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Interview with director Neil Marshall


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#1 Arya The Assassin

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 04:59 PM

Empire has posted a 26 minute long audio interview with the director:

Neil Marshall Game Of Thrones Podcast

WinterIsComing.net has posted a few quotes from the interview:

“Blackwater” director Neil Marshall on nudity and creating the battle

Quote:

A notable section of the discussion involves the show’s use of nudity and “sexposition,” an aspect so notorious it was lampooned by SNL. What asked about his feelings on the subject, Marshall responded:


It was pretty surreal. I’d not done anything like that in my films before. But the weirdest part was when you have one of the exec producers leaning over your shoulder, going, “You can go full frontal, you know. This is television, you can do whatever you want! And do it! I urge you to do it.” So I was like, “Okay, well, if you— you’re the boss.”

Marshall further elaborated:


This particular exec took me to one side and said, “Look, I represent the pervert side of the audience, okay? Everybody else is the serious drama side—I represent the perv side of the audience, and I’m saying I want full frontal nudity in this scene.” So you go ahead and do it.



#2 Catastrophe

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 09:21 PM

I really hope that "particular executive" stops working on the show.

#3 Arya The Assassin

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 09:30 PM

I really hope that "particular executive" stops working on the show.


Do you mean executive producer David? Or Dan? Or a co-executive producer called George R.R. Martin? /wink.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=';)' />

#4 victim

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Posted 02 June 2012 - 01:16 AM

It actually makes me really uncomfortable that there is an executive producer who represents "the pervert side of the audience." While I don't have a problem with nudity when it is used appropriately in scenes which require it, I have a problem when it is used gratuitously and in scenes where it doesn't add much. Take for example, the Littlefinger scene in Season One where he tells the story of Brandon and Catelyn; it was completely gratuitous that such a scene would take place when really his monologue should have been more than enough to capture the audience. That there is a T&A producer breathing down director's necks to include such scenes is unforgivable. The scene in question I don't think was particularly bad, as there's plenty of reason to believe that Bronn would like a prostitute on the night before a large battle, although it was gratuitous in the way it was shown. What I mean is that for a producer to approach Marshall about the shots he is choosing and urge him to film full-frontal nudity is quite disturbing. I believe that just because someone is naked in a scene doesn't mean they have to show everything. I couldn't help but feel sorry for the poor actress who had to sit there naked while such a good scene took place.

#5 BlackTalon

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Posted 02 June 2012 - 03:58 AM

I couldn't help but feel sorry for the poor actress who had to sit there naked while such a good scene took place.


AFAIK that "poor girl" with Bronn is "Sahara Knite", a professional pornstar (saharaknite.org, avast doesn´t like that website and blocks something, anyway be advised it is very NSFW) She probably would have let the whole roomful of guards bang her on screen without a second thought if the money was right.

I have to admit, though, that I was negatively surprised that sort of thing is handled in such a blunt and crude fashion. We have always suspected, of course, that there was some pressure to include some nudity, but this is worse than I would have thought. Unfortunately it shows in the series.

One can only hope that the overwhelmingly negative feedback from the fans will make D&D think twice about that practice in the future. There are noticeably fewer and les crude sex scenes in season 2 at any rate, compared to s1, which is one of the few positive things to be said about this season.

Edited by BlackTalon, 02 June 2012 - 04:05 AM.


#6 Wouter

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Posted 02 June 2012 - 04:38 AM

So, confirmation there is such a thing as "boob quota" on HBO. A shame, GOT doesn't need a bit of porn added to be successful.

Another thing that did strike me during the interview is that it was Marshall's decision to send Stannis (fighting) up the battlements - the script had him "just standing there" beneath the walls, as he said. On the one hand, maybe GRRM could have done more, letting him lead the reinforcements who attacked Tyrion's sortie for example, but it does also confirm that TV/film making rules apparently demand
that such characters are "action men".

While Stannis' scenes were great in a way and also showed a particularly strong contrast with Joffrey, it's still a bit of a shame in my opinion that it just has to be like that on TV. As great as TV is, books are still clearly superior in many ways, in my opinion, also because they don't have to deal with design by committee and by "focus groups".

Edited by Wouter, 02 June 2012 - 04:38 AM.


#7 Woman of War

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Posted 02 June 2012 - 05:29 AM

Why do people have so many issues with nudity and sex scenes and not with bodies cut in half?!

