Game of Thrones is conquering Spain: The HBO fantasy hit’s production is enjoying an overwhelming response since filming started in the country two weeks ago.
When the local production company Fresco Film put out a casting call for roughly 600 extras for a key battle Thrones scene, fans responded with an incredible 86,000 applications. The company needed to add more server space to accommodate the load. Many applicants needed the work, but one hired extra told the production he took a vacation from his high-level banking job to be on the show.
Meanwhile, others have clamored to get a glimpse of the show’s cast, with one even asking a random production staffer to post for a photo merely because he was wearing a Thrones badge.
To some extent, Spain’s response reflects the ongoing global fandom growth of HBO’s most popular series ever. Ratings climb each season and this year hit 19 million viewers in the United States when viewership is measured across all platforms. But Spain is perhaps primed to be more appreciative than most— Thrones has hired more than 1,000 locals across its production and is expected to generate millions for the country’s economy which has been climbing out of a deep recession (for example, Thrones generated $32 million for Northern Ireland last year).
“It’s been a great, uplifting moment for the country,” James Costos, the U.S. Ambassador to Spain told EW. “There’s tremendous excitement all over Spain, and it highlights the fact there are incredibly talented people here.”
Thrones typically shoots in Belfast, Northern Ireland and Dubrovnik, Croatia, and this year added Spain, largely for scenes set in the Westeros kingdom of Dorne. Costos says Spain has already seen uptick in tourism since the location was first announced by EW earlier this year.
Filming initially focused on the 15th century Alcázar palace, a lavish sprawling compound in Seville that on the show will serve as the home of House Martell, which is reeling from last season’s gruesome death of Prince Oberyn. Though the production closed part of this major tourist attraction for filming, one visitor told a production member they didn’t even mind because they were such big fans of the show. Filming has since moved on to Osuna, which will be the setting of a large-scale fighting sequence.