HBO’s untitled Naomi Watts-led “Game of Thrones” prequel pilot may not have Targaryens and dragons — but it does have Starks, direwolves and, of course, White Walkers.
“The Starks will definitely be there,” George R.R. Martin, co-creator and executive producer on the project alongside showrunner Jane Goldman, told Entertainment Weekly in an interview published Tuesday.
“Obviously the White Walkers are here — or as they’re called in my books, The Others — and that will be an aspect of it,” the “A Song of Ice and Fire” author said, adding: “There are things like direwolves and mammoths.”
The appearance of the Starks, descendants of the First Men, shouldn’t be a shock to fans who remember the prequel — which is reportedly currently filming in North Ireland — takes place roughly 5,000 years before the events of HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”
And Martin says a lot of things are different back then, including the fact that the Lannisters won’t be around, because they don’t occupy Casterly Rock yet — and there are way more kingdoms in Westeros.
“We talk about the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros; there were Seven Kingdoms at the time of Aegon’s Conquest,” Martin told EW. “But if you go back further then there are nine kingdoms, and 12 kingdoms, and eventually you get back to where there are a hundred kingdoms — petty kingdoms — and that’s the era we’re talking about here.”
Though the prequel — which Martin calls an “ensemble” series — is still untitled, that hasn’t stopped the author from repeatedly calling it “The Long Night,” which we now know to be the title of a Season 8 episode of “Game of Thrones.” And that might complicate things a bit.
While he still can’t confirm the title, he told EW: “I heard a suggestion that it could be called ‘The Longest Night,’ which is a variant I wouldn’t mind. That would be pretty good.”
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www.thewrap.com | 7/9/19
TheWrap welcomed top entertainment industry executives and leaders in film to celebrate its 10th anniversary at the Cannes Film Festival on Sunday after a moving discussion among women activists and filmmakers about their work.
The panel discussion on the Pinewood yacht beside the Palais de Festival featured Somali activist Ifrah Ahmed, the subject of the festival film “A Girl From Mogadishu”; “Give Me Liberty” writer and producer Alice Austen, whose film featured in the Directors Fortnight section of the festival; and Yolonda Brinkley, founder of Diversity in Cannes, a group that advocates for inclusivity at the festival.
Ahmed, a Somali-Irish activist, riveted the audience in explaining her work in fighting female genital mutilation (FGM), getting legislation passed to ban the practice in Ireland and working closely with the Somali government to change policy there. Ahmed, who is depicted in “A Girl From Mogadishu” by Aja Naomi King, talked about how her decision to speak out against the cutting of young girls left her ostracized in the Somali immigrant community and led her to flee Dublin — until she decided she would speak out anyway.
“When I meet with different people in [the] Western world, they say ‘Oh, it’s their culture,'” Ahmed said. “Opening the conversation has opened their eyes, and now people say it’s a cruel practice and should be stopped.”
She added: “Then I decided to go back to Somalia and start the campaign where I was born and raised… Somalia has been in war for like 30 years, and we have al-Shabaab linked with al-Qaeda and ISIS… I lost many people who worked on my campaign — car-bombed, killed. It was very (full of) danger, but I felt if I could save one girl’s life, I’m doing something good and making a difference. That makes me keep going.”
Austen, a former human-rights lawyer turned playwright and screenwriter, described how she became a producer on her Cannes film. The initial deal with an art-house distributor fell through, and she decided to step up and produce the film herself. “Give Me Liberty,” which will be released by Music Box in the fall, is a madcap look at a Russian immigrant family in Milwaukee intersecting with the locals, including an African-American family, and a love story that ensues.
Brinkley talked about the need for greater inclusivity in Cannes despite the international nature of the festival. The former brand marketer took on her mission a decade ago, and solicits short films from underrepresented communities, choosing two winners in a Diversity Day program.
