tv 60 Minutes CBS June 16, 2019 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT
captioning funded by cbs and ford. we go further, so you can. >> it got to the point that i thought, "nothing's going to help." >> could a simple shot in the neck be a potential break- through for the debilitating symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder? >> it's like a big weight has been lifted off my shoulders and my chest. and i can actually relax. i-- in the first couple weeks, i didn't believe it. people would be like, hey, your personality has really changed, and stuff like that. i think we're going on two months. it feels like i got a second chance at life. ( ticking ) >your emergency? 91 ws ( sirens ) >> at its worst, people of huntington, west virginia, were dying of drug abuse at the rate three times the national average. >> she's laying on my floor dying! >> it was so bad, the chief of police called in the national guard, usually reserved for
emergencies like hurricanes, to help battle the opioid epidemic. >> hey, can we talk for a second? >> but standing a hair under five feet tall, this woman may be doing as much to help huntington's drug problem as anyone here has ever seen. >> have you ever had treatment before? >> not really. ( ticking ) >> i warned you. northerners don't much trust outsiders. >> "game of thrones," hbo's blockbuster series, came to a bloody and for some controversial end last month. you don't have to be a fan, or to have watched it at all, to appreciate the acting and fantastical plotlines. tonight, we'll take you behind the scenes on one of the most expensive and epic tv shows ever. ( battle ) ( whinnying ) ( ticking ) >> i'm steve kroft. >> i'm lesley stahl. >> i'm scott pelley.
>> i'm anderson cooper. >> i'm sharyn alfonsi. >> i'm bill whitaker. those stories, tonight, on "60 minutes." ( ticking ) if you have moderate to thsevere rheumatoid arthritis, month after month, the clock is ticking on irreversible joint damage. ongoing pain and stiffnessoint . humira can help stop the clock. prescribed for 15 years, humira targets and blocks a source of inflammation that contributes to joint pain and irreversible damage.
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>> whitaker: could a simple shot in the neck be a break-through for the debilitating symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder? the toll from p.t.s.d. is growing. about 20 veterans a day commit suicide in what the v.a. is now calling an epidemic. only 40% find relief from p.t.s.d. with current treatments. the new procedure, called stellate ganglion block, or
s.g.b., is so fast-acting that many believe it could be a game- changer. used for decades to treat chronic pain, it's only recently been tried for p.t.s.d. now, the u.s. army is spending $2 million to find out more. nobody is calling it a cure, but the promise of a new therapy can't come soon enough for many veterans we spoke with, frustrated and despairing that nothing they have tried has worked. >> john zehring: my p.t.s.d. was like a monster on your back that controls your entire life. ( explosion ) ( gunfire ) >> whitaker: this is what sgt.tg faced during his 455 days as part of the american offensive provided cover fhealan atck ( explosion )
after 15 months, zehring couldn't shake the feeling he was going to be ambushed at any moment. so your instincts served you well in afghanistan? >> zehring: uh-huh. >> whitaker: but what about when you came home? >> zehring: when i came home, it did not serve me very well, because my brain was still in war. but i was living, trying to be d trying to be a circle in a whole room of squares. i did not feel like the same person anymore. >> whitaker: he suffered for 12 years. his marriage fell apart. >> zehring: i went through this period of time when i was like, "man, i wish i would've just died in afghanistan." i could've been remembered as a hero and a shining b's supposed. >> whitaker: finally, he reached out to walter reed medical center. were you aware that you were suffering from p.t.s.d.? >> zehring: i thought it was a joke. >> whitaker: you thought p.t.s.d. was a joke? >> zehring: at first. everyone knows it's hard being in combat. but, like, that's our job. so being around only military
veterans that are all combat guys, it was difficult to ever raise your hand and ask for help. >> whitaker: after 18 years of continuous war, the numbers of soldiers and veterans suffering from p.t.s.d. has reached an all-time high. first-line treatments at the v.a. are anti-depressants and talk therapy. zehring told us he was asked to write down his worst combat memories. >> zehring: they wanted me to read it 20 times before i went to bed. and i did it one or two days. and i crinkled the piece of paper and threw it away. i'm like, "why am i doing this?" i'm like, "i watched people i know die." like, that's always going to bother me. >> whitaker: did you see any improvement? >> zehring: zero. >> whitaker: marine sgt. henry >> henry coto: i thought, if i keep going the same way i was going, there was only two ways that was going to end. dead, or, in jail. >> whitaker: he spent months patrolling iraqi towns like this
