First off, I’d like to thank those of you who voted for my book to be included on Gail Carriger’s “What to read while Gail is writing” list. Gail has a huge fanbase, and getting their attention is a big goal of mine, as I think her books and mine have a lot in common. So thanks. And feel free to talk All Men of Genius up to her fans. I think they’ll like it. Likewise, if you haven’t read her books, but have enjoyed mine, give hers a try.
But onto why you’re really here: The Casting Game.
We all do it. If you ever meet an author who says they’ve never thought of their book being made into a movie, they’re either lying or incredibly pretentious or unambitious or have written something really odd, or without people in it, but something else, like magical talking houseplants.
So yeah, I cast my book in my head. Not in a “yes, this person for this role” sort of way – often I switch people out and such, but I recently saw one of the lesser-known actresses I sometimes think of playing Violet, and she was on TrueBlood! So I thought I’d share.
Violet: As I said, I just saw one of the actresses I think of playing her on TrueBlood. Her name is Lucy Griffiths, and she’s joined the cast of TrueBlood playing Nora. I know her from Collision, a really great British miniseries (on Netflix streaming). I think she’s great, she can do both smart and naive, and she has the right sort of wit in her eyes. My concern since I saw her on TrueBlood is she seems to have lost a bit of weight (or maybe that was just her lack of clothes), and while I think she should be whatever weight makes her happiest and healthiest, I do picture Violet as having a more Victorian figure. The other contender in my mind is Emma Watson. We know she can play smart. We know she can do fierce. We know she can rock short hair. But I have doubts that in this highly hypothetical movie situation she would even take the role, as it might be too Harry Potter redux. Theres also Gemma Arterton, who is talented and beautiful, and has the perfect figure and coloring… but I just can’t see her in the role. I’m not sure why – feel free to argue with me. So what do you think? Lucy? Emma? Gemma? Someone else?
Ashton: Obviously, he has to be believably Violet’s twin, so that’ll depend on who gets cast there, but let’s be honest, how often do siblings look related in movies? The main problem I have here is I don’t know many young British actors. And I think it would be better if it were all Brit actors, right? Cause when Americans do British accents, it can be very hit or miss. That said, I will say Josh Hutcherson comes to mind. I haven’t seen him in anything, but he looks sort of how I picture Ashton, and he’s really big on gay rights, which I appreciate. Plus he has a huge fanbase. But that’s a half-hearted effort on my part. I should watch more British shows about young people, I guess. How about you folks? Who do you see playing Ashton?
Ernest: Ah, Ernest. Broody, sexy, and I think that that scene where he’s in the bath, when filmed, should maybe show a little naked behind. I confess, the name that comes most readily to mind is Jamie Bamber, of Battlestar Gallactica. My only concern is that at 39 years old, 29 might be a bitch of a stretch. Still… he is sexy and broody. Okay, maybe casting the men is becoming more of a candy-shop scenario for me.
So let’s get back to the women.
Miriam: This is a hard one for me. Ideally, I’d love to see her played by a French women of Persian Jewish Heritage. That said, I know no actresses who fit that description. I also think accent is less of an issue with Miriam – her accent is so weird and complex the actress will need a vocal coach to help her get all the nuances, no matter what her natural accent is. So, who comes to mind? For a start, the fantastic actress Bahar Soomekh, who is a Middle-Eastern Jew… but again, at 37, I wonder how viable it is for her to play someone in their mid-20s. My other idea, and I know this is going to be offensive, and I’ll get into that in a moment, but my other idea is Erica Cerra, of Eureka. She looks how I imagine Miriam, and on Eureka I’ve seen her do both the stern, button up persona and the sexy, devil-may-care person – Miriam’s two main sides. The problem with Ms. Cerra is she’s not of any sort of Middle-Eastern decent. As far as I know, she’s Italian. And I think that that would rightly offend some people. Cinematic whitewashing isn’t cool. It implies that people of color aren’t good enough to play themselves in film, and it keeps them from landing leads when they deserve them. But I will admit, Ms. Cerra looks uncannily like how I picture Miriam (although she’d have to bind a little – Miriam has a boyish, almost curve-less figure), and would play her excellently.
Cecily: Again, we run into the “Lev-doesn’t-watch-British-Shows-About-Young-People” problem. And Cecily is the youngest of them all. Cecily should be ridiculously beautiful, in a porcelain doll sort of way. Blonde, pale, short, but again the Victorian figure. And sixteen. So, the only 16-looking British actress that came to mind was Bonnie Wright, who was Ginny Weasley in the Harry Potter films. I gotta say, she looks lovely, these days. Possibly a little tall for Cecily, but now I wonder if I shouldn’t move her to the Violet section. If she played Cecily, I don’t know how she’d look as a blonde, either. The other name that I thought of was Emilia Clarke, best known for playing Dany on the HBO Game of Thrones series. It’s hard to tell in the role, with the crazy white hair and the often being covered in dirt/naked, but she is sort of adorable and young looking in a carefree Cecily sort of way. But she’d have to be a gold blonde, not the ash blonde she is in Game of Thrones. Also, though I know both these women can do fierce and strong, I’ve never seen them do traditionally “girly,” which is a key component to Cecily – that being girly can also mean being smart and strong.
Jack: Ah Jack. Goofy handsome. Mischievous. There’s really only one name that comes to mind, and that’s Matt Lewis. He’s best known for playing Neville Longbottom in the Harry Potter movies, and the boy has grown up good looking, and every time I see a photo of him, he looks like he’s about to cause trouble. They’d need to lighten his hair for Jack, but I always pictured Jack as dirty blonde, anyway.
Fiona: I know, she’s a more minor character, but there’s really only one actress I ever envisioned as Fiona. An actress who inspired Fiona, in fact. Michelle Gomez. If you don’t know who she is, go watch the amazing Green Wing. She’s hilarious on it. No one would do Fiona better.
In fact, I’d mine Green Wing for lots of actors: Mark Heap for Professor Bunburry, Steve Mangan for Professor Bracknell, Julian Rhind-Tutt for Professor Valentine, Olivia Colman for Mrs. Wilks. Why? Cause they’re all hilarious. I want to write more characters just for the rest of these actors. Alas, none are quite young enough to be Toby or Drew, two more characters in need of casting. But that’s enough for today. What do you think? Who should be cast? How about a voice actor for Oscar? (this just in: Green Wing is now on netflix streaming. Go watch it)
*I found all these images through google image search. If you took a photo and would like credit, please indicate so and I will gladly credit you. If you took a photo and would prefer I not use it, I will gladly take it down at your request.