HBO FILM­ING AT CAS­TLE

Lo­cal ex­tras sought amid whis­pers of Game of Thrones pre­quel:

Bangor Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Mari Jones

SPEC­U­LA­TION was mount­ing that film­ing linked to smash­hit TV epic Game of Thrones is about to start at Pen­rhyn Cas­tle near Ban­gor.

Amer­i­can TV gi­ant HBO, which makes the show, is spent four days last week set­ting up at the Na­tional Trust run site.

Parts of the cas­tle will be closed dur­ing Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber while film­ing takes place and the Na­tional Trust is warn­ing vis­i­tors that all pho­tog­ra­phy will be banned within the his­toric build­ing.

The Na­tional Trust and Welsh Govern­ment film bosses are re­fus­ing to re­veal the na­ture of the pro­duc­tion but the Pen­rhyn Cas­tle web­site says the site will “star as a ma­jor film set, host­ing the film­ing of some­thing very ex­cit­ing and new - and just a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent.”

A call has also gone out for lo­cal ex­tras aged over 50.

Game of Thrones, set in the myth­i­cal land of Wes­teros and de­scribed as the world’s most pop­u­lar TV show ever, was filmed ex­ten­sively in North­ern Ire­land and also used sites in Ice­land, Croa­tia, Spain, Malta, Morocco, Canada and the United States.

One North Wales movie in­sider said: “I did hear a whis­per it’s a Game of Thrones pre­quel.

“Ap­par­ently the same ar­chi­tect de­signed Pen­rhyn along with Gos­ford Cas­tle in North­ern Ire­land where the se­ries filmed - but I think the lat­ter is up for sale/sold re­cently.

“Any­how, I can’t be 100% but that is the word on the street.”

On June 8 HBO, which is also be­hind hit shows in­clud­ing The So­pra­nos, The Wire and West­world, com­mis­sioned a pi­lot to a Game of Thrones pre­quel.

The movie in­sider pointed out the ar­chi­tect of Pen­rhyn Cas­tle, Thomas Hop­per, was also the ar­chi­tect be­hind Gos­ford Cas­tle, in County Ar­magh, North­ern Ire­land.

Gos­ford Cas­tle was used from sea­son one of the big bud­get se­ries, which will air its eighth and fi­nal sea­son next year.

The cas­tle was used for the set when lead­ing char­ac­ter Rob Stark ex­e­cuted Richard Karstark for trea­son. It was also in sea­son three in

one of the show’s most in­fa­mous scenes, The Red Wed­ding, in which sev­eral main char­ac­ters, in­clud­ing Rob Stark, were killed.

Part of Gos­ford Cas­tle was re­cently put on the mar­ket.

The Na­tional Trust web­site pro­vides more de­tails about HBO’s film­ing.

“From mid-Septem­ber un­til midOc­to­ber, through the magic of set dress­ing, props and the tech­ni­cal won­ders of cin­e­matog­ra­phy, Pen­rhyn Cas­tle and Gar­den will be trans­formed into a film set for the first time.

“We are pleased to an­nounce that we will host Amer­i­can Pay TV Ser­vice HBO, who will be film­ing in a va­ri­ety of dif­fer- ent rooms and ar­eas through­out the cas­tle and gar­den.

“Be­tween 10 and 14 Septem­ber, the pro­duc­tion com­pany will be on­site for the ini­tial set-up. Ex­cit­ingly dur­ing this time, the com­pany will be set-dress­ing some rooms of the cas­tle.

“Vis­i­tors will still be able to visit most of the usual parts of the cas­tle and grounds with min­i­mal dis­rup­tion. We aim to limit the im­pact to our vis­i­tors as much as pos­si­ble – how­ever, some ar­eas of the property may need to be closed at short no­tice.

“From 17 Septem­ber to 5 Oc­to­ber, the cas­tle will be closed on some week­days, Mon­day to Fri­day, while the crew are film­ing. Dur­ing this pe­riod, there will be no Early Bird Tours or Rail­way Mu­seum of­fer. There will be guided tours to the ‘Time’ ex­hi­bi­tions on the Keep floors, 12 Sto­ries and Har­ri­son’s Gar­den.

“En­try will be at a spe­cially re­duced price that in­cludes ac­cess to the ex­hi­bi­tions and gar­dens and wood­land.

“Dur­ing week­ends, no film­ing will take place and the cas­tle, gar­dens and Rail­way Mu­seum will be open to vis­i­tors.

“Once film­ing has fin­ished, our house team and con­ser­va­tors will be busily re­in­stat­ing any rooms that have been used for film­ing. We ex­pect this to take place be­tween 8 and 12 Oc­to­ber.”

The cas­tle and gar­dens will fully re­open on Oc­to­ber 13

Two other fea­ture films have been shot in North Wales over the sum­mer. In July, co­me­dian Ed­die Iz­zard shot part of his new movie Six Min­utes to Mid­night in Llan­dudno. The film also stars Dame Judi Dench and Jim Broad­bent.

In June, a film crew shot scenes for a ma­jor new movie ver­sion of the Se­cret Gar­den star­ring Colin Firth and Julie Wal­ters at Bod­nant Gar­dens.

The film re­united Hey­day Films and Stu­diocanal, af­ter their col­lab­o­ra­tion on the box of­fice smash hit Padding­ton movies.

The Welsh Govern­ment’s Wales Screen com­mis­sion re­fused to com­ment on whether HBO were film­ing a Game of Thrones pre­quel.

Ear­lier this year Game of Thrones star Kit Har­ing­ton, who plays hero Jon Snow, held his stag week­end Hen­l­lan’s lux­ury Eriv­iat Hall in Den­bighshire.

● Pen­rhyn Cas­tle in the snow was de­signed by Thomas Hop­per who also de­signed Gos­ford Cas­tle in North­ern Ire­land that has been used in a num­ber of Game of Thrones scenes

● Jon Snow in Game of Thrones

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