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Silmarillion Film Project and Cast
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Feb 3, 4:20pm

Post #1 of 44 (4020 views)
Silmarillion Film Project and Cast Can't Post

So I've been working with a forum on a theoretical Silmarillion adaptation for the last couple years. They've been working on the Silmarillion up to the death of Feanor (of course they will be going farther). This includes a frame narrative with a young Aragorn.


Season 1: So this is Eru, the Valar, and some major Maiar:
Iluvatar: Ralph Fiennes http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000146/

Melkor: Michael Fassbender http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1055413/?ref_=nv_sr_1

Manwe: Daniel Day-Lewis http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000358/?ref_=nv_sr_1
Varda: Lucy Liu http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0005154/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
Ulmo: Manu Bennet http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0071847/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
Aule: Liev Schreiber http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000630/?ref_=nv_sr_1
Yavanna: Gina Torres http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0868659/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
Nienna: Marion Cotillard http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0182839/?ref_=nv_sr_1
Tulkas: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0425005/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
Nessa: Summer Glau http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1132359/?ref_=nv_sr_1
Orome: Alexander Skarsgard http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0002907/?ref_=nv_sr_1
Vana: Amandla Stenberg http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3964350/?ref_=nv_sr_1
Mandos: Idris Elba http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0252961/?ref_=nv_sr_1
Vaire: Holly Hunter http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000456/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
Lorien: Alexander Siddig http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0796502/?ref_=nv_sr_2
Este: Lyndie Greenwood http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3442405/?ref_=nv_sr_1

Mairon: Simon Woods http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1373034/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
Osse: Ben Schnetzer http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3115493/?ref_=nv_sr_1
Uinen: Sofia Boutella http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1154749/?ref_=nv_sr_1
Melian: Rachel Weitz http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001838/?ref_=nv_sr_1
Olorin: Gael Garcia Bernal http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0305558/?ref_=tt_ov_st_sm
Curumo: Domhnall Gleeson http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1727304/?ref_=tt_cl_t10
Ungoliant: Morena Baccarin http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1072555/?ref_=nv_sr_1
Eonwe: Liam Hemsworth http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2955013/?ref_=nv_sr_1
Ilmare: Yoo-Jeong Kim http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2498552/?ref_=nmmd_md_nm
Gothmog: Chris Pine http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1517976/

Gilraen: Alicia Vikander http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2539953/?ref_=nv_sr_1
Elrond: Benedict Cumberbatch http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1212722/?ref_=nv_sr_1
Bilbo: James McAcoy http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0564215/?ref_=nv_sr_1
Estel: Jason Drucker http://www.imdb.com/name/nm6099602/

And for Season 2: The Coming of the Elves to the Darkening of Valinor:

Season 2:

Galadriel - Diane Kruger http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1208167/
Celebrían - Sally Hawkins http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1020089/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
Arwen - Gemma Arterton http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2605345/?ref_=nv_sr_2
Eirien - Rebecca Ferguson http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0272581/?ref_=nv_sr_1
Celeborn - Patrick Wilson http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0933940/?ref_=nv_sr_1
Elladan and Elrohir - Colin Morgan and Ben Wishaw http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2959880/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1

Draugluin - Toby Kebbell http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1527905/?ref_=nv_sr_1
Thuringwethil - Carey Mulligan http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1659547/?ref_=nv_sr_1
Tevildo - Tom Waits http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001823/?ref_=tt_cl_t9

Arien - Julia Montes https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julia_Montes
Aiwendil - Matthew Lewis http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0507535/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
Tom Bombadil - Kristofer Hivju http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1970465/?ref_=nv_sr_1
Fimbrethil - Maggie Smith http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001749/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
Treebeard - Patrick Stewart http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001772/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1

Elves of Cuiviénen
Ingwë - Carey Elwes http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000144/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
Indis - Rosamund Pike http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0683253/?ref_=nv_sr_1
Finwë - Rufus Sewell http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001722/?ref_=nv_sr_1
Míriel - Jennifer Connelly http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000124/?ref_=nv_sr_1
Mahtan - Kevin McKidd http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0571727/?ref_=nv_sr_1
Elwë - Paul Bettany http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0079273/?ref_=nv_sr_1
Beleg - Ioan Gruffudd http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0344435/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
Mablung - Luke Goss http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0331577/?ref_=nv_sr_1
Olwë - Joseph Fiennes http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001212/?ref_=nv_sr_1
Círdan - Damian Lewis http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0507073/?ref_=nv_sr_1
Lenwë - Edward Hogg http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1296102/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
Eöl - Mark Strong http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0835016/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
Nurwen - Keira Knightly http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0461136/?ref_=nv_sr_1
Tatië - Emily Cox http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2686957/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
Morwë - Matthew Goode http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0328828/?ref_=nv_sr_1

