Daily Bookbag: 17 Feb 2015

One of the things I can be certain of is that my mood will cycle through its usual spans of high and low energy, high and low self-esteem, etc. No longer being in grad school helps, by taking the stress down a lot, though the guilt of not having finished my thesis still hangs on me, especially when I’m depressed. And, since my new crazy project- writing a TV series screenplay version of the Wheel of Time series- involves rereading my favorite fantasy series, I will probably stay pretty productive this week, maybe enough that my depressive phase will go away faster than it typically does. At least as a nearly 36 year old woman, I’m used to my own crazy brain enough that I have some idea how to lure it into behaving better.

I’m reading a couple books right now, including a different sort of murder mystery by Susan Wittig Albert that involves talking animals and Beatrix Potter. It reminds me a bit of that Nick Astley book I read earlier this year, The End of My Tether, only Astley’s book made far less sense. I’m also reading some Tony Hillerman books my sister brought over. She and my brother both have been reading Hillerman a lot, and my mom has read many of his books, so it is time, I guess, for me to read a few of his books as well.

My Wheel of Time screenplay is coming along. I have just one page of intro camera directions and scene description so far, and no doubt I’ll need to write out a lot more of this sort of stuff, but the basic dialogue in the first scene is not exactly complicated. For all that many fans say the Wheel of Time series would be hard to do on screen, I think it seems pretty straightforward.

WARNING- below this line, this post is all about my Wheel of Time project, so readers uninterested in my casting choices and musings on this project might wish to ignore the rest of this post.

The special effects may be a bit interesting, but considering the various supernatural phenomena in X-Files and other films and TV series, I doubt that the technological side of channeling and other necessary effects will be impossible. Most of the power related events in the Wheel of Time are really a matter of storytelling, linking physical events with a character’s behavior to suggest a causal relationship. If the story is paced similarly to Battlestar Galactica and Babylon 5, the Wheel of Time story could be told comfortably in 4-5 seasons of episodes, I figure. A lot of keeping the story to this length would depend on the actors, of course- great acting conveys many pages of text in a glance and a smile, which is why the relatinship between Lee Adama and Kara Thrace was so powerful a story on screen, and why in Babylon 5 the death of the ranger Marcus was so intense a scene. The writing helps, and that’s my ‘job’, but if my screenplay (this project or whatever more realistic projects I do after this) ever gets made into a real show, it will sink or swim based on who is in the cast. I made a pinboard on Pinterest to keep track of my mental cast so I can see them in my head consistently as I write, though I’m sure the budget required to get so many top-notch actors on one show for 5 seasons is beyond realistic.

If you saw the pilot episode that was in my last bookbag post, you can imagine my casting choices in much the same scene as in that episode to start out the series, though mine would look quite a bit different. For mine, in my head, I cast Callum Keith Rennie as Lews Therin (Mr. Rennie played Leoben in Battlestar Galactica). I chose Katherine Jenkins for Ilyena. Tahmoh Penikett, who played Karl “Helo” Agathon in Battlestar Galactica, is my choice for the bad guy, Elan Morin, in this first scene. Ilyena doesn’t really turn up as a speaking role in this intro scene, but a flashback superimposed over the ruined palace would be helpful, and Ilyena turns up in remembered scenes later in the story as well, not so much that a busy singer like Katherne Jenkins would be unable to spare the time for the role, I hope. 🙂

It took a bit of agonizing to decide who I would choose to play Rand, but after looking at lots of photos of actors in different roles, I decided that Benedict Cumberbatch would in fact be right for Rand. This role will require a lot of energy and skill, and I was concerned that Mr Cumberbatch might be too old or might not have the range to encompass a fantasy lead like Rand, which is definitely a different sort of role from Sherlock. But, he’s tall enough, looks right for the part, and can with makeup look young enough. The lead characters start out as teenagers when they begin their journey, and grow up over the course of the books, so while looking ambiguously adult works for much of the series, actors who can’t look young enough to play the starting scenes won’t work for this story. Anyway, so my initial characters after the prelude are

Rand – Benedict Cumberbatch – Rand is supposed to be tall and differently colored relative to the rest of his village, with reddish hair and gray eyes, while the rest of his community is mostly dark haired with brown eyes.

Mat – Ryan Carnes (played Laslo in Doctor Who… turned into a pig-slave, his girlfriend was Tellulah…)

Perrin – James Corden (played Craig in Doctor Who… remember when the Doctor rented a room and helped play matchmaker for Craig and Sophie?) – Perrin is supposed to be a thicker lad, a blacksmith’s son who becomes a blacksmith himself. He also still ought to be shorter than Rand.

Egwene – Maisie Williams – I have yet to see this young lady in any role, except in previews, but she looks the part.

Nynaeve – Lucia Moniz – I am guessing that this lady’s accent might be a problem, so I am not 100% sold on this one, but Lucia Moniz looks right for Nynaeve, who has to come across as beautiful but not someone who expects people to think of her like that, proud, and comfortable with being in charge. I may find another actress to swap out for this role, but the Nynaeve in my mind looks like this lady.

Moraine – Keira Knightly – Moraine has to look small, slender and ageless, young but not young, beautiful but not necessarily approachable. She’s a short woman, with dark hair and dark eyes, and this role, like Rand’s, will be quite demanding.

Rand’s father, Tam, will in my head be played by Viggo Mortensen, since Tam is an older man who at one time was a swordsman enough to have a heron-marked blade.  Viggo has the sort of face that one could imagine as reassuring, a solid man his son Rand could draw reassurance from. Egwene’s father, the inkeeper Bran al’Vere, is played by Sean Bean, the fellow who played Boromir in the Lord of the Rings movies.  Bran’s wife is played by Maura Tierney, and Perrin’s parents are played by Ruth Jones and John Rhys-Davies (Gimli in the Lord of the Rings, though he is actually 6’1″ in real life, and would make an excellent blacksmith). And, to round out the important character castings for the first episode, Padan Fain, the wiley, corrupt, secretly evil peddler, is played by Mark Sheppard, and Thom Merrilin is played by Billy Boyd. Thom is white-haired and older-looking, but he is also an entertainer and acrobat, so someone like Billy Boyd, in a wig and makeup, seems a better choice than an older-looking actor. I’ll add more actors and other images to my pinboard as I write, of course. Click here to see my screenplay project’s pinboard.

About Ravenmount

Independent science nerd/writer/music blogger/arts enthusiast/theorist currently in Colorado.
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