Not a Blog

The Dragons Are Here

August 21, 2022 at 9:13 am
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Tonight’s the night.

It has been three years since GAME OF THRONES wound up its run on HBO… and way way longer since we began the development of the successor series that eventually became HOUSE OF THE DRAGON.

You have been reading all about it for days… or weeks… or months… depending on how closely you follow the news out of Westeros.    Me, I’ve done more interviews that I can count.  We had a huge panel in Hall H at San Diego Comicon, and red carpet premieres in Los Angeles, Amsterdam, London, India, Sweden… sundry other place… and right here in Santa Fe at the Jean Cocteau Cinema.   There’s an amazing 3D billboard in NYC overlooking Times Square.   There’s more content on YouTube than anyone can keep track of.  Archmaester Gyldayn’s history FIRE & BLOOD is back on the bestseller lists and climbing (you can get signed copies from Beastly Books).   Reviews have been pouring in, most good, some bad.

I don’t know what else I can possibly say, except…

HOUSE OF THE DRAGON premieres tonight on HBO and HBO Max.

Whatever happens from here, my sincere thanks go out to Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik, to one of the most astonishing casts it has ever been been my honor to work with, to an incredible crew, to an amazing writing staff, to my friends at HBO, past and present, who have worked for years to bring HOT D to fruition… and to the fans, without whom none of this would be possible.

And a tip of my  cap to my editors, publishers, and readers as well.   It all began forty odd years ago… with a book.

Watch the show.   I hope you’ll enjoy it.

 

 

Current Mood: excited excited

Home Again

August 12, 2022 at 6:30 pm
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Hey there.   It’s me again.   I am back in Santa Fe, and once more again seated at my computer(s).   My thanks to my mighty minions for holding down the fort in my absence, and especially to the Sensational Sid, who shared my quarantine in Los Angeles and taped those video segments for me… and unfortunately came down with covid herself.   Not fun, and sadly it meant she too had to miss the Hot D red carpet premiere and the world premiere of NIGHT OF THE COOTERS a day later at the LA Shorts Film Festival.   Her symptoms were as mild as my own, though, and both of us in the end recovered fully.

Which does not change the fact that Covid Sucks, and all of you should avoid it if you can.

I tried my best to do just that.   I attended San Diego Comicon, only the second time I’ve left home since the pandemic started in March 2020, but the only thing I did there was the big HOUSE OF THE DRAGON panel in Hall H.   I never walked the floor, turned down invites to half a dozen parties, and  cancelled all three of my planned autograph sessions, which would have involved me getting close up and personal with hundreds of readers.   I wore a mask every time I went out, except at meals… and then only when I was eating.   I even upgraded my masks before leaving home.   I do not know what else I could have done, except cancel the entire trip.   But covid got me anyway.

Oh, wait… I did visit the incredible Red Keep that HBO put up outside the convention center, though I stayed masked for most of that.   I claimed a dragon’s egg, and hatched my dragon.   He’s green, and growing nicely.   Maybe the dragon gave me covid, but I doubt it.   Targaryens never get sick, donchaknow?   Hey, you guys can hatch a dragon too…

Have fun with that.   Post pictures.

What else, what else?   Oh, well, I do not lug a laptop around on my travels, so I returned home to a thousand emails.   I am presently digging out from under.   Mostly done.

Oh, and while in quarantine, Sid and I watched Neil Gaiman’s new show, THE SANDMAN.   Neil had been kind enough to send up an advance copy.   Guys, gals, don’t miss this.   If you loved the comics, well, this is a VERY faithful adaptation, Neil saw to that.   And if you never read the comic, don’t worry, not required, the TV series stands on its own.   It’s a fabulous fantasy, and I rope it will run for many more seasons.   There are, after all, many more issues of the comic to adapt.

I hope to wrap up the story line for one of the viewpoint characters of WINDS OF WINTER this week.   Maybe even two.

