Miguel Sapochnik directed many of the best and most visually-captivating episodes of HBO’s Game of Thrones, including “Hardhome,” “Battle of the Bastards,” and “The Long Night.” He also, in his words, royally “pissed off” co-showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss — the duo told him that some his choices were “so self-conscience and we hate it basically,” and they “frowned on a director imposing his own specific cinematic flair to their show.” They’re probably not going to be happy about Sapochnik’s recent confession, either.
In a recent interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Sapochnik was asked about Arya killing the Night King, specifically his reaction to it. “I questioned everything and we worked long and hard to find the right balance of credibility versus wish fulfillment. Then we shot it and reshot it and found that what was really important was rhythm,” he responded. “At one point there was an elaborate plan to have her fight her way into the Weirwood forest, but as we progressed we realized she’d already done that earlier in the episode, so it felt like a repeat. In the end, we felt it didn’t matter how she got there — what mattered was setting up that moment when the Night King catches her mid-leap and we think she’s done for, then she pulls her knife switch and takes him out.” For reference, the last time we see Arya before she takes out the Night King is her scene with Melisandre, who asks her what we say to death: “Not today.”
Among all the criticisms that can be thrown at season eight, Arya’s path to the Night King isn’t at the top of the list; television shows have to make these kind of plot shortcuts. But it’s still puzzling that Sapochnik, along with Benioff and Weiss, would dismiss the set-up to one of the most important scenes on the show with “didn’t matter.” Oh well, it was still pretty freaking cool.
Aaron Rodgers just may be the biggest Game of Thrones fan in sports. It certainly helps his case that he actually got to appear on the show as an extra in its final season, which wrapped up on HBO earlier this year.
Over the years, Rodgers had taken to live-tweeting about the show and breaking down various fan theories both on Twitter and in interviews with the press. He was obsessed with the show, and now that it's finished, like a lot of people, he has to find something else to watch. But that doesn't mean he's done talking about Game of Thrones, especially given how much there is to break down about the show's final season.
It was a final run that disappointed many, and Rodgers sounds like he's among them in some regards. The Packers quarterback talked to Kevin Clark of The Ringer about the show's end and what it was like filming part of the final season overseas. Perhaps the most interesting thing Rogers talked about is all the storylines that he didn't care about once it was all said and done.
Among the things he doesn't care about spoilers incoming: the fate of King's Landing, Sansa, and Bran, who actually ended up on the Iron Throne. He also says Jon deserved “honor” for always trying to do the right thing on the show.
“Arya, west of Westeros, and then Jon and the wildlings, that's what I care about.”
“Don't care what's going on at King's Landing. Bronn ... I don't really care about. Don't care about the Unsullied, especially after they caved. Don't care about Sansa.”
In fact, Rogers thinks the show would have been much more compelling if Sansa ended up on the throne. He used the show's history of shocking but logical in the context of the show, at least events that explain why that would have made sense.
“I think Sansa would have been super Thrones because she got into the game and she played it. She survived a lot of crap—Ramsay Bolton, all that garbage—but she played the game well. She told Tyrion what was going on with Jon—knew it would get back, knew that would stir some crap up. That would have been epic Thrones to have her on there after all that. I also think Arya, in her moment of triumph, there with the Hound, it would have been epic for her to take out Cersei, who I think got a soft [landing].”
You know Rodgers is a big fan because he's heavily invested in the fan theories and the show's lore. No one says 'epic Thrones' or 'super Thrones' with a straight face without being really invested in what's happening on the show. And despite his disappointment with how some things ended, Rodgers isn't nearly as critical of how the show played out as some other superfans.
He did bring up many of the pacing problems that others pointed out, such as how one dragon was easy to kill with a Scorpion bolt and another seemed invincible. And then there's the battle with the Night King at Winterfell, which Rodgers felt needed far more time to unfold.
“I think there was such a buildup that some of the stuff wasn't as believable or maybe as Thrones-y as it has been in previous seasons, such as the big battle with the White Walkers [in Episode 3]. I feel like that should have been a multiepisode one, possibly,” Rodgers said. “Or, more people should have died. Because they had so many characters left to resolve so they had to slam everything quick, quick, quick, because episodes were not two hours like we originally thought they were going to be.”
