‘The Witcher’ actor cast in ‘Blood Moon’ prequel; Naomi Watts on bingeing ‘Game of Thrones’ to prepare


Naomi Watts had some catching up to do on “Game of Thrones,” but when she did, she “loved it.”

News about Blood Moon, the still-unofficially-titled Game of Thrones prequel, has been sparse lately, as we all wait with bated breath for showrunner Jane Goldman to finish post-production work on the pilot episode and present it to HBO executives. However, we got a quick snippet of information in the form of a new casting announcement, and leading lady Naomi Watts spoke about being part of the phenomenon at an Emmys after-party last week. It’s nothing earth-shattering, but we’ll take it!

First, we learned from our friends behind the website Redanian Intelligence — which covers news and casting about the upcoming Netflix series The Witcher — that British actor Tom Canton has been cast in Blood Moon, a tip verified by Canton’s resume posted on his agency’s website. It notes that his character’s name is “Ham,” although whether this is a code name or his actual name in the series is unclear — many casting calls and roles thus far have been made using code names or initials only, in order to keep important details under wraps.

The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art-trained Canton, who will portray Filavandrel in The Witcher when it premieres later this year, has an extensive background in theater, television and film, and it’s specifically noted on his resume that he is an “excellent sportsman” — something that might come in handy, given the physicality that we’ve seen required of the actors on Thrones. Overall, it bodes well for the series, which has yet to be officially ordered to series, that casting is moving forward. Thanks for the tip, Redanian Intelligence!

Next, EW caught up with Blood Moon leading actress Watts at HBO’s official after-party at last Sunday’s Emmy Awards, and she confessed that she’s feeling the pressure for the prequel to live up to the original series’ success, especially in light of Thrones taking home the award for Outstanding Drama Series for its final season.

“I’m trying not to think about it,” she said to EW’s Nischelle Turner, “but it is evident how well done it is.”

“At the end there, watching them all up on stage having gone through such a long period of time and they’re so well-connected and bonded, and you know they’ve all done such an incredible job.”

Watts also gave credit to her brother for encouraging her to take the role in Blood Moon when she was approached — she hadn’t watched the show at that point — saying that he wouldn’t have let her get away with turning it down.

“My brother … basically said to me, when I told him about it, he said, ‘You will die before I let you not do that show. You have to do it.’ He is obsessed.”

“And, of course, when I did get around to watching it, I just did it all in the space of about, I don’t know, two months on a lot of long flights and it’s absolutely riveting,” she said about finally having the time to catch up on Thrones. “I loved it.”

Hopefully, Watts will take that love with her into filming the rest of the prequel — and that we won’t have to wait too much longer to see her in action in ancient Westeros!

20 responses

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    1. If they are naming another character “cheese” I’m going to lose it.

      I really hope this show gets a get-go. I really want to see Noami Watts shine again on my screen. She was brilliant in Twin Peaks season 3.

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    2. I think one of the biggest reasons I’m excited about Blood Moon is Jane Goldman. Not really a huge fan of the setting or the origins of the White Walkers, though I think any story taking place in the world of ASOIAF has the potential to be interesting. But it’s Jane Goldman’s track record that really has me intrigued with all the great past work she’s done.

      On the contrary, while I’m more interested in the Dance of Dragons storyline, I’m less interested in its spinoff series because I’m not at all enthused about Ryan Condal. Honestly, I don’t know much about him but being co-show runner on a sci-fi series that was canceled after three seasons doesn’t give me warm and fuzzies. It’s not bad, but I think HBO should be aiming higher for the show runners of the GoT series. People that have a track record of big time success.

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    3. kevin1989,

      ”I really hope this show gets a get-go. I really want to see Noami Watts shine again on my screen. She was brilliant in Twin Peaks season 3.”

      You’re gonna see lots of adoration from me for Naomi Watts. (I’ve never even seen Twin Peaks. Is it worth binge-watching?)

