Casting the Whedoneseque Vlad TV show

This from Twitter over the last few days.  We’ve decided that it should be an HBO or Showtime series, written, produced, and directed by Joss Whedon and his Usual Suspects, staring:

Vlad: Alan Tudyk

Loiosh: Robin Williams (I know he’s not a Whedonite.  But)

Cawti: Summer Glau

Sethra: Gina Torres

Sticks: Nathan Fillion (the part would have to get much bigger)

Daymar: Ron Glass (edited)

Kragar: Sean Mehar

Morrolan: James Marsters

Aliera: Felicia Day

Norathar: Eliza Dushku

Zerika: Sarah Michelle Geller

Lady Teldra:  Morena Baccarin

Melestav: Adam Baldwin

ETA Noish-pa: Anthony Hopkins

The Demon: Mark Sheppard

Sethra the Younger: Jewel Staite

Mario: Chiwetel Ejiofor

Now, of course, if they manage to get Firefly back, all bets are off.  I’d rather see that happen.


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67 thoughts on “Casting the Whedoneseque Vlad TV show”

  1. This has to be a third or fourth revision, because I’d bet money your first draft looked something like:

    Vlad: Summer Glau
    Loiosh: Summer Glau
    Cawti: Summer Glau
    Sethra: Summer Glau
    Sticks: Summer Glau
    Daymar: Summer Glau
    Kragar: Summer Glau
    Morrolan: Summer Glau
    Aliera: Summer Glau
    Norathar: Summer Glau
    Zerika: Summer Glau
    Melestav: Summer Glau

  2. (I know it’s all-Whedon, but…)

    Hey, I thought Stana Katic was Sethra? Good choice for Zerika, though!

    Oh, and I at least get an *audition* for Morrolan, even if I can’t compete. ;) (I’d be willing to lose to those two–even in a sword fight!)

  3. You, my friend, get an audition for any part you want. And, yeah, come to think of it, you’d make a hulluva Morrolan.

  4. Interesting choices, but why limit oneself to the Usual Suspects? With Avengers under his belt, Joss could get pretty much whomever he wants. How this for a cast?:

    Vlad: Simon Pegg
    Loiosh: (Actually, Robin Williams is brilliant)
    Cawti: Famke Janssen
    Sethra: Tilda Swinton
    Kiera: Scarlett Johanssen
    Daymar: Elijah Wood
    Kragar: Hugh Jackman
    Morrolan: Johnny Depp
    Aliera: Kristen Bell
    Norathar: Liv Tyler
    Zerika: Monica Bellucci
    Melestav: (no ideas)
    Noish-pa: Edward Asner
    Khaavren of Castle Rock: Jeremy Irons
    The Demon: Tom Hiddleston

  5. If Johnny Depp were in it, he’d play Vlad. Fersher.

    Oh, right; Noish-pa. Forgot him. Must go back and edit.

  6. skzb @4: Sweet… :)

    Oh, for The Demon: Mark Sheppard (Badger from Firefly) Love that actor in everything he does.

  7. skzb: Actually, I had Johnny in the Vlad slot in my first pass, but I decided he’d be more “in his element” as Morrolan. Maybe not, though. He would, indeed, make and awesome Vlad.

    ChrisO: Ah! That’s a good choice! He’s awesome.

  8. My friends and I thought of a movie a while ago. Our selections are fairly similar, though we thought Sigourney Weaver should be Sethra.

  9. I see what you did there.

    However, my objection is that while all the actors listed there certainly work within the physical appearance of the characters, I’m not sure all the personalities really work.

    It’s a rare performer who can truly keep a character he is portraying completely free of his own personality and BECOME the character they are playing fully. (Some notable exceptions: Peter Sellers, Gary Oldman, Johnny Depp… Definitely the exceptions, not the rule.)

