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Neil Marshall Talks Directing Epic 'Game of Thrones' Battle--and that Long Take

Photo of Jacob Combs By Jacob Combs | Thompson on Hollywood June 10, 2014 at 2:25PM

Neil Marshall is quickly becoming 'the battle director' for "Game of Thrones"--and he doesn't mind a bit. First, the "Centurion" director helmed the ambitious nautical Battle of Blackwater from last season, and now he's brought us the Battle of Castle Black from this Sunday's "The Watchers on the Wall." Like "Blackwater," this episode focused on just a single plot line, and is the most expensive ever produced in the HBO series's history.
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'Game of Thrones'
'Game of Thrones'

Neil Marshall is quickly becoming 'the battle director' for "Game of Thrones"--and he doesn't mind a bit. "I'd love to be their go-to person for battles," Marshall joked recently in an interview with zap2it.

Kit Harington, Game of Thrones
GAME OF THRONES

First, the "Centurion" director helmed the ambitious nautical Battle of Blackwater from last season, and now he's brought us the Battle of Castle Black from this Sunday's "The Watchers on the Wall."  Like "Blackwater," this episode focused on just a single plot line, and is the most expensive ever produced in the HBO series's history.

Marshall filmed the surprisingly short episode (just 51 minutes) last October in Belfast over three weeks with more than 100 extras, two real-life giants and a massive special effects team.  The director sat down with Vulture's Denise Martin to talk about the endeavor: highlights below.

Kit Harington said “The Watchers on the Wall” was the series’ most expensive yet. How does it compare to “Blackwater,” which reportedly cost $8 million to shoot?
Nobody ever tells me the budgets really. I’d guess that it might be more expensive. We had a lot more visual effects this time around, a lot more complicated visual effects. We had to build the same amount of sets I suppose. It probably is more expensive but nobody tells me the budgets. They only tell me how long I’ve got to shoot it.

This article is related to: Neil Marshall, Game of Thrones, HBO


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.