Meanwhile, work continues on all the other GAME OF THRONES successor shows we’re developing for HBO and HBO Max.   Animated and live action both.   Development is a long and chancy process, of course, and there’s no telling how many series will be green lit in the end… I am really excited about the way some of them are coming along, though.   Oh, and there’s also ROADMARKS, another show I’ve been developing for HBO, based on a novel by the late great Roger Zelazny.   That’s coming along well too.

Thanks to covid, I could not attend the world premiere of NIGHT OF THE COOTERS at the LA Shorts International Film Festival, but Vincent d’Onofrio and Hopper Penn and several other cast members filled in for me ably, along with scriptwriter Joe Lansdale and the team from Trioscope.   I am delighted to report that COOTERS took home the prize for Best Science Fiction Short!!!   We’ve entered it in a number of other festivals and hope to have word on that soon.   Meanwhile, our second Waldrop film has wrapped and is post-production.

Let’s see, what else.   There was something, I’m sure, I….

Oh.  Of course.

 HOUSE OF THE DRAGON.   August 21, on HBO and HBO Max.

That’s… hmmm…. nine days away as I type it.

I’ve seen all ten episodes now (albeit in rough cuts), and I love what I’ve seen.   Ryan and Miguel and their amazing cast and crew have done some magnificent work.   Hot D is all I hoped it would be; dark, powerful, visceral, disturbing, stunning to look at, peopled with complex and very human characters brought to life by some truly amazing actors.

(Oh, and FIRE & BLOOD is back on the NEW YORK TIMES bestseller list, and rocketing up every week.   I wonder if there is any connection).

Anyway…. there’s lots more I could report, but that will need to wait.   Stuff to do.

Glad to be home.

 

 

Current Mood: busy busy

SNOW… and Other Stuff

June 23, 2022 at 1:59 pm
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These Not A Blog updates all seem to be turning into giant grab bags.   Things pile up, and I am way too busy to blog more often, so I find myself with a lot to cover every time I have a spare moment.

I don’t really have a spare moment today, truth be told, but I am making one, since the news has broken about the Jon Snow development and I am being deluged with requests for comment.   So….

Yes, there is a Jon Snow show in development.   The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER story was largely correct.   And I would expect no less from James Hibberd.   I have dealt with a lot of reporters over the past few years, and Hibberd is one of the very best, an actual journalist who does all the things journalists are supposed to do (getting the facts right, talking to sources, respecting requests for “background only” and “off the record,” etc) that most of the clickbait sites never bother with.

Our working title for the show is SNOW.

There are four live-action successor shows in development at HBO.   Word got out about three of them some time ago.   TEN THOUSAND SHIPS, the Nymeria show, helmed by Amanda Segel.   SEA SNAKE, aka NINE VOYAGES, with Bruno Heller.   And the Dunk & Egg show, THE HEDGE KNIGHT or KNIGHT OF THE SEVEN KINGDOMS, with Steve Conrad writing.   I think some of these were officially announced; in other cases, news leaked out.   (These things always seem to leak.   There are so many people involved, writers, producers, agents, and everyone has assistants, and there is always the guy who runs the xerox machine, and reporters have sources, and people gossip, so… )  SNOW has been in development almost as long as the other three, but for whatever reason it was never announced and it never leaked… until now.

But, yes, it is true.   This was not an official announcement from HBO, so it seems there was another leak.   I did a long interview with James Hibberd last week, for the big HOUSE OF THE DRAGON story that HOLLYWOOD REPORTER is planning.   At the end of the call, he asked a few questions about the spinoffs.   “Is it possible one of the spinoffs is a sequel rather than a prequel?” he asked.   I answered “No comment.”   Then he asked “Is it possible a member of the original cast is attached?”  And again I answered “No comment.”   And that was all.   But plainly he found someone more forthcoming than me.   Who?   I don’t know, and suspect I never will.   A good journalist protects his sources.

There’s not much more I can tell you, not until HBO gives me a green light.

