Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Final (hopefully) casting announcements for GAME OF THRONES

After the news of Charles Dance's casting back in July, I decided to hold fire on reiterating any further casting news, on the basis only a few roles were left and it would be more efficient to wait until the Season 1 cast was complete and announce the rest all together. However, some casting decisions appear to have been made very late (or at least the announcement of them) and there's been some surprises, such as several characters from A Clash of Kings being introduced in the first season instead whilst other characters from the Thrones (most notably the entire Tully family) have been delayed until Season 2.

David Bradley is an experienced British actor of stage and screen and a recipient of the Laurence Olivier Award (for a supporting role in King Lear). However, he will be best known to genre fans from playing Argus Filch in the Harry Potter movies. He has also recently appeared in The Sarah Jane Adventures, Ashes to Ashes and was the incomprehensible farmer who found a ludicrously vast stash of weapons in the excellent Hot Fuzz.

In Thrones Bradley is playing the role of the petty, small-minded and supremely punchable Lord Walder Frey, Lord of the Crossing, master of the Twins and the head of one of the largest families in the Seven Kingdoms. This is a fairly small role (literally one scene in the first book and a couple more in the third) but one of the most memorable characters in the entire book series and Bradley will do a great job with him (although I must admit I'd first thought of Bradley for the role of Craster in Season 2).

Clive Mantle is a well-known face on British television, appearing as surgeon Mike Barrett over nine years in both Casualty and its spin-off, Holby City. He also had brief roles in The Vicar of Dibley and on the move Alien 3. Genre fans will probably know him best from his memorable turn as Little John on the mid-1980s mystical take on the Robin Hood legend, Robin of Sherwood.

In Thrones Mantle is playing the fan-favourite role of Lord Greatjon Umber, a ferocious but loyal vassal of the Starks.

Mark Lewis Jones is a Welsh actor with roles in high-profile movies such as Troy, Robin Hood and Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, as well as roles in TV shows such as Waking the Dead, Merlin and Torchwood.

In Thrones he is playing the excellent role of Shagga, one of the wild mountain tribesmen who befriends Tyrion Lannister and becomes fiercely loyal to 'the Halfman'. Shagga's signature motto is, "I will tear off your manhood and feed it to the goats!"

In recasting news, Derek Halligan has withdrawn from the role of Ser Alliser Thorne for undisclosed reasons. The role was recast with Owen Teale, a very well-regarded and award-winning stage actor. He's had a number of roles on British television, such as Doctor Who (the original series), Torchwood and Ballykissangel.

Fans of 1970s British rock should need no introduction to Wilko Johnson, the extremely tall former guitarist with Dr. Feelgood and Ian Dury & the Blockheads. For the last thirty years he has toured with his own band and has enjoyed a recent renaissance, thanks to greater interest in 1970s and 1980s music and his appearance as a talking head on a number of musical shows about the period.

In Thrones Johnson is playing Ser Ilyn Payne, the King's Justice who had his tongue torn out by the Mad King, Aerys Targaryen, and is now employed by King Robert as an executioner.

Ian Gelder is a familiar face on British television, with numerous credits and appearances, usually in supporting roles. He worked with controversial comedian Chris Morris on his TV shows The Day Today and Brass Eye. His most recent appearance was a Mr. Dekker in Torchwood: Children of Earth.

In Thrones Gelder is playing Ser Kevan Lannister, the younger brother, right-hand man and closest advisor to Lord Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance). Ser Kevan is solid, reliable and reasonably intelligent, but has chosen to stand in his brother's shadow rather than forge another path. Kevan is another role that is quite small at first but should rise in prominence later.

Elyes Gabel should be a familiar face to regular watchers of British drama. He started out on the children's TV show I Love Mummy! before moving into soaps, spending three years as a regular on medical drama Casualty. He was also a regular on the fourth season of school drama Waterloo Road and recently appeared alongside Aidan 'Littlefinger' Gillen on Identity.

In Thrones he plays the role of Rakharo, one of Daenerys's Dothraki bloodriders and bodyguards. Gabel was originally announced as playing Jhogo, but the production team decided to switch the name with another, somewhat less prominent Dothraki character to avoid potential confusion between 'Jhogo' and 'Drogo'. It is unclear if the characteristics of Jhogo (his youth compared to the other Dothraki warriors, his use of the whip in combat) are being maintained as well. This is a very small role in Season 1 but should become somewhat more prominent in later seasons, possibly explaining why HBO have opted for a more experienced actor.

Also amongst the Dothraki, Danish actor Dar Salim is playing Qotho, one of Khal Drogo's most loyal warriors, but also one sceptical of Daenerys and her foreign ways.

Australian actor David Michael Scott, resident in Ireland since 2004, has appeared in a number of theatrical productions and has had several appearances on The Tudors.

He is playing the role of Lord Beric Dondarrion, a young lord from the Dornish Marches who travels to King's Landing to take part in the Hand's Tourney, where he wins the respect of the crowd and Lord Eddard Stark for his skill in battle and his steadfastness. Fans of the books know that this is a minor role in the first novel but a considerably more important one later on. It does not sound like his compatriot, the fiery-sword-wielding priest Thoros of Myr, will be in the first season, which is a shame.