    If we were to instead cast performers by type, rather than physical or other attributes, and stay within the Whedonverse, my suggestions would be thusly:

    Vlad: Nathan Fillion
    Loiosh: Adam Baldwin
    Cawti: Jewel Staite
    Sethra: Morena Baccarin
    Aliera: Summer Glau
    Kragar: Mark Sheppard
    Daymar: Alan Tudyk
    Morrolan: James Marsters
    Norathar: Gina Torres
    Zerika: Summer Glau
    Kelly: Sean Mehar
    Noish-Pa: Ron Glass

    Obviously, this last suggestion causes some race issues to rear their ugly head. But if we’re talking about “type”, then race shouldn’t matter.

  10. Derp.

    I have Summer Glau listed twice, but did not intend to. Had her penciled in for Zerika before deciding that Aliera was a better fit.

    As an alternative Zerika, I would suggest instead Christina Hendricks.

  11. I am more interested in where skzb would make his stan lee-ish cameo. Maybe at Valabar’s.

  12. Saffron’s actress really should fit in somewhere though, and the fights she did in Our Mrs. Reynolds work better for Cawti than anyone else that comes to mind.

    And ‘hate’ is the wrong word. Still a little peeved at her, yes (not telling Vlad something important is _bad_).

  13. On consideration, Christina Hendricks would probably work better as Verra than anyone else.

    Felicia Day would work as Zerika.

    Can we sneak NPH in as Telnan?

  14. Jorgon: Yeah, a cook at Valabar’s would be about right. Or, if you’re into symbolism, a coachman somewhere.

    Christina Hendricks as Vera…yes, that works for me. Her face is just right. And sure, he’d work as Telnan.

    Actually, on consideration, the perfect Daymar might well be Ron Glass.

  15. I think you got Norathar and Zerika’s actresses flip-flopped, or am I thinking to much of specific characters they have played? But hey, you’re the author. I’d venture to guess you know the characters better. A little bit.

    I love the whole idea. Out of left field here, but I think Jürgen Vogel, a German actor in ‘The Wave’ or ‘Die Welle,’ would pull off a very good Krager, though physical profile might not be the best match.

  16. …Not an actor, but I’ve somehow always pictured Cawti as Princess Garnet from Final Fantasy IX–possibly just because they both have long black hair and they’ve both gone by the nom de guerre “Dagger”. The Princess does look quite fetching in Jhereg colors, though.

  17. I will gladly play any part that calls for a scruffy, buff, balding human. I haven’t yet met a character that I think I look like, but that’s your problem, not mine. :-)

  18. Not Whedoneseque but:

    I always thought Michelle Yeoh would make a great Sethra.

    Also, I know that it borderlines on sacrilege, but when I read Loiosh, I always hear Steve Buscemi.

  19. I think you might want to consider Mark Mandel (of Cracks and Shards) for Noish-pa. Or perhaps as Mario. Or maybe either of those could be the guy who plays the Dos Equis “Most Interesting Man Alive.”

    I want to know who’ll play the Necromancer, and who’ll play Lady Teldra.

  20. See, I thought Morena Baccarin would make a great Lady Teldra: poise, beauty, courtliness. ‘Course, that describes Zerika, too… :)

  21. How would you manage to film this since Dragaerans are all much taller than Easterners? Wasn’t Aliera, at 6′ 5″ or something considered extremely short?

    You’d have to use NBA players for all the Dragaeran parts.

  22. It’s no different from filming Hobbits vs Humans in Lord of the Rings. Lots of little-people stand-ins for the long shots, some forced perspective work, and prudent use of CGI where appropriate.

  23. You would certainly no better than I but I see Vlad as more in the Nathan Fillion mold, with Felicia Day playing the voice of Loiosh (they use female voice actors to play male parts all the time), and Wil Wheaton, who is sort of on the edge of the Whedonverse as Daymar.

  24. Steve, you’re not thinking big. Get Fox to bankroll the show.

    If their history on Sci Fi/Fantasy is tried and true, they will run it at a fat oozy budget, you will get top ratings, and just when Lady Teldra is about to wake up, the Executives will pull the pin on it. Either that or they will get the screenwriters to compress the latter 10 books into the final series (or even better, one 110 minute movie).

    Joss Whedon has plenty experience with Fox.

