'Game Of Thrones' director was ‘visually policed’ by its showrunners

Gregory Wakeman
Kit Harrington in Game Of Thrones' Hardhome

Game Of Thrones director Miguel Sapochnik has opened up about being “visually policed” by its showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.

Sapochnik oversaw some of Game Of Thrones’ most popular ever episodes, including season 5’s Hardhome and season 6’s The Battle Of The Bastards, as well as the hugely divisive season 8 episodes The Long Night and The Bells, too.

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But it turns out that after joining Game Of Thrones on its fifth season Sapochnik immediately and repeatedly found himself butting heads with Weiss and Benioff over his approach.

“I was visually policed for the first three months of my shoot and it made the creation of Hardhome really difficult because I p***** them off,” Sapochnik told Indiewire.

Miguel Sapochnik, winner of the Dramatic Series award for his work on Game of Thrones, "The Battle of the Bastards" poses for photographers at the 69th annual DGA Awards in Beverly Hills, California, U.S. February 4, 2017. REUTERS/Phil McCarten

These problems emerged when he shot Cersei and Tommen through bars and then magically transitioned Master Aemon from his deathbed to his funeral pyre with a bed pillow under his head.

Benioff and Weiss told Sapochnik these shots were too “self-conscious,” as they demanded a more classical approach where directors didn’t show off “specific cinematic flair.”

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Obviously Sapochnik managed to win over Benioff and Weiss with his work on these episodes. But he admits that they continued to butt heads on its final season, particularly on The Long Night, as he “wanted to kill everyone.”

“I wanted to kill Jorah in the horse charge at the beginning. I wanted it to be ruthless, so in the first 10 minutes you could say all bets are off, anyone could die. But David and Dan didn’t want to. There was a lot of back and forth on that.”

Ultimately, though, Sapochnick had to relent with his vision, insisting, “There comes a point when they dig in and you just don’t want to be there.”