‘Game of Thrones’: Inside the Making of Cersei’s Westeros Conquest Map


Game of Thrones” featured two maps in the season premiere beyond its iconic opening credits. Both Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) and Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) used the maps to study and plan for their eventual conquest of Westeros.

Read More ‘Game of Thrones’: 5 Crazy Reasons Why The Hound Is the Prince Who Was Promised, Not Daenerys

Although we’ve seen the 3-D map at Dragonstone before, the one at King’s Landing in the Red Keep was brand new to fans, and wasn’t even complete on the screen. Cersei needed a map to match her outsized ambitions and the one she commissioned covered the entire floor a large courtyard. At the beginning of the scene, a craftsman is seen working on the almost-finished map before the queen dismisses him.

"Game of Thrones" map
“It’s what we’ve been waiting for our all lives,” Cersei tells her brother Jaime (Nicolaj Coster-Waldau). “It’s ours now. We just have to take it.”

In the scene, the Lannister twins are seen walking and standing on the map, as if they’ve already conquered every region on which they set foot. In one chilling fan theory, the scene could provide some foreshadowing. Whether the map means anything beyond just what it’s depicting or not remains to be seen, but its impact was dramatic. Measuring 28.6 by 34.3 feet (8.71 by 10.46 metres), the giant map sits in Titanic Studios in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

IndieWire spoke to graphic designer Jim Stanes to find out how the map was made.

“When the map was first commissioned, there were no specific instructions other than the size of the floor, which the map was required to fill, and that it should show Westeros surrounded by sea,” Stanes said. “Artwork I developed for the map was discussed and altered. At one point I had to start again, after the decision to make this floor map relate to the map in the opening title sequence.”

"Game of Thrones" map design

“Game of Thrones” map design

HBO/Jim Stanes

Because “Game of Thrones” is set in a vaguely medieval time, Stanes says that design drew upon “multitudinous medieval references but from nothing specific. I’ve been doing medieval style maps for ages, and have much reference. The map was designed at my desk in the Set Dec office in Belfast. This was painted artwork and digital artwork, small scale.”

Stanes then sent concept images seen in this story, done with watercolor paper and digitally, to the scenic painters for reference.

"Game of Thrones" map design

“Two scenic painters, Dave Packard and Greg Winter, came to Belfast to paint by hand the full size map from artwork provided by myself and Rhiannon Fraser in Graphics,” said Stanes. “The actual map was more or less painted in situ, on the floor of a sound stage in Titanic Studios… with acrylic paint on MDF tiles at 60cm square. These were painted vertically and then laid into the floor.”

Altogether, the map require the efforts of many people over the course of six weeks to make Cersei’s vision come true. “There would have been some carpenters and painters involved in the making of the 60cm tiles,” he said.” The painters provided a marbled background to each tile before the main image was painted onto it. Two scenic painters and two graphics, not to mention designers and producers. So maybe six people directly and maybe 10 or so generally.”

"Game of Thrones" map concept art

“Game of Thrones” map concept art

HBO/Jim Stanes

And while Cersei and Jaime may trample all over the map itself, the map will fare far better under the Lannisters’ boots than Westeros itself.

Read More ‘Game of Thrones’ Spin-offs: George R.R. Martin Still Co-Writing Two of Them, But Nothing Will Be Ready for A Long Time

“It was designed to be walked on,” Stanes said. “I haven’t seen it since last year, but again it was designed to be tough, any damage, etc., can be painted back. It’s still there, but can be removed, as it consists of movable tiles.”

“Game of Thrones” airs Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.

"Game of Thrones" final map as seen on TV

“Game of Thrones” final map as seen on TV


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‘Game of Thrones’ Spin-offs: George R.R. Martin Still Co-Writing Two of Them, But Nothing Will Be Ready for A Long Time


As development of the “Game of Thrones” spinoffs get underway, HBO confirmed that two of the four projects are being co-written by author George R.R. Martin.

Martin wrote in a blog post this May that he was working on all four “successor” shows, and he did indeed meet with the writers behind all four shows: Max Borenstein, Jane Goldman, Brian Helgeland, and Carly Wray. But as originally reported, Martin will actually co-write with two of them: Goldman and Wray.

“The four writers, he talked to all of them and we left it up to them whether they wanted George involved in the writing,” said HBO programming president Casey Bloys. “Two have him co-creating and two don’t. That was their choice.”

Still, all four (not five at this point, even though Martin hinted at a fifth in that blog post) concepts are based on the world that Martin has created. “I don’t want to get into specifics, but the writers aren’t coming up with something that doesn’t already exist in his timeline,” Bloys said.

