David Nutter, a director widely known for his work on the HBO drama series, Game of Thrones, appeared on The Hollywood Reporter’s TV Director Roundtable early this week. During the segment, he opened up about his time on the hugely popular high fantasy series, and reflected on his decision to join the television community.
“I’ve chosen television because of the quality of material that I’m offered, not being a writer, so I’ve turned a lot of features down,” he said to a room full of acclaimed directors including Ava DuVernay, Patty Jenkins, Adam McKay, Ben Stiller and Jean-Marc Vallée. He then continued on how TV further differs from the silver screen.
“The one thing you don’t get is the box office, you don’t get the reviews all the time, but when I did ‘The Rains of Castamere’ episode, the Red Wedding, that was an episode that once I finished it, people had compiled together their reactions to the end of the episode,” Nutter explained. “It’s quite something to see that what I was doing was affecting people in that respect: people jumping up and down on their couches, screaming, yelling, crying. It was really quite powerful.”
This had a profound impact on the seasoned director. After the episode, Nutter said that he finally thought, “Whew, I guess I did OK.”
Although the interview addressed his many successes as a director, it eventually made its way to a much belabored story about what happens when even productions at the highest level make mistakes. When Game of Thrones’ final season stumbled two episodes in with the infamous coffee cup debacle, Nutter was not nearly as phased as the rest of the world. Despite the attention the mistake received, he actually dismissed the story as ultimately inconsequential. “I think the show is so damn perfect in many respects that people love to find the blemishes,” he said.
Nutter directed four episodes of Game of Thrones in total: “The Old Gods and the New,” “A Man Without Honor,” “The Rains of Castamere,” and “Mhysa.” His work on Game of Thrones and Band of Brothers has earned him two Emmy Awards, but his list of impressive credits expands well beyond those well loved shows. Nutter got his start directing episodes of Superboy and The X-Files. In the many years that followed, he has worked on Supernatural, The Mentalist, Shameless, Smallville, Entourage and Arrow, amongst other successful television series.
The full TV Director Roundtable will air on August 4 on SundanceTV.