Quick Hits: Set visits, Headey wraps and cameos
By Winter Is Coming on in Filming, Press.

A busy Game of Thrones weekend! We covered the big stuff in our recent posts, but here are some of the smaller news items from the past week or so:

  • To start things off is this news article at 4NI that has comments from Northern Ireland’s First Minister and Deputy First Minister following a recent tour of the Game of Thrones set. They reiterate the positive impact the production has on the local economy and hope that HBO continues to film the show in Northern Ireland for years to come.
  • Speaking of set visits, George R. R. Martin’s assistant Ty Franck was with GRRM while he toured the sets in Malta. He blogs about his visit over at author Daniel Abraham’s official site. It’s a funny post in which he talks about how surreal the whole experience is, and ends it with this hilarious anecdote from the set.

    But the real reason I wrote all of this is to talk about the most surreal thing I’ve ever seen:

    One day while filming on some stunning cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean sea near Rabat, I saw Iain Glen, dressed in full plate and chain armor, loudly singing Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.

  • Over at Lena Headey’s official Facebook page, she chimes in with her thoughts on Thrones and the whole filming experience.

    Game of thrones is coming to the end of the season one shoot and I can tell you that I believe even the most ardent fans will be smiling in 2011..Everyone has brought their A game…Amazing scripts,sets,costumes and a diverse group of interesting/talented actors..Winter is definitely coming..

    She also mentions that she will be heading home soon, so it sounds like all the Cersei scenes have been filmed.

  • You know who also headed home? The cast and crew from the shoot in Malta. We had heard that it was set to wrap early last week and it sounds like the cast and crew departed the island nation Friday, according to this tweet from a PA who worked on the shoot.
  • GRRM, who also left Malta recently, is back in the States and was in Minnesota over the weekend at Fantasy Flight Game’s Days of Ice and Fire, where he held a Q&A on Game of Thrones. As you might imagine, he was fairly tight-lipped, rehashing much of the same info we are all very familiar with by now. He did reveal though that his cameo appearance from the original pilot was filmed in Morocco, meaning he would have appeared in Dany’s wedding, and not at the Winterfell feast, as originally believed. Unfortunately, the recasting of Daenerys necessitated a reshoot of this scene, which means George’s original cameo has been cut from the show. No word on whether he has filmed another cameo during his most recent visit to the set or not. Commenter Sarah, who was at the Q&A, indicates that GRRM filmed only this one cameo. So no GRRM in season one, unfortunately.
  • Lastly, as to those two “actors” GRRM blogged about, the ones who got into a scrap in Belfast recently, turns out they were in fact two of the dogs who are playing the direwolves in the show. Surprisingly, neither of the dogs are playing Shaggydog.

46 Comments

  1. Sarah
    Posted November 15, 2010 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    I was at the FFG panel, and it was clear that GRRM just did the one cameo. They had him standing, which was tough on his back. He said he would like to do another one, but if he does it will have to be sitting down.

  2. OhDanyBoy
    Posted November 15, 2010 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Sarah: I was at the FFG panel, and it was clear that GRRM just did the one cameo.They had him standing, which was tough on his back. He said he would like to do another one, but if he does it will have to be sitting down.    

    I say we just get him to play Doran Martell.

  3. TheManFromConnemara
    Posted November 15, 2010 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Shaggydog rules!

  4. Lex
    Posted November 15, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    OhDanyBoy:
    I say we just get him to play Doran Martell.    

    LOL, good idea!

    Seriously, though, it’s a shame about the cameo. I don’t understand why they can’t still just show a quick shot of him. Is Tamzin really in the shot at all times?

    Anyway, it’s good to hear Lena’s excitement (about the show). I can’t believe the shooting is already coming to an end!!! Here’s hoping they’re filming Season 2, this time next year. Remembering how recently the pilot shoot feels, I’m sure the time will fly by.

  5. Lex
    Posted November 15, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Hopefully they include GRRM’s cameo on the DVD special features.

  6. Winter Is Coming
    Posted November 15, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    Lex, at the very least, I hope they release a pic of him in costume. I’m dying to see what his costume looked like now that we know he was in the Dany wedding scene. They could have really gone all out with it.

