'Game of Thrones' Prequel: Naomi Watts Admits She's 'Intimidated' to Join Series

Naomi Watts once escaped the clutches of King Kong, yet she is still "intimidated" when it comes to joining the Game of Thrones franchise.

The two-time Oscar-nominee will star in the upcoming prequel series, which will be written by A Song of Ice and Fire creator George R.R. Martin and Kingsman writer Jane Goldman. It is set thousands of years before the events of Game of Thrones, and is expected to cover the "Age of Heroes" in Westeros.

"It makes me very excited, yeah, goosebumps all over," Watts told the Associated Press this week. "It is intimidating. It's very exciting. And yes, having just come off the last series, where the world was blowing up over it. Everything was Game of Thrones related. All the advertising on TV, every article — everyone's jumping on that bandwagon. So, it is scary."

Watts said she hopes the original Game of Thrones fans embrace the new series, especially after the reaction to the controversial final season.

"Hopefully those fans come along and get to find something new and interesting in this world as well," the Birdman actress said. "I think they won't be let down. It's a great team of people they've put together."

Filming has just begun. Entertainment Weekly reported on Tuesday that cameras are rolling in Northern Ireland, which was the center of production for Game of Thrones. Jessica Jones veteran S.J. Clarkson is directing the pilot.

The series is still untitled, although Martin has suggested The Long Night could be the title. The show has only been greenlit for a pilot, meaning HBO will not decide to pick up the series until after the first episode is completed. It is not likely we will see the show before late 2020 or spring 2021.

"Westeros is a very different place. There's no King's Landing. There's no Iron Throne. There are no Targaryens," Martin told EW of the new series. "Valyria has hardly begun to rise yet with its dragons and the great empire that it built. We're dealing with a different and older world and hopefully that will be part of the fun of the series."

Aside from Watts, the cast also includes Naomi Ackie, Denise Gough, Miranda Richardson, Josh Whitehouse, Jamie Campbell Bower, Sheila Atim, Ivanno Jeremiah, Alex Sharp and Toby Regbo.

Watts is an Oscar nominee for her roles in 21 Grams (2003) and The Impossible (2012) and plays Gretchen Carlson in Showtime's upcoming Roger Ailes miniseries The Loudest Voice. The seven-episode series starts on Sunday, June 30 at 9 p.m. ET.


Watts also stars in Mel Gibson's Boss Level, which opens on Aug. 16 and was directed by The Grey's Joe Carnahan.

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