Among those in attendance were filmmaker Pamela Guest; Content Partners CEO Steve Kram; producer Bronwyn Cornelius; Jeffrey Zaks, Head of Media & Entertainment Banking at Opus Bank; SCAD festival executive director Christina Routhier; Aviron CEO David Dinerstein; “A Girl From Mogadishu” director Mary McGuckian; First Look Media CEO Michael Bloom; Creative Coalition CEO Robin Bronk; producer Cassian Elwes; student Academy Award winner Kelley Kali; Wrap Awards Editor Steve Pond and many others.
The event was sponsored by Pinewood Studios and Piper-Heidsieck champagne.
TheWrap celebrated its 10 years of existence with a collectors edition magazine. The edition features an exclusive interview with Antonio Banderas and the largest portfolio of Cannes directors ever compiled, brought to you by TheWrap’s award-winning creative team.
The Wrap News Inc. is the leading digital-first news organization covering the business of entertainment and media via digital, print and live events. TheWrap.com won best website for a news organization at the 2018 Los Angeles Press Club Journalism Awards. April 2019 saw record traffic highs, reaching 17 million monthly users on the site, and with a reach of 50 million users across all its channels and partners.
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www.thewrap.com | 5/20/19
“Game of Thrones” showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss will receive the Founders Award at this year’s International Emmy Awards in November.
The Founders Award is given annually to those whose “creative accomplishments have contributed in some way to the quality of global television production.” The HBO fantasy epic has almost exclusively filmed aboard in locations Northern Ireland (mostly in Belfast), Croatia, Iceland and Morocco. The series airs in over 207 countries.
“The International Academy does us all a great honor. From cast to crew to locations, the ‘Game of Thrones’ effort was truly international, and this award rightly belongs to all the people who worked so hard for so many years to bring the show to life,” Benioff and Weiss said in a statement Monday.
“David and D.B. are absolute game changers, visionary storytellers who have created, with their first foray into television, a record breaking global cultural phenomenon with an international following like no other,” Bruce L. Paisner, president & CEO, International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, added. “We look forward to honoring their extraordinary talent and the ‘Game of Thrones’ legacy, with our Founders Award.”
The International Emmy Awards will be held Monday, Nov. 25, in New York City.
“Game of Thrones” is heading into its eighth and final season, which will premiere April 14. The series finale is slated for May 19.
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www.thewrap.com | 3/25/19
Sony Pictures Television has hired Holly Comiskey as its country manager for the U.K. and Ireland. The new SPT recruit will join the studio in January from Sky, where she was the head buyer for the pay-TV operator’s Sky Cinema service. Comiskey will report to Mark Young, SPT’s executive vice president for Western Europe. “Holly […]
variety.com | 11/21/18
Jez Butterworth’s great, sprawling drama of rural Northern Ireland during the Troubles bares a culture’s contradictions through riveting storytelling.
www.nytimes.com | 10/22/18
There’s another special lady in Prince Harry‘s life besides Meghan Markle, and the two finally met while in Australia!
Stepping out for their first public meet and greet since announcing they are expectant parents, Meghan and Harry interacted with hundreds of members of the public who waited for them outside of the Sydney Opera House on Tuesday.
As Harry made his way down the line, he spotted a familiar face in the crowd: 98-year-old war widow Daphne Dunne. She has previously met the prince twice — first in 2015, when she memorably planted a kiss on his cheek, and again in 2017.
After greeting her with a big hug, Harry went out of his way to introduce Dunne — who wore several of her late husband’s military medals — to Meghan. As they chatted Dunne caressed Harry’s face and held Meghan’s hand.
“Congratulations, I think that’s marvelous,” Dunne told Meghan of the couple’s baby news, as reported by news.com.au. “It’s just what Harry needs.”
“I’ve seen your shoes, they’re very cool,” Harry responded to Dunne. “Have you dyed your hair a shade of pink?”
“It’s fantastic,” Meghan added. “I’m so happy to finally meet you. I’ve heard so much about you. All good things.”
“I think it’s wonderful, the two of you,” Daphne said before giving the couple some cards and flowers.