But, seriously, there is nothing wrong with nudity and sex if it is definitely part of the story and not only added for thrills. This gets though difficult with "no nudity" clauses in some contracts and some actors being minors but showing Cersei naked on her walk of shame for example would not be gratitious but necessary, especially if her body is not fashionably perfect ( how could it after three children), showing Jaime and Cersei having sex over Joffrey's corpse is not for thrills but an important part of the story. Daenerys naked and vulnerable was necessary. So prudity would simply be wrong here. Baring a character's body means baring his soul as well, making him or her helpless or threatening and a movie can make use of it, prude decency might be wrong here.

#8 Wouter

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Posted 02 June 2012 - 05:51 AM

But, seriously, there is nothing wrong with nudity and sex if it is definitely part of the story and not only added for thrills.

Neil Marshall just stated clearly the (full frontal) nudity in the Bronn-Sandor confrontation scene was added purely and only for thrills ("for the pervert side of the audience", as stated), on the explicit insistence of one of the executive producers (Dan or David, I suppose?).

The "sexposition" scenes of S1 (mostly) also have not been well received with many viewers, particularly not the infamous LF monologue scene. No doubt, this scene was also added on the insistence of the same "pervert side" executive.

IMO those scenes do detract from the show and leave open the possibility of attacks from reviewers about the shallowness of the show, aimed at horny teenagers, as a few critics have written. The source material sometimes may be threatened to be drowned by the (gratuitiously added) sex scenes, and at times the over-the-top violence as well (not that I'm complaining about the Blackwater though, hard to do that without lots of explicit violence).

Sometimes serving the needs of the "pervert side of the audience" in such a gratuitious way clashes with the needs of the other sides of the audience, though.

Edited by Wouter, 02 June 2012 - 06:06 AM.


#9 Ran

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Posted 02 June 2012 - 05:58 AM

Executive producer is what he says. That's Benioff, Weiss, or Doelger. He also indicated that Benioff, Weiss, or both were always around to do script changes, consult, etc.

When I was over at Magheramorne during filming of the first season, David was pretty much always present, while Dan was always around at Malta at the time, and... I don't think Doelger really gets involved quite at that level. So I'm pretty sure it's either Benioff or Weiss.

I hope Neil's frankness about what was, basically, a funny anecdote from his perspective does not lead to his not being invited back to direct again, since he actually seemed open to it.

Also, sex scenes less crude? I mean, other than the big error which was the Littlefinger sexposition scene that was all sorts of wrong, I'd have to say this season was actually even cruder about sex than last year. So... we'll see.

Edited by Ran, 02 June 2012 - 06:00 AM.


#10 Kittykatknits

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Posted 02 June 2012 - 07:34 AM

I found both seasons had their moments. The LF scene was over the top. But, the highlight for me was LF spying on a man who was receiving a BJ while spying on a three way in another room. Then, LF wipes off a prostitute's mouth a moment later. That really took the cake for me.

I don't have a problem with sex or nudity at all really when it serves a purpose. The book has sex in it but each scene adds to the development of the characters. This interview just confirmed my worst suspicions, it's added for thrills and to appease the "perverts". It's further disappointing when the nudity is so disproportionally female.

#11 PatrickStormborn

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Posted 02 June 2012 - 07:46 AM

I have no problem with nudity if it benefits the plot (Theon's scenes, for example). I do have a problem with nudity if it's just there for the "pervert side" of the audience -- particularly considering the ratio of female to male nudity on this show.

#12 David Selig

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Posted 02 June 2012 - 08:23 AM

No wonder so many of the naked scenes feel really tacked on and pointless...

And from a practical point of view, I wonder whether it has the desired effect in terms of increasing the viewers. If your main interest is watching naked chicks, why bother with GOT, there's the Internet for you.

#13 Wouter

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Posted 02 June 2012 - 09:25 AM

No wonder so many of the naked scenes feel really tacked on and pointless...

And from a practical point of view, I wonder whether it has the desired effect in terms of increasing the viewers. If your main interest is watching naked chicks, why bother with GOT, there's the Internet for you.

That's my view too - I have nothing against porn, but let porn be porn and let ASOIAF be ASOIAF. There is enough nudity in ASOIAF already that is functional to the story and needs to be shown for storyreasons, they don't need to add more in such a forced way as they have been doing.

On the interview: I was impressed that Neil Marshall was also solely responsible for the battering ram used by Stannis' forces, and the upside-down boat used to protect it from 'countermeasures' from the walls. I thought that was a brilliant piece of TV.

