21 February 2018 The Irish Film & Television Network
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George R. R. Martin Reveals First Casting for Troy Studios' 'Nightflyers' Series
07 Dec 2017 : Nathan Griffin
Having confirmed that filming in Troy Studios was going straight to series, George R. R. Martin has revealed the first member of the cast as British actress Jodie Turner-Smith.

Although exclusively tied with HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’ Martin took to his blog to congratulate the casting of Turner-Smith as ‘Melantha Jhirl’, a genetically engineered superhuman aboard the Nightflyer.

Martin explained the importance of this casting decision on his blog stating that the character of ‘Melantha Jhirl’ who he described in his Novella as “big in every way; a head taller than anyone else on board, large-framed, large-breasted, long-legged, strong, muscles moving fluidly beneath shiny coal-black skin.”, was portrayed and rebranded as a white character to improve sales. Martin spoke openly on his blog of his dissatisfaction with the decision but also the disappointment in himself, for having not taken enough of a stand against it in the 1980s, and having unwillingly accepted the excuse that “if we put a black woman on the cover, no one will buy it.” This also saw Catherine Mary Stewart play the role of ‘Miranda Dorlac’ (Melantha Jhirl) in the 1987 film adaptation that Martin explained he had no input or creative control over due to the financial situation he was in and deals that were made in relation to the Novella at the time.

Martin enthusiastically endorsed SYFY’s decision to cast British-Jamaican actress Jodie Turner-Smith stating on his blog -“Maybe it took thirty years, but at long last I can say: now, that's Melantha Jhirl.”

Speaking about the announcement, Showrunner Daniel Cerone said:

"We're beyond excited about her (Jodie Turner-Smith). From the start Jeff maintained that we needed a black actress (Jodie is British and Jamaican) to follow your original vision. We enjoyed your story about how the book publishers (and the original movie) missed the boat on Melantha and we'd love your fans to know that we're working hard to honor your intentions."

IFTN confirmed at the end of November that a deal had been agreed between SYFY & Netflix to send the show straight to series, with Netflix getting International Distribution and second window domestically as well as Co-Production on the series. The arrival of ‘Nightflyers’ also marks the first time the 350,000 square foot Troy Studios has opening its doors to an international production.

The Series which is based on the 1987 Novelle was only due for a 16 week lease in Troy Studios but now looks set to remain busy for the remainder of the year with momentum building fast following the previous announcement of Dan Cerone as showrunner and a host of other well known names being attached.

‘Nightflyers’ will be executive produced by David Bartis, Doug Liman and Gene Klein of Hypnotic; Cerone; Buhler; Alison Rosenzweig and Michael Gaeta of Gaeta Rosenzweig Films; Lloyd Ivan Miller and Alice P. Neuhauser of Lloyd Ivan Miller Productions, as well as writer and producer of the 1987 ‘Nightflyers’ feature adaptation, Robert Jaffe.

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