It seems as though Emilia Clarke has already mentioned that SNOW was Kit’s idea in a recent interview.   So that part is out.  Yes, it was Kit Harrington who brought the idea to us.   I cannot tell you the names of the writers/ showrunners, since that has not been cleared for release yet… but Kit brought them in too, his own team, and they are terrific.

Various rumors are floating around about my involvement, or lack of same.   I am involved, just as I am with THE HEDGE KNIGHT and THE SEA SNAKE and TEN THOUSAND SHIPS, and all the animated shows.   Kit’s team have visited me here in Santa Fe and worked with me and my own team of brilliant, talented writer/ consultants to hammer out the show.

All four of these successor shows are still in the script stage.   Outlines and treatments have been written and approved, scripts have been written, notes have been given, second and third drafts have been written.   So far, that’s all.   This is the way television works.   Please note: nothing has been green lit yet, and there is no guarantee when or if it will be… on any of these shows.   The likelihood of all four series getting on the air… well, I’d love it, but that’s not the way it works, usually.

There are all sorts of reasons pilots never get picked up to series, all sorts of reasons scripts never got shot as pilots, all sorts of reasons great treatments never get sent to script.  That’s the way the business works.    I learned that a long time ago, during my first go-round in television.   BLACK CLUSTER.   STARPORT.   THE SURVIVORS.  DOORWAYS.   FADEOUT.    Those were just a few of my stillborn children from those years.   I mourn them still.   This is a new day, though, so… here is hoping one or two or three or all four of the GOT spinoffs make it to air.

That’s all I can tell you about SNOW just now.   If HBO says I can tell you more, I will…

On other fronts…

If I may permitted a moment of snark, damn, but those clickbait websites and podcasts annoy me.   I did a long interview with THE INDEPENDENT in connection with the recent Santa Fe Literary Festival (which was a great success, by the way), in the course of which I remarked that the whole “battle of the fantasy giants” stories about HOUSE OF THE DRAGON and RINGS OF POWER being in competition was wrong, that there was plenty of room for both shows to succeed, plenty of room for more fantasy and SF on television.   Somehow three-quarters of the clickbait sites out there, ignoring the entire thrust of my comments, twisted my words on their head into headlines about how much I want to beat the Tolkien show.

Sigh.

Let me clarify.   I have a competitive nature, sure.   When I watch the Jets or the Giants or the Mets, I want them to win.   When I am nominated for a Hugo or a Nebula or an Emmy, I want to win that too… but I know that just being nominated is a huge honor.   Hey, I have won my share of awards, but I have lost a LOT more than I ever won.   It was your truly, back in 1976, who founded the Hugo Losers Party with my friend Gardner Dozois, and coined our slogan, “It is a proud and lonely thing to be a Hugo loser.”   I try to keep this all in proportion.    I expect I will be watching RINGS OF POWER when it premieres.   I want it to be great.   I want it to run for many years, to win Emmys and Golden Globes.   And I want the same for HOUSE OF THE DRAGON.   Regardless of awards, I want both shows to find an appreciative audience, and give them great television.   Great fantasy.   The more fantasy hits we have, the more great fantasy we are likely to get.    I want to see Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser on television.   I want someone to film that Conan pilot that Ryan Condal wrote.   I want a DYING EARTH show based on the works of the Jack Vance, I want Roger Zelazny’s NINE PRINCES IN AMBER to be faithfully adapted, I want Jirel of Joiry, I want MEMORY, SORROW, AND THORN, I want a Joe Abercrombie show.   I want lots more… and lots more science fiction too.

But we don’t get any of that unless some of the fantasy series now in development prove to be hits.

What else?   Hey, our wonderful Howard Waldrop short NIGHT OF THE COOTERS has been officially accepted into two film festivals.   Can’t tell you which yet, but I will soon, when they announce their slates.   And more to come.

And our second Waldrop short, FRIENDS FOREVER, has wrapped filming and is now in post.

And our third Waldrop short has just begun pre-production.

