Monday, 3 March 2008

Setting the Record Straight: HBO and A Song of Ice and Fire

It has come to my attention that highly misleading information from an unreliable source has filtered onto the Internet regarding HBO's planned television adaption of George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire, namely that the project has been scrapped. After consulting sources close to GRRM, I feel able to counter these claims.


The deal for HBO to option the television rights to A Song of Ice and Fire was ongoing in 2006 and concluded in January 2007, when GRRM announced the news on his website. Subsequent blog entries confirmed that the writing of the pilot script had commenced. Prior to the start of the Writer's Guild of America Strike in November 2007, writer-producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss had completed a pilot script which GRRM had signed off on. This script had been passed to HBO, who were considering it and running budget estimates for the series at the time that the strike began. As with all Hollywood television projects, work on the adaption was suspended until the strike concluded in mid-February 2008.


During the timeframe of the strike, it emerged that HBO was also considering making a large-budget television series based on the legend of King Arthur. Apparently, HBO was only interested in one or other of the two projects, not both. If the Arthur series was formally comissioned, then the adaption of A Song of Ice and Fire would not proceed and vice versa.

This remains the case at the present time. No final decision has been made but the tentative plan is for HBO to adapt A Song of Ice and Fire as a series of 13-episode television seasons (potentially seven seasons in length, one for each novel). Whilst the project would be high-budget, it would not be as expensive as HBO's previous major costume drama, Rome, and would probably be filmed in Eastern Europe or perhaps New Zealand due to the lowered production costs. It is an extremely ambitious project which frankly no other television station would probably even consider making.

The claim that the adaption was 'shelved' four weeks ago is actually technically correct, since the Writer's Strike was ongoing at that time and all television drama production and development in the USA was 'shelved' at that time. However, the inference that any kind of final decision has been taken to scrap the project is false. It is not industry practice to throw out options before they expire, and the option on A Song of Ice and Fire still has many months to run.

Any further developments - positive or negative - will appear on George RR Martin's website or his Not-a-Blog before anywhere else.

12 comments:

James D. Cormier said...

Awesome! The most useful summary of the project that I've found to date. I hope you don't mind, I quoted you on www.theaccidentalbard.com.

mookie said...

I hope they make A Sonf of ice and Fire and not King Arthur... surely the Arthur legends have been done to death already?!

Hodor said...

HBO's making of ASOIAF would be the final straw in knocking LOTR from the #1 rank of greatest fantasy series off all time!! Warning: Keep your expectations low. There is no way we will all be totally satisfied with the screen production of a story of such depth and complexity.

gdnmt said...

Thanks. You wouldn't happen to have the low-down on Preacher, or even a Carnivale' Season Three would you?

Adam Whitehead said...

Preacher apparently ran afoul of the Writer's Strike. It's still a go project, but the new management team needs to re-approve what the producers have done so far before moving into production. We will see Preacher - unlike ASoIaF it has been formally comissioned - but perhaps not until 2009. As far as I know Carnivale is dead and buried and not coming back. There were rumours of a mini-series to resolve the plot threads left danging from the last episode a couple of years back, but these came to nothing and the creator-producer has said he'd rather not do that. He was a resumption of the series as an ongoing thing, or not at all.

Anonymous said...

I am a new reader of these books. God I hope they make this!!! This is my new favorite series!

Adam Whitehead said...

I should do an update for this. HBO have actioned the option, which means they now fully own the TV rights and the money has exchanged hands and they are scouting filming locations and studios in Ireland, Spain and Romania. It's not a green light yet, but it's clear they are taking the project very seriously indeed.

Max said...

When I heard that HBO was going to make a series out of the book. I went and ordered HBO.

It does not sound like it is a sure thing as of now. So, I will have them remove HBO, until I hear more. Not much of a TV person.

I will keep watching,and hoping they will make this. I sure loved the books.

Anonymous said...

Whoa !! Hodor ! Easy on the comparison ! LOTR is, and will always be the #1 fantasy series of all time !! Don't get me wrong, I love ASOIAF, it is a great fantasy story (one of the best I've read) but Tolkien invented the whole freakin' fantasy world ! ASOIAF makes a great #2.

BTW, I can't find any new update on the HBO series ...Anyone has anything new ?

Adam Whitehead said...

Nothing new recently, apart from HBO and the BBC agreeing to co-produce the series and HBO exercising the option rights. A new script has been submitted to both HBO and the BBC and they are apparently mulling it over.

It's not unusual for HBO to spend literally years on end considering these huge-budget productions before going for them. Because HBO has dropped a lot of money on True Blood, Band of Brothers II and John Adamas this year, we may not hear anything more until next year.

Joe said...

HBO has agreed to produce the pilot!! According to Martin on his website!

Adam Whitehead said...

Indeed. And if I wasn't shattered from my first day back at work in 6 months, I'd have put up a post on it. Maybe tomorrow :-)