one, the war on every corner. after four deployments, coto told us he was plagued by nightmares. he self-medicated with alcohol and marijuana. >> coto: even though i try to tell myself, "hey, i can calm down, i'm no longer over there," it was really hard for me to shut it off. >> whitaker: what did you think of that at the time? >> coto: it got to the point that i thought, "nothing's going to help." i'm going to lose my relationship with my kids. i already lost my relationship with my ex-wife. i lost a lot of friends, especially because, you know, they just didn't want to deal with me anymore. >> doctor: let's go in. >> whitaker: he told us he had tried 12 medications, all the v.a. had to offer, but nothing worked. >> doctor: all right, henry, your eyeglasses need to come off. >> whitaker: when his doctor suggested an experimental treatment called stellate ganglion block, or s.g.b., he had nothing to lose. >> doctor: lay down, please. >> whitaker: we went along to watch henry coto's second
treatment at the long beach v.a. the injection took less than five minutes. within two minutes, coto told us he felt a huge difference. >> coto: like, i can't control my smile right now. >> whitaker: is it like a sense of euphoria? >> coto: it's like... like a big weight has been lifted off my shoulders and my chest. and i can actually relax. >> whitaker: he came back for a second s.g.b. to bolster the effects of the first, two months earlier. it immediately changed your mood, your behavior? >> coto: immediately. my brother took me home. he saw that i was constantly smiling, and he's like, dude, like, i don't know what they did, but it's amazing. >> doctor: clean your neck. >> whitaker: this is how the procedure works: a local anesthetic is injected deep into the neck to bathe a cluster of nerves, called the stellate ganglion. >> doctor: here, i'm going to inject the actual medication, all right? >> whitaker: these nerves help control the brain's fight or flight reactions, signals that
go haywire with p.t.s.d. >> doctor: and please go oblique to resume. >> whitaker: doctors use a fluoroscope and contrasting dye-- you can see it spread out next to the spine-- to guide the needle to the stellate ganglion. when the anesthetic is injected, it seems to numb, or turn off, the p.t.s.d. symptoms. it clears the body in a day, but the effects last up to six months; for some, even longer. and there are no known side effects. were you surprised at the outcome? >> dr. michael alkire: extremely, yeah. >> whitaker: extremely surprised? >> alkire: oh, yeah. because there's very few things in medicine that work that quickly. >> whitaker: dr. michael alkire is trying to pinpoint changes in the parts of the brain associated with p.t.s.d. doctors don't fully understand how s.g.b. works, but the newest theory is based on research that shows p.t.s.d. is not just psychological.
exposure to bomb blasts and the prolonged stress of dangerous re-deployments can cause physical changes to the brain, making it hyperactive. dr. alkire told us 80% of their s.g.b. patients had relief from depression and suicidal thoughts. it almost sounds like you're rebooting these vets' brains. >> alkire: that is, exactly, a very good way to think of it, yeah. >> whitaker: in the waiting room, henry coto's mother is overwhelmed. after watching her son self- destruct, she told us s.g.b. gave her son back. it's not a stand-alone cure, but coto told us his regular therapy now is starting to work. >> coto: i-- in the first couple weeks, i didn't believe it. people would be like, hey, your personality has really changed, and stuff like that. i think we're going on two months. it feels like i got a second chance at life. >> whitaker: despite its
promise, s.g.b. is available at only 12 of the 172 v.a. hospitals-- it's still considered experimental. the army's study is the first clinical trial for s.g.b., with a placebo. over 100 active duty soldiers with p.t.s.d. participated, and it's now under peer review. if the anecdotal success of s.g.b. is duplicated, it could revolutionize the way p.t.s.d. is treated. >> sean mulvaney: how have things been going? >> dakota meyer: anxiety's been pretty high. >> whitaker: for now, most veterans rely on word of mouth to find private clinics, like this one run by dr. sean mulvaney, a former navy seal. >> meyer: like, the night stuff's getting a lot worse. >> whitaker: among military doctors, he was the first to see s.g.b.'s potential, especially after his years as a combat medic for special operations soldiers. >> mulvaney: we asked them to go do a dirty job. we didn't tell them what going to happen to them. we didn't tell them we were
going to break them. >> whitaker: dakota meyer, a former marine corporal, sought dr. mulvaney's help. in 2011, he was the first living marine to be awarded the medal of honor since the vietnam war. >> mulvaney: one, two, three, stick. >> whitaker: dr. mulvaney stumbled onto s.g.b. ten years ago. >> mulvaney: i'm slowly starting to inject now. >> whitaker: he'd read a newspaper article about a treatment for, of all things, hot flashes, that targeted the same nerve signals that p.t.s.d. disrupts. so he tried it. since then, he's done about 1,000 injections. he found 70% of the soldiers he treated had reduced anxiety and paranoia. >> meyer: like, i can breathe. like, i n actually breathe. it's crazy. >> whitaker: dr. mulvaney is hoping the results of the army's clinical trial will make s.g.b. more widely available. >> mulvaney: these people, they wrote a blank check to their nation that included their life.