Meanwhile, over at AMC, DARK WINDS has been picked up for a second season.   The reviews were amazing, and the numbers were very strong; we hope to be bringing Tony Hillerman’s stories to television for many years to come.   My congratulations to our directors Chris Eyre and Sanford Bookstaver, to Graham Roland and the rest of our amazing writers, to Robert Redford and his decades of determination, to the incredible tireless Tina Elmo, and to Zahn McClarnon, Kiowa Gordon, Jessica Matten, Deanna Allison, and a supporting cast as good as any I have ever worked with.    If you have not seen DARK WINDS yet, check it out… on AMC, or streaming on AMC +.    I am proud to have helped this one going.

Yes, WINDS OF WINTER.   No, have not forgotten.   I was back with Tyrion this past week.

There’s more going on, but that’s all the time I have for today.

 

 

Current Mood: busy busy

Six Days to Joe

June 6, 2022 at 5:46 pm
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Six days to go.  Six days to Joe.

Leaphorn, that is.

It is June 6 as I type this.   Next weekend, JUNE 12, will see the debut of DARK WINDS on AMC  and AMC+.

Yes, it has “Winds” in the title.   No, it has nothing to do with Westeros.   C’mon, guys, I did not invent the word, and I am not the first writer to use it in a title.

DARK WINDS is an adaptation of Tony Hillerman’s bestselling series of novels about Navajo tribal policemen Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee.   I had the honor of serving an an executive producer on the project (‘EP’ in television speak) and helped to get it up and running… but really, most of the credit should go to Robert Redford and Chris Eyre,  two of my fellow EPs.   Chris also directed four of this season’s six episodes.   Lots of other good folks deserve kudos too, among them the tireless Tina Elmo, writer Graham Roland who scripted our pilot, and our amazing cast.

DARK WINDS premiered last weekend at the ATX television festival in Austin, to great success.  This weekend we had a cast and crew screening here in Santa Fe, and that went very well too.

And now the reviews have started coming in:

‘Dark Winds’ Review: AMC’s Taut Murder Mystery Proves Power of Zahn McClarnon

You can check it out itself on June 12.  Give it a look.

 

 

Current Mood: bouncy bouncy

Good Stuff, Bad Stuff, Strange Stuff

June 1, 2022 at 8:25 pm
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So much going on everywhere, it is hard to keep up.   Some random thoughts —

A week ago, Parris and I went down to Bernalillo for  a memorial gathering for our friend John Miller.   It was good to see so many old friends, and to share our memories of John… but profoundly sad at the same time, to realize once again that we would never see John again, that there would be no more memories.   John was one of the mainstays of Wild Cards, part of the series since the very beginning, the creator of Chrysalis, Yeoman, Carnifax, the Midnight Angel, Father Squid, and so many more.   He probably wrote more Wild Cards stories than any other author, with the possible exception of Melinda Snodgrass… I have not counted, but the two were neck and neck.  He was also a Mets fan, a baseball buff, a RPG player and gamemaster, and a fan of bad movies.   I wish he had written more.   He had been working on a novel called BLACK TRAIN COMING even longer than I have been working on THE WINDS OF WINTER.  It would be great if one of his writer friends finishes it for him.   Beyond all of this, however, John was a really good guy, very bright, always fun to spend time with.  And he and his wife Gail really loved animals.   More than I can ever tell you.   All of us at the memorial are missing him.   We will miss him for years to come, I do not doubt, until the day comes when we all go to join him.

These past few years have been rough.  I miss them all.   Ed Bryant, Michael Engelberg, Ben Bova, Phyllis Eisenstein, Victor Milan, Steve Perrin, Kay McCauley, Gardner Dozois… ah, Gargy… I know I am forgetting people.   They made the world a richer place, and we are poorer for their absence.