Edited by Wouter, 02 June 2012 - 09:32 AM.


#14 BlackTalon

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Posted 02 June 2012 - 09:44 AM

I hope Neil's frankness about what was, basically, a funny anecdote from his perspective does not lead to his not being invited back to direct again, since he actually seemed open to it.

Also, sex scenes less crude? I mean, other than the big error which was the Littlefinger sexposition scene that was all sorts of wrong, I'd have to say this season was actually even cruder about sex than last year. So... we'll see.


Yes, I don´t think D or D are too pleased with this little behind-the-scenes incident having been made public.


As far as the less crude sex scenes are concerned ... maybe I have just gotten used to them :-D

#15 jlk7e

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Posted 02 June 2012 - 10:25 AM

Do people really think that either Benioff or Weiss would say that they are not on the "serious drama side" of the production but rather the "perv side"? That screams "network suit," doesn't it?

Just to clarify: I wouldn't be at all surprised if either Benioff or Weiss was encouraging directors to include more nudity. I'd be very surprised if either of them was saying their role was to be a perv, and specifically disclaiming being interested in "serious drama." If I had to bet, I'd say Doelger or one of the co-executive producers.

Edited by jlk7e, 02 June 2012 - 10:29 AM.


#16 Woman of War

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Posted 02 June 2012 - 11:10 AM

Well, we should not exaggerate: it is not exactly "pervert" to enjoy naked people. Poorly done it only takes valuable screentime from the plot itself. But it is sad to expect nudity always going along with the norms of what is seen as attractive, especially concerning women. This leads to unnecessary restrictions concerning plot advancing sex and nudity with the main protagonists, that self-censorship of showing only conventionally attractive naked people. That's HBO: sex is not wrong, being not perfect is.
And, btw, what about a full frontal shot of Jaime climbing into the bathtub? /smile.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' /> Definitely part of the plot.

#17 BlackTalon

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Posted 02 June 2012 - 04:10 PM

That is not going to happen, there is an interview of him somewhere that he gave together with Kit Harington and Peter Dinklage, and acted all horrified at the idea of being naked in front of the camera. Almost a bit ridiculously so, IMHO.

Edited by BlackTalon, 02 June 2012 - 04:11 PM.


#18 Kittykatknits

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Posted 02 June 2012 - 05:11 PM

Well, we should not exaggerate: it is not exactly "pervert" to enjoy naked people. Poorly done it only takes valuable screentime from the plot itself. But it is sad to expect nudity always going along with the norms of what is seen as attractive, especially concerning women. This leads to unnecessary restrictions concerning plot advancing sex and nudity with the main protagonists, that self-censorship of showing only conventionally attractive naked people. That's HBO: sex is not wrong, being not perfect is.
And, btw, what about a full frontal shot of Jaime climbing into the bathtub? /smile.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' /> Definitely part of the plot.


Yep.

For the record, NCW has already strongly stated that he won't be doing any full frontal. I'm hoping for a chest shot but not much else. I also would like to remind NCW that he has a backside too. /smile.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' />

You touch on many of my thoughts regarding nudity in the show. I am fine with nudity and sex scenes - when it adds something. With a few exceptions, I feel as if the nudity on this show has not done so. In fact, the focus on it has taken time away from plot and character development. It also concerns me that the nudity is so disproportionately female. We have had multiple sex scenes where the man does not even show his chest yet the women is entirely nude. I like that you bring up the idea of conventionally attractive naked people. Martin, in the books, uses the body and sex as a way to advance the plot and add to characterization. The scene between Catelyn and Ned, for example, showed us that we have a healthy, loving couple. Yet, that got dropped. I wonder what they will do with Sam and his pink mast later.

Love the highlighted sentence.

#19 PatrickStormborn

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Posted 02 June 2012 - 05:17 PM

That is not going to happen, there is an interview of him somewhere that he gave together with Kit Harington and Peter Dinklage, and acted all horrified at the idea of being naked in front of the camera. Almost a bit ridiculously so, IMHO.


Wasn't that a joke? He's done full-frontal nudity in the past.

#20 Kittykatknits

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Posted 02 June 2012 - 05:50 PM

Wasn't that a joke? He's done full-frontal nudity in the past.


I can't find the interview, but his reaction was something like "What? Oh, god no." Not 100% but something close to that.