One of the most anticipated new shows of the spring, “Game of Thrones,” is debuting on HBO in April, and the tale about a massive power struggle for a crown in a fictional fantasy land might make the network’s former series “Rome” look like fodder for the children’s table.
“It’s about power,” co-producer and writer David Benioff (“Troy,” “X-Men: Wolverine”) told a small group of reporters at an HBO roundtable session at the 2010 Television Critics Association Winter 2011 Session on Friday. “If you have to just pick one word to describe it, it’s the word ‘power’ and how it affects those who are pursuing it, and how those who already have it try to retain it, and how those who are caught in the crossfire between the two are mutilated in the process.”
Based on the best selling book by author George R.R. Martin, Season 1 of the series, which stars Sean Bean (“Lord of the Rings”), Peter Dinklage (“The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian”), Lena Headley (“The Sarah Connor Chronicles”) and newcomers — British actors Emilia Clarke and Kit Harrington — promises to be both thrilling and gritty.
“One of the things that had to be done with ‘Troy,’ is so many things had to be cut because we were trying to do a two-and-a-half-hour movie and tell this massive, massive story,” Benioff, who wrote “Troy’s” screenplay, explained. “Here, because we have 10 hours to tell the story, we’re able to include all the major characters ... and we’re able to do it the way George does it in the books in terms of the darkness of it and the violence of it and the sexuality of it, which a major studio would never let you do, even if you’re lucky enough to get an R rating. This is beyond ‘R.’ ”
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While “Game” is a story of kings, queens and an ambitious set of twins with an unseated royal line, the story isn’t full of courtly romance. Instead, the series focuses on power struggles, hidden histories, brutality and battles.
“A lot of people get killed. George’s world is a violent world — there’s a lot of killing and bloodshed and evisceration’s and decapitations and there’s a lot of sex,” Benioff explained. “It’s one of the things that I loved about these books.”
Filmed mostly in Northern Ireland, a little bit in Scotland and a short while in Malta, “Game of Thrones” isn’t your typical fantasy series, something the producers hope will attract more fans.
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“This is a fantasy series and we never want to run away from that fact or hide that fact. We love that, but the idea that most of the people in this world are very cynical about the supernatural makes it fun because it makes it more relatable,” Benioff said.