In this media moment lost in the archives of history, Talking Heads front man and weirdo David Byrne organized an interview regarding his band, creative ambitions, and innermost desires. The idea was to adhere to a format “like 60 Minutes on acid”, with the questions being asked by female David Byrne, elderly David Byrne, lounge lizard David Byrne, and other disturbing characters:
Another bizarre segment from our TV series as we catch up with San Pedro, California’s most notorious resident: Rocket Boy, a self-proclaimed intergalactic warrior stranded on Earth after an accident in space. In short, Rocket Boy is an extremely disturbing and disturbed local super hero who dabbles in bizarre porn and cat killing, and has a foul-mouthed nemesis named Captain Art.
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In 2006, when David Benioff and Dan Weiss, cocreators of the hit HBO series Game of Thrones, sat down with author George R.R. Martin to talk about adapting his epic fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire, Martin’s Hollywood bullshit detector was on high alert. “He gave us a pop quiz,” Weiss told one interviewer, but they passed the test because their passion for Martin’s books “was real and natural and completely unforced.”
Their geek-boy résumés probably didn’t hurt: Benioff, a D&D dungeon master in his youth, did the screenplay for X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and Weiss had a video-game-themed novel under his belt. Nor did their willingness to shelve all other creative pursuits—no small sacrifice for Benioff, who had adapted his own first novel, The 25th Hour, into the Spike Lee film starring Edward Norton, and followed that up with the fabulous 2008 book City of Thieves.
For the uninitiated, Game of Thrones is an engrossing tale of clans struggling for dominion in the fictional realm of Westeros. (Benioff’s two-second elevator pitch: “The Sopranos in Middle Earth.”) With a stellar crew and ensemble cast anchored by Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister, the dwarf scion of a power-hungry family, the show has raked in 17 Emmy nominations and eight wins, including Dinklage as outstanding supporting actor. Benioff and Weiss told me via email about their favorite characters, learning to “fail better,” and the challenges of shooting Season 3, which premieres March 31 on HBO.