Today, I am very proud to host Kentucky Geek Girl's first official stop on a blog tour! If you'll recall, I was a surprise stop on Jackie Gamber's tour for her new book Sela, but this will be the first time that we've planned everything out before hand. I'm very excited to host a guest post by the incomparable author Stephen Zimmer. Stephen and I sat down for a nice cup of coffee at Joseph-Beth Booksellers awhile back and you were able to see his answers to my questions in a post from last week. One very interesting thing about Stephen: he's not just an author, but a filmmaker as well. He even has his own IMDB page!
When thinking about a story, I think it's neat to imagine who would play a character in a movie version. I've done this for many characters in role-playing game campaigns in particular and it's just fun to think about. For today's stop on the Spirit of Fire tour, I asked Stephen to think about who he would cast in a film version of his Fires of Eden series. Spirit of Fire, the third book in the series, is out now. Thank you so much, Stephen, for stopping by and sharing your fantasy cast!
You'll be able to see Stephen discuss and sign Spirit of Fire at Joseph-Beth Booksellers on Friday, June 22 at 7 PM. For more information about upcoming events at Joseph-Beth, check out their website!
Please enjoy this guest post by author and filmmaker Stephen Zimmer.
As those familiar with me know, in addition to being an author I am also a filmmaker. I have to say I was very excited when Natasha asked me to come up with a Dream Cast for my Fires in Eden series. This was a very fun post to do, but I do have to say a few things about my picks before we move onward.
The following list takes into account that I would have an unlimited budget, as the money required to secure the participation of the following actors would make the John Carter cost overruns look mild by comparison, most likely! Secondly, this is also taking into account that there are many instances where hair color, eye color, and some aging adjustments must be made with the actor involved (in the case of aging adjustments, maybe adding just a few years to some).
Finally, my series has a very large ensemble of characters. I have tried to give a nice cross section of this ensemble, but I don’t want to overwhelm the blog by trying to list every last character. Further, there are some that I simply could not think of a good fit for.
One was the Unifier, who has to have an almost flawless appearance that has hints of multiple ethnicities. Another is Mershad, as during my “casting” I found that there is a really sparse selection of younger actors of middle eastern heritage in Hollywood. I have a definite image of Mershad in my head, so I would likely have to do some open calls to fit that role.
So, now that we have that out of the way, let’s have a little fun! Action!
First, for some of the characters from our world: (listing format: character from Fires in Eden, then actor, and sometimes a movie reference in parentheses)
Janus: Taylor Kitsch (John Carter) - I really like the way that Taylor comes across on the screen, and while the role of Janus does not have as much of a combat need as Taylor’s role for John Carter did, I do think that Taylor can carry the “stranger in a strange land” feel very well, be thoughtful, brooding, and all the other aspects that Janus displays in the book series. Seeing him in John Carter, where he is taken from his time into another world, was very convincing to me.
Erika: Ellen Hollman (Saxa in Spartacus) - Erika needs to have a leading presence, and also be athletic, and Ellen Hollman demonstrates both qualities well in her role as Saxa in the Spartacus series on Starz. Ellen would be in for a change of hair color as Erika, but I think she would find a role that is rich in dimension as Erika journeys through the Fires in Eden series.
Logan: Dustin Clare (Gannicus from Spartacus) - Dustin carried a very brooding intensity in many scenes in Spartacus, quiet and simmering, and I really want to see that in Logan if a film version was made. Logan is also a good-looking fellow, and Dustin could fit that requirement adequately, as many female viewers of Spartacus would likely agree.
Lynn: Spencer Locke (Resident Evil) - Lynn needs to match up well with Erin, as they are best of friends, and I think she can carry the reflectiveness that needs to be present in Lynn, who is very sobered by the experiences she has in Ave.
Erin: Tania Saulnier (In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale) - I think Tania would be a good match for Spencer Locke, with a nice chemistry between the two. With the good balance in their appearances, it would be fun to see the very distinct acting differences with Erin’s stubborn and combative attitude pitted against Lynn’s rapid acceptance of the new reality in Ave.
Lee : Tony Leung ChiuWai (Red Cliff ) - The most matured of our modern day ensemble in Fires in Eden, Lee needs to be portrayed by an actor that is not too strong of a physical presence, but one that conveys a good, grounded maturity. My vote goes to Tony for this role, as I can see him becoming a father figure out of necessity for those with him in Ave!
Derek: Nate Parker (Red Tails) - Derek is strong and confident, and Nate Parker can definitely bring that vibe to the screen. He did a great job in Red Tails, and has an excellent physical presence.
Ryan: Thomas Mann (Project X) - I might ask Thomas to add just a little weight, but he’s got that taller, longer-limbed look I envision for Ryan.
Antonio: Walter Perez (in Avengers as a young S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot) - Walter has a good look for Antonio. This was one of the harder ones for me to find a satisfactory fit for, as I wanted someone that would look “right” with Logan. I feel Walter would be a good match.
A few Trogens
Dragol: Rory McCann (Sandor Clegane [The Hound] in Game of Thrones) - I have long wondered who I would cast as Dragol. Who could have a balance of physicality and introspection/reflection that is required for Dragol was for a long while a question that I could not answer until I saw the Game of Thrones episodes and discovered Rory McCann. He is a big 6’6 figure, but he also shows a great talent for subtlety in his acting. Sandor Clegane is a very conflicted character, as is Dragol, and I think Rory could handle it beautifully while living up to the powerful presence that a Trogen warrior exudes.
