There have been reports lately that HBO's "Game of Thrones" will pass up George R.R. Martin's book series, but does he think that will happen?
"I don't know. I mean, that'll be up to the fans. The show is going forward, I'm going forward. We'll see," George R.R. Martin told Access Hollywood on Monday at the Season 5 premiere, when we asked him about the reports coming from the Oxford Union interview with Executive Producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss that suggested the show would outpace the books.
"Season 6 is still in the very early stages," Martin continued. "I mean, there's a rough outline for it. I haven't seen any scripts for it yet. I don't know where that process is. And certainly we're months away from filming any. Meanwhile, I'm writing 'The Winds of Winter.' I'm not done with it yet. I still have a lot of pages to write, but I also have a lot of pages that are already written. So, I don't know. I try not to worry about things like this. I just, you know, go in every day and write the scene that I'm trying to write that day and try to make it as good as I can."
At the Oxford Union address posted on YouTube on March 20, Benioff and Weiss were asked about, "potentially telling Martin's story before he gets [to it]."
"We've been talking to him for a while about this. The fact is, we didn't want to catch up. Obviously, we would hope that the books would come out ahead of the show, but at the same time, George has his process and if it takes him 20 years to finish the series, that's what it should take him. He's writing, to my mind the great epic – the great fantasy epic anyway of our time, so we can't rush him and I wouldn't want to rush him, and at the same time, we can't put the show on hiatus," Benioff said. "We've got all these actors, wonderful cast… and we can't take a two year break 'cause these guys are in demand and they're gonna go off and do other stuff, so we kind of have to keep pushing forward. Luckily, we’ve been talking about this with George for a long time, ever since we saw this could happen, and we know where things are heading. So, we’ll eventually, basically, meet up at pretty much the same place where George is going. There might be a few deviations along the route, but we’re heading towards the same destination. I kind of wish there's some things we didn’t have to spoil, in terms of for the books, but we’re kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place. So, the show must go on… and that’s what we’re going to do."
As for Martin, he is still working on his next book in the "A Song of Ice and Fire" series, and he told Access he will not be penning a script for the sixth season of the HBO show.
"No," he said. "I am writing 'The Winds of Winter,' and, you know, at the moment that's all I'm writing."
Previously, Martin had suggested that Natalia Tena's work as Wildling-turned-Rickon's-caretaker Osha in the first few seasons of the series, had influenced him as a writer. The author addressed that subject when Access spoke to him at the premiere in San Francisco.
"Yeah, she will be back in 'The Winds of Winter,' the book I'm writing now," Martin said. "I think I have some pretty cool stuff for her."
Martin said the actress' work in the role did have an influence.
"I think the actress brought a dynamism to that role that the character had previously maybe didn't really have on the page and it made me see some new possibilities in that character," he said.
"I've gone through this procedure with a couple characters. Osha was one. Another was the character Shae… the late, lamented Shae, you know Sibel Kekilli -- wonderful, wonderful actress. I remember when the television Shae first came on, you know, and I'm watching the first few scenes with her and I'm thinking, 'This all wrong. This is not the character I wrote. … No, no, this is all wrong. What's going on here?' And then, about three episodes in, I said, 'This is not the character I wrote, this is better than the character I wrote. This is a more interesting and complex character than the one that I wrote,' so that does happen, especially in a secondary role that's not a viewpoint character," Martin said. "I have two kinds of characters in the books. In the viewpoint characters you're inside their head, you're seeing the world through their eyes, you're hearing their thoughts, but the non-viewpoint characters, you're just seeing externally and some of those can be not as fully developed, but when you cast a really good actress like Natalia Tena, or Sibel Kekilli in roles like that, suddenly they bring that character alive in a way that surprises even me and makes me realize the possibilities there."
As for the TV show, Martin said there will be some unexpected twists in Season 5 of "Thrones."
"I know there are some big developments this season and some things that'll surprise the audience at home, I think. Some will surprise even the book readers, and some will surprise the non-book readers," Martin said.
"Game of Thrones" premieres April 12 at 9 PM ET/PT on HBO.
-- Jolie Lash