Nothing is yet set in stone, but local newspaper Hela Gotland revealed on Tuesday that Game of Thrones producers HBO expressed an interest in filming on Swedish island Gotland back in August.
The network got in touch with The Line Gotland – a Swedish company which assists film and TV productions – last summer via a third party, one of The Line’s founders told The Local.
“The Stockholm film region contacted us and said Game of Thrones had been in touch and were looking at Visby. They wanted to have some official pictures from the town. So we took new ones of the town and the island and sent it on to them. That’s how it started,” The Line founder and executive producer Olivia Munck explained.
Visby's famous walls could soon feature in Game of Thrones. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT
HBO must have liked what they saw, as they followed up with requests for two more rounds of location pictures, including shots of old farmhouses and images from across the picturesque Swedish island.
“It started in August and the last pictures were sent a few weeks ago. So we’re waiting to see what will happen,” Munck revealed.
The Swedish company is optimistic that the series will eventually commit to filming on Gotland, but did say that a lack of tax breaks in the field could be a hindrance.
“A lot of other countries in Europe have production tax reductions. That’s a big part of whether they’ll shoot or not. They like the location of course, but it’s 50/50 I think,” the executive producer said.
“I think international companies are very interested in filming in Sweden. But there is a problem when you want to shoot here. If you then have Norway, which has tax breaks, and Iceland which does too, they become more attractive than here, even if our locations are great. Money talks.”
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A quick glance at Gotland’s scenery makes it easy to understand why the medieval fantasy series would be interested in filming there. The Baltic Sea island’s mixture of dramatic coastline, rolling fields and its very own medieval walled town Visby make for an attractive proposition, according to Munck.
“We have the historical buildings, World Heritage sites, everything. That’s a big part. There’s also the varied landscape. It’s a very unique place.”
For the moment, The Line are doing exactly what every Swedish Game of Thrones fan will be doing after learning the news: keeping their fingers crossed.
Gotland locals and film professionals in Sweden should be too, as the large-scale production could mean hundreds of temporary jobs being brought to the country, just as it did in previous locations like Spain.