  25. There *is* a coachman in Five Hundred Years After, isn’t there?

    I agree that Nathan Fillion seems more like Vlad to me, though Alan Tudyk would certainly rock that role. But casting Tudyk as Daymar seems somehow inspired to me.

  26. There are nuances to Vlad that I’ve never seen Fillion display (though that doesn’t mean he couldn’t), whereas Tudyk has shown all of Vlad’s moods and feelings at one time or another.

  27. Nice. To follow the Whedonesque casting, may I suggest Chiwetel Ejiofor (the Operative) as Mario Greymist.

  28. Maybe it’s just the fact that I’ve never seen Tudyk in anything but more comedic roles (at which, it must be stated, he does excel).

  29. Tudyk has played darker roles, and done very well. Most notably in Whedon’s “Dollhouse”. He can definitely do serious, creepy, and evil. ;)

  30. Tudyk is great in nearly everything he has done. I could easily see him as Vlad.

    I also espcially like Felicia Day as Aliera.

  31. Oh dear, I had a moment when i realized why i recognized Mark Sheppard. I see what you did there. A fan of Supernatural are we?

  32. Vlad: Seth Green

    Loiosh: Neil Patrick Harris

    Daymar: Carlos Jacott

    Kragar: Jonathan M. Woodward

    Zerika: Emma Caulfield

    Kiera: Sarah Michelle Gellar

  33. Michele: I’ve not seen Supernatural, so can’t say as to that. I was thinking Mark Sheppard would make a good Demon from his work in Firefly, Dr. Who, Warehouse 13, and most everything else I’ve seen him in. I’d love to work with that man… :)
    (Though, if he’s in Supernatural, that’s a good reason to check that show out; thanks!)

  34. ChrisO: Be prepared for disappointment. Except for one episode. You need to watch that one, anyone. Season 4, episode 18. It’s on Netflix.

  35. I think you’re looking in the wrong direction. You need to be looking at the Vancouver shooting location and available actors there.

    Dragaerans need to be taller than humans, so you need a location with taller actors. Vancouver already has many thanks to the Stargate and BSG series.

    And you can use Amanda Tapping. C’mon!

    You need to start with Vlad and Cawti, the humans, and select shorter. You’ll want your Dragaerans at 6’+, so for the size difference, someone in the 5’7″ range? Summer Glau is 5’6″, which pushes the Dragaerans way up in height, or forces expensive and unnecessary spec effects.

    Anyway, I’m not going to try to slot in people, since I just don’t have the time. But I think Vancouver fits the needs of the Taltos series far better, and has an excellent history of long profitable series.

    Yeah, I know none of this is serious, but Steven, your series fits current ScyFy direction quite well. Limited spec effects, lots of characterization, a certain darkness…

    Just keep freakin’ Disney out of it! Don’t make Goodkind’s mistake!

  36. In some of these cases it looks like you’re taking actors from when they are younger (I can’t see Nathan Fillian in any of these roles now, but 10 years ago…)

    With this in mind, an Addams Family aged Christina Ricci as DeVerra.

  37. Not to derail the topic, but what about a David Milch-esque Khaavren Cycle?

  38. I like the Firefly reunion idea. And I think Neil Patrick Harris would make a great Kragar with Dakota Fanning as Kiera.

  39. Wait – is vlad a redhead? I somehow never picked on that while reading the books. In my mind, Vlad has longish black hair and lo0ks like Milo Ventimiglia (experienced at playing people with anger management issues) or Jake Gyllenhaal (cause he can make a mustache look good).

  40. I picture Vlad something like Max Casella. He’s not been cast in the Whedonverse yet, though he has worked with NPH — he played Vinnie on Doogie Howser, MD.

  41. Wait… no role for Alyson Hannigan? Seriously? She may make a good Aliera if she uses her “pi**ed off” voice.

  42. I think Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk as Vlad and Loiosh. Can’t decide who would do which, but I’ve always loved their chemistry. Adam Baldwin as Kragar (come on big gruf and intimidating but able to melt into the shadows at a whim) definitely Adam Baldwin.

