I assume we’re all aware of what fantasy casting is? It’s the act of letting your mind wander and considering exactly who, in a perfect world, would play the characters of a favourite book if that book made the leap to television or movie screens.
In this day and age, I’d be amazed to find an author who doesn’t do this. Let’s face it, what better acclamation of your work can there be than to see it recreated by your favourite actors? And it’s not just a writer’s thing. Pick your favourite book. Doesn’t matter what it is. Can you honestly tell me you’ve never thought about who’d be perfect in a new adaptation? Of course you have (unless you don’t ever watch TV, but that’s a different kettle of fish).
As is probably obvious by now, I indulge in a spot of fantasy casting. It’s generally something I engage in at the end of the first draft, partly as a reward for actually having finished the first draft (we all need one, after all), and partly to check I’ve actually got the characters down the way I intended. After all, if I can’t hear an actor reading the dialogue, then I’ve probably not written the dialogue correctly. It helps crystallise the characters in my mind, in other words.
That being the case, I thought I’d take the opportunity to share my fantasy casting for Queen of Eventide. First, I’ve a couple of ground rules I want to share.
The main one, is that being dead is no barrier to success in my wholly fictitious casting office – the role goes to the best candidate. Let’s face it, the odds are stacked against my stories leaping across media lines, so I may as well shoot for the ideal, even if it does strain the laws of causality. Then again, it’s commonplace for actors (particularly women, it seems) to play characters younger than themselves; squint, and this counts as precedent, don’t you think?
Rule number two is shockingly similar: if an actor or actress was once of suitable age to play a part, we’ll assume they still are. We’re already bringing the dead back to life for this process, so knocking off the odd decade here or there (if required) really shouldn’t be much of a stretch now, should it?
With all that in mind, I present my fantasy casting for Queen of Eventide. But this kind of thing’s much more fun if more people participate. Please use the comments below to sound off about your own opinions.
Oh, and I’m also going to keep this discussion spoiler-free, so if you’ve not read Queen of Eventide yet (shame on you) there’s no need to look away.
Jennifer Lawrence as Maddie Lincoln
Yep, I’m literally shooting for the stars with this one. In my defence, Lawrence’s career wasn’t rising at anywhere near as meteoric a rate when I first added her to this list (at least in the slow-time zone that I live in, where it can take up to five years before I realise a non-superhero film’s come out). That explanation aside, Maddie’s by turns vulnerable, determined and ‘do not cross’. Whoever plays her has to be capable of staring down each and every other actor on this list, even while being caught in a cycle of ‘what the hell’s going on?’ Jennifer Lawrence remains a great fit.
Lynn Collins as The Dark Lady
Portraying Queen of Eventide’s antagonist requires charm, black humour and the ability to go from seductive to dangerous at the drop of a hat (or the sound of a hunting horn, perhaps). This role goes straight to Lynn Collins, whose performance as Dejah Thoris in John Carter is easily amongst the highlights of a vastly underrated film.
Roger Delgado as William
There just isn’t another choice for this one. Never has there been a man who delighted so much in playing an antihero, and that’s the kind of energy the role of William needs. Clearly a man with a plan and a purpose, and no compunction about keeping that purpose to himself, William just wouldn’t be right in any hands other than Delgado’s.
James McAvoy as Charles King
What can I say about Charles King? Well, chiefly that he needs to be likeable, but with a slightly exasperating edge. He needs to wear a smile to mask what’s going on behind his eyes, and have enough frenetic energy on call if the situation requires. McAvoy’s the man for this, I reckon.
Mark Strong as The Huntsman
The Huntsman is a looming presence throughout Queen of Eventide. Even when he’s not seen, you know he’s nearby, just biding his time. For me, only Mark Strong combines that endless, basilisk patience with a suitably brooding nature. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at any production photo from anything he’s in…
George Pravda as Inspector George Cerny
I freely admit this is an oddball pick. Most people reading this won’t have any idea who George Pravda is, but in my house (and much to my wife’s amusement) he’s referred to as ‘Uncle George’. Pravda showed up in a range of films and TV across the 60s, 70s and 80s – including my personal favourites Doctor Who, The Prisoner and I, Claudius – almost invariably as a charming, paternal figure (hence the ‘Uncle George’ nickname). Given that George Cerny is also of Czech origins, this one seemed like a shoe-in. Destiny, almost.
Holliday Grainger as Inga Haugen
In Showtime‘s The Borgias, Holliday Grainger portrayed the notorious Lucrezia Borgia as an outwardly fragile young woman with an ever-solidifying core of steel. While Inga doesn’t necessarily face quite the same… challenges… as Lucrezia, this feels like a good match.
James Purefoy as Robin
Gah! This is starting to look like a John Carter fixation (it’s not, it’s pure coincidence that he’s the third on this list after Lynn Collins and Mark Strong). Yes, James Purefoy has a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it role in John Carter, but he’s on this list more for his dour turn as Solomon Kane, in the film of the same name. Shouldn’t be a surprise, but this role calls for a physically capable actor, as well as one who can be by turns both personable and threatening. Purefoy’s one of those actors who should just get more work, so I’m happy to oblige, just to see him break more heads.
So that’s it, my fantasy casting for Queen of Eventide. I’d love to hear yours…
Queen of Eventide is available in Paperback and on Kindle from Amazon.