  7. DH87
    Posted November 15, 2010 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Completely OT, but with all respect to Lord Ned’s Head, I gave BE one more (brief) try last night and…not go. I switched over to The Walking Dead on AMC and watched all three eps. This is a series that is comic-based and not great TV but is both hokey enough and fun enough to hold your attention while you are doing something else. It is already building big momentum in blogs like movieline.com based on a very short ep order and has been renewed for a second season, while BE is still losing critics as an overblown costume epic with a miscast lead (see today’s gawker.com). Walking Dead had 5.3 million on basic cable on its pilot ep, not far off TB’s finale of 5.6 million on premium (although that is arguably comparing apples to oranges). My point being that the first few eps of GOT are going to be crucial. Shows like Mad Men and TB are delivering numbers on Sunday nights and raising the bar for adaptions.

  8. userj
    Posted November 15, 2010 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    DH87,

    Eh. I watched the 3 part Walking Dead last night too, and it was kinda lame in my opinion. It was all the overblown pseudo-drama of LOST (HOW DARE YOU DO THE MORALLY CORRECT THING: DON’T YOU CARE ABOUT US AT ALL?!?) without any crazy mystery shit to keep it interesting. Also it’s silly to compare ratings with TB or BE since WD is on basic cable while TB and BE are HBO.

  9. dizzy_34
    Posted November 15, 2010 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    DH87,

    I kind of have the opposite reaction. BE is a slow burn for sure but it’s been getting steadly better. Walking Dead started off great but the last two episodes, for me do not have the impact that the pilot did. (Why the guy had to cut his hand off didn’t make that much sense to me.) Lots of plot holes already with that show. I’m watching both and enjoying the heck out of both of them however I think GOT is shaping up to blow these out of the water. At least I hope.

  10. DH87
    Posted November 15, 2010 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    dizzy_34,

    I agree with both of the comments re Walking Dead not being Emmy worthy (at the very least) but neither does it take itself SO DAMN SERIOUSLY. BE is “SELF IMPORTANT TELEVISION” in its own mind and almost nothing can live up to that standard. WALKING DEAD is pulp, so phrases like “plot holes” and “continuity errors” don’t apply, to my mind. :) Right now, Mad Men is being studied everywhere as though it were the Dead Sea Scrolls but M. Weiner is still self-effacing. Less self-importance would help BE quite a bit, I believe, in the writing and in the presentation. But that’s just me. I’ve never seen a single episode of Lost.

  11. Nicole
    Posted November 15, 2010 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    I think that if they stick with the material, do well with character development and keep story lines flowing smoothly, Game of Thrones WILL blow everything else out of the water. I saw the first couple episodes of Boardwalk Empire and was not at all overwhelmed.

  12. valarmorghulis
    Posted November 15, 2010 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    wtf she said “winter is definitely coming” come on have some house loyalty, “hear us roar” would be far more appropriate. LENA DO YOUR HOMEWORK

  13. Adrian
    Posted November 15, 2010 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    The idea that he apparently can’t even stand leads me to serious worry about ever getting to read the end of this series

  14. mummer
    Posted November 15, 2010 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    Adrian,

    Are you kidding, or do you think back problems are life-threatening? This has got to be the most ridiculous “GRRM is gonna die” comment I’ve seen so far.

  15. Adrian
    Posted November 15, 2010 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    Obesity is life threatening, there, buddy…and let’s not kid ourselves, he is. I have back problems. But I can stand in the background of a shot if I have to. An inability to do even that, yeah, is incredibly worrisome.

  16. Grimtuesday
    Posted November 15, 2010 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    Adrian,

    Wow lets just jump to conclusions. His cameo was at the Dothraki wedding which implies dancing and such. For all we know he was just making a joke about how rambunctious the scene was.

  17. Adam Whitehead
    Posted November 15, 2010 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    At the Belfast Moot last year GRRM was standing through the whole party with no problem and shooting up and down the stairs to the other part of the bar all night without breaking a sweat, whilst he was notably trimmer than the last time I saw him (although that was four years earlier). So yeah, GRRM’s ‘health issues’ are very much overstated. He’s a big guy, but he’s not exactly that dude whose house Jerry Springer had to demolish so he could be winched out on a crane to hospital.

    It’s quite demanding to be filming on a set where you may have to stand (potentially in a heavy costume under hot lights in a hot location like, say, North Africa) for quite long periods whilst they shoot, reset, shoot, reset, shoot again. It can get quite tedious and could be a very long day (a big wedding feast scene like that with a lot going on could easily take up a whole shooting day). I wouldn’t be surprised if Jason Momoa was complaining by the end of the day about the amount of time he had to stand, let alone anyone else.