    Best way to deal with height differences and visual inconsistencies would be to do it animated ( I’m not talking pixar animated I’m talking cartoon/ anime animated). I know you are thinking NO WAY right now but think of this.
    A. SKZB gets to have all the characters look exactly as they do in his mind.
    B. think of how many FX shots there would need to be in a live action show. Every scene with Loiosh… so basically every scene plus all the time to get the trick shots correct plus all the magic… its just too much of a pain. With it animated… no problem.
    C. Casting can be done by character instead of visual. Yet again this means SKZB can get exactly what he wants with the characters. Voice has always been the most important part of the series for me, I mean you are in the head of the protagonist for Verras sake.
    D. Imagine if you would a 20 min show (maybe on syfy maybe a web exclusive with hulu or netflix) with a 17 episode season…. each season is one book. each episode is approximately one chapter. Some things would possibly need to get moved around or more detail added to make some “chapters” longer or shorter. who knows, depending on how long the visualization of each chapter takes maybe it is even a true 30 min or a 42 min episode!

    I have atually had this idea floating around in the back of my head for years… so glad i have a place to express it lol.


    p.s. As an aside I have always wished that there was an audio recording of the books. Since that is how they are actually told I can only imagine how immersive that could be. plus it is much more feasible than a full blown TV show

  43. @Jacob- I see what you did there with the 17, nice touch. Especially since there are actually TV series that have 17 episodes.

  44. @ Chris- Thanks, thought it only fitting since there are the 17 chapters per book… just seemed to fit

    would love to get SKZB’s thought on a animated show/ audio version of the books

  45. @Jacob- BTW, you may already know this, and if so, then I apologize, but the reason that all the books are kept to 17 chapters is that it adheres to a Dragaeran tradition of literature. This reasoning was described at the end of one of the Khaavren novels, the title of which escapes me at the moment.

  46. If I were to cast and had unlimited funding, the following is how I would probably cast, though I could be convinced otherwise by lesser known actors :)

    Vlad: Robert Downey Jr (his natural wit and sarcasm)

    Loiosh: Neil Patrick Harris or
    Dennis Leary (think of him in Suicide Kings)

    Cawti: Felicia Day (she fits Cawti’s description and carrys herself well)

    Sethra: Chloë Grace Moretz (an older, wiser version of her. though her being basically more than 200k yrs old, any age would do, no?)

    Sticks: Ryan Reynolds (remember him as Deadpool?)

    Daymar: Tim Robbins (great at deadpanning)

    Kragar: Jude Law (he plays a good second man to Downey)

    Morrolan: Hugo Weaving (Elrond from LotR)

    Aliera: Natalie Portman

    Norathar: Milla Jovovich

    Zerika: Jennifer Connelly (very good at playing vulnerable but strong)

    Lady Teldra: Kirsten Dunst

    Melestav: Jon Favreau

    ETA Noish-pa: Anthony Hopkins

    The Demon: Christopher Walken (nuff said!)

    Sethra the Younger: Charlize Theron (would be ironic since she looks to be the older version of Chloë Grace Moretz)

    Mario: Nathan Fillion

  47. @Chris, had not realized that it was dragerean tradition but just assumed that it was one of the many occurrences of the #17 interesting factoid though. I keep meaning to finish the kahvreen stuff

  48. Do the peoples who were in The Avengers now count as Whedoneseque actors and actresses?

  49. Samuel L. Jackson, in the persona from Pulp Fiction- especially the Ezekiel quote sceene, as Morrolan, but delivering dialog as Paarfi of Roundwood might write it. That mental image gives me the giggles something fierce. : ) (…”Then I will tell you why I killed the Teckla!”…)

  50. @gunglegym – that image made me laugh.

    To me, though, Morrolan is the dragaeran definition of “badass”. If I was going to pick an actor from Avengers for him, I’d choose Jeremy Renner.

  51. Wow, it never occurred to me how perfect Gina Torres is for Sethra, but she totally is, with how the rest state of her face is “I was born tired of your shit”.

    James Marsters really is a remarkably good match for my idea of Morrolan, though outside the Whedonsphere, Michael Fassbender is an even better one.

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