Three further Irish actors have been announced to play key roles in HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’. Conleth Hill (Perrier’s Bounty), Ian McElhinney (Triage) and Derek Halligan (Fifty Dead Men Walking) will all star in the mammoth production which starts shooting in Belfast on Monday, July 26th.
Conleth, Ian and Derek join fellow Northern Irish locals, Michelle Fairley (Best: His Mother’s Son) and director Brian Kirk (Dexter) who has been lined up to direct two of the series’ ten episodes. Northern Ireland’s Mark Huffam (Cherrybomb) is producing the series in which hundreds of local extras and crew will be utilised.
‘Game of Thrones’ is a new original HBO series based on George R.R. Martin’s best-selling novels. In this alternative world where summers span decades and winters can last a lifetime, the Westeros crown comes with a price. Betrayal, lust, intrigue and supernatural forces shake the four corners of the Kingdom, from the scheming south and the savage eastern lands, to the frozen north and the ancient Wall that protects the realm from the darkness beyond. Kings and queens, knights and renegades, liars and noble men vie for power in the bloody struggle for the Iron Throne of the series’ title.
As previously reported Michelle Fairley will play Catelyn Stark, wife of Eddard Stark who is played by Sean Bean (Red Riding). Conleth Hill takes on the role of Varys, the calculating spymaster for the king of Westeros whilst Ian McElhinney has been cast as Ser Barristan Selmy, known to fans as Barristan the Bold and Derek Halligan will play Alliser Thorne. The impressive cast-list also includes Mark Addy (Robin Hood, Red Riding); Alfie Allen (Atonement); Aidan Gillen (The Wire); Peter Dinklage (Elf); Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Black Hawk Down); Lena Headey (300) and Jerome Flynn (Soldier, Soldier).
Brian Kirk will share the director’s chair with HBO regulars Daniel Minahan (True Blood, Six Feet Under) and Alan Taylor (Mad Men, Lost, The Sopranos). Other directors will be announced as they are confirmed. ‘Game of Thrones’ has received funding from Northern Ireland Screen supported by Invest NI and part funded by the European Regional Development Fund. It will shoot in the Paint Hall studio, Belfast, as well as various locations in Northern Ireland. The writers of the series are: David Benioff (Troy and D.B. Weiss (Kashmir) who will pen seven episodes, Bryan Cogman (My Own Worst Enemy), Jane Espenson (Dollhouse) and George R.R. Martin (Beauty and the Beast) will write one episode each.
Richard Williams, Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Screen said: “We are delighted that HBO has signed up some of our best on-screen and off-screen talent for ‘Game of Thrones’. We have always sought to nurture local talent and support our indigenous film-makers, Game of Thrones will provide a great deal of experience for many local cast and crew. The decision by HBO to base the series here further cements our reputation as a leading centre for film and television production and it is estimated that £20million will be delivered into the local economy.”