When Game of Thrones goes to battle, the producers call Neil Marshall. The director of season two’s Blackwater episode returned Sunday night to helm the most ambitious war sequence in the show’s history: The Battle of Castle Black. Below the director (The Descent, Centurion) takes our questions (spoilers) about episode nine, “The Watchers on the Wall”:
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: That was amazing. You had so many epic moments, plus the action remained remarkably coherent despite all that was going on.
Neil Marhsall: Yeah, that’s always the trickiest part, to keep your handle on the geography.
What was the toughest scene to pull off?
Probably the mammoth. Everything else exists in some form or another. Even the giants are like 8-foot-tall actors that we film against green screen and make them bigger. But the mammoth is 100 percent CG. So you have to plan out these sequences where you have stunts and then you’re going to put this giant and mammoth there, and leave room for them. Easily the most complex effects work I’ve done on anything. And like you said, it’s about people understanding what’s happening where, which is kind of why I put in that one crane shot that goes all the way around Castle Black and it links all the characters together. The reason for doing that is, one, it was going to look cool, and two, because it helps the audience understand who, where and when.