and, as citizens, we need to help them when they come home, when they're broken. >> whitaker: johnathan zehring also found his way to dr. mulvaney for an s.g.b. >> zehring: i felt like a brand new man. and when i say brand new man, what i mean was i had a control of my feelings. and it was like i was my own self, my old self-- i was john zehring, pre-combat, again. >> whitaker: after the shot, zehring found something else had changed, too. he had a different attitude toward therapy. >> zehring: it does not eliminate you having p.t.s.d. it does not make it so you no longer went through those traumatic experiences. but what it does is, it makes it so you're not drowning. it gives you a little bit of room. it gives you room to go to get therapy. it gives you room to get help. >> don bolduc: i think there's enough evidence out there that this is a valid therapy. and it's something that works. >> whitaker: former brigadier general donald bolduc had an s.g.b. injection when he was
commander of special operations in africa. it made such a difference that in 2016 he became the first-- and so far, the only-- active duty senior officer to admit that he too suffered from p.t.s.d. it took him eight years to overcome the stigma. do you remember this soldier? >> don bolduc: i certainly do. marine special operations. >> whitaker: a former green beret, bolduc showed us a memorial in his office to the 72 soldiers he lost over ten deployments. he cheated death himself numerous times, surviving firefights, a 2,000-pound bomb, and this helicopter crash which knocked him unconscious. what was it like to be around him during that time? >> sharon bolduc: you just don't know what's coming. you don't know what's going to set him off. >> whitaker: it was his wife sharon who finally made bolduc confront his p.t.s.d. get help, she said, or she and the children would leave him.
>> sharon bolduc: i'm done. i can't do this by myself anymore. i didn't marry you to be a single parent. >> whitaker: bolduc had tried traditional therapy with little relief. it was the s.g.b., he told us, that finally lifted the fog. >> don bolduc: it's magnificent. everything was crisper and clearer. and i-- >> sharon bolduc: he was so much more relaxed, like. and i think i even said-- >> don bolduc: so nice. >> sharon bolduc: so i think i even said, "why didn't we do this years ago?" ( laughter ) you know? but i don't think we knew about it. >> don bolduc: no. >> whitaker: now retired, bolduc told us he was bypassed for a promotion. part of the reason, he believes, is his outspokenness about p.t.s.d. among active duty soldiers. >> don bolduc: not one of my superiors reached out to me. one told me that it's not going to bode well for me, and recommended that i stop talking about it, because the more i talk about it, the more problems they have. >> whitaker: it's so widespread in the military today, but yet
there's this stigma. >> don bolduc: terrible stigma. lack of understanding. not understanding the science behind it, not understanding what's happening. >> whitaker: so how important is stellate ganglion block in fighting post-traumatic stress? >> don bolduc: i think it's hugely important, and i think that it needs to be an intervention that's part of every post-traumatic stress therapy. this is victor. >> whitaker: part of bolduc's therapy is victor, his service dog, who helps him stay calm. >> don bolduc: i'm a leader. >> whitaker: bolduc continues to speak out, and tells audiences all over the country that treatment for p.t.s.d. should carry no more stigma than a broken ankle. >> don bolduc: you are strong when you ask for help, not weak. you are strong. so don't be afraid to ask for help, no matter what it is. >> whitaker: johnathan zehring told us s.g.b. was a game changer. henry coto said he wished other veterans could find the relief
he did. >> coto: i've lost a couple friends to suicide. you know, and just thinking that, you know, this treatment, if it was widely available, you know, those guys could've been around. >> zehring: i've never had this relief before. there never wasn't a pill. it wasn't a bottle of alcohol. it was a shot in my heck that i've never heard of, that lasted maybe a 15-minute procedure. and it helped me. ( ticking ) >> cbs money watch sponsored by lincoln unanimous,, helping you create a secure financial future. >> quijano: good evening. stock markets are banking on fed policy-makers. retail giant kroger reports results thursday, and tar get says no customer data was breeched due to a computer crash affected stores nationwide
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>> alfonsi: nestled in the appalachian mountains, along the eastern borders of kentucky and ohio, sits huntington, west virginia, a place so consumed by the opioid epidemic, it has been crowned "the overdose capital of america." at its worst, people here were dying from drug abuse at a rate eight times the national average. the small city of 50,000 fell victim to a fading economy and birth of despair. the depths of that despair unfolded ie summer of 16.ma oved desperate city to try something never done before. their single mission? saving huntington.y 91 where your emergency? >> 911, where is your emergency?
