According to message boards at fan sites, Sean Bean and Peter Dinklage were the consensus choices to play Ned Stark and Tyrion Lannister, two key roles in Game of Thrones (premiering Sunday night at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and HBO Canada).
Both have fantasy cred, with Bean especially memorable in Lord of the Rings and Dinklage in The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.
Bean, as he told critics at the last TCA press tour in Los Angeles, has no problem being typecast as a medieval warrior. “I happen to enjoy playing those kinds of roles with riding horses and swinging swords and having fights and wearing wigs and growing beards,” he says, “even though I don’t first thing in the morning when it takes three hours to get ready.” The Englishman adds that, in his opinion, production values on Thrones are “unlike anything I’ve seen on any other production, including Lord of the Rings." Mark Addy (King Robert Baratheon), Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen), Lena Headey (Queen Cersei Lannister) and Iain Glen (Ser Jorah Mormont) are also part of the large cast. Those cast as members of the Dothraki tribe—a race of nomadic warriors—had to learn an 1800 word language created especially for the project.
Emilia Clarke, Sarah Jessica Parker
The 10-episode season was shot in Northern Ireland as well as locations in Malta. Several directors were used, including Thomas McCarthy, who directed Dinklage in The Station Agent, and HBO favourite Timothy Van Patten (Boardwalk Empire, The Pacific).
Fantasy novelist George R.R. Martin, who cut his teeth in television in the early '90s on the romantic fantasy series Beauty and the Beast, wrote the eighth episode of the series but is begging off any further TV writing assignments. There is, after all, that unfinished fifth instalment of the novels to complete. “I have a mob outside of my house with pitchforks and torches that are already very irritated about book five being late, and after that, I have books six and seven,” he says. “So as much as part of me would like to be part of the process, I think I better stay where I am and finish the books because, of course, the real scary thing is if these guys catch up with me...”
Read more about Game of Thrones in the article I wrote in this month's copy of Movie Entertainment magazine.