Entertainment

Game of Thrones Secrets That Will Not Leave You Cold

Game of Thrones‘ premiere episode on April 17, 2011, was visually stunning and wildly intriguing—and it wasn’t the original $10 million pilot that was shot to suck you into the world of Westeros.
Actor-filmmaker Tom McCarthy, who had previously directed Dinklage in The Station Agent and went on to make the 2016 Best Picture Oscar winner Spotlight, was instrumental in the GOT casting process and helmed that first first episode.
Which, ironically, felt a little too contained. “There were concerns about whether we were getting enough wide shots,” Lombardo told Hibberd. Noting the lack of epic scope, “I remember the quote was, ‘We could have shot this in Burbank.'”
On Craig Mazin and John August‘s podcast Scriptnotes in 2016, Weiss called watching the reactions of the friends he gathered to screen the pilot “one of the most painful experiences of my life.”
Benioff noted that no one seemed to have caught on that amorous twins Jaime and Cersei Lannister were brother and sister—”a major, major plot point that we had somehow failed to establish.”
They credited then-HBO co-president Richard Plepler with being able to see past what was there toward what could be. He ordered 10 episodes, including a new pilot, which they started filming in July 2010.
After watching the version that made it to HBO—directed by Tim Van Patten, with McCarthy credited as a consulting producer—at the series’ big premiere, Mazin remembered telling Weiss and Benioff afterward, “‘That’s the biggest rescue in Hollywood history.'”
The Chernobyl writer continued, “Because it wasn’t just that they had saved something bad and turned it really good. You had saved a complete piece of shit and turned it into something brilliant. That never happens!”
McCarthy didn’t go into detail, but noted to ABC News in 2016 that, when they went back to “re-shoot and re-work the pilot,” he was already busy working on his 2011 film Win Win and wouldn’t leave. “And,” he said, “[GOT] was hugely successful without me.”

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