( sirens ) >> alfonsi: the calls started coming in at 3:21 on a warm august afternoon. >> caller: she's laying on my floor dying! >> i understand, we're trying to get to you. >> alfonsi: people were collapsing across the city. >> copy, we're on charleston now. >> all huntington units... >> alfonsi: rocky johnson, a 28-year veteran of the police force and head of the drug unit, was on call that day. >> rocky johnson: i'm driving up eighth avenue and the chief of police calls me, and he goes, "hey, have you heard the radio? we've got 24 people and counting that have overdosed." >> we have three overdoses right here. >> st. mary's e.r. with an overdose. >> johnson: it just went crazy. the police department, e.m.s., the fire department, because they're trying to bring people back to life. >> alfonsi: in just four hours, 26 people had overdosed on a batch of fentanyl-laced heroin. >> hank dial: i think everybody became aware that things had changed that day. all right. >> alfonsi: when hank dial stepped in as police chief 17 months later, his force was overwhelmed. huntington, once a thriving industrial hub, had been
crippled by years of job loss, rising crime and 1,600 overdoses the previous year. chief dial took a drastic step. he asked the feds to send help, even requesting the national guard. when thinking about the national guard, you think about an emergency. there's been a flood. there's been a tornado. something terrible. did you feel like this was an emergency for the community? >> dial: absolutely. we treated this like an emergency. i'll call anybody that'll help. >> alfonsi: last april, dozens of agents from the d.e.a., f.b.i. and a.t.f.-- >> come on, come on, come on! >> alfonsi: --joined the eight- man huntington drug unit. >> police! we've got a search warrant. everybody back! put your hands up! put your hands up! >> alfonsi: a small army, working block by block. >> shut up! >> alfonsi: rounding up addicts. >> johnson: walk this way. come on. >> alfonsi: arresting dealers. >> search warrant! >> alfonsi: shutting down drug dens that had taken root throughout the city's residential neighborhoods.
inside one raid, there were meth pipes on a baby's changing table and a handwritten note telling addicts "not to use dope in the bathroom" because "that's where the baby will be taking his bath." when you go out on these raids and you look around on the floor and there's diapers, bottles, kids toys-- that stuff takes your breath away. >> johnson: yeah, it does. it's always had an effect on me, but it really changed about six years ago when i had a daughter. and man, that's, that's not good. >> alfonsi: did you think this is not winnable? >> johnson: yeah. yeah, i tell you what, we pounded it day in, day out, almost 24 hours a day, me and my guys. and you'd think, oh good, we can catch our breath for the next couple days. no. the next day, they're right back at it. somebody just filled the spot. and that is when i started to think, as hard as we're pressing
and as hard as we're pounding away at this problem, we're not making any difference. >> alfonsi: you guys realized you couldn't just arrest people. you had to do more. >> dial: our side is to disrupt the supply. but what was invariably left behind was a group of people who were the buyers, who were still coming to the store looking for that. >> alfonsi: huntington police realized, to break the cycle, they had to curb demand. that meant getting addicts into treatment. so, chief dial took an unusual step. he hired krishawna harless, a mental health addiction specialist. she was dispatched to the front lines to work with the drug unit. >> johnson: all right, let's go. >> alfonsi: what did they tell you about what they were thinking? >> krinaour city was in a crisid their officers were exhausted. and they knew that they were missing the ball, that they couldn't arrest their way out of it, and they weren't sure what to do.