Elves of Valinor
Rúmil - Ben Crompton http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0174005/?ref_=nv_sr_2
Iminyë - Laura Dern http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000368/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
Fëanor - Richard Armitage http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0035514/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
Nerdanel - Emily Blunt http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1289434/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
Findis - Jennie Jacques http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3262524/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
Irimë - Josephin Asplund http://www.imdb.com/name/nm4739140/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
Fingolfin - Tom Hiddleston http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1089991/?ref_=nv_sr_1
Anairë - Vicky McClure http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0566049/?ref_=nv_sr_1
Finarfin - Dan Stevens http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1405398/?ref_=nv_sr_1
Earwen - Holliday Grainger http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0334441/?ref_=nv_sr_1


I always follow my job through.

(This post was edited by ange1e4e5 on Feb 3, 4:29pm)


Feb 3, 9:54pm

Post #2 of 44 (3913 views)
So, NOT a film project. [In reply to] Can't Post

Rather, you seem to have a series in mind.

Some of the casting is certainly interesting. The Valar and Maiar provide a chance to add more diversity than might be expected in a Middle-earth project focused on the First Age. I'm not sure it would be wise to use a young Aragorn as a framing device; you are projecting this for several seasons and child actors do age after all. But perhaps you've already planned for that within your narrative.

Purists would have a field day with including Bilbo in your framing narrative. He ought to be firmly ensconced in Bag End for a good number of years following his return from Erebor; I'm not sure Bilbo ever returned to Rivendell between the year 2942 and 3000 or so. though there might be a little wiggle room there. And you certainly wouldn't be the first person to play around with the canon.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Feb 3, 9:55pm)


Feb 4, 12:40am

Post #3 of 44 (3875 views)
The frame narrative had already been decided on when I got there. [In reply to] Can't Post

And yes, it’s not a film, it’s more a TV series. As of right now, we’re working on the first Battles and the death of Feanor.

I always follow my job through.


Feb 4, 8:52pm

Post #4 of 44 (3794 views)
Heh [In reply to] Can't Post

I can totally see Rachel Weitz as Melian, but I think Gweyth Paltrow would be better as Galadriel., De gustibus non est disputandum, right?

We are the fighting Uruk-Hai! We slew the great warrior! Well, yeah, first he killed a bunch of us and another whole lot of Mauhúr's lads, and we had to shoot enough arrows into him to drop a Mûmak. But we got him!


Feb 4, 10:32pm

Post #5 of 44 (3783 views)
De gustibus non est disputandum... [In reply to] Can't Post

What does that mean?

I always follow my job through.


Feb 4, 11:29pm

Post #6 of 44 (3779 views)
"There's no arguing about taste" - roughly [In reply to] Can't Post

Meaning it's no use trying to convince others to dislike what they like.

squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Archive: All the TORn Reading Room Book Discussions (including the 1st BotR Discussion!) and Footerama: "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
Dr. Squire introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary

= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


Feb 4, 11:34pm

Post #7 of 44 (3776 views)
Literally... [In reply to] Can't Post

"there is no arguing about taste." Wink

As Squire so nicely paraphrases

We are the fighting Uruk-Hai! We slew the great warrior! Well, yeah, first he killed a bunch of us and another whole lot of Mauhúr's lads, and we had to shoot enough arrows into him to drop a Mûmak. But we got him!


Feb 5, 7:22am

Post #8 of 44 (3746 views)
I'm not sure casting Eru or the Valar is the best approach [In reply to] Can't Post

Tolkien noted in Letters, no. 247 that part of the effect of The Lord of the Rings is the sense of history which, however, well-developed, is lost and inaccessible.

Part of the attraction of The L.R. is, I think, due to the glimpses of a large history in the background : an attraction like that of viewing far off an unvisited island, or seeing the towers of a distant city gleaming in a sunlit mist. To go there is to destroy the magic, unless new unattainable vistas are again revealed.