      I fell in love with her as Ann Darrow in “King Kong.” The rest of the characters and the rest of the movie were okay, but all of her scenes were just wonderful. I may post some links to clips…

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    4. mau,

      TBH, all I had known of Craig Mazin (before he was name-dropped by D&D) were his tweets about his former college roommate. I was pleasantly surprised to learn he created Chernobyl.

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    5. I’d be more excited about a Bryan Cogman effort in the GoT universe. I’m most curious about Valyria and the people that migrated to Westeros to become the Dornish.

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    6. Ten Bears,

      Twin peaks is strange. It starts of as a detective serie. Where it’s about the killing of a local teenager and they need to find who has done it. But then it added horror to it, and later they added sci-fi to it. It’s a strange show but a very good one.

      Season 1 and 2 are set in the 90s so that feels old how it looks. And season 3 a couple of years old. For me it’s a brilliant show as a whole. But difficult to get into at first.

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    7. If my brother had threatened to kill me if I didn’t do something, I’d have called the cops.

      But then again, I don’t have a brother. (ㆆᴗㆆ)

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    8. mau,

      True, there are a lot of examples of this, but still doesn’t get me excited. Especially since he already had a chance on Colony and doesn’t seem like anyone was blown away by that. There’s a very high standard for the writing on GoT, from plotting to characters, you have to be able to juggle a massive world with many storylines that are intertwining. Hopefully he can pull it off.

      Speaking of Mazin, I think he would be a perfect guy to take a crack at a GoT spinoff. After Chernobyl, he’s someone I’d be on board with. Maybe he could get the coal miner guy or head animal killer to play one of the baddies.

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    9. LatrineDiggerBrian,

      Craig Mazin’s record is little more complicated than saying he did not have a great record before writing Chernobyl. Craig had, for some reason, written many comedies for screen and perhaps this is where we can say his record is just ok.

      But Mazin is well respected among writers for his analysis of writing. Because of his incisive understanding of writing, he is respected in the writer’s association. I think he has done quite a bit of “script doctor” work behind the scenes for many projects.

      Chernobyl is a change of genre/topic for him and was a passion project. It may offer him a better career path if he wishes to take it. But maybe he prefers to focus on comedies for the screen.

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    10. Mango,

      Mau said it, not I. You’re right though about Mazin, but I think a lot of his positive attention / respect comes from the Script Notes podcast, no one can really say what he contributed to what script before his Chernobyl success.

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    11. Interesting timing of this for me. I started reading The Witcher books in preparation for the series on Netflix later this year. On Thursday I finished the first book, The Last Wish, that contains the short story of “The Edge of the World” in which Filavandrel is introduced. That short story is reportedly part of the first season of the show. Filavandrel would only be in one scene so one could see how he’d be available for the GoT prequel. From what I can tell that character isn’t in The Witcher again until the second book in the saga. If the show gets that far it probably wouldn’t be until season 4 when they’d need him again.

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    12. Ten Bears,

      I’ve only ever seen her in The painted veil and King Kong and I did like her acting. I have no excitement for any Thrones spin off but will most likely watch just for the heck of it. Bittersweet it shall be going backwards in that world when none of the characters that I enjoyed getting to know will be there. It was interesting to see how Darth Vader turned bad (although not done very well but that’s another conversation and I don’t even want to have it because I’m not a big Star Wars fan anyways so it’s not important to me but I digress) but the NK and White Walkers having amounted to much of nothing and dying in the way they did just doesn’t pique my interest to see their origins. I could be wrong and it might end up very interesting but even if it does they didn’t have any personality at the end so it will not have much pay-off as a prequel to Game of Thrones in that regard personally. I could be wrong of course.

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    13. Second clip of Naomi Watts as Ann Darrow in “King Kong” (2005)

      My two favorite parts:
      • Naomi Watts looking luminous at 1:55 – 2:08
      • Playing on ice rink in NY’s Central Park
      at 3:23 – 4:19 (end)

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    14. It’s odd to me that they were still casting for Bloodmoon only 2-3 weeks before the show was cancelled. GIven the long delay since filming ending it must have been obvious that something was a miss here.

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