Though Game of Thrones has in the past invited Michelle MacLaren to its director’s table, next season will again be female-free. The final two episodes will be headed up by the man who helmed the fantastic “Hardhome,” and a couple of new faces (including a Lost director) round out the list.
As for no female directors, I’m disappointed — and especially would have liked to see MacLaren back — but, not knowing if any attempts or offers were made, it’s hard to comment on exactly why women are left off the list. While the pool may be smaller, there are certainly worthy candidates (Kathryn Bigelow, Jane Campion). But, unless the showrunners directly address the absence, I don’t believe in blanket condemnation; I’d like to believe the best people are selected, regardless of gender. Without further ado, here are the five selections; each will direct two episodes.
Jeremy Podeswa (Episodes 1 & 2): A veteran of Showtime’s Tudors and HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, Podeswa is returning to Thrones for the second year in a row. In season 5, he directed two episodes from the middle of the season, “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” and “Kill the Boy.”
Daniel Sackheim (3 & 4): Sackheim is new to Thrones with a long list of credits going back to being an associate producer on 1980s classic Miami Vice. He’s directed episodes of several Fox shows (The X-Files, Lie to Me, House) and most recently directed six episodes of FX’s The Americans.
Jack Bender (5 & 6): An intriguing new name, Bender is familiar to fans of ABC’s Lost, having directed a whopping 38 episodes of the series, including many of the show’s premieres and finales. He’s also helmed episodes of CBS’ Under the Dome, TNT’s The Last Ship and Fox’s Alcatraz.
Mark Mylod (7 & 8): Mylod is a premium cable veteran of shows like Showtime’s Shameless and HBO’s Entourage. He directed the third and fourth episode of season 5, “High Sparrow” and “Sons of the Harpy.”
Miguel Sapochnik (9 &10): This name will likely cause some speculation. Sapochnik really earned his GoT stripes by helming the stunning “Hardhome” episode last season, featuring a half-hour battle sequence with Jon Snow, the Wildlings and the White Walkers’ undead army. He also directed the seventh episode of the season, “The Gift.” (EW)
Of the names, the one that confuses me is Bender; that’s a strange resume listing I can’t exactly relate to Game of Thrones (but, whatever happens, happens).
Does Sapochnik’s return indicate another epic battle scene, or could it have something to do with White Walkers and our refusal to believe Jon is gone for good? Everybody say, “Hmm…”