As for the timing, Bloys said no spin-off is expected to premiere until at least a year after the “Game of Thrones” finale. And HBO isn’t even sure yet when the eighth and final season of “Thrones” will run – including the possibility that it’s not ready until 2019.

“We haven’t even gamed it out because I haven’t even seen an outline of any of the spinoffs yet,” Bloys said. “It will be determined by, first I have to see the outlines and scripts and see if any of them are even worth planning out. Once we see if we have something to work with, then I’ll worry about when we shoot it and get it on the air. It’s not going to be on the air before, and I would guess for at least a year after the finale. Because we don’t want anything to distract from that.”

“Thrones” executive producers Dan Weiss and David Benioff, as has been widely reported, won’t be involved with the successor shows (especially as they turn their focus to “Confederate”), although they will be attached as executive producers on all projects – as will Martin.

Wrote Martin in May: “None of these new shows will be ‘spinning off’ from GOT in the traditional sense. We are not talking ‘Joey’ or ‘AfterMASH’ or even ‘Frasier’ or ‘Lou Grant,’ where characters from one show continue on to another… Every one of the concepts under discussion is a prequel, rather than a sequel. Some may not even be set on Westeros.”

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‘The Deuce’ Creator David Simon: Porn Drama Isn’t ’Trafficking in Misogynistic Imagery or Objectification’


The Deuce” producers and stars want to draw a line about the series: It’s about porn, but is not porn itself.

That means that all of the problems associated with porn — the misogyny, the abuse, the objectification – are featured on “The Deuce” as part of the exploration of the topic, not for gratuitous storytelling.

“You portray it by being direct,” co-creator David Simon told reporters Wednesday at the Television Critics Association press tour. “It would be a mistake to look at this and think that we are in any way trafficking in misogynistic imagery or objectification as one of the currencies driving the show. That’s what the show is about. I’m not sure how you make the show and avert your eyes and clean it up.”

“The Deuce,” slang for New York’s 42nd Steet, explores the city’s booming sex trade beginning in 1971 and how it became the hub of the porn industry by the mid-‘80s. The well-researched but fictionalized account stars James Franco as twin brothers Vincent and Frankie Martino, who become involved with the industry and attract the interest of the mob. Maggie Gyllenhaal stars as Candy, a self-made prostitute and single mom who is intrigued by the potential of moving into porn.

The series looks at the law enforcement, the prostitutes, the pimps, the mafia and other players in New York who laid the groundwork for the lucrative industry. The cast also includes Gary Carr, Margarita Levieva, Dominique Fishback, Emily Meade, Mbenga Akinnagbe, Chris Bauer, Chris Coy, Natalie Paul and Michael Rispoli.

“This is a moment where you actually get to see something go from paper bag beneath the counter and then suddenly, it’s legal,” said Simon. “Everyone realizes that the money involved in that is going to be real. What happened to those people,the pioneers who became caught up in it or seized it aggressively and willingly is really fascinating. The product is not a normative product. The product is human flesh. It’s objectified women. In making it into a billion-dollar industry, there’s something telling about who gets paid, who gets left out, who gets betrayed, who gets some degree of agency, who doesn’t. If we’ve made something that’s purely titillating, then damn us.”

Emily Meade, "The Deuce"

Emily Meade, “The Deuce”


As an actress playing one of those objectified women, Gyllenhaal also weighed in.

“I think it’s become clear in a way that maybe it wasn’t totally clear a year ago that there is a huge amount ofmisogyny in the world. I think we thought we were in a better place than we were,” she said. “Here we have this opportunity to pick it up and lay it on the table and to do it in a way that’s thoughtful and smart, and also real. So that includes having to see some things that look violent and uncomfortable, but I think if you don’t put that on the table and take a really good clear look at it, nothing will change and nothing will shift. I feel like playing a prostitute who does go through very difficult things as a filter through which to look at women and our relationship to sex, to power, to cash, to art … is one of the most interesting ways to go into really exploring the state we’re actually in right now.”

Gyllenhaal also acknowledged that the content might create a dissonance in its viewers. “In a way if the show also turns you on a little and then makes you consider what’s turning you on and why… it’s a better show,” she said. “It should make you consider your position in how sex is commodified.”

George Pelecanos co-created “The Deuce” with Simon. Michelle MacLaren directed the first and final episodes of the eight-episode series. Franco directed two episodes as well.

“The Deuce” premieres on Sunday, Sept. 10 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.

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‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’: Larry David Explains the Difference Between ‘TV Larry’ and ‘Real Larry’


Larry David would like you to know that there is very little difference between “TV Larry” and “real Larry.” “TV Larry is about a quarter of an inch away from Real Larry,” the creator and star of HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” told critics at the Television Critics Association press tour. “Real Larry plays golf, so TV Larry plays golf.”

