Game of Thrones producers reveal prank played on Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams
Two never-before-revealed pranks — including one played on a young Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams — are among the new revelations from my new behind-the-scenes Game of Thrones book Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon.
The book has a chapter titled "Mummer's Farce" devoted to pranks played on the show's cast (and, once, played by a cast member on the producers).
One of the newly reported pranks was pulled in 2009 during the filming of the show's original pilot after Turner (Sansa Stark) and Williams (Arya Stark) had become fast friends working on the show.
"Here’s a minor prank we pulled during season one: We told Maisie and Sophie that since they were underage, they couldn’t come to the pilot wrap party," says showrunner David Benioff. "So we told them they were going to have a special underage wrap party at McDonald’s. They started crying."
"Then they came to the real wrap party and cried through that — because they thought they might never see each other again," showrunner Dan Weiss adds.
When filming the original pilot, the cast and crew didn't know whether the show would get picked up to series (and, as it turned out, it very nearly didn't), so nobody at the wrap party knew if they would all ever meet again.
Another much more elaborate prank was played on an actor who wasn't a member of the show's cast. Benioff and Weiss are friends with It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia creator and star Rob McElhenney (the GoT duo has also written an episode of the FX comedy series and appeared in cameos on the show, and McElhenney has fleetingly appeared on GoT). McElhenney had recommended Thrones hire frequent Sunny director Matt Shakman for season 7. Despite Shakman having a lack of action experience, Benioff and Weiss took a chance on the director and gave him two ambitious episodes, including the battle‐intensive “The Spoils of War."
"We thought it would be funny if we told Rob that it was not working out with Matt and that he was a total disaster," Weiss recalls. "He would feel so guilty because he recommended him. We went back and forth [on email] slowly, not throwing it out there all at once, asking questions like, 'So when Matt’s on set, how does he usually behave?' Rob was all, 'What‐what‐what’s wrong?!' We told him we’re going to have to step in and take over the episode because it’s turned into such a mess."
"I forgot about that!" Shakman exclaimed. "That was the darkest practical joke. Rob was legitimately tortured about it. He was so concerned for me and was like, 'What can I do? Who can I talk to?' It went on for way too long."
"The Spoils of War," by the way, turned out great — the episode has a 9.8 average rating on IMDB.com.
Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon: Game of Thrones and the Untold Story of the Epic Series will be released tomorrow (Oct. 6) and is available for order.
HBO's epic fantasy drama based on George R.R. Martin's novel series A Song of Ice and Fire.