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© 1987-2016
Scott Larson

Building façade in Cannes, France

Casting aspersions

You thought I had forgotten. Or maybe it was you who forgot. Whichever way it is, I did not forget.

On the eve of the release of my latest book, The Three Towers of Afranor—more than two months ago now—I said I would have some casting notes for the gaggle of filmmakers who would doubtless be vying to adapt it for the big screen. Apparently, my delay in fulfilling this promise has not been a problem for any of those filmmakers, since none of them has gotten in touch to find out what was taking so long. Maybe they are intimidated by me. Or maybe they worry that being too aggressive would land them on my bad side and foil their chances to secure the rights. Anyway, it doesn’t matter now because I am hereby ready to share my thoughts on casting.

The plum role, as always, will be that of the villain—in this case the Black Sorcerer, also known as Leannain. Dream casting? Maybe Laurence Olivier in his later hammier years, but let’s restrict this to currently breathing actors. Sir Ian McKellen would be anybody’s choice (for anything), or perhaps Sir Ben Kingsley. Either Jeremy Irons or Malcolm McDowell would be an interesting way to go. Or here’s a crazy idea. What about Bill Nighy? He might be the right person to bring off the tricky ambiguity written into the character.

Lady Aigneis, the old hump-backed woman in charge of Castle Aill Stoirm? She may not seem like the most sought-after role for a mature female actor. Lots of makeup and prostethetics would be required. But she does get a fairly heroic bit toward the end. Would Vanessa Redgrave possibly do it? Also Blythe Danner comes to mind. Yes, Meryl Streep could play it because, after all, she can play anything. She would even research an impeccable Afranor accent. Come to think of it, though, who would be better for this part (or any part, for that matter) than the great Charlotte Rampling. Yes, that would be my dream casting.

King Reicheart would not be much of a part. He would only get a couple of scenes, but a skilled actor could certainly make the most of them. Who better than Robert Duvall? You couldn’t go wrong with Sir Anthony Hopkins either. Or John Hurt. I also can see Christopher Lloyd in the role. That would be interesting.

The other roles would be for young actors. There is no lack of names here. The lazy way to go would be to just pick actors from Game of Thrones. Would Emilia Clarke (with her own hair color) work for the skilled warrior princess Eilís? Not sure. Another way to go would be to poach an established young female warrior type from an existing franchise. Jennifer Lawrence? Not really my image of Afranor’s princess. Daisy Ridley would be just about ideal, although she will henceforth be totally tied in the public’s mind to the Star Wars universe. Chloë Grace Moretz might work. Eilís is described as small of stature, and Moretz definitely has action cred from her Kick-Ass days. And no list of potential young female action leads would be complete without Ireland’s own Saoirse Ronan. She can turn her hand to anything.

What about the critical role of Chrysteffor, youngest brother of the famous fighting princes of Alinvayl? That’s a tricky role to cast. He needs to be convincing as a callow youth but be able to mature through the course of the story. Most young male actors who are currently hot in Hollywood are, well, just too hunky. (Sorry, Zac Efron.) Ezra Miller might work, but he’s clearly going to be tied up in DC land as the big screen Flash. Ditto for Tom Holland, who would actually be a good choice, but he’s already got a life being the latest Spider-Man. If we want to emphasize Chrys’s somewhat ethereal quasi-androgynous quality, it would be a good excuse to employ the talented Asa Butterfield. I think, however, if I were forced to pick someone right this minute, I would go with lanky intense Australian Kodi-Smit-McPhee. Of course, as with seemingly all interesting young actors, he has been scooped up by the X-Men behemoth.

That’s probably enough to think about for now. This is all really just to get the conversation going. I am willing to listen to your casting ideas as well, Mr. Auteur/Writer/Director. I understand you will have your own ideas on casting and people you like to work with. If this will be your first movie and you are apprehensive about taking on an epic action/adventure saga as your first project, I do remind you that the rights to the my previous novel, Maximilian and Carlotta Are Dead, are, surprisingly as it may be, still up for grabs.

-S.L., 16 August 2016

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