Tanned, thin bodies, tattoo-free skin, dark hair. A picture is starting to emerge of the kind of extras that producers of hit HBO show Game of Thrones are looking for in Spain. Most of the background artists who will be used in the upcoming shoot in the country will be from near the Seville town of Osuna, where on Tuesday the first part of a casting session took place to choose the 2,500 people who may end up portraying the inhabitants of Dorne on screen. The fictional kingdom is painted as a sweltering land in the George R. R. Martin books upon which the series is based, making this ancient Iberian town the perfect backdrop for some of the action in the fifth season.
“They took photos of us, they measured our heads, necks, chests, hips and feet; they asked us if we use WhatsApp and Facebook and if we would mind appearing naked. We said yes to everything, but we’ll see what happens,” says one of the chosen candidates. “I might hide if I have to get naked!” she adds with a giggle.
They asked if we would appear naked – we said yes but we’ll see what happens!”
Of the 2,500 people expected to be preselected between Tuesday and Wednesday, 500 will end up appearing as extras in the show. “We are hoping that they’ll call us, we’ve been waiting in line since 6am and we are willing to work from 4am until 8.30pm during the shoot, which is what they’ve asked us to do,” explains Ana Belén Yerbes, one of the girls who has been preselected. “We will have to spend quite a few hours in hair, make-up, wardrobe…” she explains.
The Raúl Carrosa soccer stadium was the chosen venue for the open auditions, and was ready to receive 7,000 people. But in the end only 4,500 hopefuls turned up. The first part of the process was the quickest: anyone who was blond, had highlights in their hair, light skin or was overweight was turned away. “It was a shame they didn’t let us take photos,” says one of the girls. “We would have liked to have had them as a souvenir. There’s a lot of secrecy round here.”
What is known is that the successful extras will be paid €50 a day for their work, will have to be at the beck and call of the producers during the shoot – which will run from October 10 to 29 – and will not be paid either to travel to Seville or for their stay there, when scenes planned for the Real Alcázar palace will be shot.
Among the hopefuls are those who see the job as a way to make some cash, and those who are massive fans of the show and want a chance to form a part of it. “We came from Dos Hermanas [Seville],” explains student Jorge Álvarez. “I would love to have the chance to take part in this show, which will be seen all around the world.” In the end, though, he was not one of the lucky ones – a tattoo on his wrist saw him rejected.