but this was something they wanted to try. >> alfonsi: and so you were kind of making up this job as you went along, at first? >> harless: we all were, yeah. >> johnson: we'll send a girl down here to talk to you-- she's not a cop, she's a civilian. she specializes in mental health services, especially rehab. at least hear what she's got to say and take her card. how about that? >> harless: would you be interested in talking about detox today and getting into a program? >> addict: what about me and him going in together? is that not allowed? >> harless: typically, that's not something that we encourage. this was a whole process. like, first, i had to find my footing at the police department. then, i had to get in with the drug unit, which was rocky. and that was not a small task. >> alfonsi: tell me the first time someone brought up the idea of having this kind of softer edge to the efforts to curb drugs here? how did you react? >> johnson: i'll be honest, i was a no. i don't want to hear this... >> alfonsi: because you thought what? you thought this was soft? >> johnson: same old thing. here we go. it's the same old thing. a bunch of people are going to talk, and nothing's going to get done. >> harless: what's going on? i had to get out on the street and i had to really meet with people all the time and be there all the time, to the point where
even rocky came back to me and said, "people talk to me now that didn't used to talk to me, because they see me different because i have you with me." >> johnson: obviously she's on heroin because i found the needles in the bedroom. we were handing the addicts off to her so she could do her job. and that freed us up to do ours, which was target the drug dealer. >> alfonsi: standing just under five feet tall, harless is a huge presence on the streets, where she spends most of her working hours. >> harless: hello! good morning. >> alfonsi: the rest of the time, she's finding open beds in rehab and advocating for users in court. she gives all the addicts she meets her cell phone number. >> harless: so you have my number, right here, the cell. you can call or text me any time. >> alfonsi: they call at all hours, and on holidays-- and she says she always answers. >> harless: hey, can we talk for a second? >> addict: yes, ma'am. >> harless: i'm going to give you my information first. my name is krishawna. have you ever had treatment before? >> addict: not really. e terest in geg so treatnt? >> addict: possibly.
>> harless: well, i would like to work with you. help you figure out what would be best for you, and get you in somewhere. there's a lot of individuals that are left in the aftermath, that just need help, and that's where i get to go in. and as a social worker, that's huge. because there is no other job that i could have that would afford me that opportunity meet somebody in that position. >> alfonsi: in that moment. >> harless: in that moment, and, and the look on their face. they just look like they just can't believe it. >> johnson: so, i've been at this for 27, almost 28 years, and i've seen programs come and programs go. most were failures. most did not fix the problem. most moved the problem around. okay? because i never had that option before. okay, i never had an option of rehab and recovery. had a lot of talk, a lot of noise, but nobody ever really fulfilled that promise, until now. >> alfonsi: we spoke to dozens of police departments in areas hardest-hit by the drug epidemic, but none has a program
like huntington's, putting a social worker like harless on the front lines. >> johnson: she has an incredible amount of patience. she will sit there and talk-- and she's not pushy. she's not shoving something down somebody's throat. she just stands there. and she's very calm and collected, and very passionate about what she does. >> harless: so, noon tomorrow? okay, i'll be there. >> alfonsi: a passion and patience, born out of pain. three years ago, she divorced her husband. once a decorated solider, he'd become a drug addict. >> harless: and you know, i would find myself, you know, out on my own, trying to hunt him down, because i was worried that he was dead. and finding him, like, you know, in a crack house. i really get it, on a personal level, and know what it does to families. i know what it does to the person. and i think of that all the time, because if somebody had said, "can i help you?" and they really meant it, and they helped us navigate the system, maybe
things would be different. >> alfonsi: krishawna harless says her husband never accepted her help. most addicts she meets, do. today she's working with over 300 users. 73% of them have gone to rehab. >> harless: i remember going out looking for you. >> recovering addict: yeah, that's when i was on the streets, being a knucklehead. ( laughter ) >> harless: well, it's good to see you, where you're at now. >> recovering addict: i'm glad i'm still alive. >> harless: i am too. >> alfonsi: are there enough programs and rehabilitation facilities for all the addicts that you come in contact with now? >> harless: it can be tricky. but i think that's one of the things that makes this program unique, is that these individuals who are already suffering from addiction, they are not trying to navigate the system. they get to work with me, and i can help them navigate the system. i would really like to help you get in somewhere. we don't ever turn somebody away. there's never a time that somebody says "i need help" and we're like, well, you'll have to wait a couple of months.