  18. Rahbur
    Posted November 15, 2010 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    RE: OT Boardwalk Empire …. Put simply, I’m enjoying the show. More so now than at the start of the series, and I’m expecting to enjoy it more and more as the series continues. I’ll admit that I was a little confused by the first 3 episodes. I was expecting N. Thompson to be this “mob boss – bad ass” kind of guy, and turns out he’s just a smooth talking politician with lots of money. However, what has intrigued me recently about the show, and kept me coming back for more is this : the continual evolution of characters as they adapt to the changes (ie increasing mob activity, prohibition, etc) in their city. We’re being given little bits of back story about these characters as we go, which I think creates an air of mystery, a “ohhh, so that’s why he did that” kind of situation. And the thing that intrigues me the MOST about the series? The main character, Nucky Thompson. I know there’s been some harsh criticism of the casting choice for the character, but I disagree. What I think people are failing to see if that N. Thompson is an EVOLVING character …. this is a concept GRRM fans are familiar with. His character grows, learns, adapts, and changes, with one driving force behind it all : to stay on top. Jimmy said it best early in the series, “You can’t be half a gangster.” It’s taken half a season, but Nucky’s finally realizing that. That, and his money and smooth talking is only going to get him so far. I expect Nucky’s going to eventually become the “bad ass” many people (myself included) were expecting from the beginning. And I cant wait!

    Now, the problem I can see with this, like some have already criticized, is that it’s taken several episodes to really flesh out the characters into something that can keep viewers watching. So there are some who watched the first 3 episodes and then quit watching. I can totally see that. I *wanted* to like BE, and I had/have a hunch that the first series is really setting up a much more tense and interesting second season….

    Hopefully BE can keep it’s viewers in the meantime. And hopefully GOT wont have the same problem, and hook viewers with “The things I do for love…”

  19. DH87
    Posted November 15, 2010 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    Adam Whitehead,

    A voice of reason shuts down “Tubbygate.”

  20. Wastrel
    Posted November 15, 2010 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    A few years ago I had to stand all day once, for about eight or nine hours, with just a few moments of leaning against something or sitting on a step. As a healthy but sedentary twenty-something, I had a back and legs and feet that were killing me by the end. Lesson: standing up is actually really, really hard. We just don’t tend to notice because we don’t do it for long periods most of the time.

    I don’t imagine Martin was standing “all day” – but a modern shoot isn’t just pose-click-done, particularly if it was a long or repeated cameo (the guy in the back of the scene all scene, rather than a quick flash). I can easily imagine it taking an hour or more if they had to do it repeatedly. And for a man that age, and that weight, that’s bound to make your back hurt even if you don’t have preexisting complaints.

    I mean, I’m as prone to melancholy doubt about the poor man’s health as anyone (though I’m less one of the “he’s going to die tomorrow” people than one of the “the books will take thirty years to finish and he’s not a young man you know” people. [Not literally thirty]). But to focus in on someone having a sore back at the end of a shoot as evidence for imminent obesity-related death is just… silly.

  21. About Yea High
    Posted November 15, 2010 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    On this OT Boardwalk Empire vs. The Walking Dead debate I’ll be the voice of … assent, I guess.

    I like ‘em both! TWD started with a bang (and a moan), while BE was (as many have stated) a slower burn. Both are in my top 5 of shows currently airing.

  22. mummer
    Posted November 15, 2010 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    Wastrel,

    Not to mention that it was also incredibly silly for Adrian to assume that all back problems are the same, so that if Adrian happens to have a bad back then GRRM should be able to do anything Adrian can do. I guess there must be adults who actually think that way, but I’d prefer to believe that Adrian was just messing with us.

    Still, for the benefit of new commenters, it might be nice to have a note above the comment box that says something like “In case you think that you’re the first person to express concern about George R. R. Martin being overweight, and that this would not be a rude thing to say: you’re not, and it is.”

  23. smallclothes
    Posted November 15, 2010 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    I would be surprised if GRRM’s cameo was in an important shot at the wedding. More likely it was in some kind of modular cut-away type scene. There is a reasonable chance that they will still be able to cut it into the show. Cross fingers!

  24. Lex
    Posted November 16, 2010 at 12:41 am | Permalink

    I’ve been enjoying B.E. since the first episode, but I do admit that it’s not nearly as exciting as Rome, Deadwood, Sopranos, etc.

    I’ll love Game of Thrones no matter what, but it could be pretty painful reading the negative reviews (there’s bound to be at least some…).