Framorg: Nathan Jones (Conan and Troy) - Framorg, as the supreme war chieftain of all the Trogen Clans, would be a very impressive figure, even among his own brawny kind, and Nathan Jones would certainly have the screen presence to carry this out. He is 6’11 and over 350 lbs, and I think he would bring Framorg to life in a movie version of the Fires in Eden series.
A few Saxans
Wulfstan: Tom Wlaschiha (Jaqen H'ghar in Game of Thrones) - I love the look that Tom had as Jaqen H’ghar, the enigmatic assassin that kills Arya’s requests during the Game of Thrones series. He has “the look” that I want for Wulfstan, and is a strong presence without being a big physical figure. Wulfstan is not a big man, but he has a strong heart and character, and I think that Tom could pull it all off well.
Aelfric: Sean Bean - Sean Bean is one of the best actors around, period. He’s one of my favorites, and when it comes to the designated commander of the Saxan forces on the Plains of Athelney, I can think of nobody better to hand the task to than Sean Bean! I can see him bolstering the great shield wall as it prepares to engage the enormous invasion forces allied with the Unifier.
Aethelstan: James Purefoy - Aethlelstan’s charcter demands a good range of expression, from a hard-edged warrior, to a commander that cares deeply about his men, to a loving father and husband. James Purefoy is another of my favorite actors, and I know that he could do this role extremely well.
Edmund: Craig Parker (Lord of the Rings, Spartacus) - Craig Parker would be a good fit with James Purefoy, which is what I would have to take into account for casting Aethelstan’s closest friend. Craig Parker is a convincing warrior, but he is also a gifted actor, and I can see him meshing well with Purefoy and bringing the camaraderie and history between Aethelstan and Edmund to life.
Gunther: Manu Bennett (Crixus from the Spartacus Series) - Though his origin is Ehrengardian, Gunther dwells in wild areas of the Saxan forests. Manu Bennett would be able to convey an iron-hard edge, but also bring out the deep pains under the surface that Gunther carries within. Manu would be graced with long hair and a beard for this role, but those familiar with his powerful presence in Spartacus would not be disappointed with his portrayal of Gunther.
A few Midragardans
Svein: Chris Hemsworth (Thor, The Huntsman) - One of the most senior and beloved retainers of King Hakon, Svein needs to be a warrior and a bedrock presence. I can see Chris Hemsworth being able to do this well. He would not be performing the same way that he did as Thor, as Svein is a much different character, but Chris has the primary qualities needed for Svein’s character.
Gunnar: Vladimir Kulich (from Ironclad) - One look at Vladmir and you can envision him hacking his way through Gallean invaders at the side of his tribal friends and allies. Gunnar needs to be a big physical presence, and Vladmir delivers that in spades. His look exudes “Midragardan warrior”, and would absolutely love to have him in my cast as a prominent Midragardan.
Brynhild: Kristanna Loken (BloodRayne) - Brynhild needs to be very strong in her presence, but not without a sense of compassion and thoughtfulness. Kristanna Loken has the look and style I would want for Brynhild. I can see her moving through the forests of Midragard with huge wolves at her side!
King Hakon: Stellan Skarsgård (King Arthur, the Avengers, etc) - Stellan Skarsgard is fantastic. He would bring the wisdom, and weight of the burdens of being a King during a foreboding time, to King Hakon, aspects that are essential for this character. One of the performances that I base this view on is his great portrayal of King Hrothgar in Beowulf and Grendel, a live action version shot in Iceland that is simply wonderful (and features a great performance by Gerard Butler as Beowulf)
A few from the Fives Realms
Deganawida: Wes Studi – There are just so many movies that I can point to in regards to the great ability of Wes Studi. Deganawida would be a very hard role. He needs to have the clear presence of an elder, but also a strong, resolute air of a determined leader. Reflective and spiritual, Deganawida is a complex individual, and Wes Studi is one of the few people I could trust to make sure all of the characters facets are carried to the screen.
Ayenwatha : David Midthunder (Played White Crow in the Into the West mini-series) - David has the perfect look for Ayenwatha, and I think he would be wonderful working with Wes Studi, as Deganawida is a mentor-figure for Ayenwatha. I can see David leading tribal war bands through the forests of the Five Realms to strike at the Gallean invaders just as easily as I can see him interacting with the modern day characters in an Onan village.
A few others
Gyriel: Lynn Collins (John Carter) -She was amazing in John Carter, and I think she would have the intensity of presence that Gyriel needs, on the High Council of the Unifier. As one of the seven on the High Council, and perhaps the most powerful Sorcerer, she needs to show guile, strength, intelligence, and a number of other qualities, not the least of which is an icy demeanor. I am highly confident that Lynn Collins would do a fantastic job.
The Wanderer: Liam Neeson - He’s already been Zeus and Aslan, so carrying a regal air and sense of deep wisdom and experience is unquestionably one of Liam Neeson’s strengths. His action films show that he can carry a strong physicality too. Both are required for the Wanderer over the course of his full character arc. I think Liam Neeson would be ideal for this role.