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 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

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

Huzzah!

December 10, 2021 at 9:35 am
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THE GREAT is insane… and insanely good.

The second season came started streaming recently, and Parris and I have binged the whole thing.   I would not recommend the series as a way to pass your course in Russian history, mind you.   Certain… ahem… liberties have been taken.   But as entertainment, we love it.   It is funny, exciting, full of twists and turns and an amazing cast of characters.   And bawdy.  Very very bawdy.  You thought there was a lot of sex in GAME OF THRONES?  Hoo hah.   The dialogue is sharp, witty, often laugh out loud hilarious, and the cast… there are a LOT of fine actors in this one, but I have to single out Nicholas Hoult.   His take on Tsar Peter III is a delight… and it still boggles me when I remind myself that this is the same guy who played J.R.R. T0lkien so well in TOLKIEN.  That’s some range.

HUZZAH!

I have no idea where they can possibly go third season… though likely not where history went.

Current Mood: amused amused

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

Give Me A Hand

October 4, 2021 at 10:59 pm
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Current Mood: busy busy