It’s okay, you read that right, “Game of Thrones” has cast a bear. I always figured that for the most part television shows and movies choose to use CGI nowadays. Technology has come so far that I sometimes have a hard time telling if the animals are real or not, so this came as a little bit of a shock to me.
This is not the first time “Game of Thrones” has opted to use live animals on set, and perhaps this is why they are not shying away from using a live bear. When it came to creating the Direwolves in season one, producers wanted to use actual wolves, but as the animals would be working closely with child actors they went instead with the Northern Inuit dog. Head animal trainer Jim Warren said that “All of the dogs we received were from rescues and some from private parties that felt that they couldn't deal with the dogs anymore, because they were rambunctious big dogs. They'd never been on set before and we had a huge amount of work to do to get them from 'See Spot run to the backyard' to make them look like they did for the show."
The casting of the bear, whose name is Bart the Bear II by the way, was revealed by George R.R. Martin on his blog. As a fan of the show who has not read the books, I am interested in seeing what role Bart the Bear II will play in the series.
In less furry news, “Game of Thrones” has now added the far-away and exotic land of Los Angeles to what is likely the most ambition TV shooting schedule in history. “For the first time, we’re flying actors to L.A.,” says showrunner David Benioff. “So it ends up being five countries and three units this year. It’s just exploded.”