Mia Soteriou is a musician and actress, best-known for appearing in the movie role of Mama Mia!, on which she also worked as a vocal coach. She has also appeared in British TV series such as Holby City, The Bill and Absolutely Fabulous.

On Thrones she is playing the role of Mirri Maz Durr, a healer whom Daenerys meets in the east and employs in her service.

Joe Dempsie is a prominent young British actor, most famous for playing the role of Chris Miles on the hit show Skins. He has also appeared in Doctors, Doctor Who, Merlin and This is England '86.

He is playing Gendry, a blacksmith's apprentice in King's Landing. Fans of the books will know this is a bigger role than it first appears.

Gendry's boss, master smith Tobho Mott, is being played by Andrew Wilde, who has a number of credits from the 1980s and 1990s but does not appear to have acted recently.

Ian Beattie is an Irish actor who has appeared in the movies Alexander, Mo and Space Truckers, as well as on the TV series The Tudors.

He is playing Ser Meryn Trant of the Kingsguard. From the sound of it, Trant is the only other member of the Kingsguard (aside from Jaime and Barristan Selmy) with a speaking role in the series.

Brian Fortune is another Irish actor with a long list of credits on Irish television. He is playing 'Night's Watch Officer' in the series, a role that is apparently identical to that of Bowen Marsh, the First Steward of the Night's Watch. Apparently Fortune's character is not named as this allows him to fulfil some other acting and dialogue roles covered by other, small characters in the books.

Stephen Don is a Northern Irish actor with notable roles in the dramas Mo and Omagh, about different facets of the Northern Irish Troubles. In the series he is playing the role of Stiv, a former Night's Watch officer who has 'flown the Wall' and joined the wildlings, befriending a girl called Osha in the process.

Eight-year-old Art Parkinson has been cast in the small role of Rickon Stark, the youngest son of Lord Eddard Stark. In the books Rickon starts the first book aged only three, but he has been aged up to better cope with the rigours of filming. He has a small role in Season 1 but should have a much bigger role in Season 2.

Newcomer Mark Stanley, fresh out of drama school, is playing the role of Grenn, a fresh recruit for the Night's Watch who befriends Jon Snow and Samwell Tarly at Castle Black. He forms something of a double-act with Pyp (Josef Altin).

Ben Hawkey

Eros Vlahos

Two roles being brought forwards from A Clash of Kings are Lommy Greenhands and Hot Pie, two orphans in King's Landing. Lommy is being played by Eros Vlahos, best-known for his role as Cyril in Nanny MacPhee and the Big Bang, whilst Hot Pie is being played by newcomer Ben Hawkey.

Adult film star Sahara Knite is playing a newly-created role, that of Armeca, a prostitute in King's Landing working in the same establishment as Ros (Esme Bianco), who it has been confirmed is returning for the series after impressing the production team during her turn on the pilot episode. Both Armeca and Ros are working in a brothel owned by Lord Petyr 'Littlefinger' Baelish. It is unclear if this is Chataya's from the books, is playing the same role, or is part of a new storyline.

Newcomer Susie Kelley is playing the role of Masha Heddle. Heddle is the innkeeper of the famous 'Crossroads Inn' where a certain amount of action takes place in both the books and TV series. Given that events at Castle Darry have been moved to the Crossroads Inn as well, this is another role that will probably be slightly more prominent in the TV series than the books.

Simon Lowe

Lalor Roddy

Finally, Lalor Roddy is playing 'the catspaw assassin' and Simon Lowe is the 'wineseller' at the market in Vaes Dothrak, both of whom may be unnamed but have fairly major roles to play (if extremely briefly) in the story.

Who's left?

As mentioned previously, the Tullys - Hoster, Edmure and Brynden the Blackfish - are being held back for Season 2. The roles we haven't heard anything about at all are Jeyne Poole (Sansa's friend) and the other Northern lords, most notably Roose Bolton but also Rickard Karstark and Maege Mormont. My guess is that Jeyne is going to be little more than a glorified extra (although the character appears to have a larger role in the books) and the other Northern lords are being held back until Season 2, possibly arriving late with reinforcements. This will give HBO more time and, more importantly, more money to look for higher-profile actors for these roles (particularly Roose Bolton). Another question mark, as mentioned above, appears to be over Thoros of Myr, the bonkers warrior priest who runs around with a sword coated in oil and setting fire to it to scare off witless opponents. Whilst a memorable character, he does very little at this stage and can be introduced later on with no major problems. There's also Tyrion's squire, Podrick Payne, who again would appear to be a character who can be held back for Season 2 with ease.

Of course, characters who first appear in A Clash of Kings - Stannis, Melisandre, Davos, Craster, Dolorous Edd, Ygritte, Brienne, Jaqen H'Gar, Margaery Tyrell and so on - will, aside from the exceptions mentioned above, not be cast until next year.


Jebus said...

Just Google image searched the porn star's work, wonder if she'll be showing as much flesh in the TV show?

Anonymous said...

How can they exclude the Tully? Isn't Robb supposed to rescue Edmure from captivity? Isn't he supposed to be declared King in the North with the backing of the Tully's ????

Anonymous said...

HOLY CATS!!! that has to be the biggest cast of actors assembled for a TV series. really who else is left to cast.

Gabriele Campbell said...

Yeah, that cast list makes me feel less bad about the amount of characters that have sneaked into my novel-in-progress. ;)