What follows next is FANTASY CASTING for the Dire Deeds of the Guild of Ornamental Hermits AND for the Witching Work of the Guild of Ornamental Hermits–like a fan game, okay? It’s strictly for fun (unless the Wachowskis give me a ring). Got that?
Update 2020: My understanding of my characters has deepened and mutated since I wrote the first version of this blog post. This is partly because some of my characters have gone through changes, and also because The Witching Work adds a whole new cast of characters. I’ve also become aware of a whole lot of new and amazingly talented actors and performers since I first started these books in the fall of 2016. Many of these performers are LGBTQIA+, transgender, intersex, otherwise gender diverse, and/or perform drag. This revised fantasy casting list includes an increased number of such folx, particularly among the Elves and in the second book, Lucky LaFey’s witch daughters.
As a writer, it really helps to have “a face” to give to my characters. Actors and performers are easily “recruited” in this imaginative exercise. And so, enjoy the list below. I can’t promise it won’t change!
These two books are about a group of human misfits (the Hermits) and their collisions with magic and a variety of supernatural beings, while having crazy dangerous adventures. It’s a “coming of age” story for characters who are already “old”–a tale of mid-life magic.
The Hermits of “Hermitville” (Book 1) and “Neoville” (Book 2)
*Babe Bump – intersex woman, pansexual. Imagining singer and actor, Eden Atwood, (with darker hair). She’d be terrific. And this song is a perfect way for her to express her feelings for her new sweetheart! Eden has been “the face” of Babe almost since the first chapter.
Babe often functions as the quiet, emotional center of The Hermits, but no one should underestimate her. She’s a sexy burlesque performer and an intersex activist, as bold in her way as Tomma is in zir’s. And she goes through some wild changes! [*Narrator]
*Tomma Bedlam – a gender fluid/non-binary person. Prounouns are ze and zir, and ze is pansexual. Tomma is a BIG personality–complex, creative, provocative, funny as hell, sexy, confrontational, flippant, intelligent, and courageous. Ze is also extremely tender-hearted. Tomma is Babe’s best friend.
I orginally had another person chosen for this fantasy casting, but lately I’ve been realizing that Dragula’s Disasterina (and the person behind her) has a lot of the emotional range, physicality, and humor that I associate with Tomma. Though I don’t see Tomma with quite the non-stop boisterous campiness of Disasterina, Tomma comes close in several scenes. I find myself wondering if the thoughtfulness (as well as the punk-drag energy) behind the creation of Disasterina would allow this performer to deliver the Tomma I imagine. It’s an interesting speculation! [*Narrator]
*Oyster Olson – trans man, asexual, pan-romantic. Imagining Will Krisanda who played Max in the Brothers series, but with a little grey hair added. For me, he’s been “the face” of Oyster Olson all along and I remain devoted to this fantasy casting choice. Will Krisanda has the kind of range that Oyster needs, as Oyster’s life takes many unexpected turns. (But he’d have to learn to play blues harp or fake it!). [* Narrator]
Aarrf Perry – a gender queer (they/them) “human puppy” who is also head of Hermitville security. This character requires a certain kind of versatility and has a pretty intense character growth. I now imagine Dina Nina Martinez in the roll, as she’s funny as hell and I think she could carry Aarrf’s character arc.
Joe Hillstrom – cisgender man, gay, photographer and personal trainer. I originally imagined Chiwetel Ejiofor, because he can pretty much do anything as an actor and I love him. However, there are several actors out there who could do wonderful things with Joe’s character.
Glysandra Shakti Om – cisgender woman, hetero, neo-tantra instructor. I originally imagined Helen McCrory (Peaky Blinders), as she is so sexually compelling. But there are others who do could the role too. There is potential for campy humor in this role, as Glysandra can be clueless but also overly sincere. If I was going to cast a drag performer, I’d go for Louisiana Purchase. I think she could do a lot with a hippy tantrika character!