Rodgers was sure to note to Clark that he loved the show, through and through, and with the way he talks about it, that love certainly shows. But just because the show's done now doesn't mean he's done talking about TV and pop culture. The interview is great and also ranks his favorite Quinten Tarantino movies and what else he's watching, including both versions of The Office.
That's right, one of the best quarterbacks ever is probably a bigger TV nerd than you are, and still way better at football than most anyone ever will be.
The further we get from the Game of Thrones series finale, the more talkative the cast and Seth Rogen has become about the reception about the episode, and season eight in general. Conleth Hill Varys blamed the backlash on a “media-led hate campaign,” Lena Headey “wanted a better death” for Cersei, and Nathalie Emmanuel Missandei spoke out against the silly petition to remake season eight, saying, “You can’t ask for receipts on art. You just can’t. The art has been created for you, and you can either choose to like it or not.”
Natalie Tena is going with “not.”
The actress, who played wildling Osha on the HBO series, told Yahoo’s White Wine Question Time podcast that she enjoyed the first three episodes of the final season, including the Battle of Winterfell. “But after that… I just didn’t understand,” she said. “The caliber of writing towards the end and the plots and everything that happens and how they wrapped it up compared to any other season, any other bit, it just feels like it’s been written by different people. It doesn’t make sense, for me.” Tena, who admits she was wine-drunk at the time she picked the right podcast, “binge-watched the whole thing, but I ended up… my boyfriend had to leave the boat because I was ranting for an hour at him about how much I didn’t like it. And then I rang my friend to rant to him.”
It wasn't until the Aug. 6 episode of Pose, "Revelations," that Billy Porter had his very first love scene — at 49 years old. The first-time Emmy nominee told The Hollywood Reporter that it was a nerve-wracking position to be in as an artist, but something he'd absolutely do again "when it's right."
"Making love, sex is the most vulnerable of places that a human can be in with another person," Porter told THR on the red carpet at a Friday event celebrating his and Pose's Emmy nominations at the Pacific Design Center. "As an actor, to share what that personally looks like to you, it's new. It's very vulnerable. It was hard for me to watch because it was actually very real. That's something that's very private. It's a private moment that I feel like I have now cracked open and begun to share in how I tell stories now."
The Tony- and Grammy- winning actor plays the confident, wise Pray Tell, an elder in the ballroom scene of late '80s and early '90s New York City. And though the character has faced plenty of vulnerable moments in the first season and a half of Pose, the sex scene is Pray Tell at his most open.
"That's what I love so much about television — because of multiple episodes, multiple hours, we get to see characters evolve and grow and live in a more real-time fashion," Porter told THR. "And I'm excited that people get to see this human being, this archetype, this African American out, gay, powerful, man."
Later, in a conversation with Pose executive producer Ryan Murphy, Porter discussed how long it took for him to accept his place as a leading man after facing so much homophobia throughout his career, his scene-stealing Oscars fashion moment, and being able to "lean into the joy" he's currently experiencing in his life, as Murphy put it.
He wants his character to be able to experience joy as well: Porter told Murphy the thing he wants most for his character is to experience a real, functioning, loving relationship. For gay men in that era — the of the HIV/AIDS crisis, before life-saving drugs became widely accessible — "our love was transient," he said on the panel.
"Everything was transient. Our love was transient. You could just throw it away, because you could fall in love with somebody and they could be gone a week, so we got used to that," he said. "We got used to our love being in the dark."
As he told THR on the pink carpet before the event, being able to represent that lost generation is a huge achievement for him.
"I am thrilled that I lived long enough to see the day where I can represent the generation that I am in. The one where, when the pill came, we just stopped talking about it," he said. "You know, there's a whole generation of people that don't realize that we lived through a plague. It was a real plague. Like the kind you learn in elementary school, the bubonic plague. And I feel like our show really gets to remind the world that that happened, and hopefully create a different kind of empathy and a different kind of presence in terms of how we move forward, the choices that we make, and how we move forward as a society."
Porter's big sex scene came in creator Stephen Canals' directorial debut, and Porter, who is currently directing a play in Boston, said his turn to helm an episode is scheduled for season three.