“Enjoy the rest of the day,” Meghan said. “Hopefully next time we see you, we’ll have a little one with us!”
RELATED: Prince Harry Has Touching Reunion with War Widow Who Stole a Kiss From Him in Australia
Prior to the sweet moment with Dunne, the royal couple had been inside the stunning performing arts center in Sydney to watch dance rehearsal.
During the performance, Meghan lovingly placed a hand on her husband’s leg as the pair watched on intently.
When they emerged from the Opera House, Meghan and Harry walked out hand-in-hand, looking over the large crowd who showed a great deal of excitement for their much-anticipated arrival.
The couple greeted fans with glowing smiles, handshakes, and waves as they walked along the cheering onlookers.
Meghan stopped at several points to engage with some younger fans — one of whom gave the couple two red roses. Others gifted the Duchess bouquets of flowers and a mini stuffed koala.
During the outing, Harry also made sure to spend extra time in an area that was designated for people with special needs, stopping to take a photo with a young man with Down syndrome.
At the final stop of their walkabout, the pair stopped to spend a moment with several little girls — one who said Meghan was her “role model” — as Harry squatted down to talk to the young fans.
RELATED: Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Receive First Official Baby Gifts Since Announcing Her Pregnancy
While inside the Opera House, Meghan and Harry watched a rehearsal of Spirit 2018 by the Bangarra Dance Theatre, an internationally acclaimed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dance company.
In addition to the stuffed kangaroo, fleece Ugg booties, and Akubra hats they received earlier in the day, the couple was also gifted a woven basket from the company.
Meghan and Harry kicked off their jam-packed tour Down Under in Sydney, with a welcome reception from Governor General Peter Cosgrove and his wife, Lady Lynne Cosgrove. They then headed to the Taronga Zoo in Sydney, where they met with conservation scientists who are working on efforts to reduce illegal wildlife trafficking.
While there, the royal couple also spent time with two koalas and their own babies (otherwise known as joeys) in the institution’s breeding program, as well as a Lynx who the zookeepers joked was drooling because he was “excited to see them.”
RELATED: Meghan Markle (in ‘Blessed’ Dress!) and Harry Step Out for First Time Since Announcing Pregnancy
Their 16-day tour will also feature stops in Fiji, Tonga, and New Zealand.
Meghan has become a pro at royal walkabouts ever since her engagement and marriage to Harry. The former Suits actress is known for being warm and friendly while greeting fans—even signing autographs for them in her pre-royal days.Can’t get enough of PEOPLE’s Royals coverage? Sign up for our newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more!
“She is so welcoming. She just seemed so easy with the crowd,” said a fan who was at their walkabout outside Cardiff Castle in Wales in January.
Harry and Meghan always make a point to try and shake hands with as many people as they can, as well as interact with their well-wishers. During the couple’s two-day royal visit to Dublin, Ireland, they chatted with the crowd.
“I’m going to try to shake as many hands at once!” Harry declared at the time.
RELATED VIDEO: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Kick Off Their First Royal Tour in Sydney
Meghan, who is due next spring, has had her 12-week pregnancy ultrasound and is “feeling well,” a royal source tells PEOPLE.
Royal baby name predictions have already flooded in, with names such as Victoria, Alice and Elizabeth being the most popular girl names, and Alexander, Albert and Arthur for a boy.
Prince William and Kate Middleton are “delighted” for the couple — as are Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, the palace says.
people.com | 10/16/18
L.A.-based indie distributor Cinema Epoch has acquired U.S. rights to “Penance,” the English and Irish-language movie about a priest confronting his past as a firebrand preacher promoting violence against British rule in Northern Ireland. Tom Collins helmed the picture, which is produced by his Derry-based De Facto Films and Edwina Forkin’s Zanzibar Films. Broadcaster TG4, […]
variety.com | 10/1/18
The Seven Kingdoms are about to be open for business.
