Fantasy Casting: Legacy of Ash

For those who don’t follow me on Twitter ( … firstly, you probably should. I’m a lot more active over there. Well, a bit more active … ) I’ve been indulging a spot of fantasy casting for Legacy of Ash.

You know, given infinite money, talent expertise etc. etc. etc. who would I cast in a big screen (or small screen, the way things are going) adaptation of the novel?

I’ll recap the Twitter thread, but I’ll have some bonus not-on-Twitter content afterwards. Are you sitting comfortably? Do you have your popcorn?

Let’s begin.

The Big Hitters

Richard Armitage gives us a grim, haunted Viktor – which is what we want – played off against a stern, emotionally-controlled Josiri. Zendaya’s Melanna is as inspiring, spiritual and dangerous as times demand, while Emilia Clarke gives us a nuanced, hopeful Calenne.

Friends, Family & Advisors

Nicholas Hoult and Deborah Ann Woll are well-matched as the Reveques, delivering reason and determination when called for, and Eva Green’s Katya Trelan bows to no one!

Elsewhere, Tilda Swinton portrays a cold, intelligent Ebigail. Rounding out the Kiradin family, Luke Evans charms as Kasamor, while Sophie Turner gives us an introspective Sevaka. Anastacia’s a character with a wide range of roles and emotions, which Grace Park will bring to life as only a conflicted ex-cylon can.

I’m partway through my first, dedicated watch of Deep Space Nine, so not casting Alexander Siddig as everyone is really tough, but he’s deployed here as a spiritual, measured take on Kai Saran.

Warriors, Priests & Spies

Supporting cast time, which means breaking out some fantastic character actors.

Ben Mendelsohn and Judi Dench playing off against one another sounds like fun. Dermot Crowley give Richard Armitage’s Viktor a wise, careful mentor, while Brie Larson gives warmth to the introverted Rosa Orova.

Jason Isaacs gives us a dangerous but warm and ebullient Izack (isn’t hard to remember the name, which is also a plus for the busy casting director). Chiwetel Ejiofor embodies a softly-spoken Haldrane. And I’m sure we can trust James Callis’ Drakos Crovan, right?

Last of all, we have Rachel Weisz breathing Apara Rann’s conflicted being into cinematic life.

Demons, Divinities & Other Ne’er-do-Wells

It’s the home stretch. On to those who are a bit … different.

I love the pairing of Jennifer Lawrence’s contemplative but steely Ashana and the brooding menace of Mark Strong’s Huntsman. Oded Fehr gives us a charming Raven with only a hint of malice, while Keira Knightlet’s Malatriant is cold to the core.

Bonus: The 1990s (ish) BBC Version

If you’ve been following me for any time at all, you know I’m grounded in a certain era of classic British TV, running from the late 60s to about the mid 90s.

So let’s see what Legacy of Ash’s fantasy casting would have looked like thirty years ago. One or two names from overseas as well. After all, it’s fantasy casting. I’m going to take a lot more liberties with hair colour and age in this one, as it’s a smaller sample to choose from. Even without that, there’s a very different tone at play.

Speaking of plays, perhaps this is the serialised radio play, rather than a TV mini-series? That would work nicely …

Yes, there are lots of Doctor Who guest stars here. Doctor Who was the 80s Game of Thrones.

Era-appropriate photos where I could find them.

The Big Hitters
(90s BBC Version)

Very different flavour even to the main cast. Dalton brings a more unsavoury edge to Viktor’s portrayal, while Josiri is much less broody. As for the rest, coming straight off the back of Northanger Abbey and Ghost Light, Katharine Schlesinger is used to being a bird in a gilded cage, and no one should doubt Joanne Whalley of being capable of delivering an angry beatdown or two.

Friends, Family & Advisors
(90s BBC Version)

The Reveques garner a pair of nuanced, thoughtful performers. Ebigail is even colder in this version. (Anyone who grew up in the 80s knows that if you’re bad, Jean Marsh will come and do terrible things to you).

Sean Bean’s a few years from being Richard Sharpe, but he’s super-suitable for the swashbuckling Kasamor. Even back in the 90s, Embeth Davidtz had the right balance of softness and steel for Sevaka.

Susannah Doyle’s Joy Merriweather (Drop the Dead Donkey) have a frightening amount of shared worldview … and anyone who thinks Mira Furlan can’t sell the idea of a county rebelling against its parent nation has simply not been paying attention.

Last up, Pat Roach brings an imposing presence to Kai Saran.

Warriors, Priests & Spies
(90s BBC Version)

We’re deep into the supporting cast now, and you know how much I love my supporting cast.

Alan Rickman as Kurkas … well, need I say more? Does anyone not want to hear him sniping back and forth with Siân Phillips, who’ll give as good as she gets? Veteran character actor Kevin Stoney brings gravitas to Viktor’s father-figure, and Michelle Forbes a steely spine and ever-present wrath to Rosa Orova.

Izack, if anything, is even louder and more intimidating in the 90s. Andrew Robinson’s about to define distrustful – if humble – fellows for a decade, so we’ll give him a warm up. And Brian Croucher as Crovan? That’s a face you can trust.

Finally, let’s get Gillian Anderson in for Apara Rann before she becomes too expensive and famous for the BBC when X-Files hits big.

Demons, Divinities & Other Ne’er-do-Wells
(90s BBC Version)

Final run …

Carrie Fisher would give us a sharper, more judgemental Ashana, and Robert Addie a less moody – but angrier – Huntsman. Elisabeth Sladen offers up a playful, malevolent Malatriant. Last but not least, with John Hurt delivering the lines, the Raven’s more cynical and (even more) ennui-laden.

Have Better Ideas?

Then I want to hear ’em – let me know in the comments down below!

Until Death!

Legacy of Steel is available on November 3rd (USA) and November 5th (UK). Legacy of Ash is available now from all good bookstores. Skip the queues by ordering your copies using the links below.

Follow @thetowerofstars on Twitter for more news, updates and ephemera about the Legacy Trilogy.

LEGACY OF ASH (available now)

A shadow has fallen over the Tressian Republic.

Ruling families plot against one another with sharp words and sharper knives, heedless of the threat posed by the invading armies of the Hadari Empire.

The Republic faces its darkest hour. Yet as Tressia falls, heroes rise.

‘A hugely entertaining debut’ John Gwynne

LEGACY OF STEEL (pre-order)

A year has passed since an unlikely alliance saved the Tressian Republic from fire and darkness – at great cost. Thousands perished, and Viktor Akadra – the Republic’s champion – has disappeared.

While the ruling council struggles to mend old wounds, other factions sense opportunity. The insidious Parliament of Crows schemes in the shadows, while to the east the Hadari Emperor gathers his armies. As turmoil spreads across the Republic, its ripples are felt in the realms of the divine.

War is coming… and this time the gods themselves will take sides

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