In a season full of OH SH*T moments, tonight’s Game of Thrones episode, “The Watchers on the Wall,” might be the most OH NO THEY DIDN’T yet, or at least the most expensive. All the kind of boring, chilly time spent away from Arya and Oberyn and with Jon Snow and his Night’s Watch brothers will finally pay off, in the form of the massive Battle of Castle Black. It’s going to be great.
Here’s Kit Harrington, speaking to Access Hollywood.
“I think it’s as big as Thrones has gone at the moment. I mean, I think it’s no secret that it’s the most expensive episode that they’ve ever made and a lot of that is due to the CGI I haven’t seen any of that yet, obviously, so that’s going to be a new thing for me, but yeah, it’s pretty huge in scale. I think it’s as big as TV goes, and that was incredible to be one of the leading actors in that episode….I feel hugely privileged.”
And David Benioff and Dan Weiss with EW.
So for episode 9, what’s uniquely challenging about this battle compared to previous ones you’ve staged?
Benioff: Well it’s at The Wall. Which is tricky. Because there is no Wall.
Weiss: Just the general visual effects integration of this episode.
Benioff: Giants. Giants are tricky. Having Neil Marshall directing it, you have confidence; like going to a really good doctor who’s going to make everything better. Neil is very soft spoken, but he’s the kind of guy when he’s on the set everyone is calm because he knows exactly what he’s doing. It’s a very intense episode, more intense than Blackwater. We’re seeing it now, even before visual effects have gone in, and it’s still magnificent.
Weiss: With Blackwater when we got the episode in, so much of it was visual effects dependent we were kind of unsure — the performances were fantastic and the action was great, but we weren’t entirely sure what we had until the pieces were put together. But with this, even Neil’s first director’s cut that we saw without a single frame of visual effects finished, just something about it really grabbed us by the neck that’s very rare even with the great directors we’re fortunate to work with.
Benioff: In terms of the sets, our new production designer Deborah Riley did this magnificent top-of-The Wall set, far bigger than what we had before, so you can do walk-and-talks, you can have massive action sequences. It’s completely surrounded by green screen, which is apparently the biggest green screen in Europe.
Weiss: Neil and Deb both spent a lot of time watching the Kubrick film Paths of Glory to get a sense of how to apply trench warfare set-building to an icy top-of-The Wall environment. She did a really fantastic job. It has to be the biggest Styrofoam piece in existence.
Giants AND big-ass pieces of Styrofoam? Can’t wait.