to 78 — but hey, we only filled the place up a few times a year, usually when Neil Gaiman or Janis Ian was in town.   We will let you know when we reopen.

We are getting some great reviews for Sky Railway, and selling out a lot of trains.   We still have some more coaches to restore, so we can run more trains and longer consists, but that will come.

THE WINDS OF WINTER is going to be a big book.   The way it is going, it could be bigger than A STORM OF SWORDS or A DANCE WITH DRAGONS, the longest books in the series to date.   I do usually cut and trim once I finish, but I need to finish first.

I saw rough cuts of a couple more episodes of HOUSE OF THE DRAGON, and was just as pleased as I was with the earlier episodes.   Ryan and Miguel and their cast and crew are doing great work.    Those of you who like complex, conflicted, grey characters (as I do) will like this series, I think.   There will be plenty of dragons and battles, to be sure, but the spine of the story is the human conflicts, the love and the hate, character drama rather than action/ adventure.

And I did I mention?   NIGHT OF THE COOTERS is done!   Trioscope delivered the final cut last week.   It’s a short film, about thirty minutes long, based on one of Howard Waldrop’s wonderful short stories.   Joe R. Lansdale wrote the screenplay.   Vincent d’Onofrio directed and starred, with a terrific cast of supporting players.   We shot it in Santa Fe, entirely on greenscreen.   The wizards at Trioscope did the rest, providing the sets, the aliens, the special effects, pretty much everything except the actors and the horses.   We will be rolling it out at a series of film festivals through the rest of the year.   My staff is working out that schedule now.   Once we have some confirmed dates and places, we will share the details here.

Meanwhile, we hope to start shooting a second Howard Waldrop film in about two weeks.   Completely unrelated.   H’ard (as Gargy used to call him) never wrote the same story twice.    This may be the Year of Waldrop.

There’s more, there’s more, there’s always more.   But that will need to do for now.

 

 

Current Mood: busy busy

The Pens Behind the Swords

February 20, 2022 at 11:10 am
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HOUSE OF THE DRAGON has a great pair of showrunners in Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik.

And it has an amazing cast as well.   You’ve been reading about them for months.  Matt Smith, Emma d’Arcy, Milly Alcock, Olivia Cooke, Paddy Considine, Emily Carey, Rhys Ifans, Steve Touissant, Fabien Frankel, and more, and more.   You may not know their names now, but I think you will before the year ends.  You will hate some of them, love some of them, mourn for some of them.

There’s another group of contributors, equally important, whose names you may not know either.   But you should.  Without them , there would be no show.   If there was, it would certainly not be as good as I think HOUSE is going to be.   Here are the folks I am talking about:

Yes… it’s the writers.  

HOUSE OF THE DRAGON is based on my novellas “The Princess and the Queen” and “The Rogue Prince,” and other materials from my Targaryen history FIRE & BLOOD… but FIRE & BLOOD is an imaginary history, not a traditional novel.   To turn it into a television series requires a lot more work than adapting a novel or short story.   The scriptwriters need to make history come alive.

Ryan Condal assembled a pretty amazing team to do just that.    The photograph above was taken during one of my visits to LA — the last, I think, before Covid descended on us all, and shut down my travels — when I sat down with Ryan and his writers for dinner.  It was a big loud lively dinner at a long table, but the food was great and the company was greater.   I loved talking dragons with the team, and I was impressed with the depth of their knowledge of my world, and their enthusiasm for the project.

The first season of HOUSE is now wrapped, and in large part thanks to the talents of our scribes.  So please raise your glasses and toast our writers:  Sara Hess, Gabe Fonseca, Ira Parker, Ti Mikkel, Charmaine DeGrate, Kevin Lau, and Eileen Shim.   And of course Ryan Condal himself, the ringmaster and dragon tamer.   Oh, and though they are not in the picture, I should also salute Claire Kiechel and Wes Tooke, who joined Ryan and Ti in the mini writer’s room that preceded this one, before there was even a pick up.

(And me, you ask?  No, I did not write a script for the first season of HOUSE… part of me would have loved to, but I have been kind of busy with WINDS OF WINTER, the other THRONES successor shows, various WILD CARDS books, the WILD CARDS tv pilot for Peacock and UCP, DARK WINDS for AMC, ROADMARKS for HBO, NIGHT OF THE COOTERS and a couple other really cool Howard Waldrop projects, and… well, yeah, okay, I bought a railroad, never mind.   I did co-create the series with Ryan and help give it its shape, and he and I have been in constant contact ever since).

Hollywood is a land of change, and writers are always moving around in today’s television landscape.   Some of the folks in the photo above moved on to other shows and other networks before season one of HOUSE even began to film.   Others have been with us all the way through the first season, and will be returning for season two (if indeed HBO gives us a season two, cross your fingers).   But all of them played a part.

So here’s to the writers!   Huzzah!