TV Larry and Real Larry, let’s be clear, both get into their fair share of rude spots, but neither version of Larry, David said, really compares to Donald Trump. “I don’t consider myself to be a prick,” he said.

Discussing the return of the Emmy-winning comedy, which has been off the air for several years, led to one of the liveliest panels of the day, and not just because David and co-star Jeff Garlin never hesitated to mock questions they found wanting. (“I braved traffic to get here! And you’re bringing up the ‘Seinfeld’ finale? Shame on you!” David at one point told a critic)

In between the jabs, though, David and executive producer Jeff Schaffer did reveal some tidbits about the show’s creation and what we might expect from Season 9.

Schaffer described the show’s writing process from season to season as one driven by David: Each season ends with David declaring that he’s done with the show. Then, he’ll call Schaffer to tell him that “we’re not doing another season, but if we did, I do have one idea.”

“It’s a lot of talking about the terrible things that have happened to [David] over the past few years and putting them in the show,” Schaffer said. Eventually, after they’ve written about six or seven scripts, Schaffer suggests that they tell HBO that they’re interested in making a new season.

Earlier in the day, HBO had revealed a number of guest stars to anticipate this season, and David made sure to mention that Richard Lewis, Bob Einstein, Ted Danson and Cheryl Hines will also be returning. (Fun fact: It looks like a bearded Bryan Cranston will play TV Larry’s therapist.)

Schaffer also revealed that they wrote several scripts dependent on them getting certain guest stars — without checking first to see if those guest stars would be available. Fortunately, they were able to get everyone they wanted.

And writing without a safety net appears to be a pattern for the team. When David originally wrote the “Producers” storyline for the fourth season, he didn’t ask Mel Brooks for permission first. “If he’d said no, it would have been ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ or something,” he said.

The previous season of “Curb” aired in 2011, which has meant an extended break for the series, and David admitted that his first day back on set, he had trouble during the first take. “I thought I’d lost it,” he said.

But his co-stars didn’t seem to have too many problems — Garlin said he took a lot of naps to prepare for the show’s return. Meanwhile, J.B. Smooth said the return went smoothly for him: “One take and it was back to the game. It’s like T-ball. [David] sets you up so well.”

Two unexpected family connections emerged in the panel — at one point, a critic mentioned that in the upcoming PBS series “Finding Your Roots,” David learned that he and Senator Bernie Sanders, who David played several times on “Saturday Night Live” during the election season, are related. (The “Roots” episode isn’t out yet, but the critic had watched a screener.)

“I was very happy about that — I had thought there must have been some connection,” David said.

In addition, during an extended trailer screened for critics (which provoked a great deal of laughter), there was a tease of TV Larry appearing on “Judge Judy” as a plaintiff — David explained that the reason for using “Judge Judy” is that Judith Blum is part of his ex-wife’s family, so he already knew her.

Plot-wise, we don’t know much more about the return of the show, beyond Schaffer’s promise that we’ll find out very quickly what TV Larry has been up to over the past few years.

Real Larry, in the meantime, has recently turned 70, which, in a quintessentially Larry David moment, he described as “a very unpleasant experience.”

“Curb Your Enthusiasm” Season 9 premieres Sunday, October 1 at 10 p.m. on HBO.

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‘Lawrence of Arabia’ 70mm Restoration: Watch David Lean’s Masterpiece As It Was Meant to Be Seen


Lawrence of Arabia” is no stranger to receiving restorations. To mark its 50th anniversary in 2012, it received a digital 4K restoration that took three years to complete. If you think that means we don’t need another, well think again.

READ MORE: 15 Essential Movies Shot On 70mm Film, From ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ to ‘Dunkirk’

International distributor Park Circus is getting ready to bring David Lean’s 1962 masterpiece back to the big screen the way it was always meant to be experienced: 70mm. That’s right, the company has given a full restoration to a 70mm film print of “Lawrence of Arabia,” meaning one of the great theatrical experiences in movie history will see another day.

“Lawrence of Arabia” stars Peter O’Toole as T.E. Lawrence, a British archaeologist and military officer who travels to the Arab Peninsula to act as a liaison during the Sinai and Palestine Campaign in WWII. He gets caught up in the Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire, which Lean captures in all its epic widescreen glory.

The director and cinematographer F.A. Young used Super Panavision 70 cameras with spherical lenses while filming in order to capture the massive expanse of the desert. The movie was nominated for ten Academy Awards and won Best Picture and Best Director, among other prizes.

Park Circus has not issued any release date information, but it has debuted the trailer for the 70mm restoration, and let’s just say its a beauty. Watch it below.

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