I think that the published Silmarillion still works for a couple reasons. For one, the majority of the book is told in a remote, mythological style that lacks the novelistic immediacy of TH and LOTR. But it's also that the Silm is principally concerned with events in Beleriand during the later stages of the war(s) with Morgoth and from that perspective Valinor fills much the same role as Beleriand and Númenor do for the Third Age (e.g., Gondolin being built in imitation of Tirion upon Túna). Seeing Tirion itself -- in the more intimate and direct visual format of film or TV, anyway -- doesn't leave much else behind the curtain, so to speak.


Feb 5, 8:21am

Post #9 of 44 (3736 views)
De-emphasizing the Valar [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To
I think that the published Silmarillion still works for a couple reasons. For one, the majority of the book is told in a remote, mythological style that lacks the novelistic immediacy of TH and LOTR. But it's also that the Silm is principally concerned with events in Beleriand during the later stages of the war(s) with Morgoth and from that perspective Valinor fills much the same role as Beleriand and Númenor do for the Third Age (e.g., Gondolin being built in imitation of Tirion upon Túna). Seeing Tirion itself -- in the more intimate and direct visual format of film or TV, anyway -- doesn't leave much else behind the curtain, so to speak.

You raise a good point, though I don't think that the Valar could be entirely ignored. Important events involving the Valar, the Noldor and the Teleri in The SIlmarillion begin in Valinor and then move to Beleriand. It would be hard, if not impossible, to cover those events and keep the Valar completely distant.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Feb 5, 8:23am)


Feb 5, 6:34pm

Post #10 of 44 (3684 views)
The Sil '77 [In reply to] Can't Post

Personally, I think doing the earlier chapters would be a mistake. If I were doing a film or TV series about Sil '77, I would do just "The Lay of Leithen," or maybe the story of Turin Turambar for the GRR Martin fans. That's almost as sad and violent as that Game of Thrones show my friends keep trying to get me to watch. Unsure

We are the fighting Uruk-Hai! We slew the great warrior! Well, yeah, first he killed a bunch of us and another whole lot of Mauhúr's lads, and we had to shoot enough arrows into him to drop a Mûmak. But we got him!


Feb 5, 9:30pm

Post #11 of 44 (3656 views)
Eru is a voice role. [In reply to] Can't Post


I always follow my job through.


Feb 5, 10:27pm

Post #12 of 44 (3650 views)
So, of the cast, [In reply to] Can't Post

What are your opinions? (That’s for the whole site to answer).

I always follow my job through.


Feb 5, 10:32pm

Post #13 of 44 (3653 views)
Yes, with a caveat [In reply to] Can't Post

You are of course correct that the Valar play an important role in the events of the First Age and it's not possible to tell any of the stories of that Age without at least briefly explaining backstory in which the Valar feature. However, I think it would be for the best for any adaptation to keep these elements of the backstory in the background, whether through a prologue as in the LOTR films or through other means. I'll try to explain what I mean; apologies for this getting lengthy.

Mixed in with all the philosophical, historical, and philological material in The Silmarillion, there are six core character-focused stories:

1. The Fall of the Noldor (including the family drama of the Finwians)
2. Beren and Lúthien
3. The Children of Húrin
4. Wanderings of Húrin/Ruin of Doriath (left in an especially confused state)
5. The Fall of Gondolin
6. Eärendil the Wanderer (never written out but always of crucial importance)

Stories two through six on this list, when seen alongside the the final three Battles of Beleriand (Dagor Bragollach, Nirnaeth Arnoediad, and the War of Wrath), form a tightly integrated story cycle that not only have overlapping characters but where each event leads almost seamlessly into the next one. Morgoth breaking the siege of Angband leads to Beren fleeing into Doriath, thereby triggering the Quest of the Silmaril. The successful quest inspires the Union of Maedhros, which ends in the War of Wrath, the aftermath of which sets Tuor and Túrin on their respective paths. Túrin's actions result in the fall of Nargothrond and Húrin bringing the Nauglamír to Doriath, where together with the Silmaril that Beren and Lúthien retrieved it brings about the fall of that kingdom. Tuor's arrival (as part of Ulmo's plan) is mostly responsible for there being any survivors of Gondolin, who join with the survivors of Doriath before Tuor's son sails to Valinor and convinces the Valar to launch the War of Wrath, bringing about the end of the First Age.