 

Current Mood: pleased pleased

WRAPPED!

February 17, 2022 at 5:27 pm
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Exciting news out of London — I am informed that shooting has WRAPPED for the first season of HOUSE OF THE DRAGON.

Yes, all ten episodes.   I have seen rough cuts of a few of them, and I’m loving them.  Of course, a lot more work needs to be done.   Special effects, color timing, score, all the post production work.

But the writing, the directing, the acting all look terrific.   I hope you will like them as much as I do.   My hat is off to Ryan and Miguel and their team, and to our amazing cast.

So when will you get to see it, you ask?   When will the dragons dance?

I wish I could tell you.   Lots of work remains to be done, as I said, and covid makes planning difficult.   This spring?  Unlikely.  Maybe summer?  Could be.   Fall?  Who knows?

You’ll know when we do.

Current Mood: excited excited

Most Anticipated

December 29, 2021 at 9:38 am
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The new year is almost at hand, and with it will come all manner of new television shows, on network, cable, and streamers.

I have got to confess, I was chuffed to read that the most anticipated new show, according to IMDB, was…

(drum roll, please)

HOUSE OF THE DRAGON!

https://movieweb.com/house-of-the-dragon-imdb-most-anticipated-original-tv-series-2022/

That’s a hell of a list to be at the top of, too.   Amazon’s new Tolkien series?   Neil Gaiman’s SANDMAN?  Marvel shows?   STAR WARS shows?

Good company.

I am anticipating HOUSE OF THE DRAGON pretty eagerly myself, for what it’s worth.   Okay, I am hardly objective.   And I know a lot of what you will be seeing.  (I, um, wrote the book).   Also … mum’s the word now, don’t tell anyone… I’ve seen a rough cut of the first episode.   And loved it.   It’s dark, it’s powerful, it’s visceral… just the way I like my epic fantasy.

Ryan and Miguel have done an amazing job, and the cast… just as with GAME OF THRONES, most viewers will only have heard of a few of the actors, but I think you are going to fall in love with a lot of them.   (Only to have your heart broken later when… but no, that would be telling).

I think the Targaryens are in very good hands.

Anticipate away.   I do not think you will be disappointed.

Current Mood: excited excited

The Dragons Are Coming

October 8, 2021 at 11:55 am
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Yes, I know, most of you have already seen this.   (What can I say?  I am busy.   Juggling so many balls, so many projects, posting stuff on my Not A Blog is not my highest priority, so things may always be a little bit behind here).

For the handful who have been off the internet the past few days, however… HBO has released the first official teaser/trailer for HOUSE OF THE DRAGON.  Here ’tis.

Enjoy.

(And yes, I love it too.  Ryan and Miguel and their team are kicking ass and taking names).

Current Mood: happy happy

Comes A Swordsman

April 15, 2021 at 12:30 pm
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He is the common-born son of the steward to the Lord of Blackhaven.   He has no claim to lands or titles, all he has is his honor and his skill with sword and lance.

He is a challenger, a champion, cheered by the commons, beloved of the ladies.

He is a lover (or is he?), a seducer (or is he?), a betrayer (or is he?), a breaker of hearts and a maker of kings.

FIRE & BLOOD readers know him as Ser Criston Cole.

HOUSE OF THE DRAGON viewers will know him as FABIEN FRANKEL.

In some of his other roles, Frankel has been the son of Dennis Franz (NYPD BLUE) and the lover of Emilia Clarke (LAST CHRISTMAS).   And now he is getting tangled up with some more Targaryens.   We shall see how that goes.

Welcome to Westeros, Fabien.

And do keep that sword sharp.

 

 

 

Current Mood: pleased pleased

FIRE & BLOOD Comes to Paperback

August 17, 2020 at 8:59 am
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FIRE & BLOOD, the first volume of Archmaester Gyldayn’s history of the Targaryen kings of Westeros, has just been released in trade paperback by my friends at Random House.   If you missed the hardcover (shame on you), here’s your chance to catch up.

But let me say, as I have a hundred times before, this is not a novel.   It is an imaginary history.   If you like reading history, real or fantastic, you will probably enjoy it.   If you go in expecting a conventional novel, you won’t.

We have autographed copies of the new trade paperback edition available from Beastly Books.  We also have some stock of the hardcover, for those of you who would prefer that.   Check them out — with all our other offerings — at https://jeancocteaucinema.com/beastlybooks/

Of course, the book is also available from your favorite online bookseller and your local brick-and-mortar bookshop.  (If they are open).   Those guys don’t have the signed copies, though.

FIRE & BLOOD covers the Targaryens from Aegon’s Conquest through the regency of the boy king Aegon III.

And if you’re curious as to what the new HBO show HOUSE OF THE DRAGON will cover… yeah, you want to pick this one up.

Happy history.

Current Mood: satisfied satisfied

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