I’m addicted to casting. It’s like a disease.
Today’s venture: Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None.
This casting will include BIG SPOILERS for both the book and the 1945 film. Cause this is my dream remake, and in my dream remake, we won’t have some bullshit ending like the one they use in the film. Ugh.
Before we begin, I should point out a few things. One, as with all the casting I do, I rope my sister into helping me come up with the right actors for the parts. So if any casting choice seems particularly inspired to you, well, know it was a team effort. Just blame her and her alone if there’s someone you don’t like : )
Second: all of the movie versions of And Then There Were None are, technically, not based on the book And Then There Were None. They’re based on the play And Then There Were None, which, of course, is based on the book And Then There Were None. Meaning that it’s all the same fucking story except for two radically different endings, one of which is completely awesome, and the other which is the very definition of lamesauce. Seriously. I’m sure it’s in Merriam-Webster’s somewhere. Or at least Urban Dictionary.
Finally: I’ve never seen the entire two hours of And Then There Were None (the 1945 film). But I sure have seen the last ten minutes, and I think those ten minutes alone wounded a piece of my fucking soul.
This new cast will have the gloriously perfect ending it godamned well deserves.
1. Mr. Justice Wargrave
The insanely talented John Noble has proven to be exceptionally versatile on Fringe. There is no doubt in my mind that he’d be perfect as Wargrave, the somewhat acidic, surprisingly rational, homicidal maniac who only kills evildoers in accordance with creepy fucking nursery rhymes. He can easily be intimidating and authoritative and, if nothing else, his voice is not nearly as annoying as Barry Fitzgerald’s.
And when John Noble’s evil plot succeeds because that’s the way it fucking is, I think everyone will love it despite themselves. Most stories where everyone bites the big one are a touch on the depressing side (read: Hamlet). This one? This one wraps up so perfectly, it’s hard not to love it.
2. Vera Claythorne
Vera Claythorne is supposed to be both “quite attractive” and a “bit schoolmistressy,” something I had some trouble casting for until I hit upon Kelly Macdonald, a good character actress who also just happens to be very pretty. I think she’d make a very likable Vera. I think you’d be rooting for her to survive . . . right up till the point you realize she really did let a kid drown to death in order to score a man. Oops.
3. Philip Lombard
Philip’s your basic leading man: funny, handsome, very few scruples. He’s a lovable scoundrel, like the English version of Han Solo . . . except, in this version, Han Solo doesn’t have a crisis of conscience and come back to save Luke Skywalker’s ass. Quite the contrary, Philip eagerly leaves people to die. There’s a reason he’s my favorite, after all.
Besides being, you know, devastatingly handsome, Fassbender is a great actor who can make Philip charismatic and charming while still keeping him a selfish, remorseless sonofabitch. You see, in the film, they had to change Philip’s entire backstory in order to create a happy ending. In their version, the real Philip Lombard killed himself, while the guy on the island pretending to be Philip Lombard is actually an undercover cop, I think, who waltzes out the door with his ladylove Vera (also presumably innocent) with a quick quip about all those dead people lying around. Because nothing says hilarious like half a dozen scattered corpses.
The destruction of my favorite character in this novel makes me want to vomit. Michael Fassbender would be, I’m sure, a very welcome remedy.
4. Emily Brent
Emily Brent is the polar opposite of Philip Lombard. She is a thoroughly unlikable, rigid, puritanical woman with no sympathy for anyone and no real concern for her own wellbeing . . . because God will protect her, see. Admittedly, this isn’t the kind of role that I’m used to seeing Gemma Jones doing. But she’s another character actress whose work I’ve liked quite a bit (especially in Sense and Sensibility) and, well, look at that picture. I feel relatively certain that severity is something she can manage.
5. General Macarthur
Like many of the actors on this list, Michael Gambon has displayed a great deal of versatility in his career. That’s important to me with Macarthur. He’s an old, retired general, so you kind of want someone who’s at least believable at being gruff and intimidating. But you also need someone gentle, someone who can be reflective and sad, because Macarthur just sort of gives up. He doesn’t want to go on living. He finds peace on the island. Needless to say, he’s pretty much the only one who does.
6. Dr. Armstrong
Dr. Armstrong is gullible, relatively respectable (for these people, anyway), and a bit on the arrogant side. Frankly, a lot of people could have played this role, but I sort of have a fondness for Jonny Lee Miller, and I know he can do haughty pretty well. Slap a pair of glasses on him and let’s go. (Yes, I don’t know if the doctor actually wore glasses in the book or not but, clearly, he’ll have them in the movie. Glasses can be sexy on a man, so I won’t fight this stereotype too vigorously. Or at all.)
7. Anthony Marston
Anthony Marston is supposed to be young, blond, cheerful, and completely without remorse. He accidentally runs over two kids and considers it “beastly bad luck” . . . for him. While the role isn’t a large one (they pretty much flat out tell you that he’s doomed in the Cast of Characters), I’m pretty sure Bradley James would do a good job with it anyway. It might be kind of a nice break from playing young King Arthur. Nobility’s all well and good, but really, isn’t playing a gleeful sociopath more fun? I think so.
8. Mr. Blore
Mark Sheppard is awesome. There is no denying this fact. And although he doesn’t exactly fit the physicality of Mr. Blore in the book (who, I believe, is described as “bearlike”), he can produce a sort of mean-spirited bluntness that I think would be perfect for Blore.
Besides, I’m all about throwing Mark Sheppard work (even imaginary work). He’s guest-starred on pretty much every single genre show there is. I’d love for him to get his own TV show for once . . . but I’d settle for him in this.
9. Mr. Rogers
Mr. Rogers is the butler, and I think he and his wife might be a bit older in the novel then they are in this casting. However, since their ages aren’t very important to their actual characters, and since I like Martin Freeman . . . fuck it.
Rogers has to be a nervous, timid sort of man, and I feel pretty confident that Freeman can do that well enough. I can, weirdly enough, just see him as a butler. Unfortunately for him, this means he gets one of the grislier ends.
10. Mrs. Rogers
I like Shirley Henderson in the few things I’ve seen her in (Bridget Jones Diary, Harry Potter, etc) but I’ll be honest: I mostly cast her here as Mrs. Rogers because with her pale skin and big, dark eyes, I can easily see Henderson as a “bloodless, ghost of a woman”. Mrs. Rogers is supposed to be frightened of her own shadow. I’m sure there are lots of other actresses who can play that, but perhaps none quite so effortlessly as Shirley Henderson. And I kind of like her matched with Martin Freeman. I think they’d work well together for the few scenes they have.
11. Sir Thomas Legge
Because if you’re going to have a cop walking around on an island, talking about the case and saying things like, “Damn it all, man” . . . don’t you just want that to be Stephen Fry? Seriously, the cops at the end of the story don’t have much to do but go over everything that happened in the novel and come up with the same conclusion that the reader has come up with, namely wtf . . . but there’s no reason those cops can’t be awesome, and Stephen Fry? Stephen Fry is awesome.
12. Inspector Maine
Because he is my Doctor.
Also, I can totally see him spouting off all the facts of the case to Stephen Fry, recapping everything for the confused readers and standing by politely as the AC slams his fist into the table and otherwise hams it up.
But mostly because he is my Doctor, and I love him.
13. The Voice
Finally, if you’re going to have a voiceover that accuses everyone on screen of committing brutal murders that they’ll shortly be condemned to die for. . . might as well have a good one, right?
Damn. Now I really want this movie to be an actual thing : (