HBO FILMING AT CASTLE
Local extras sought amid whispers of Game of Thrones prequel:
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