Maximus Gordon – cisgender man, hetero, polyamorous, musician and singer. I imagine casting an actor like Morgan Freeman or Idris Elba, but as Maximus is somewhat kinky, it has to be someone comfortable with that kind of role. Maximus is a former folk singer and his ex-wife and current girlfriend both live in Hermitville. They all get along.
Sybil Perry – cisgender woman, heteroflexible, polyamorous, musician and singer. Imagining Annie Golden as Maximus’ former wife and folksinging partner.
Minnie Richmond – cisgender OR trans woman, heteroflexible, polyamorous, musician and singer. She is Maximus’ current GF. She and Maximus are somewhat kinky, so it has to be someone comfortable with that kind of role. I’d like this role to be given to a woman of color.
Jennifer Juniper – cisgender woman, hetero, musician and singer. Imagining Rhiannon Giddens or Valerie Junes, except they’re both so good and there might not be enough for a musican of that caliber to do. Perhaps this is a role for someone who is an actor first, musican second?
Frank Talk – intersex man, heteroflexible, musician. I’ve thought of Mx. Annunaki Ray Marquez, an intersex activist and former professional pirate actor. However, Frank goes through some tough times in the second book (spoiler alert) and so the trauma might be tough on an actor.
Rozaline Rae – cisgender OR trans woman, bisexual, musician/singer. Imagining someone with a persona similar to Poison Ivy (of The Cramps).
Ginger Croom – cisgender woman, hetero, age 70ish, winery heiress, Hermitville founder. Dies at beginning of the book. A “big” personality even so. I keep thinking Susan Sarandon (b. 1946), both for looks and for her activism (very much like Ginger’s). And who play the younger Ginger in flashbacks?
Sidley Croom – cisgender man, bisexual, Ginger’s younger brother. Sidley has red hair and a beard. Would look something like Jeff Bridges (b. 1949).
Elves of “The Realm” (Books 1 & 2)
Note: The Elves have 29 genders in their world, depending on their “element” at birth and timing of developmental “shifts” over the course of their lives.
Septimus Sitwell – Elf gender TBA. pansexual. Imagining Benedict Cumberbatch. Because this is a fantasy after all… And because Septimus has some great lines.
*Breadcrumb – Elf gender TBA, pansexual. Character based on Angela Mae, a clown and bellydancer who used to perform with Gooferman. I can imagine Jamie Clayton (Sense8 transgender actress) in this role. [*Book narrator.]
Professor Osbert Almond – Elf gender TBA, pansexual. Imagining Tom Hiddleston with long hair (but more gloss and gleam than Marvel Loki) — mostly because he is an amazing actor and could bring a lot of depth to the professor, who has a complex backstory. Or perhaps Alexander Vlahos (Versailles), with long, dark hair.
Parsifal Berry Blue – Elf gender TBA, pansexual, T.W.O.’s dad. Character based on the real-life Puddles, the Sad Clown with the Golden Voice. Would love to cast Puddles (Mike Geier) in this role.
Maud o’ Bedlam – Elf gender TBA, pansexual, Breadcrumb’s mom. Imagining Eva Green (Penny Dreadful).
George Potts – Elf gender TBA, pansexual, married to Archie Smegley. Imagining Jake Zyrus (trans man actor/singer).
Archie Smegley – Elf gender TBA, pansexual, married to George Potts. Imagining Scott Turner Schofield (trans man actor) OR could be Evah Destruction, drag perfomer .
Gingevus Sitwell – Elf gender TBA, pansexual, brother to Septimus. Imagining Bill Nighy (with longish hair) OR could be Landon Cider, drag performer.
Who’s There – Elf gender TBA, pansexual. Imagining Biqtch Puddin’, drag performer (Dragula).
Hamfast – Elf gender TBA, pansexual, shapeshifter. Imagining Richard O’Brien (Rocky Horror Picture Show).
Hamfast shapeshifting as Goddess Mal-i-bu Bar-bee – Imagining Candis Cayne in a cameo appearance as “the Cosmic Soccer Mom.”
Supernatural Beings (Books 1 and 2)
Vesta the Salamander – this is a voice part.
Nienna, Elven Goddess – Dual role for Victoria Elizabeth Black (see Gyda below).
