EBZ Casting

By Failbetter, April 20, 2011 · Tagged with , ,

Well, delicious friends, we’ve all been having fun over the last couple of days with EBZ casting (#ebzcasting on Twitter if you’ve not been following, or on the FB page). Here finally for your perusal and enjoyment are FBG’s own preferred actors for certain characters. Let us know what you think in the comments!

Nigel: The Wry Functionary = Edward Hibbert


I used to be a civil servant, and the Wry Functionary is based on half a dozen erudite, cautious, roundabout individuals that I met and sometimes worked for. If he were still alive I’m afraid I’d be going for a very obvious and trite Nigel Hawthorne for the Wry Functionary. What can I say? Yes (Prime) Minister nailed the old school of the civil service with affectionate but brutal accuracy. But as he’s not, Edward Hibbert’s slightly fussy but rather sinister performance in The Prestige convinced me he’s the very chap.

Paul: The Revolutionary Firebrand = Javier Bardem


This has been a fascinating process for the art dept. I’ll cheerfully admit that one or two of the ebz icons are explicitly based on real people – his amused lordship is obviously Brian Blessed and the solitary Glim Sculptor was Peter Lorre in my head from the moment I read the first storylet. But someone like the Quiet Deviless, who is entirely made up, provoked a much wider response range, I think because players went to the character first and the appearance second. Anyway, my casting choice is Javier Bardem for the revolutionary firebrand, because a. that boy’s got some serious smoulder, and b. it’ll really annoy a writer of my acquaintance.

Alexis: Poor Edward = David Warner


Poor Edward, David Warner. You’ll know Warner’s voice even if you don’t remember the name. He was the MCP in Tron, Evil in Time Bandits, Jon Irenicus in Baldur’s Gate II, the Five Lights guy in that episode of Trek. Poor soul: just because he has a plummy, resonant voice like a bucket of velvet malice, they keep casting him as a villain. Poor Edward is perhaps the most grandiose and self-consciously sinister character in the game. I’d want a voice like David Warner’s behind that mask.

(I’m delighted to learn from Wikipedia that he ‘narrated the direct-to-video Pooh’s Grand Adventure: the Search for Christopher Robin’. It’s like getting Sauron in to babysit.)

Alice: The Sardonic Music-Hall Singer = Shirley Maclaine


I’m thinking of Billy Wilder era Maclaine here, no In Her Shoes nonsense. The Music Hall Singer strikes a chord with a lot of Billy Wilder films for me (yes, I know it’s out of period. Anachroniwhatism? So’s this whole endeavour). And Maclaine in the Apartment is one of my favourite Wilder heroines – miserable without being self-pitying, scathingly funny, and with a spine of steel. Same again in the Children’s Hour. She’d be ace.

Yasmeen: The Louche Devil = Nikolaj Lie Kaas


I actually had a different actor in mind when I started to write about the Louche Devil, but I’m going to choose Nikolaj Lie Kaas to portray him. He’s got that curious attractiveness that doesn’t hit you over the head the minute you see him. It needs time to grow on you, but it’s all the more powerful for that. He’s also got the rough exterior hiding a sensitive, vulnerable side thing going on. Whether or not the Louche Devil has a vulnerable side, it’s essential that he appear to have one. That’s mostly what the Pygmalion storyline is about – teaching him to either show his sensitivity or at least pretend that he has some. Not the same thing in substance, but the same in appearance. And I think Nikolaj could make the distinction. Now I think about it, he and my original choice have both played very similar characters for the same director, so perhaps that’s how I made the connection.


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DS Apr 21, 6:11am

Dame Judi Dench as the Implacable Detective. (Helen Mirren is too obvious a choice.)

John Evans Apr 21, 2:56am

I've enjoyed David Warner's work for a while. And I didn't even know he was the "Five Lights" guy!

Synthjock Apr 20, 7:04pm

Shirley Henderson as the Quiet Deviless, surely?

Delphine Apr 20, 6:43pm

Javier Bardem is a wonderful choice for the Revolutionary Firebrand !

Alice Apr 20, 6:42pm

Gabriel Byrne as the Melancholy Curate is still stuck in my head.

Paul Apr 20, 6:41pm

If you can have an extra, I want Clarke Peters for the Repentant Forger.

Nigel Apr 20, 6:40pm

I'm only supposed to do one, but the Topsy King is Lemmy, dammit. If nothing else, the man's dedication to mutton chop whiskers needs recognition.