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Jane Loretta Anne Goldman (born 11 June 1970) is a British screenwriter, author, and producer who has presented one of the five pitches to HBO for a Game of Thrones prequel TV series. Her project has George R.R. Martin attached as a co-producer.

On June 8th, 2018, it was revealed that HBO ordered a live-action pilot episode for Goldman's prequel pitch, as well as its identity: the story will focus on the Long Night during the Age of Heroes, set 8,000 years before the main TV series. George R.R. Martin tentatively thinks the project will be called "Game of Thrones: The Long Night".[1][2][3]

Background

Goldman came from a "liberal, middle-class background in north London". Her father, Stuart, was Jewish and a property developer, while her mother Amanda was Buddhist. Jane was their only child, and her upbringing was described as "laid back and permissive". She was noted for being precociously intelligent at a young age.[4]

In her own words, Jane Goldman described her youth:

"I was a late developer, quite tiny. I was never one of the pretty girls, I was a kind of geeky, brainy kid instead, which I really liked. I never looked in the mirror and thought I wanted to look any different....From as far back as I can remember, I loved the really glamorous, cartoon-ish Jessica Rabbit look. I was always wore insane things to school....I pretty much always wanted to be a writer, I wrote all the time. I was so clear on the fact that I wanted to be a journalist, that I asked my parents if I could go to a tutorial college to do my O levels early, which I did when I was 13."[5]

Her parents did not object when she quit the prestigious King Alfred School in Hampstead at 15 years old - despite earning eight O Levels - to travel to the United States and follow Boy George around on tour. On her return to Britain a year later, she was offered a job as an entertainment reporter with the Daily Star. She also worked for Just Seventeen, Cosmopolitan, The Times, Evening Standard, Zero, Daily Star, Total Guitar, Game Zone and Sega Zone, before becoming a freelance writer when she was 19 years old.

In 1986 she met entertainment reporter and TV personality Jonathan Ross at a party, and they married in 1988, in Las Vegas. They went on to have three children together (Betty Kitten in 1991, Harvey Kirby in 1994, and Honey Kinney in 1997). Unlike many of their business peers, they have never hired a nanny.[6]

In 1999, Jane had a self-described mental breakdown, and checked herself in to the Priory Hospital for mental health. She later recounted: "I was in a daze, feeling wretched. It was a horrible state and scared the hell out of me. I seemed unable to control my behaviour. Suicide is not something I would consider being in my makeup. But it wasn't a rational thing. My behaviour seemed so irrational, and I seemed so unable to control it, I was worried there might be some subconscious level where I may do something stupid."[7] She checked out of the hospital after two weeks, but it left her marriage strained and they nearly separated. They reconciled within six weeks, however, "stronger than ever", and renewed their wedding vows.

Jane later explained the cause of the breakdown: between having her children Betty and Harvey (around 1993), she had another pregnancy but lost the baby. When she decided to continue trying to have children, she was prescribed heavy hormone therapy to increase her odds of a healthy pregnancy, including injections of progesterone. The hormone therapy caused drastic side-effects, including extreme insomnia which culminated in massive sleep deprivation. After checking herself in at the Priory in 1999, her doctors prescribed sleeping pills which re-stabilized her. Goldman has been in good health ever since, but a practical result is that she actively avoids consuming alcoholic drinks (as it might disrupt her medications). Jane has said that she can easily count the few alcoholic drinks she has in a single year (on special occasions like a book release), and instead she primarily drinks Evian bottled water, Diet Coke, or Pepsi Max. Other associated medical side effects Jane suffered included major weight fluctuations: initially left with significant weight gain, after having her sleep schedule restored with proper medication she rapidly lost 40 pounds (18 kg) in a single year as her body recovered (though she also attributes that to giving up carbohydrates, the bitter irony being that "fresh-baked bread" is one of her favorite foods). This drastic weight loss left her with an infamously voluptuous "Jessica Rabbit" figure, as she puts it, which she did not look like at all when she got married. Goldman has also remarked that she frequently gets Seasonal Affective Disorder in winters.[8]

Jane never stopped writing, and in 2000 published her first novel, Dreamland. Keenly interested in the paranormal, she wrote several guidebooks for The X-Files and in 2003 made the TV series Jane Goldman Investigates, in which she discussed paranormal topics, read tarot cards, etc.

By 2018, Jane once again lives in north London, along with Jonathan and their children. Their home is decorated in a "quirky, highly individualistic Gothic style". Their pets include multiple cats and ferrets (her old Twitter account, since shut down, was "FerretPrincess").

On her first day in school, at five years old, Goldman turned a pot of red paint over her head, to stand out from the crowd. As an adult, she frequently dyes her hair bright red (specifically, "Poppy Red"). When asked about her unique, often Gothic style of dress and dyed hair, Jane explained that she is not "attention seeking", but rather intends her appearance to announce that she isn't even trying to match artificial social standards: "In some way it's less courageous because it's essentially saying, 'I've opted out'. It's saying 'Please don't judge me against society's standards! I know I don't measure up, I've opted out, I'm playing a different game.'"[9]

Jane is an avid reader of Japanese manga comics. When she and Jonathan renewed their vows in 1999, they held the ceremony in Sanrio, Japan, home of the cartoon cat Hello Kitty and her associated franchise. They repeated their vows in Japanese, in front of a live-sized Hello Kitty.[10] Jane is also "a self-confessed World of Warcraft addict."[11]

Film Career

Goldman has had a long career as a screenwriter, frequently working on adaptations of books or graphic novels, and often partnering with Matthew Vaughn.