And the larger world is so ugly that I can hardly bear to watch the news.   What can I say about Russia’s attack on Ukraine that others have not already said?   I was GOH at a con in St. Petersburg a few years ago.  The con was fun, the city was gorgeous, and the Russian fans and writers — even the border security guards — were so warm and welcoming.   Putin is a malign thug.   That seems to be the story of the world, though.   Good people with hideous leaders.   Listening to reports of the fighting makes me feel so angry, so helpless…

And things are pretty ugly over here as well.   The latest school shooting, for instance, and the usual response of the GOP, a refusal to do anything to fix it.   Is baseball still the great American pastime, or is that school shooting now?   No other country seems to have much of an issue with it, only us.  And what answer do the Republicans propose?   Arm the teachers?  Lock the doors?  Toughen the security?

We are becoming more and more a police state.   I am, I am aware, very old and getting older.   Young people may not believe this, but… I remember a time when security was not omnipresent.   When I could get on an airplane without being x-rayed and searched and probed and made to give up my pocket knife.   When I could visit any publisher in New York by walking into their building, looking at the directory to see what floor they were on, taking the elevator up, and announcing my name to the receptionist.   When kids could go to schools that were not fortresses… we did learn to duck and cover under our desks in case the Russians dropped an A-bomb on us, but we did not need to fear being shot by our classmates.

It makes me want to scream.   What the hell happened to this country?   To this world?

I am depressing myself, and probably all of you as well.   Let me talk about some happier things.

DARK WINDS debuts on AMC on June 12, and we’re getting a lot of nice press about it.

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/tv/tv-features/amc-series-dark-winds-tony-hillerman-1235156491/

https://www.emmys.com/video/under-cover/dark-winds

https://www.emmys.com/news/features/cover-2022-06

First season will run six episodes, based largely on Tony Hillerman’s novel LISTENING WOMAN.   Watch the show, read the book.   Then read the other books, they are great.   I am very proud of my association  with this one, and glad that I could help make it happen… though, truth be told, I did little enough.   The real credit should go to Robert Redford, Chris Eyre, Zahn McClarnon, and all the other folks mentioned in the articles… and one who was not.   Let me give a shout out here to TINA ELMO, Bob Redford’s right hand and an inexhaustible champion of Tony Hillerman and his work, who was present every day on the shoot and did so much to make our series one to be proud of.

Other good stuff.   NIGHT OF THE COOTERS, the short film we made based on the classic story by Howard Waldrop (the one and only) is complete.   Directed by and starring Vincent d’Onofrio, and a cast of dozens.  H’ard himself has seen it and pronounced it Good.  The film was shot entirely on greenscreen; the actors and horses are live, everything else was supplied by the wizards at Trioscope.   It clocks in at about thirty minutes.   At the moment we are entering it into film festivals all around the nation and the world.  We’ll let you know when and where it gets accepted.   Maybe you will be able to catch it at a filmfest near you.   If so, give it a look.   It’s a lot of fun.

Oh, and right now, this very moment, we have a second film crew down in White Sands National Monument, shooting another short film based on another Howard Waldrop masterwork.   I could tell you which, but then I might have to kill you.   So far, so great, but there’s still lots of work ahead.    Howard may have a new collection coming out this year as well.   Who knows, 2022 could be the Year of Waldrop.

HOUSE OF THE DRAGON?   Glad you asked.   I’ve now watched rough cuts of nine of the ten episodes, and I continue to be impressed.   I cannot speak to the SFX, many of which are not in yet, but the look of it is great, and the acting, the directing, and writing are first rate.   And yes, for all you book fans, it IS my story.   Sure, there are some changes from FIRE & BLOOD — we could not present three alternative versions of every major event, not and keep our sanity — but I think Ryan Condal and his writers made good choices.   Even some improvements.   (Heresy, I know, but being the author, I am allowed to say so).    For years, as some of you may recall, I have been saying the TV version of Shae, as portrayed by Sibel Kekilli, was a deeper, richer, and more nuanced characters than the Shae in my novels.   In a similar vein, I am vastly impressed by the show’s version of King Viserys, played by Paddy Considine, who gives the character a tragic majesty  that my book Viserys never quite achieved.   Kudos to Paddy, Ryan and his writers, and Miguel and the other directors.   (There are a lot of great performances in HOUSE OF THE DRAGON — or HOT D, as I hear some are calling it.   You may never have heard of some of our actors, but I think you will learn to love them, just as you did with the cast of GAME OF THRONES).

