Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Fantasy Casting Your Favorite Books

Okay, today I'm going to share a game I sometimes play - and have actually played with friends - that's a real blast if you love both books and film. (Or TV. Or BBC miniseries. Or, I suppose, the theatre.) It rests on one question: have you ever thought about who you'd want to have play your favorite literary heroes if Hollywood were ever sensible enough to make a movie based on the book (whatever book that is)?

It's terribly fun. My favorite books to cast are Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan books because they've got such a large cast of such well-drawn characters, but I think you could play it with any book or series and have a blast.

The game is: go through the book in your head, and think of what actor you'd wish to play each character. This is fantasy casting, so you can pick "an older Helena Bonham Carter" if you wish or "a brunette Reese Witherspoon" or whatever.  

(Sad thing is, there are some great books you simply can't play this with, because they've already both been filmed and been perfectly cast. I mean, can you see anyone but Derek Jacobi as Brother Cadfael? Or anyone other than Sean Bean as Richard Sharpe? Even Bernard Cornwell couldn't see anyone but Sean Bean as Richard Sharpe!)

As an example of how the game is played, here's how I'd currently cast the Vorkosigan books:

Miles: a younger Robert Downey, Jr. Insanely close runner-up: a young Hugh Laurie (if he can play both Wooster and House, he could play both parts of Miles). Insanely close runner-up the second: David Tennant. Obviously, all of them would have to be much, much shorter than they really are.

Aral: Mel Gibson. Weird choice, but the scandal currently clinging to him would actually enhance this particular character, I think. 

Cordelia: Emma Thompson.

Galeni: Stanley Tucci. Seriously, he would do such a great job.

Bothari: Sean Bean.

Elena: Eliza Dushku (yes, this does mean I don't like Elena as much as I think you're supposed to).

Elli: Gina Torres, of Firefly fame.

Ekaterin:  a slightly younger Cate Blanchett.

Ivan: a slightly taller Orlando Bloom.

Gregor: Ioan Grufedd.

I'll stop there, even though I'm leaving out tons of other great characters, like Koudelka and Drou and Tung and Mayhew. And Alys and Illyan. And Pym. And Taura. Etc.

So, there you go. If you get stuck in a doctor's office, and you forgot to bring a book, and the only  magazines on the table are Car and Driver and Prevention, you have something to distract yourself with. 

What books would you cast? I'm especially interested if you're a fan of the Vorkosigan books too; I'd love to know how other fans would cast them.

Peace of Christ to you,

Jessica Snell


Jane said...

I am always trying to cast "That Hideous Strength," but some of the characters are just so strange it's hard to come up with possibilities. Where I really get stuck is on Professor Frost, because I have such a crystal clear picture of him in my mind that no real, actual person could fit it, and any actual actor falls short. I have nearly as much trouble with Feverstone. Any suggestions?

Adam said...

I don't think your Elena Bothari would work. She's supposed to have a larger nose, the same hooked nose as Bothari, but the pretty, feminine form.

MomCO3 said...

Oh, I think this would be fun if I actually knew these books. Hmmm...

Jessica said...

Wow, I don't know who I'd cast as Feverstone or Frost. I'd have to think on it . . . and probably read the book again! (Not an odious task!)