  25. coltaine777
    Posted November 16, 2010 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    OT…I love the Walking Dead…as for BE…I like that show and I think Buscemi is very good in it…

  26. rorschach-
    Posted November 16, 2010 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    I really hope that GOT fanbase has good enought of behavior not to start throwing bricks to every criticism of the series. And even though we all are gonna love the show and think it will probably be the best series ever made even if it sucks, make no mistake there are going to be critics that don’t like it. I just hope that I don’t have to be shamed to be a fan of GOT-series and we can take the criticism and make the next season better with our support.

    If we don’t count the couple of the “obesity/health” and “GRRM isn’t your bitch” comments, I have been really happy and proud of the ASOIAF fanbase. We have shown that even really hardcore fans can also behave. Constructive criticism is always needed to make something better but please, let’s behave before and after the show airs.

    Thank you.

  27. Hear Me Roar
    Posted November 16, 2010 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    rorschach-,

    I second that.

  28. DH87
    Posted November 16, 2010 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    rorschach-,

    As I’ve opined before, my experience has been that the subjects discussed endlessly in the blogosphere once the show airs are (1) deviations from canon: are they the work of the devil? (2) sit back and enjoy: it’s just TV, (3) if you don’t like it, why not stop watching? and (4) would someone please explain why everyone can’t just jump over the ice wall? or variations thereof. How civil everyone can stay after the first 11,000 such posts is anyone’s guess. Typically there are hot-button issues that seem to shed more light on the psychology of the posters than on anything that happens either in the books or on the show.
    The professional critic bloggers will either worship at the show’s feet (Mad Men) or rip it to shreds for the entertainment of their regular audience. The fan sites will glom on to one of our attractive lead actors or another and take off in their own direction. What some call snark, others will call humor. And thus the world will turn.

  29. Crysania
    Posted November 16, 2010 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    DH87,

    That is a good analysis I would say…espeically after 11,000 posts on the same topics…That is definitely what happened over at IMDB’s True Blood board…some of them can be pretty vicious when it comes to repeat posts like that…I tend to be a lurker there and here but I do hope everyone can stay civil for the good of the show.

  30. Mickey D
    Posted November 16, 2010 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    I’m not the healthiest person in the world, and I have back problems – the two are not related, however. my back has been an issue on and off for many years, while my crap health is mostly recent. if Mr. Martin is having back troubles, I’d suggest he at least consult a chiropracter if he hasn’t already – they have done miracles for my wife, and if i ever get up the gumption to actually spend money on my own health instead of saving it to spend on my wife and kids, i’ll go and get my back adjusted, perhaps get rid of my sciatica (sp?). I know that standing still for more than 5 or 10 minutes causes me severe pain in my back, and from what little i see here about it, it seems likely that Mr. Martin was doing a lot of just that for the cameo – standing still – the worst possible thing to aggravate your back…

  31. Milly
    Posted November 16, 2010 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know if anyone’s commented on this yet, but I find it awesome that the Irish government is recognizing how beneficial the series is going to be to the economy. It’s like they’re already thinking of it as a major success ^,^

  32. FTWard
    Posted November 16, 2010 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    FWIW – I was at Days of Ice and Fire and the comment about back pain was a throw away line for a laugh.

    GRRM was making the point that the cameo, with all of the shoots and reshoots and moving the lights and getting a take from a different angle and all that was not as exciting as laymen might think being involved in a movie/TV production would be. And as Sarah said, if he did it again he would make sure he was comfortable with a seat and a drink.

    No need to send him any chiropractor referrals.

  33. Amy
    Posted November 16, 2010 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    valarmorghulis,
    Maybe she said “winter is definitely coming” because that’s the tagline for the show? Hmm? Maybe?

  34. GaR
    Posted November 16, 2010 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Captain Obvious to the rescue!

    Lucky eh, that was a close one.

  35. DH87
    Posted November 16, 2010 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    About Yea High,
    FYI, AMC (Walking Dead) goes to 95 million homes vs. 35 million for HBO. That said, Sunday’s BE lost the 300,000 viewers it gained last week and it’s now pretty clear that it is the quality of the Sunday night football game and not anything BE is doing that is causing the numbers to bump up 300,000 or down from week to week. This week BE was back to under 3 million viewers in the 9 PM time slot. BE is also skewing old in the premium demo as compared to Dexter, which has lower overall viewership. Those who like BE like it a lot and are staying loyal, but even with strong reviews, it is not able to pull folks away from football to give it another chance.