Lucky LaFey & Family (Book 2)
Lucky LaFey (Norse God Loki Laufeyjarson) – Imagining Hale Appleman (The Magicians), but with red hair.
Váli, Lucky & Sigyn’s Son – (changed into a wolf by Odin). Not yet cast.
Angrboda, Lucky’s Jotun wife – Powerful. Imagining Maxi Glamour, drag performer (Dragula).
Sigyn, Lucky’s Aesir wife – Imagining Kitana Kiki Rodriguez (Tangerine). Brief action role.
Gyda, Lucky’s Witch Daughter – Victoria Elizabeth Black, drag performer (Dragula). And see Nienna, above. She could do both.
Runa, Witch Daughter – Indya Moore, transgender actress (Pose). I can also see her as Breadcrumb though.
Magnhild, Witch Daughter – Dahli, drag performer (Dragula).
Ylva, Witch Daughter – Angelica Ross, transgender actress (Pose).
Thyra, Witch Daughter – the “punk rock” one. James Majesty, drag performer (Dragula).
The rest of Lucky’s Witch Daughters, not yet cast. Eerika, Alva, Oili, Ase, Unn, Sigrid, Gunvor, Nanna, Ingrid, Eira, Asta, Sylvi — all could be played by transgender actresses and/or drag performers.
Sophie “Socks” Lokisdottir – a transient human trans girl adopted by Lucky. Not yet cast.
Bad Guys (Book 1)
Anna Phylaxia – cisgender woman, hetero, pretend “domme,” CEO of Anna’s Wicked Wares. Imagining Vander Von Odd as fantastic in this cis female role, as well as the person behind the scenes who designs quite a lot of The Realm scenery and Elf costumes.
Stanford Lawsome – cisgender, part-human, bisexual, Anna’s assistant. Half human. Imagining Reeve Carney (Penny Dreadful) with bleached hair and a spray tan.
The Lawyer® – gender neutral (ze, zir), Elsewherian supernatural foe, preference unknown. Imagining Jamie Casbon (Brothers) with a very corporate wardrobe.
Sri Niri Nimrod – cisgender man, hetero. Self-righteous yoga guy with man bun, leader of a Hippie Doomsday Cult. Small role. Haven’t cast him yet.
Bad Guys (Book 2)
Samuel Dipps aka “The Big Dipper” or “The Dip” – Wethrini supernatural foe. He looks like an orange, spray tanned “Malibu Ken” doll. This is a nasty villain! Haven’t imagined a fantasy actor yet. [Also, “The Dip” has minions, not yet specified.]
Anna Phylaxia – Returns as a friend of Samuel Dipp. See Bad Guys (Book 1).
Film Crew (Book 1)
Miranda Jackson – cisgender female, lesbian, documentary filmmaker. Have imagined someone like Lea DeLaria (Orange is the New Black).
Shank Stoma – Trans or gender queer person, sexual preference unknown. Camera. Imagining Hudson Krakowski (Brothers).
Eddie Sedgwick – Nonbinary trans male (they, their). Camera. Imagining Em Grosland (New Ambsterdam).
Toledo Jackson – Cisgender male, hetero. Miranda’s goat-selling, former tweaker brother. Hippie dude. Imagining someone similar to Russell Brand, but even more unraveled.
Hawaiian (Kanaka Maoli) Neighbors (Book 1)
Namaka – cisgender woman, mother of two including kapu (sacred) child. I imagine someone like singer/activist Hāwane Rios or singer/activist Laulani Teale.
Uncle Iolana – cisgender man, kupuna (cherished elder), age 70ish. I imagine someone like singer Liko Martin.
The kapu baby, Keikiokalani (gender not specified), and a boy of ten. Not cast.
This “casting” is actually a productive exercise for a (cis, white) writer to step out of a tendency to “cast white” and “cast cis” and to broaden the character possibilities beyond a token character or two, tossed in as a sop to “diversity.” It is also a way to search out and appreciate the work of talented people who in some cases have less recognition than they deserve. And it’s also a bit of “magical thinking.”
So mote it be.