"I'm slated, hopefully, to be directing next season. We had talked about that a while ago, so that's my hope," he said. "That's where I'm headed."
While the sixth episode contained Porter's big musical moment for the season — "I think our episode sixes are looking like they're going to turn out to be the musical episode," he said, the final two episodes will contain a time jump to 1991, according to Murphy, with the series likely ending around 1996, when HIV medication became widely available.
Writer and producer Our Lady J told THR that the final two episodes of Pose's second season will be both heartwarming and dramatic, in true Pose fashion.
"a very special episode of television," she said. "It's an homage to episodes we've seen in more mainstream context, but with our community at the center of it. And then of course, episode 10 has all the trauma because that's the season finale."
Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss are moving from HBO to Netflix, as the pair have signed an exclusive multi-year deal with the popular streaming service. Reportedly, the pair's deal is in the 9-figure range, rivaling similar deals given to other Netflix show creators like Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy. Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos also confirmed the news in a statement. "We are thrilled to welcome master storytellers David Benioff and Dan Weiss to Netflix," Sarandos says. "They are a creative force and have delighted audiences worldwide with their epic storytelling. We can't wait to see what their imaginations will bring to our members."
Previously, it had been reported David Benioff and Dan Weiss were being courted by multiple companies, including HBO's WarnerMedia, Disney, Comcast, Amazon, and Apple. Because of their involvement in an upcoming trilogy of Star Wars movies for Disney, there was speculation Disney had the upper hand in landing the deal. As for why they decided to go with Netflix, Benioff and Weiss say it's because they had a lot in common creatively. "We remember the same shots from the same '80s movies; we love the same books; we're excited about the same storytelling possibilities. Netflix has built something astounding and unprecedented, and we're honored they invited us to join them," Benioff and Weiss stated.
Of course, David Benioff and Dan Weiss are best known for developing and showrunning Game of Thrones for the HBO network. Adapted from the book series by George R. R. Martin, the series became one of the most-watched programs on television and was consistently a hit with viewers and critics alike. However, the show controversially took a dive critically in its eighth and final season, with the final three episodes ranking among the very worst of the entire series. Still, even with the complaints about how it ended, the show brought about incredible success for the network.
Related: Avengers Vs. Game of Thrones in SNL Family Feud Sketch
While Netflix will become the primary home for Benioff and Weiss, the pair intend to also fulfill their other creative obligations. This of course includes their planned trilogy of Star Wars movies for Disney, with the first movie planned to be released in 2022. Benioff and Weiss will be very hands-on with the production of these movies, creating, writing, and producing each installment themselves. The duo also wrote a Kurt Cobain project for Universal and are developing the prison break series Dirty White Boys for Fox and Disney. Needless to say, these guys are going to be extremely busy in the years ahead, but they'll also be rolling in an exorbitant amount of money.
Despite the complaints surrounding the show's final season, Game of Thrones was undoubtedly a tremendous hit for HBO. It's clear Netflix is hoping Benioff and Weiss will be able to achieve similar success on their own streaming service, as they will be developing multiple shows and movies for the company in the multi-year deal. It seems likely they'll first begin with a TV series, though there's no word yet on which potential projects they'll be working on first. This news was first reported by Deadline.
Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and Dan Weiss officially have a new home.
The duo have signed what sources say is a $200 million multiple-year overall film and TV deal with Netflix. Under the pact, Benioff and Weiss will depart their longtime home at HBO and create and develop new film and TV projects for the streaming giant.
"We are thrilled to welcome master storytellers David Benioff and Dan Weiss to Netflix. They are a creative force and have delighted audiences worldwide with their epic storytelling. We can't wait to see what their imaginations will bring to our members," Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said.
Added Benioff and Weiss in a joint statement: "We've had a beautiful run with HBO for more than a decade and we're grateful to everyone there for always making us feel at home. Over the past few months we've spent many hours talking to Cindy Holland and Peter Friedlander, as well as Ted Sarandos and Scott Stuber. We remember the same shots from the same '80s movies; we love the same books; we're excited about the same storytelling possibilities. Netflix has built something astounding and unprecedented, and we're honored they invited us to join them."