The Fall of the Noldor, for as much as I enjoy that story, is separate from this in a number of ways. There's a temporal separation due to the 400 year Siege of Angband during which Beleriand is relatively peaceful and therefore less interesting, but more importantly there aren't any humans present. For as much as The Silmarillion is generally seen as being about Elves, humans are the reason for most of the events summarized above taking place, and most of the protagonists in the stories are human. Humans are also essential to The Silmarillion from a thematic perspective. To understand The Silmarillion as a mythology (which I think is how it was intended to be understood) we need to know to which culture that mythology belonged and who transmitted it down through the generations. (Verlyn Flieger makes this point in Interrupted Music much more eloquently than I'm doing here.) For much of his life Tolkien wrote the Silm stories within the frame narrative centered on Eriol/Aelfwine, although most of the specifics tying him to English prehistory were eventually stripped away. However, I think there is solid evidence that Tolkien abandoned the idea of Eriol/Aelfwine in favor of the Bilbo/Red Book transmission by the end of his life.*

With that in mind, the overall "point" of The Silmarillion which it drives toward is the preservation and transmission of Elvish legend, language, and -- in the form of the Half-Elven -- genetics. (I don't think it's a coincidence that every elf-human marriage was between a male human and a female elf, since all known Middle-earth cultures were patrilineal.) In the BoLT Tolkien described how the mythology allowed the English, through Eriol, to preserve "the true tradition of the fairies". I think that Tolkien's discussion of the mythology as a Númenórean creation during the Myths Transformed era and later should be understood as a variant on this same idea: "the true tradition of the Eldar", if you will. That is, in any event, essentially how the Quenta Silmarillion ends. Beleriand is destroyed and amost all of the Elvish and Edainic royal houses are extinct, except for the line preserved by the Half-Elven. One of whom becomes a great king of Men whose eldest son dedicates himself to collecting stories from both Elves and Men (UT, The Line of Elros), and whose descendants are known as Elf-friends and (King's Men/Black Númenóreans notwithstanding) maintain a closer connection to the Elves than any other group of humans. And ultimately the tales of the Third Age conclude with the two branches of the Half-Elven reunited and that connection rejuvenated for a time.

There is some ambiguity as to how much of the Silm material should be understood as Númenórean-preserved as opposed to stuff that Bilbo got directly from Elvish sources in Rivendell, but MT provides some guidance here. Tolkien cast doubt on the veracity of some of the more scientifically implausible aspects of the mythology (e.g., vast forests growing in a world illuminated only by starlight) and suggests that those elements were introduced in the process of stories being transmitted over generations by the Edain and their descendants (including mixing with their own mythologies they had before entering Beleriand). Therefore, stories that contain such explicitly mythological elements can and should be interpreted as based on Númenórean sources. On the other hand, historical and philological texts that do not have these issues can more easily be seen as Eldarin in origin, and reflective of the more "accurate" perspective. I think this is probably the solution Tolkien settled on that allowed him to keep the myths, implausibilities and all, without sacrificing continuity with the more modern, novelistic stories of the Third Age. Texts of both types would have been part of The Silmarillion had Tolkien finished it** but a film or TV adaptation would of course focus on the narrative tales of the First Age rather than, say, "Laws and Customs among the Eldar". Tongue

So anyway, I don't think that a screen adaptation of The Silmarillion should attempt to cover the events that occur before the Dagor Bragollach in significant detail. I know that this is not an unpopular opinion in some circles, and I don't mean to throw shade at the early stories of the Silm, but I don't think that the Fall of the Noldor should be something glimpsed firsthand, both because it would mean seeing Valinor directly and because it would necessitate an Elvish POV character (whereas the annalistic style of the Silm enables the story to be told from a POV far removed from the events described). Aside from Lúthien who is an exceptional case for multiple reasons, I would keep Elvish POVs to a minimum in the later stories too. The Valar are relevant in later stories but only Ulmo personally shows up in Beleriand; not counting Morgoth since he was by then trapped in his Dark Lord form and already bereft of much of his original spiritual potency. I'd have to think further on how to handle the appearance of the Valar in the story of Eärendil, but I think it's worth noting that in the 1977 Silm itself Eärendil is present before the Valar only very briefly, and leaves to find Elwing before they begin deliberating on his request.

Sorry again for this getting so long! This is something I've thought about a lot before but I haven't had the chance to marshal my thoughts on it for a while.