>> alfonsi: and why is that so important? what can happen in a day, a week, a month? >> harless: well, they might not be here anymore. >> alfonsi: we saw that during our short time with harless. >> harless: what's going on? >> alfonsi: we met 33-year-old norman stanley, a year out of rehab and working construction. he told us he was clean, and krishawna harless was a big reason why. >> harless: it's really good to be standing here with you and know that you're doing good. >> alfonsi: but addiction isn't easily beaten. four months after we met, norman stanley overdosed on heroin and died. >> harless: obviously in this job, i mean, we also see a lot of people that don't make it. so, you see a lot of people pass away. people that you might have worked with for a long time and they were doing good. those are always hard days. yeah. hey, breanna. >> alfonsi: harless says she won't allow herself to be defeated by those hard days. >> harless: you got a few minutes to talk? >> alfonsi: breanna dement started using drugs when she was
a teenager. this was how she looked when she was first arrested at age 18 for d.u.i. this was her second arrest, here 26 years old, just 90 pounds. this past january, krishawna harless got her out of jail and into treatment. >> breanna dement: i'm glad i got to come here because of the opportunities that they, you know, offer you. >> harless: and you're in a long-term recovery program, which you need. >> dement: yeah, i definitely do. i mean, everybody's always told me that and i was like, "no, i can do this." >> harless: but you were out there for a long time. >> dement: but i needed it. >> harless: so you're doing good. >> dement: yeah, doing really ha?d.y toove to the >>ent: oh os y! >> harless: you look good. ( laughs ) >> dement: thank you. >> johnson: a lot of those faces and a lot of the people that we dealt with over, over and over again, they're not here anymore. they're off to rehab or straightened their life up and moved on. >> alfonsi: the program is part of a larger effort across the city and state to tighten
controls on opioids and stiffen penalties for drug crimes. >> harless: show up tomorrow at health department. >> alfonsi: huntington's new approach is just over two years old, so questions linger about its long-term impact. but the immediate results are restoring a bit of hope here. police say drug-related homicides are down almost 70%. overdoses have dropped more than 40%. >> harless: we have to figure this out, because it doesn't discriminate. and it's not like-- people always say, like, "why do you want to work with those people?" and i'm like, "what are those people? people?" because, i mean, it can be anybody. it really can. ( ticking ) >> cbs sports hq is presented by progressive insurance. happy father's day. i amed a adam zuker in our new york studio. at the wasn't in france, the
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( ticking ) >> cooper: by the time "game of thrones" wrapped its eighth and final season, hundreds of millions of fans had watched in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. hbo based the series on writer george r.r. martin's fantasy novels. but don't let the dragons and magic fool you, it's no kids' show. the characters are complex, and the storylines full of graphic violence, sex and shocking surprises. when we first broadcast this report in april, we thought the unlikely story of how "g turned into one of the most popular television series ever, was a tale in itself. ♪ ♪ "game of thrones" is set in the
mythical seven kingdoms of westeros, whose ruler historically sits on the iron throne. >> kneel! >> cooper: feuding families vie for power. >> i have only loved one woman. >> cooper: manipulation and murder, tools of the trade. >> your sister. ( screams ) >> cooper: a giant wall protects the seven kingdoms. winter has come, and with it, the threat of total annihilation from a seemingly unstoppable army of the dead. for you, what is the show about? >> emilia clarke: power. >> cooper: power? >> clarke: what it does to someone, how much we covet it, how it goes wrong in the wrong hands. and how different it is when you have it versus when you're coveting it. >> cooper: emilia clarke plays daenerys targaryen, also known as the mother of dragons. she leads armies, raised dragons, and has killed a lot of people in her quest to take the iron throne. extraordinary, the sheer number
of ways that people are killed. >> clarke: oh, it's incredible. we really kill them good. daenerys is pretty old-school with her burning. >> cooper: but i guess the dragons also can eat people? >> clarke: indeed. but they like to char them before they-- ( laughs ) and so, a burn is always involved in a dragon... ( laughs ) they like their meat cooked. ( laughs ) >> it's a hard fall down these steps. >> syrio says every hurt is a lesson. >> cooper: actress maisie williams is arya stark, a teenager seeking revenge for the murder of her father. well, how many people have you killed? >> maisie williams: oh, gosh. i-- i've lost count. i think in the book, she has, like, the highest kill count. >> cooper: williams was 12 when "game of thrones" started. she's now 22. this was her first acting job. >> williams: i didn't even want to be an actor. ( laughs ) i wanted to be a dancer. and then, my second audition was for "game of thrones," and then it all just-- >> cooper: there are actors all overing to tcr. >> the things i do for love. >> cooper: george r.r. martin is the novelist behind this murder and magic.