HBO is celebrating the upcoming end of “Game of Thrones” by turning some of its Northern Ireland filming locations into tourist attractions, allowing fans to visit the iconic sets for the first time ever.
Standing sets for locations like Winterfell, Castle Black, and Kings Landing are under consideration for inclusion in the “Game of Thrones Legacy” project, along with a tour of Linen Mill Studios, which will showcase a wide array of subject matter from the series spanning all seasons and settings. The attractions are tentatively set for a 2019 open date. (Yes, we know “GoT”s eighth and final season is slated to premiere in the first half of 2019 — gonna be a busy year for Westeros.)
Here’s the official description for the project:
“HBO is thrilled to celebrate the work of the Game of Thrones creative team and crew by preserving these locations and inviting fans to visit Northern Ireland and explore Westeros in person,” said Jeff Peters, vice president, licensing and retail, HBO. “We look forward to opening the gates and sharing the excitement of stepping inside these amazing sets with Game of Thrones fans from around the world. The opportunity to celebrate Northern Ireland’s pivotal role in the life and legacy of the show and share its culture, beauty and warmth is also a huge inspiration behind these Legacy projects.”
“We couldn’t be more excited about the Game of Thrones Legacy project coming to Northern Ireland. While fans have seen the stunning landscapes, coastlines and mountains in the series, we are thrilled they will now have the opportunity to fully experience the charm of Northern Ireland and immerse themselves in to the world of Westeros,” said John McGrillen, chief executive of Tourism NI. “The Game of Thrones Legacy project will be a game changer for Northern Ireland on the global tourism level. We very much welcome this exciting announcement by HBO and look forward to welcoming many more visitors to our beautiful country as a result.”
See some of the set photos provided by HBO below.
“Game of Thrones” eighth and final season will premiere in the first half of 2019 on HBO.
Courtesy of HBO
Courtesy of HBO
Courtesy of HBO
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www.thewrap.com | 9/24/18
TheWrap is pleased to announce the 12 finalists in the seventh annual ShortList Film Festival, launching today online.
The finalists, hand-picked from the world’s top film festivals over the last year, will stream on the site starting today through August 22, 2018 — allowing visitors to vote on their favorites.
The Audience Prize and The Industry Prize winners will each receive a $5,000 cash prize during a ceremony to take place at the AMC Century City in Los Angeles on Thursday, August 23.
The films in the main competition are a mix of foreign language, drama, comedy and animation created by filmmakers from around the globe.
In addition, eight student films from top colleges and universities included in TheWrap’s ranking of film schools have been named finalists in a sidebar competition.
The contenders come from filmmakers who studied at USC, UCLA, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, the American Film Institute, Loyola Marymount University, the University of Texas, Northwestern University and Savannah College of Art and Design.
You can watch, vote and share your favorite festival short film using #Shortlist2018 for your chance to win two tickets to the ShortList Film Festival award ceremony. The ShortList Film Festival is supported by Topic and AMC Theatres.
Here are the official finalists in the 2018 ShortList Film Festival:
“The Driver Is Red”
“My Dead Dad’s Porno Tapes”
Narrated by David Wain (director of “Wet Hot American Summer”), Tyrell presents a unique lens on family relationships and their challenges.
The finalists in the Student category:
“A Place to Stay” (American Film Institute)
“The Goodnight Show” (University of Texas)
“Labor” (University of California, Los Angeles)
“Oglesby Park” (Northwestern University)
“One Small Step” (University of Southern California)
“The Peak” (Savannah College of Art and Design)
“Supernova” (University of North Carolina School of the Arts)
“Z-MAN” (Loyola Marymount University)
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www.thewrap.com | 8/8/18
The beautiful capital city of Ireland has theater, literature and music emanating from its pores. But the city is also a victim of its own success.
www.nytimes.com | 8/3/18
In “The Miseducation of Cameron Post,” gay Montana teens are forced into conversion therapy. And it’s likely that arthouse audiences inclined to seek out a Sundance-approved indie about Red State religious dogma will find some of its more brimstoney bits outdated or exaggerated.