*References to Eriol/Aelfwine (what can be termed the Golden Book transmission) persisted into at least the 1950s, after the idea of the Red Book had already been introduced, but before it had been tied to the Silm. The first edition of LOTR (1954-5), states that the Red Book contained "many annals, genealogies, and traditions of the realms of the South and the North [Gondor and Arnor], derived through Bilbo from the books of lore in Rivendell" and also through Frodo and Pippin from Aragorn, but does not refer to the First Age. However, the second edition (1965) states that Bilbo's Translations from the Elvish was "almost entirely concerned with the Elder Days". Similarly, the latest version of the Akallabêth (late 1950s) referred to its author as Eriol, but the "The Line of Elros" (which IIRC was written c. 1960, at least that's what the good folks at Mellonath Daeron estimate) states that the author was Elendil, although Tolkien never rewrote the Akallabêth to reflect this and it doesn't really read like a firsthand account. In any event, while there are still plenty of references to Eriol in the Later Silmarillion volumes of HoMe, I have not found any mention of him in any of the (admittedly few) texts written after the second edition of LOTR, though if someone else can point to something I've overlooked I would be much obliged. Smile

**See, for example, Charles Noad's suggested outline of the structure of The Silmarillion that Tolkien likely was aiming for (he explains his reasoning for this in "On the Construction of 'The Silmarillion'", Tolkien's Legendarium, ed. Flieger and Hostetter):

Quenta Silmarillion

Concerning the Powers
- Ainulindalë
- Valaquenta

The Great Tales
- The Lay of Leithian
- Narn i Chîn Húrin
- The Fall of Gondolin
- Eärendil the Wanderer

The Later Tales
- Akallabêth
- Of the Rings of Power

- The Tale of Years
- Of the Laws and Customs among the Eldar
- Dangweth Pengoloð
- Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth
- Quendi and Eldar


Feb 5, 10:34pm

Post #14 of 44 (3642 views)
Largely agreed... [In reply to] Can't Post

...as I just took a ridiculous amount of time doing in my response to Otaku-sempai. Crazy I'd be interested in seeing some of the other Great Tales as well but wouldn't cover the earlier chapters, like you say.


Feb 5, 10:35pm

Post #15 of 44 (3638 views)
That makes sense; thanks for the clarification! // [In reply to] Can't Post



Feb 6, 3:02am

Post #16 of 44 (3611 views)
Does anyone want to offer their opinions on the cast? [In reply to] Can't Post

It’s part of the reason why I put up this thread in the first place.

I always follow my job through.


Feb 6, 3:15am

Post #17 of 44 (3615 views)
Brilliant work [In reply to] Can't Post

My head always spins when I try to synthesize the Tolkien conundrum at this level. Thanks for such an in-depth but clear treatment!

squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Archive: All the TORn Reading Room Book Discussions (including the 1st BotR Discussion!) and Footerama: "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
Dr. Squire introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary

= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


Feb 6, 4:32am

Post #18 of 44 (3599 views)
Thank you, squire! [In reply to] Can't Post

I am glad (and somewhat relieved) that you think it was written clearly. Tongue


Feb 7, 2:27am

Post #19 of 44 (3507 views)
There actually is a thread about Elven genetics. [In reply to] Can't Post


What do you think of the cast? I'm getting tired of asking the same question.

I always follow my job through.


Feb 8, 11:29pm

Post #20 of 44 (3410 views)
Cast reactions: Season 1 [In reply to] Can't Post

Just my opinions. I think casting the Valar is particularly hard because they are ethereal spirits who need to combine a sort of eternal youth with ageless wisdom--not easy. But if you want an example of where casting people as gods really failed, IMO, it was the original "Clash of the Titans" where there was nothing about the actors that felt divine or otherworldly; they looked like regular actors in Greek clothing. I can't create art, but I know when I see it (or don't see it).

Melkor: Michael Fassbender: I can't picture him in this role at all, even doing my best to forget him as an android. The Ultimate Evil? Can't see him doing it. And I have no ready candidates; this isn't an easy role to fill.

Manwe: Daniel Day-Lewis: sure
Varda: Lucy Liu : I can't see her as Varda, and it's nothing to do with ethnicity. Varda, queen of the gods, kindler of stars, most beloved of the Elves, the one they sing to, feared by Melkor. Lucy Liu just seems too grounded for a role that needs to be more ethereal, someone with an other-worldly feel. I'm not suggesting Tilda Swinton for the role, but you can perhaps pick up the vibe I'm thinking.

Ulmo: Manu Bennet: he might be able to pull it off. Ulmo is a partial renegade with a good heart and awesome power. It doesn't take too much imagination seeing Manu in this role.
Aule: Liev Schreiber : not sure either way. Great actor, but he seems a little too intellectual to play god of the smiths. Not that smiths are dumb, mind you, but I dunno. Maybe Lorien would be a better fit.