in 1996, he published the first in his series of books, called "a song of ice and fire." for years, hollywood pursued him, trying to turn his books into movies. >> george r.r. martin: their approach was inevitably to simplify. well, okay, these books are too big, we have to cut it all down. i didn't want it simplified. so i said, repeatedly, the-- the sexiest word in hollywood, "no." >> cooper: that's the sexiest word in hollywood? >> martin: but, no, i don't want to do it. until david and dan came along. >> that earlier part of the sequence was pure c.g. >> cooper: "david and dan" are david benioff and dan weiss. at the time, they were young screenwriters and novelists with no television experience, but they loved the massive scale of martin's story. i mean, no disrespect, you were relatively novice in-- in this realm of television. >> dave benioff: yeah. it's not disrespectful. it's a fact. i mean, we had never produced anything. >> cooper: you'd never produced anything? >> dan weiss: what we thought we were facing was a real uphill battle of trying to explain to him why he should avoid all of
these film offers and accept these two guys who'd never made a television show before in their lives. >> benioff: and really, he just wanted to know if we knew the books. >> cooper: they knew the books cold, and convinced martin that if hbo signed on, they would make an epic, cinematic television series that was true to his story. >> martin: i knew that none of the conventional networks were ever going to put this on, not without taking out all the sex and 97% of the violence and making it a kiddie show that was on at 8:00. i wasn't going to let that happen. >> cooper: hbo agreed, seeing it as a series about much more than just dragons and occasional magic. >> martin: if you have a story that is about the human heart in conflict with itself, about these very basic human emotions, about love and, and ambition and greed for power, it doesn't matter if there's a dragon in it, or if it takes place on an alien planet, or if it takes place in faulkner's mississippi. >> cooper: human stories are human stories. >> martin: human stories are human stories, the rest is... is
just furniture. >> i drink, and i know things. >> cooper: that focus on the humanity of the characters is what appealed to peter dinklage. he plays tyrion lannister, an outcast member of the ruling family of westeros. dinklage was the first actor to sign on, despite reservations about the fantasy genre. >> peter dinklage: dwarves in this genre always have pointy shoes and, and big beards, and they're relegated to either comic relief or-- angry warriors, without romance or any human characteristics, really. and that just doesn't attract me as an actor. but this guy, tyrion lannister, has all of that and then some. >> cooper: dinklage recommended lena headey to play his sister, the cunning and ruthless cersei lannister. >> i love my brother. >> cooper: by the way, she also happens to be in an incestuous relationship with her other brother jaime, played by nikolaj coster-waldau. >> nikolaj coster-waldau: i meai
was like, "who, what?" i couldn't remember half the characters, and-- >> cooper: it is confusing. >> coster-waldau: they had weird names, all of them, then you n' >> lena headeyfe le that , "w's going tog, too. watch incestuous twins, dragons?" like, you know, i mean, part of me thinks, "i-- i don't know." and then, it shattered all of that. >> cooper: "game of thrones" was shot in ten different countries, at dozens of locations, many in remote and desolate places. hundreds of crew members worked behind the scenes, and in all, more than 12,000 extras were used. attention to detail was critical. major battle scenes sometimes took weeks to shoot, and had to be carefully choreographed. >> cooper: and then there are the challenge was making them as life-like as possible, especially when actress emilia clarke was supposed to be riding on them. those scenes start as cartoon- like animation, in a process called pre-visualization.
