For those who aren’t familiar with Neverwhere, or who haven’t read our review, it’s the story of a Richard Mayhew, a Scottish man living in London who helps out an injured girl on the street and ends up trapped in “London Below” for his troubles. The story chronicles Richard’s travels and misadventures through the long forgotten tunnels and subways as he tries to get home.
Since its airing on the BBC in 1996, Neil Gaiman’s fantasy miniseries has been re-published in almost every format available. It’s been made into a novel, (also written by Gaiman) a comic book series, and a stage play, and while it’s been adapted into a script which the Weinstein Company currently owns the rights to, a director has yet to be found and a motion picture adaptation remains tantalizingly out of reach. Even so, hope springs eternal. So in the spirit of trying to grease the wheels, we at MRFH have decided to get the casting of said film out of the way. You listening hollywood? Get on the ball. We can’t do *all* the work.
Richard Mayhew: Ewen Mcgregor
Originally, we had Across the Universe‘s Jim Sturgess in mind and while he certainly looks the part, the more we thought about it, the more we liked Mcgregor in the lead role. The audience discovers and experiences the world of London Below through the eyes of this character, thus it’s important that the actor can believably take on all of the necessary emotions of desperation, humor, resigned determination, and newfound confidence. Just the thought of watching the scene where Richard is nearly driven insane during The Ordeal, as interpreted by Mcgregor, is totally worth my ten bucks. Plus he’s already rocking the Scottish accent.
The Lady Door: Natalie Portman
Door’s story arc contains tragedy, revenge, darkness and despair, and the wrong actress could overplay that and make the character too whiny or abrasive. As an actress, Portman’s femininity, vulnerability and determination would be crucial in not only bringing life to Door, but also making her relatable and charismatic. This is crucial when dealing with a character who is basically the reason the hero’s life is ruined, and at the same time, his motivation for continuing on his grueling journey.
The Marquis de Carabas: David Tennant
In the search for an actor capable of portraying the arrogant, roguish, devil-may-care trickster, the only actor we could think of better than the former Doctor was Johnny Depp, and we’re saving him for when we cast the Sandman movie. If you have any doubts as to Tennant’s ability to play the hell out of this roll, take the following line and say it in his best angry Doctor Who voice:
“You dont ask any questions. You dont get any answers. You dont stray from the path. You don’t even think about whats happening to you right now. Got it?”
Yeah… Now you’re on board.
Hunter: Gina Torres
This one didn’t take any thought at all. Gina Torres absolutely exudes the tough-as-nails demeanor tempered with a soft, elegant beauty and grace that befits the definitive warrior and slayer of mythical beasts. From her turns in Firefly, Cleopatra 2525 and Angel, we’re well aware of her ability to kick ass. Thusly we’re terrified of her while at the same time falling in love with her a little. We can also totally see her pulling off Hunter’s obsession with killing the Beast of London, an obsession that takes precedence over anything else at hand.
Anesthesia: Summer Glau
And as long as we’re casting former Firefly stars…. In the small but rather pivotal role of the young rat-speaker who serves as Richard’s initial guide and companion across Knightsbridge, we could think of no one better than Glau. Her diminutive frame and high voice lend themselves to the character, and the mousy but good natured demeanor that she displayed as River Tam would be wholly effective in playing the first denizen of London Below willing to actually befriend Richard.
Mr. Croup: Tim Roth
As the decidedly more verbose half of the duo of assassins that serve as the antagonists, Mr. Croup needs an actor short of stature but long on menace. At 5″7, and having given life to such characters as General Thade in Planet of the Apes, Ringo/Pumpkin in Pulp fiction and Emil Blonksy in The Incredible Hulk, Tim Roth more than fits the bill. The guy can play scary.
Mr. Vandermar: Vinnie Jones
This was a no-brainer. Seriously, almost too easy. The part of the slightly more menacing and significantly quieter assassin seems to be almost made for Jones. Did anybody read the novel and *not* picture Bullet Tooth Tony when this guy was described?
The Earl: Michael Gambon
This one took a while. In point of fact this part was up for grabs right up until the writing of this article. We ended up going with the man-who-is-Dumbledore for several reasons. He’s no stranger to fantasy and science fiction, having been in Sleepy Hollow, five Harry Potter movies and most recently, the Christmas episode of Doctor Who. We’d love to see him play the forgetful, haunted, train-dwelling Earl of Earl’s Court, a nobleman who’s seen the halcyon days of his youth pass him by as he descends into darkness and decay.
Old Bailey: Bob Hoskins
It’d be treat to see Hoskins playing the much-beleaguered and put-upon rooftop dweller, especially since we haven’t seen much of him since Hollywoodland. Hoskins brings a gruff British charm that would seriously work for Old Bailey, particularly in later scenes opposite the Marquis.
Islington: Alan Cumming
The enigmatic and altogether ethereal character of Islington is at times friendly, soft spoken sanctimonious, sad, stoic, goofy, dangerously angry and altogether unhinged. Alan Cumming we’re pretty sure could knock that out over a ten-minute conversation. As a prolific actor with previous roles ranging in scope from the understated to the sublime to the wholly ridiculous, we’d be really excited to see what Cumming would bring to the table as the troubled angel, especially opposite some equally amazing talent like Tennant and Mcgregor.
Well that’s it in a nutshell folks. Start writing letters to the Weinstein company and let’s get this movie made! In the meantime, are there any characters we left out, or actors you think would be better in specific roles? Let us know in the comments!