I've blogged before about the Fantasy Movie Casting Game, and how I occasionally like to while away idle hours, like when I ought to be cleaning stuff or tidying the house, scripting my public reaction to the news that Richard Armitage would be delighted to play Major Harker in the movie of The Untied Kingdom, and how in fact he called me in advance to beg my assistance in securing the role.
Ahem. Okay, that's another fantasy. Today I'm going to extend the question Sue Marchant asked me in my radio interview the other day, about who, if The Untied Kingdom was made into a movie, I'd choose to play the main parts.
Well, Harker is easy. I may have mentioned this before, but I even had Richard Armitage in mind for Harker while I was writing it, especially his role in BBC's Robin Hood. Harker is dark, tempestuous, smart, strong, brave, and loyal, all of which I've seen Richard handle with aplomb. Plus, well, have you seen him?
Eve was considerably harder. She's a former teen popstar who has fallen on hard times and has been existing in a twilight state of depression for three years, whereupon she falls into an alternate universe full of mud and blood, thinks she's going insane, recovers her attitude, loses her vanity, and falls for a soldier.
I knew what she looked like in her teenage popstar years--Hannah from S Club 7 actually--but for some reason she doesn't look like her as an adult. I know. Weird. My mum suggested Billie Piper but she's not right either. Sue Marchant suggested P!nk, who's not bad but a little hard-looking for Eve. I continued to have no idea, until I rewatched the Doctor Who episode Blink with Carey Mulligan and thought, "That's Eve!"
Either her, or Emma Watson, although she's a little young.
There are various other characters with parts to play, such as Harker's ex-wife Saskia. Someone with grace and poise is required for Saskia, like Kristen Scott Thomas, although I'm not sure if there's too much of an age gap between actress and character (although I don't specify her age, there's also no mention of Harker's wife being much older than himself).
Saskia has a little sister, Tallulah, who I can see quite well as Keira Knightley. Tallulah is young and fresh and pretty, but has a steely aristocratic core and could shoot a man point blank if she had to. And, in fact, she does.
General Wheeler is an elegant, intelligent, and frightening woman. She's Judi Dench, hands down.
Captain Haran, or Daz the doctor, is Burn Gorman. Funny how some characters just swim into your head fully formed.
Private Banks, the joker and crack shot of the group, I haven't cast yet. He's from somewhere undefined in the south of England, talks like a Cockney but he's a game poacher, a ducker and diver, a wheeler and dealer. He's young, and neither attractive nor unattractive. He can turn his hand to most things, whether it's driving a car or preparing a tasty stew from what he finds lying around in the forest. Well, I say lying around. Growing in someone's garden is probably a more accurate way to put it.
And then there's our villain, Captain Sholt. Someone who can be obsequious, with lizard-flat eyes and a sly, chilling, nasty intelligence. Someone you can't trust right from the first second you see him. There's a lot of the late Pete Postlethwaite's Sergeant Hakeswill in him, but I see Sholt as smaller and darker. A nasty piece of work. Answers on a postcard please.
So that's my fantasy cast for The Untied Kingdom. What do you think? Do you have other suggestions? Would you disagree with mine?
That's it from me for now, as I've got a book launch to prepare for tomorrow. Forget the wine and the books, do I have the right shoes?