But then — and perhaps you’ve also seen “The Handmaid’s Tale”? — reminders of reality will intrude.
Director Desiree Akhavan’s source material (the YA novel by Emily Danforth) was inspired by the very true story of Zach Stark, who was sent to a Love in Action camp much like the one we see in the movie. Akhavan understands that there’s no need to amplify authenticity, and grounds her story with an admirable, if ultimately frustrating, subtlety.
Here the camp is called God’s Promise, which is the last thing Cameron (Chloë Grace Moretz) is thinking about in the back of a car after a high school dance. It’s 1993, and the recently-orphaned Cam resides in a small town with her Aunt Ruth (Kerry Butler, “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life”). Had Cam been found fooling around with a boy, Ruth might have looked the other way, but because Cam was caught dress-down with another girl (“Blame” director Quinn Shephard), she and her blighted shame are immediately shipped out of sight.
The camp is run by the sternly terrifying Lydia (Jennifer Ehle), who has already successfully cured her formerly-gay brother, the benevolent Reverend Rick (John Gallagher Jr.). You might feel that quotation marks would be appropriate for some of the words in the previous sentence, but both Lydia and Rick are entirely convinced of their truth. And they are determined to spread that truth to the next generation.
Among the other kids struggling with SSA — same sex attraction, the love that dare not spell itself out — Cam’s roommate Erin (Emily Skeggs, “When We Rise”) and the touchingly awkward Helen (Melanie Ehrlich) distinguish themselves as aspiring true believers. But Cam is immediately drawn to Jane (“American Honey” standout Sasha Lane) and Adam (Forrest Goodluck, “The Revenant”), gentle-souled rebels who share both her skepticism and their own well-hidden stash of weed.
Akhavan (“Appropriate Behavior”) presents her point of view — that the camp is basically a socially-sanctioned cult — without falling back on broad strokes. It’s hard to think of a more highly-charged topic than the brainwashing of vulnerable adolescents in the name of God, so it’s certainly to her credit that she uses such a determinedly understated style.
Moretz’s quiet performance is perfectly attuned to this approach: Cam spends much of her time observing the action around her with a mature intelligence that’s undercut by youthful inexperience. She’s self-assured but she’s also 16, and authority figures who insist that down is up and up is down need to be kneecapped at every opportunity.
The supporting cast is equally impressive. Each teen has a few standout moments, and each actor makes the most of them. If casting agents are looking for a diverse range of talented newcomers, this is a pretty great place to start.
Akhavan is wise to keep her focus on the kids, but this does leave their elders with fewer opportunities to shine. Marin Ireland (“Sneaky Pete”) deserves more screen time as the camp teacher, and Ehle’s role as the designated villain reads as overly familiar. But Gallagher modulates his performance beautifully, finding both the confidence and confusion in Rick’s hard-won beliefs.
Ultimately, the film could have used more of that complex conflict. We’ve seen Christian doctrine explored with greater nuance many times before, in both fiction (“Higher Ground” being an apex) and documentaries (“Jesus Camp,” for starters). And Gallagher’s presence reminds us that “Short Term 12” tread somewhat similar territory with as much insight as empathy.
There is plenty of the latter here. Akhavan and cowriter Cecelia Frugiuele have thoughtfully streamlined Danforth’s novel, making smart cuts and sensitive alterations. (Cameron is only 12 in the book, a significant change used to strong effect.) The soundtrack, which replaces Cam’s beloved Breeders with Christian rock, aptly defines this intimate culture war. And the striking cinematography by Ashley Connor (“Butter on the Latch”) underscores a long American tradition of setting one’s religious distortions in a naturally beautiful setting.
So we have a compelling storyline, and characters we genuinely care about. But since Akhavan doesn’t drill deeply enough, the movie ends at what should be its midpoint. And her lovely final shot winds up feeling as avoidant as it is poignant.
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www.thewrap.com | 8/3/18