Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Heroes

I'll be honest here. I'm not familiar with a lot of the work of two pretty major players from the books. I picked them on looks alone (I didn't think voice was important) and picked Hanna Mangan-Lawrence (left) of Spartacus fame to play Egwene al'Vere. If any of you have any objection to that, please let me know, but I'm talking in terms of acting skill, so if all you have to say is "she's ugly", well, sorry, not gonna cut it. To me, she looks very similar to how I've always pictured Egwene, and at 21, she's a good age, too. Now, this is the first role I would suggest re-naming for the series proper, mainly because with three major characters whose name ends with an "aine" sound, I think her name should either be changed to "Gwen", or at least pronounced "ee-Gwen", not "ee-Gwayn", as Jordan said it.

For Princess Elayne Trakand of Andor, I picked Amber Marshall (right), a 24-year-old Canadian actress that I'll admit, I mainly picked because she looks like a pretty good Elayne and I felt like we needed some more Canadians in the cast (Canadian filming laws, and all that). She's the right age, the right look, and from what I can tell the right talent, and she's already made a name for herself, starring in Heartland.

And here's one of the aforementioned Canadian actresses, Jennifer Halley (left), who I've chosen for Nynaeve a'Meara. I decided to make her noticeably older than the other two lead women, mainly because I want her to be closer in age to the actor playing Lan. Halley has a wide range of emotions, but she does prickly and angry well, which we all know Nynaeve must have.

For Moiraine Damodred (right), I went with an American, and one of the few well-known actors in my cast. I picked her because she's basically the "Gandalf" for this series, and it won't hurt to have someone in the role audiences are familiar with. She's definitely got the ageless thing right (does she look 40 to you?) and even at this stage in her career she's still playing "young" characters. She's also got a range and although she's mostly known for comedies, I believe she has the chops to play Moiraine. As for the accent, I'm less concerned about whether she can sound "British" and more concerned that she come up with a "voice" that doesn't sound out of place (a la Peter Dinklage of Thrones). I think she can.
 The role of a'Lan Mandragoran (better known as Lan) was a tough one to cast. I knew I didn't want a huge name here because Lan is a man of few words, but I didn't want a muscle-head who couldn't act, either. So, I finally settled on Dave Legeno (left), a former MMA star turned actor that you may remember from the later Harry Potter movies (he played Fenrir Greyback). He's a good enough actor for this role, and will look convincing while fighting, plus he's 6'3", so he's got the height going for him.

I'll confess something to you; I've pictured Christopher Lloyd (right) as Thomdril "Thom" Merrilen ever since first reading the books. To me, Thom will always look and sound like him. He's a bit older than Thom is described, but honestly, I'm not worried about that. Like Moiraine, I'm also not worried about his accent. All he has to do is play his best Christopher Lloyd and we'll have ourselves an amazing Thom.
 When researching young British actors for these roles, I came across Dakota Blue Richards (left), who played an androgynous character on Skins, and judging from the pic at left, she did so pretty well. It may be type-casting, but I like the idea of her as Elmindreda "Min" Farshaw. She may be younger than the others (19) but she's just...Min. The character's age isn't really important (even if it does say she's older than Rand). She also carries some fantasy cred; she played Lyra in the film The Golden Compass.
Then there's Loial the Ogier. There's been much debate about whether the Ogier should be brought to life by FX or make-up. I'm gonna vote make-up, combined with forced perspective shots, as many shots as possible where Loial is the only character in frame, and a bare minimum of digital splicing in order to make him look huge. For those who suggest no TV studio could afford make-up like that, I remind you that the various Star Treks, plus Buffy, Angel, Babylon 5 and numerous others came up with inventive make-up looks for their alien/demon characters, and on pretty modest budgets for the most part. Loial's make-up shouldn't be that hard. Of course, it will help to have a freakin' huge actor with a really deep voice in the role. Enter John DeSantis (right), a Canadian (!) actor mostly known for playing Lurch on the short-lived remade Addams Family series in the late 90's. Mr. DeSantis is 6'9" and has a voice so rumbly-deep the first time I heard it I could swear it was computer generated. DeSantis won't even need that many perspective shots, he's so big. And you can't really see it in the picture but he really does have sausage-thick fingers like the Ogier is stated to.

Next up: The Forsaken!

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