Benioff and Weiss, who created and served as showrunners on HBO's megahit, were in talks with Netflix, Disney and its newly owned cable network FX and Amazon, and narrowed their new home after extensive talks with the company.
Sources say Amazon Studios had been the front-runner until early July, when Netflix re-emerged with a competitive offer. Disney has also entered the conversation more recently, as some say the new super-sized Mouse House could be offering a TV deal with FX Productions to go alongside a film pact with the company. Benioff and Weiss are already in business with Disney, working on a Star Wars trilogy for Disney-owned Lucasfilm.
Sources say Benioff and Weiss were seeking a deal worth as much as $200 million as they attempt to surpass the $150 million pact Westworld creators Lisa Joy and Jonah Nolan signed with Amazon in April. Joy and Nolan's five-year agreement is estimated to be worth in the $30 million per year territory. When factoring in payouts from Warner Bros. TV to remain showrunners on three additional seasons of HBO's Westworld, Joy and Nolan's deal clocks in at $200 million.
Heat around Benioff and Weiss — who fired their longtime reps at Management 360 as they shopped a new deal — ramped up this summer and reached a fever pitch after Game of Thrones — and its divisive final season — set a new Emmys record for the most nominations by a single program in one year 32. The pair had quietly begun canvassing the marketplace earlier this year, taking meetings with media titans, including HBO parent WarnerMedia which is in final negotiations for a $500 million pact with J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot, Disney, Comcast, Amazon and Apple.
Benioff and Weiss, with Game of Thrones now in the rearview mirror, were said to want to focus on building up their company. Any new deal with the duo was considered likely have to include overhead costs to set up a production company. The bigger question about Benioff and Weiss is going to be just when they would have time to focus on new projects, given their commitment to writing a Star Wars trilogy for Disney. The first pic in their Star Wars trilogy already has been earmarked for a Dec. 16, 2022, release date. Two subsequent Star Wars features have also been dated — for December 2024 and 2026 — though it's unclear if any, either or both of these are from Benioff and Weiss or Rian Johnson, who is also developing a second trilogy for Lucasfilm.
Still, Star Wars was always poised to take priority over their previously announced projects at HBO. Benioff and Weiss were set to write and serve as showrunners on Confederate, the straight-to-series drama alongside Nichelle Tramble Spellman Justified, The Good Wife and Malcolm Spellman Empire. The show — which takes place in an alternate timeline where the Southern states have successfully seceded from the Union, giving rise to a nation in which slavery remains legal and has evolved into a modern institution — immediately drew controversy. That series was eyed to launch in either 2018 or 2019, after Benioff and Weiss completed their work on the final season of Thrones. Following the backlash, the series was shelved indefinitely. Their new overall with Netflix wipes Confederate off HBO's books.
Sources say HBO — the duo's longtime home for the past decade — met with Benioff and Weiss' legal teams and quickly determined that they did not want to compete to keep them given the size of the deal and their looming commitment to Star Wars. Still, the two will be credited as executive producers on any and all Game of Thrones prequel series, though they declined to be involved in any sort of hands-on capacity with any of the scripts currently in development/at the pilot stage. HBO programming president Casey Bloys told reporters this week that production on the prequel pilot has been completed.
"They're meeting everywhere, which I totally get," Bloys told The Hollywood Reporter in May after the Game of Thrones series finale. "It's a great time to be a creator. People are throwing open doors and throwing money around. So if you're a creator with a proven track record, it's a great time. I think they're doing the right thing and seeing what's out there. We obviously have a strong relationship with them; Warner Bros. has worked with them both individually in the past. We'll see where they end up. Obviously, we think they're great. They're going through the process they should go through."
As for Netflix, the free-spending streamer who upended the market for overall deals is hot off a sour earnings quarter that saw it shed subscribers and miss its projections. Netflix has been making a wave of scripted cancellations The O.A., Chambers, She's Gotta Have It, Designated Survivor, Tuca and Bertie as it weighs the cost of new programs against returning seasons and which of those two is more attractive to potential new subscribers. The company already has deals with mega-producers Ryan Murphy, Shonda Rhimes and Kenya Barris, among others, across multiple programming genres.