No luxury suites or personal assistants for Game of Thrones cast


Brynhildur Birgisdóttir, head of production at Pegasus Pictures, gave an entertaining and informative talk last Friday in Reykjavik University about the shooting of Game of Thrones scenes in Iceland.

The production of Game of Thrones began in 2011 and in the eight years since then, the production team at Pegasus have had to manage budgets, location scouting, shooting schedules, lodgings and food, travel to and from locations, permits etc. It has been a diverse and complicated task that has demanded a great amount of funding and intricate planning. It is therefore fitting that the talk was organised by the MPM: Master of Project Management programme at RU because as projects go, the production of the show in Iceland is undeniably on a large scale.

Kona flytur fyrirlesturBrynhildur Birgisdóttir and Íris Hrund Þórarinsdóttir, MPM programme project manager.

Lumbering through lava

"We do not have a creative input apart from location scouting. We have been in charge of the practical side of things and have in the process battled the ever-changing Icelandic weather and a tourism boom that made hotel bookings for cast and crew a lot more difficult as the project has progressed," said Brynhildur. The extent of the budget made the production easier in many ways and the fact that everyone is crystal clear on the assignment at hand, along with team spirit. "The actors show up well prepared and our crew has everything already in place, often after having trudged through lava fields and heaps of snow!" 

Tjald í snjó og fjöll í kringPlan B

Preparing for multiple outcomes, over which they have limited control, is essential. "I mentioned the weather, for instance. A certain location that was decided on in the summer is now completely invisible due to snow. So I always have at least one or two back up locations." Another eventuality is that images from the production should be published online and on social media. "The producers are vary of this and of course we all sign a confidentiality agreement but it is hard to control what a tourist that sees us in the countryside "doing our thing" does with his camera." She says the size of the population can be a disadvantage as well. "Sometimes we can book a group of gaffers and sometimes they are all busy in another project."

Luxury-free life

In a project of this size, a positive attitude and the will to deliver a job well done makes it all easier and she says the spirit within the production team and cast is invaluable. "The Icelandic crew is used to working in challenging environments, and the actors are right there with them. They do not have assistants and luxury suites. The money is not spent on that, but rather on what the fans see on screen."