It’s apparently a truism in Hollywood that nothing gets done if you know someone else, but this tidbit from an EW article on the green lighting of Game of Thrones proves that on an unnerving level. According to HBO programming president Michael Lombardo, HBO was still torn on whether or not to give the go ahead toward producing the series way back in 2008, when the success of a high budget fantasy series featuring dozens of characters, locations, and storyline seemed a little less obvious than it does now. With the decision in the air, Lombardo cut out of a budgeting meeting to work out, where he ran into showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss—who coincidentally attended the same gym. The two men shared a conversation about where the show might go, and Lombardo walked away that much more secure that Benioff and Weiss knew what they were doing.
“He was reading this dog-eared copy of the first book. And it had underscores and yellow highlights [on the pages]. And he did not know I saw him — I was standing on the side,” Lombardo said. “And I thought, ‘We’re going to figure this out. These guys breathe this show in a way that doesn’t happen all the time.’ I found that little window into Dan in that quiet moment, that this is what he was doing in his free time. It was such an acknowledgment of everything I suspected about those guys, and it made me determined to figure this thing out.”
Isn’t that wild? Who knows what we might’ve been stuck with if Hollywood types didn’t like to go to the gym? Maybe HBO would’ve approved the adaptation of Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections a while ago, which means we would’ve traded high fantasy hijinks for middle class minutiae. I have an ulcer just thinking about how much that would’ve sucked. The lesson, as always: Never skimp on your crunches.