Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Off the top of my head, I can think of two.

'Provincial Lady' asked, about the 18thC adaptation thing:

"As a writer do you have a big say in casting? Or any say at all?"

Um, I think I do. At least, a couple of names have been put about for the lead, and they asked what I thought, which was that one of them was about twenty years too old for the part (which suggested that the people suggesting the casting hadn't spent that much time reading my treatment, which kind of hinges on the main character being just twenty two), and the other is probably ten years too old. Both big names though, and Serious Proper Actors, which is pleasing.

I used to mentally cast things before I started writing, as it really helped to find a character's voice, although I've realised I haven't been doing that lately, so maybe I just have a bit more confidence in my own writing nowadays. Also, I haven't been watching that much UK television of late, due to the huge stack of US box sets cluttering up my front room. And to honest, I much prefer the idea of casting unknowns in main roles, then putting good known actors around them. 18th C adaptation is all about a provincial young chap who comes to the city and finds himself hanging out with the likes of David Garrick, Sheridan, David Hume and so on, so having a fresh face in the title role would be rather fitting.

There can be an issue with casting which goes like this:

1. Producer asks if Writer has anyone in mind for lead role.
2, Writer suggests Skilled But Relatively Unknown Actor who would be perfect for the part.
3. Producer suggests More Famous Actor, who would be slightly less perfect for the role, but whose name would make Project much more likely to get made.
4. Writer tussles briefly with conscience and artistic principle, approximately one second later accepts Producer's suggestion.
5. More Famous Actor turns out to be unavailable.
6. Producer panics and suggests Aging Comic Who Producer Met At A Party The Night Before whose gameshow has just been cancelled, but who the broadcasters are determined not to let go to rival channel.
7. Writer despairs, accepts.
8. Aging Comic Who Producer Met At A Party The Night Before is surprisingly game, but turn out, astonishingly, to be completely wrong for the role.
9. Writer kicks cat.

Fortunately, 18thC project is for BBC4, which means not much money, but proper actual prestige, which means you can get really good actors for comparatively not much money.

MORE CASTING NEWS: first episode of 18thC adaption will now require at least 3 whores. HUZZAH!


Boz said...

Three whores? Comedy accents?! I'll be tuning in for this.

VW: becreep. (shudders)

Jayne said...

The more whores the better, that's what I say.

If I have trouble getting to sleep I Fantasy Cast whatever book I'm reading at the moment. Strict rules though - no dead people, no "xxx twenty years ago" and no inappropriate casting - eg Johnny Depp in a 6 episode TV series no matter how good he'd be in the part. Doesn't help me get to sleep but better than thinking about work!

cello said...

Please tell me they will be Mummerset or, at a stretch, Mockney. Northern prostitutes were not invented until 1853.

james henry said...

Well the concept of money didn't make it up North until 1852, so it makes sense (I was born in Lancashire, it's okay for me to say that).

Desperate Romantics seemed to have cornered the market in lovable Cockney prostitutes (Jennie Jacques is great as Annie Miller), so I might have to scrub up some Welsh ones. Or West Country).

Maud said...

Well if you're looking for someone to play a whore, I'm game.

james henry said...


If this does go ahead, I may well be using the awesome power of the blog to get a few more extras in, so do watch this space.

Tim Footman said...

Has it ever been known for a writer to suggest an actor for a specific part (eg A Whore), simply because writer wants to see actor naked?

james henry said...

Yes. Of course, most actors will get their kit off for a kind word and half a jellybaby, so you quickly learn this is a wasted effort. The difficulty is often convincing actors to keep their clothes on.