  36. mummer
    Posted November 17, 2010 at 12:04 am | Permalink

    DH87,
    Do you work in television or some related media field? You don’t have to answer that, I’m just curious because I’ve never met anyone who keeps such close track of TV ratings etc. if it wasn’t their job – I mean, I never met them in real life, but I do sometimes see people talking that way online (about ratings or movie box office) and it always seems weird to me. I understand that shows do live and die by these numbers, but I’ve just never understood how some fans can focus on the business side more than the content of the show or movie. I don’t mean that as a putdown, I’m just trying to see where you’re coming from.

  37. About Yea High
    Posted November 17, 2010 at 2:02 am | Permalink

    mummer,

    For the most part, these sorts of conversations are either done by stat geeks or by a certain segment who really wants to keep a certain show on the air (and therefore obsess over the numbers).

    (My wife is this way about Supernatural.)

    There’s also a segment of people who simply just love quality television, and part of that can be an interest in what show generates what. I find it interesting, and find some of the trends baffling. (Yes, I knew Cop Rock would fail, but I thought the same of Glee.)

    As far as quality television goes, for the most part you’re going to find it on cable. The Big Three (and FOX) can tout the ratings of their procedural crime dramas / medical soap operas all they want, but it’s all basically the same old shit wrapped in stylish packaging. It’s on cable where you find the Wires and the Deadwoods and the Romes and the Dexters and the Breaking Bads and the Walking Deads. (You could argue Mad Men deserves to be there, but there would be almost no reason that show couldn’t be broadcast on a regular network. And yet it’s on AMC.)

    It’s funny that the networks often bitch about the Emmys being one long commercial for cable, but the truth is that’s where the quality TV is. It simply affords creators the freedom to tell stories as they should be told, guts and all. And it’s why I’m really fucking glad Game of Thrones will be on HBO.

    It may not get the numbers of a Sunday Night Football, but the demographics will be different.

    (Plus the NFL season will be over. Hah!)

  38. mummer
    Posted November 17, 2010 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    About Yea High,

    OK, so wouldn’t the point of tracking the ratings be the fact that the networks depend on advertising revenue? And HBO doesn’t run commercials during shows, so what do they do with those numbers?

  39. Fluke200
    Posted November 17, 2010 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    mummer,

    HBO would be tracking the number of subscribers who watch a show so that they know if the shows they produce are to their customers’ liking, and particularly if a certain show is the main reason for a customer’s subscription. If subscribers aren’t really watching the shows that HBO produces, then they might not be subscribers for much longer. In that case, HBO would dump the show with the smallest audience (perhaps factoring in the show’s production costs as well) and create something new that will keep subscribers subscribing.

  40. DH87
    Posted November 17, 2010 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    mummer: Do you work in television or some related media field?

    HEH HEH HEH.

  41. DH87
    Posted November 17, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Fluke200,

    Yes. Yes. and Yes. HBO is all about who subscribes and why. As I’ve said before, HBO polls its most devoted viewers on its message boards asking those very questions (What shows do you watch? Why do you subscribe?) show by show to bolster its raw numbers and overnights.
    Also, see my earlier point about HBO repackaging and selling its big shows to basic cable, which does care like hell what those demos pull in on first run when they open their check books for the rebuy.
    Or so I’ve heard.

  42. mummer
    Posted November 17, 2010 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    DH87,

    OK, that makes sense. Thanks.

  43. Sarah
    Posted November 17, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Adrian,

    Easy there, buddy. It’s not that he can’t stand, it’s that it’s painful to stand continuously for 5 hours. I’m under 30 and a hiker, but standing (not walking, but standing in place) for 5 hours is not a picnic for me, either.

    No, they do not have him dancing. He is standing behind Dany during the wedding scene, the make-up and costume was apparently great fun for him, the 5 hours of standing not so much. I think the odds of him being “cut in” are very, very low. Trying to match continuity between Morocco and Malta would have been a nightmare, and it’s likely they didn’t bother.

  44. Silverjaime
    Posted November 17, 2010 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Milly,

    Can I just step in here and correct you, politely of course? It’s not the “Irish” government at all – we’re in Northern Ireland – the show is being shot in Northern Ireland and the two governments – Irish, and Northern Ireland – are completely separate. You understand, we’ve just got devolution and we’re a very small country, so it’s a big deal!

  45. FTWard
    Posted November 30, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Not sure if this has been posted anywhere but this clip contains the cameo stuff from DoIaF

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOEO27SZAtw

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