Thursday, January 18, 2007

It better have Hugh Laurie in it!

Here's an interesting item that came into my inbox this morning, via the GMR staff mailing list: it seems that a filmed version of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series is in the offing. But not for the cinema. They'll be doing it on HBO, a la things like Deadwood, with one season per book.

Here's the test of the press release:

HBO turns 'Fire' into fantasy series
Cabler acquires rights to Martin's 'Ice'

HBO has acquired the rights to turn George R.R. Martin's bestselling fantasy series "A Song of Fire & Ice" into a dramatic series to be written and exec produced by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.

"Fire" is the first TV project for Benioff ("Troy") and Weiss ("Halo") and will shoot in Europe or New Zealand. Benioff and Weiss will write every episode of each season together save one, which the author (a former TV writer) will script.

The series will begin with the 1996 first book, "A Game of Thrones," and the intention is for each novel (they average 1,000 pages each) to fuel a season's worth of episodes. Martin has nearly finished the fifth installment, but won't complete the seven-book cycle until 2011.

The author will co-exec produce the series along with Management 360's Guymon Casady and Created By's Vince Gerardis.

Martin's series has drawn comparisons to J.R.R. Tolkien, because both are period epics set in imagined lands. But Martin has eschewed Tolkien's good-vs.-evil theme in favor of flawed characters from seven noble families.

The book has a decidedly adult bent, with sex and violence comparable to series like "Rome" and "Deadwood."

"They tried for 50 years to make 'Lord of the Rings' as one movie before Peter Jackson found success making three," Martin said. "My books are bigger and more complicated, and would require 18 movies. Otherwise, you'd have to choose one or two characters."

Aside from writing the most recent draft of "Halo," Weiss recently adapted the William Gibson novel "Pattern Recognition" for WB and director Peter Weir.

Benioff and Weiss were repped by CAA and Management 360.

Aside from Martin's claim that he'll be done with the series by 2011 (surely one of the larger "Yeah, right"-types of claims in recent years!), this is a pretty ambitious project. I'm not sure how many episodes constitutes a "season", but even distilling A Storm of Swords down to twenty-two or so hour-long episodes is going to involve quite a bit of condensing.

And I'm sure the inevitable "They'd better get _____ to play Jon Stark!" debates will get heated, as well as the response to whatever actual casting decisions are eventually made. And they'd better get a good composer, too.

Hmmmm...who should they get to play Hodor?


barbara barnett said...

So now you have me curious. Which part do you see Hugh Laurie playing?

Anonymous said...

Jaq - HBO series typically have 10-13 episode seasons, so from what you're saying they'll have an even harder job condensing. I've long hoped that one of the pay-networks would take a similar approach with Stephen King's Dark Tower series.

Anonymous said...

As a person who is not familiar with the series, my question is with the adult content. Will they have to add this content, or is it already in the literature?

Kelly Sedinger said...

Barbara: Well, I was just tossing Laurie's name out there on the basis of a few posts below this, but after actually thinking about it, he could probably do Littlefinger pretty well, no?

John/Tosy: 10-13? That's it? You can tell I don't watch Sopranos or any of those shows. Wow, they're going to have to do a lot of condensing, indeed.

Jeff: The books are chock full of adult content. The violence is very explicit; there's a lot of sexual content (especially in the most recent volume, boy howdy); one of the series' key relationships is directly incestuous; and so on. Sometimes, when reading it, I find it bordering on unseemly, to be honest. Luckily, the other stuff is usually good enough to help me overlook all that (although the last book was pretty dull, to be totally honest).