In 2007, she co-wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Stardust. Gaiman introduced Goldman to director and co-writer Matthew Vaughn to help with the adaptation process. Jane and her husband have been personal friends of Gaiman's since the 1990's. Goldman and Vaughn's screenplay for Stardust went on to win the 2008 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form.

Among other projects on her own, Goldman went on to collaborate with Matthew Vaughn in several high-profile graphic novel adaptations for major movie franchises. Goldman and Vaughn co-wrote the screenplay for Kick-Ass (2010), adapted from the graphic novel by Mark Millar, which developed a strong cult following.

After the mixed reception of X-Men 3: The Last Stand (2006) and the overwhelmingly negative response to X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009, screenplay by David Benioff), the X-Men movie franchise was considered stalled and their were doubts about whether it would continue. Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn, however, then co-wrote the prequel X-Men: First Class (2011), which became a critical and commercial success. Rotten Tomatoes specifically praised the strong script by Goldman and Vaughn, and called it "a welcome return to form for the franchise". Review aggregators consistently rank First Class among the top X-Men films.[12] Goldman and Vaughn went on to collaborate (along with Simon Kinberg) on the next X-Men film, X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), a sprawling time-travel cross-over between the original and prequel casts (seen as a send-off to the cast of the original films of the past decade), which was also a praised critical and commercial success.

Along with Vaughn, Goldman then went on to co-write the Kingsman movie franchise, adapted from graphic novels also by Mark Millar. These include Kingsmand: The Secret Service (2014), Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017), and an upcoming third film. Without Vaughn, Goldman also wrote the screenplay for Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (2016), adapted from the Ransom Riggs novel of the same name, and directed by Tim Burton.

Game of Thrones: The Long Night

On June 8, 2018, HBO put out a press release that it had ordered a pilot episode for the prequel pitch by Jane Goldman - with George R.R. Martin attached as a co-producer. It provided this short description for the prequel:

"Taking place thousands of years before the events of Game of Thrones, the series chronicles the world's descent from the golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour. And only one thing is for sure: from the horrifying secrets of Westeros's history to the true origin of the White Walkers, the mysteries of the East, to the Starks of legend...it's not the story we think we know."[13]

The White Walkers first attacked during the Long Night, which occurred some 8,000 years before the War of the Five Kings and narrative of the main series, during a historical epoch known as the Age of Heroes.

On June 11, 2018, George R.R. Martin commented on the announcement in his personal blog. He congratulated Goldman, but stated that at this point, only the pilot script was finished: no directors, filming locations, or actors had been looked at yet.

Jane Goldman and George R.R. Martin

Jane Goldman and George R.R. Martin.

Martin went on to say that while a pilot has been ordered, there is no guarantee that HBO will order production of a full TV series based on it. Moreover, Martin clarified that three other prequel projects are still in active development - Goldman's was just the first to be officially ordered (though this may indicate HBO's confidence in it). As Martin understands it, HBO's intention is to have at least one and possibly all three of the other prequel pitches film pilot episodes, then pick one of these to develop based on the strength of the pilots. He also believes that HBO intends to hopefully premiere the first prequel series in 2020, about one year after the original TV series has its finale - enough time later that they don't overlap, but close enough that interest in the franchise as a whole doesn't start to fade.

Works

Books:

  • Thirteen-Something: A Survivor's Guide (1993)
  • Sex: How? Why? What? (1994)
  • Streetsmarts: A Teenager's Safety Guide (1996)
  • Sussed and Streetwise: A Teenager's Safety Guide (1997)
  • The X-Files Book of the Unexplained – Vol. 1 (1995)
  • The X-Files Book of the Unexplained – Vol. 2 (1997)
  • Dreamworld (2000)
  • Do the Right Thing: A Teenager's Survival Guide for Tricky Situations (2003)
  • The X-Files Book of the Unexplained: Volumes 1 and 2 (2008)

Filmography:

  • Stardust (2007) - screenplay (with Matthew Vaughn)
  • Kick-Ass (2010) - screenplay (with Matthew Vaughn), co-producer
  • X-Men: First Class (2011) - screenplay (with Matthew Vaughn, Zack Stentz, and Ashley Miller)
  • The Debt (2011) - screenplay (with Matthew Vaughn and Peter Straughan)
  • The Woman in Black - screenplay
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) - story (with Matthew Vaughn and Simon Kinberg, screenplay by Simon Kinberg)
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014) - screenplay (with Matthew Vaughn), co-producer
  • Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (2016) - screenplay
  • The Limehouse Golem (2016) - screenplay, executive producer
  • Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017) - screenplay (with Matthew Vaughn)
  • Fables (TBA) - screenplay (with Jeremy Slater)
  • The Little Mermaid (TBA) - screenplay

Television:

  • Baddiel's Syndrome (2001) - scriptwriter
  • Jane Goldman Investigates (2003-2004) - presenter
  • The Big Fat Quiz of the Year (2004-2013) - executive producer
  • Game of Thrones: The Long Night (TBA) - creator & showrunner

See also

References