Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, get-to-know-us question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.
QUESTION: Reader Kaitlin Throgmorton invited us to join her in picking favorites for the best casting choices in a movie based on a book. Which actors really brought a character to life on the screen in a way that you felt was worthy of the author’s original literary vision?
Kaitlin’s list includes some great selections, but what do the writers of the gang here at Live to Write – Write to Live have to add? Ladies?
Jamie Wallace: I really like some of Kaitlin’s picks, including Emma Watson as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter series and Sean Astin as Samwise Gamgee in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I also think that Robbie Coltrane was perfect as Hagrid and Dame Maggie Smith was dead on as Professor Minerva McGonagall, but I think I’d like to mix things up a bit and find a favorite outside of Hogwarts. So, I’m going to make my pick pretty much the entire cast from the ill-fated movie version of the first book in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy.
I absolutely loved Pullman’s books, particularly the first one in the trilogy, The Golden Compass (which, apparently, was retitled Northern Lights in later editions). His characters are beautifully portrayed, each individual a prism of personality and motivation. Though, sadly, the movie version of The Golden Compass did not to well enough at the box office to entice the studio to invest in producing the rest of the series, I think that the cast was stellar. I mean, seriously: Nicole Kidman as the delicious diva of intrigue and manipulation (sultry despite being pregnant for much of the filming), Daniel Craig as Lord Asriel (swoon!), and the lovely Dakota Blue Richards as fierce Lyra. I ask you, who could have done better? And then you have Ian McKellan as the voice of Iorek Byrnison, a savage and noble ice bear and Sam Elliott as the gun-toting, big-hearted aeronaut, Lee Scoresby. Throw in the added delight of creepy Christopher Lee as First High Councilor and earthy Kathy Bates as Scoresby’s cynical daemon hare, Hester and you have to admit that this cast offers a wealth of perfection.