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Son of a Craster

Do the actors need to read the books?

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Of course if they're smart and know what's good for them they would.. :devil:

I could imagine any decent actor would want as much background info on their character as possible and so at least read the available material. On the other hand, maybe as an actor you don't always love the projects you're involved in (a bit like actual work). Would any be willing to read the thousands of pages just to get more insight, is it necessary, could they stick to their own character's POV?

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You would think they would and I'm sure some will read them all the minute they know they are cast, if they haven't already. But I'm sure some won't. Somewhere along the way, Elijah Wood admitted he never quite finished LotR, even though he was playing Frodo. What are you gonna do? Others were obsessed fans of that book - Christopher Lee would out-do any other rabid fan of the books in his devotion to them and knowledge and even got to meet Professor Tolkein way back when. Lee had long dreamed of playing Gandalf, but was quite happy to play Sauruman instead. I remember at one point early on Ethan Hawk had been cast as Faramir (yes it's true) and he too was a rabid fan of the series, supposedly.

I bet some of the kids will not have read them. Maybe their parents will help them read at least their sections of the book to help give them an idea of what's going on, but it may be better that some of the younger kids DON'T read some parts of the books. A lot of it's pretty adult fare.

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You'd like to think that they would, but to be perfectly honest it's probably not necessary. Acting is often just the "final product" of a great deal of creative input, and so long as the creative input is being given by those that know the books, and the actors are capable of taking (and willing to take) that input, precise knowledge of the source material isn't a necessity.

I mean, I'd love to see interviews in the future where the actors talk about either how they've been fans of the series ever since AGOT came out, are willing to debate the specific merits of R+L=J versus N+A=J, and quietly contemplated participation in the ASOIAF Limericks thread before deciding their poetry wasn't up to snuff, or failing that at least picked up and became fans of the series after being involved in its production. The reality, however, is that to many (most?) actors, a job is a job is a job, and they can't be (necessarily) asked to immerse themselves in all of the lore surrounding their current project, particularly at expense to their own hobbies. So long as they're getting good advice on the set, and follow it, the end product shouldn't suffer.

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Well, we first got a rumor of his potential casting over 2 months prior to the official announcement. Maybe he wanted to read the books before he signed on?

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Hm, I don't see why not. Of course it wouldn't be a requirement, so not "need", but recommended, yes? Especially if it's one of those minor-in-GoT-but-major-later characters. Assuming it gets picked up for all seven books, the actor could spend their extra time in GoT reading -- which actually is beneficial, because otherwise there are fewer cues as to motivations and so forth.

Like: I can't remember exactly how much information we get about Littlefinger in GoT, but whoever does Littlefinger should know the story behind him, you know?

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Many actors, when they get a script for a film, only ever read their own lines and half the time don't even know what the story is about. This is even true for a lot of top actors. They choose their projects based on who they will be working with and trust in the rest. Their method is that they want to be surprised by what they hear the other actors saying - so as in life their reaction in the scene is as true as possible. I know Julianne Moore has said that's what she does, and I've heard many other actors say the same.

So, if any actors on the show go by this technique, I bet they will avoid reading the books as much as they can.

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I can almost feel the disappoint ment of the actor cast of play Jhalabar Xho when he frantically reads the books to discover his part.

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Yes. If they have major roles they should read their own chapters at least.

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A lot of actors and directors like to stick with the script because scripts can differ substantially from their source material and at the end of the day it's the script that decides what's going on screen. :hat:

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It wouldn't hurt if they read the books, but I don't they need to. I think it is more important that the scriptwriters read the books, maybe the directors as well. It is the scriptwriter and director's job to let the actors know what they need to know to portray their characters.

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As an actor, I have read the books because I read them before I knew about the series but there is a debate about whether it's a good idea. Some actors like to read the story/book or whatever the script is based on as well as the script others don't like reading any of it as some have discovered if they know what is coming in a scene and or the end of a season their acting changes slightly because the stakes have been changed. By knowing what is going to occur they act thinking and feeling about what is coming up as apposed to what is happening right there and then to them in the scene. It's a good question and like people have said I am sure there will be some actors who will and some who won't. I'm sure whoever HBO cast will be strong enough regardless as to whether they have read them. If they choose not to I'm sure by the end of the series they will want to read them and discover more about the amazing man who created these fantastic characters. I know I would.