Back home in Santa Fe, Sky Railway is doing really well.   Many of our trains are selling out.   If you are visiting the Land of Enchantment, be sure to book your ride early.   Oh, and last weekend we re-opened the bar and cafe at the historic Santa Fe Southern Depot in Lamy.   Right now only open weekends, but we will be expanding the hours.

I should say a word about my appearances.    I have decided not to attend this year’s worldcon in Chicago, for a variety of reasons.   Chicago remains one of my favorite cities, though, and it looks as though I may be travelling there once or twice during the year to come… for reasons quite different, and much more exciting, than a con.    Instead of worldcon, it looks as though I will be attending this year’s San Diego Comicon… assuming they do not move to December or go virtual, as they did last year thanks to the pandemic.   I would rather not attend any more virtual conventions.   Guess I’m a boomer, not a zoomer.

(It will feel odd to travel again.   I have only left home once since January 2020).

WINDS, you say?   Yes, still working.   Finally finished a clutch of Cersei chapters that were giving me fits.   Now I am wrestling with Jaime and Brienne.   The work proceeds, though not as fast as many of you would like.

That’s all for now.

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 Winds of June

April 20, 2022 at 8:46 am
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The Dark Winds will start blowing in June.   June 12, to be precise.

That’s the day that DARK WINDS, a new series based on the classic bestselling Navajo detective novels by Tony Hillerman, will premiere on AMC and AMC+.   I have blogged about the show before, but this is the first time we have had a release date.

Tony was one of the first friends I made when I moved to New Mexico in 1979, and it’s an honor to be able to help to bring his stories and characters to the screen.   And what a terrific team we put together to work with.   Robert Redford and Chris Eyre were the ones who invited me into the project, five or six years ago.   We’re all executive producers on the project, and Chris, best known for his groundbreaking film SMOKE SIGNALS, directed the pilot and three other episodes.   He’s just an amazing talent (and long past due for an Emmy nomination).  Robert Redford needs no introduction, of course.   Hey, if you don’t know the Sundance Kid, you don’t know movies.   Tina Elmo, Bob’s right hand, was also an executive producer, and was there on the set every day during the filming.  Graham Roland, of JACK RYAN fame, scripted the pilot for us, and served as executive producer as well.

Zahn McClarnon stars as Joe Leaphorn of the Navajo tribal police, with  Kiowa Gordon as his partner Jim Chee.  Jessica Matten is Bernadette Manuelito, and we have Deanna Allison as Emma Leaphorn, Noah Emmerich agent Whitover of the FBI, and Rainn Wilson as Devoted Dan.  The show was filmed right here in the Land of Enchantment, in and around Santa Fe, on the Navajo reservation and other tribal lands, and at Camel Rock Studios.   The young writers and directors in our writers’ room were all Native American, and I think you will be hearing a lot from some of them in the years to come… maybe for their work on DARK WINDS (fingers crossed).

The first season of DARK WINDS is six episodes, based largely on Tony Hillerman’s novel LISTENING WOMAN, with a bit of PEOPLE OF DARKNESS mixed in for good measure.   Do go out and grab those books (we have copies at Beastly Books)… and pick up four or five of Tony’s other novels as well.   We’re hoping they will be the basis for future seasons.   Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee had some amazing cases.

AMC has released the first trailer.  Here, have a taste.

Hope you enjoyed that.

If so, mark JUNE 12 on your calendars, and tell your friends.   AMC has some good television coming your way.

 

Current Mood: accomplished accomplished

Things Are Hoppin’

March 10, 2022 at 10:43 am
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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