emilia clarke was then filmed riding what, in early episodes, was a pretty low-tech contraption. you're riding on a hard green shell? >> clarke: yeah, and then there was, like, a pole on either end. and it was essentially like, the dudes on the railway who, "eh, eh," and i'm there, kind of trying to, like, "yes, this is bad-ass!" and everyone's like, it doesn't look bad-ass. you look like harry potter. you look like you're on a broomstick. and people are just kind of looking around, being like, "it looks kind of weird." >> cooper: it doesn't look weird, however, when edited together with special effects. some of the most important sets, they actually built from the ground up, like castle black, which is in a quarry outside belfast. actor kit harington, who plays one of the central characters, jon snow, showed us around. what is so interesting, that they built-- i mean, that you feel like this is an actual castle, that's been here for hundreds of years. it's not some sort of c.g.i. creation. >> kit harington: that was-- always with "thrones," what i
felt was amazing is, there was a level of detail that went beyond what the audience sees. >> cooper: jon snow was killed in castle black, and then magically brought back to life. other main characters weren't so lucky. ( screams ) ned stark, played by actor sean bean, appeared to be one of the most important characters in the beginning of the series. then he got his head chopped off before the end of season one. i could not believe you killed off ned stark. >> martin: i have this reputation of being exceptionally bloodthirsty. >> cooper: in person, you don't seem very bloodthirsty. >> martin: "star wars" kills more people than i do. i mean, right in the opening of "star wars," they unleash the death star against the planet alderaan, and-- >> cooper: right, but you don't know who's living on alderaan, or-- >> martin: exactly. death should mean something. so i try to make you feel the deaths. i don't necessarily have more than any other people, but i try to make you feel them more. >> cooper: after ned stark was killed, all the actors realized their characters could be next. >> dinklage: we'd get all the, all the scripts in one package. >> cooper: all the scripts for
that season? >> dinklage: yeah, i would always go to the end, the last page of the last script of, of episode ten, and go backwards. >> cooper: to see if you were alive? >> dinklage: to see if i die. yeah, you just wanted to go out in a heroic way, at least. you don't want to go out, like, off-screen, like, "hey, did you hear about tyrion?" ( laughs ) "aw, what?" "he died." you don't want to go out that way. >> cooper: the level of brutality in "game of thrones" has been controversial, particularly scenes of sexual violence and degrading treatment of women. actors gwendoline christie, liam cunningham and john bradley say there's a reason for showing it all. you know, terrible things happen to some of the women on the show. >> gwendoline christie: this war of the roses. and i would say, learnarn at ths not what needs to happen in the future. >> liam cunningham: this is a
grownup show written by grownups for grownups. violence is disgusting. >> cooper: yeah. >> cunningham: we show, kind of, the reality of it. >> john bradley: the unpleasant, ugly nature of what human beings are capable of doing to other human beings. >> cooper: now that the final season has ended, there are plans to shoot a prequel series, and hbo intends to turn castle black and other locations in northern ireland into tourist attractions. props used in the show are still stored in a warehouse outside belfast. look, a dragon! >> harington: yup. >> cooper: that's a baby dragon! that's one of the baby dragons. wow! for a fan of the series, it's like visiting a shrine. there are stacks of dummy dead bodies from battles, dragon-head skulls, and one of kit harington's most famous costumes, which weighs about 30 pounds. >> harington: hold it from that hanger. >> cooper: gee-- ( laughs ) what-- i can barely hold this thing. >> harington: yeah. >> cooper: wow. remember ned stark, who lost his head in season one? we found it. >> harington: we got ned's head. >> cooper: that's ned's head? >> harington: that's ned's head. >> cooper: oh my god. perhaps the most iconic characters of all in "game of thrones" are white walkers,
supernatural villains who control an army of zombie-like followers called wights. much of their look was created at this studio in kent, england, by barrie gower and his team. people say i look like a white walker all the time. i get made fun of all the time. gower agreed to show us just how complex the makeup for white walkers is. >> comfortable enough there, yeah? >> cooper: separate pieces of silicone are painstakingly applied with glue, then makeup and paint fills in the details. the whole process takes about four hours. the transformation is startling. i keep forgetting that i'm dressed like a white walker. you would think you would feel this. but it... it actually, after a while, it just kind of feels like your regular skin. >> barry gower: i think the temperature of the pieces warm up to your body temperature. and i think it's quite easy to forget that you're wearing something. and it is like a second skin. >> cooper: despite all the meticulous attention to detail and careful planning, about
halfway through the series, the "thrones" executive producers, dan weiss and david benioff, realized they had a problem. the tv show was catching up to the end of george r.r. martin's books. martin had promised two more novels to end the story, but he'd missed all his deadlines. he told the producers how he thought his books would end, but he didn't have all the details. so, for the final seasons, weiss and benioff, who produced the tv series from the beginning, were on their own to decide how the game ends. what is the feeling, as a writer who's dreamed up all these characters, all of a sudden to see it taken in a direction that is not directly of your making? done the most popular tv show in the world. i gave my baby out for adaption, and, and this is not my baby anymore. but the books are still my baby. >> cooper: the "game of thrones" finale in may attracted a record number of viewers for hbo.
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