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J. Michael Straczynski was once asked if he'd told the actors in Babylon 5 how the story ends. He said no, as you wanted the actors to "Play the process, not the result." We don't know what's happening tomorrow in our real lives, so why should actors get to know that for their characters.

That said, JMS did have to break with this in Season 3 because Andreas Katsulas and Peter Jurasik were totally bewildered as to what was going on with their characters in a scene set 17 years into the future and they couldn't get a grip on WTF was going on. Katsulas was able to roll with it (he had one line) but Jurasik had classic huge Londo monologues on the situation and couldn't quite get it right. JMS then basically broke for him Londo's entire odyssey from that point in the show right through to the end, to where his character had ended up. Then Jurasik, typically, knocked it out of the park. Obviously, he then knew what was going to happen to his character in the normal timeline as well, but this seemed to work out. Particularly in Season 5 when Londo goes to meet his destiny, Jurasik was able to make it resonate much more strongly because he knew where it would lead the character further down the line. So there is an argument in favour of it as well.

ASoIaF does have major differences, in that characters know stuff that we the audience do not. So Ned knows stuff about Lyanna and Rhaegar and Jon that we don't, and Jaime certainly knows stuff about the murder of Aerys and what happened during the sack that we won't find out until Season 3. In those two particular cases it may be an idea to let the actor know what is going on to make them play that knowledge better. Certainly whoever plays Jaime needs to know about what happened during the Sack as that really colours his actions in AGoT and ACoK in a different light and is a vital piece of information for his characterisation, even if the general audience doesn't find out that info until three years down the line.

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We don't know what's happening tomorrow in our real lives, so why should actors get to know that for their characters.

Yes, but as I said, books are not chronological -- so there may be things revealed later in the book that actually took place EARLIER in the characters' lives. Backstory which is critical to a character's motivations, attitudes, etc. Think about Dumbledore being gay -- JKR told the movie people in advance because she thought it was important. ASOIAF is more complex -- lots of important things that aren't revealed at first. Reading chronology doesn't equal character chronology.

Apologies for caps. Am in rush.

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ASoIaF does have major differences, in that characters know stuff that we the audience do not. So Ned knows stuff about Lyanna and Rhaegar and Jon that we don't, and Jaime certainly knows stuff about the murder of Aerys and what happened during the sack that we won't find out until Season 3. In those two particular cases it may be an idea to let the actor know what is going on to make them play that knowledge better. Certainly whoever plays Jaime needs to know about what happened during the Sack as that really colours his actions in AGoT and ACoK in a different light and is a vital piece of information for his characterisation, even if the general audience doesn't find out that info until three years down the line.

Interesting points there. I have a feeling GRRM will either have to let D&D in on some of these secrets so they can decide what some actors need to know and not know, or maybe he'll be the one to talk with them about some things.

Yeah, whoever plays Ned may have to sign some sort of non-disclosure agreement about what Ned knows. There could be other characters who know things we don't, too. What does old Maester Aemon know, for instance (if anything)? It may be enough to say to the actor, "in this scene you have a gigantic secret you are keeping from this person - I can't tell you what it is, but it weights heavy on your soul."

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If I remember right, Mark Hamill was the only one who knew what he was reacting to when they filmed the "I am your father" scene. (I bet the crew thought he was over acting something fierce. :) )

But I don't think the actor playing Ned needs to know the exact secret, whether it's L+R=J or something completely different. Actually, telling the actor the secret is L+R=J (even if it's not true) would work well enough in giving the actor something to use for those scenes.

It'd be funny to find out years from now that L+R=J was a complete false lead and the actor who played Ned was suprised/pissed/something in learning that he based his performance on a lie. :lol: Poor honorable Ned....

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If I remember right, Mark Hamill was the only one who knew what he was reacting to when they filmed the "I am your father" scene. (I bet the crew thought he was over acting something fierce. :) )

Empire and Jedi were, I think, the first super-secret shoots like that - and remember that's even before the internet and all. The scripts people got only had their own parts and they were printed on red paper so if they tried to photo-copy them they would just get photocopies of completely black pages.

The "Who Shot J.R.?" episode of Dallas was also super secret because it became such a big cultural phenomenon. They actually shot different versions where each and every major character shot him so nobody on the shoot would know which was real.

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I suspect it will be a situation a la Babylon 5, or at least I hope so. I agree with that producer (director?), in that I think once you give the player knowledge of the whole series, you threaten your own ability to tailor the foreshadowing and keep from spilling too much too early.

Proper delivery may require some sparing revelations, but only as a last resort.

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