Yavanna: Gina Torres : interesting choice. I remember her playing the evil goddess in "Angel," and she was quite convincing. People have to forget her stoic and physical role in Firefly. I think she could do it.
Nienna: Marion Cotillard : I don't know her at all, but she has a delicate-looking face, and that seems appropriate for Nienna, whom I picture that way.

Tulkas: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson : sorry, but total no on this one. I just can never believe he's an actor in any role I've seen him in, he seems like a stuntman that they gave lines to. I'd look for a muscular guy who can act.
Nessa: Summer Glau : we know so little about Nessa, I'd say sure, but Summer Glau is pretty capable, so I'd find a bigger role for her just to make use of her talent.

Orome: Alexander Skarsgard : I think he'd make a better huntsman of the gods than Tarzan. Seriously.

Mandos: Idris Elba : OMG, great choice! He can be be so intense so easily, and that is Mandos to a T.
Lorien: Alexander Siddig : as I said above, I'd probably put Liev Schrieber here, but I think Siddig could do the role.

[I'm skipping the lesser characters we don't know much about.]

Melian: Rachel Weitz : OMG, yes, totally!!!!!
Ungoliant: Morena Baccarin : good choice; I know she'd be a voice, yet let's say that she half-transforms into a humanoid form at some point. I can easily see her as Ungoliant. Gives me shivers, even.

Eonwe: Liam Hemsworth: I don't think so. Too pretty, too boyish. For the herald of the gods and a leader of them in battle, you need someone older. Hemsworth could play some other role; maybe even Beren, I dunno.

Gothmog: Chris Pine : so he's either a voice for a balrog or under a lot of makeup? Either way, I don't find him very convincing as an actor, not for someone needing to play a primal spirit of evil. He might be able to pull of a more human bad guy role, like a mafia guy, but a balrog? Can't see him doing it.

Elrond: Benedict Cumberbatch: I like him a lot, but I'd say he's over-exposed as an actor. Watching a story on Tolkien's world, you want to feel in a different place. I'd see him and think Sherlock, or Khan, or a number of his other roles. I don't doubt his talent, but I've just seen him so many places I'd be distracted by whom he's supposed to be.

Bilbo: James McAcoy: wait, we're giving up on Martin Freeman already? Actually, Bilbo is an "everyman," so I think a lot of people can play him.


Feb 9, 8:46pm

Post #21 of 44 (3379 views)
I’d say the people voting wanted a more diverse cast; the Season 1 actors were already decided when I arrived, which meant I had no say. [In reply to] Can't Post

On Gothmog: Like you, I was not happy with their choice of Chris Pine. I guess that their idea of Gothmog was a more princely character, envisioning Gothmog as he was at the beginning of time.

Eonwe: They said that Liam Hemsworth had a nice, boyish look, yet manly. I personally envisioned Hemsworth as Turin.

Tulkas: The person who nominated him said “the perfect combination of wrestler and jolly”, verbatim.

It does appear that diversity played a key role in who they decided upon. Indeed, there was a short debate last year about whether or not we should mostly cast Caucasian actors as Elves.

I always follow my job through.


Feb 9, 9:16pm

Post #22 of 44 (3370 views)
I’m all for diversity, but picky about talent, I guess. [In reply to] Can't Post

So a non-Euro Varda? Sure. Just need someone who’s queen of the gods-like.

The rationale behind The Rock as Tulkas is good, actually. He does seem rather jolly. So maybe he has the right personality, but I don’t think he has the acting skills.

Liam Hemsworth as Turin? Yes, I can see that, definitely.


Feb 9, 11:32pm

Post #23 of 44 (3358 views)
So what are your thoughts on Season 2’s cast? [In reply to] Can't Post


I always follow my job through.


Feb 10, 11:29pm

Post #24 of 44 (3328 views)
I see you are not an Ent, my hasty one. More to come. // [In reply to] Can't Post



Feb 11, 12:53am

Post #25 of 44 (3327 views)
Cast reactions: Season 2 [In reply to] Can't Post

Galadriel - Diane Kruger : hmm, I don't see her in this role at all and am scratching my head why she was chosen. Yes, she's pretty, but...??? For full disclosure, Galadriel is one of my favorite characters from the books (LOTR + Sil), so I'm not sure anyone would satisfy my head canon. Cate Blanchett didn't work for me, though she satisfied many others. I think Galadriel has to be pretty, and ageless while conveying great experience of life's up and downs, and powerful in a charismatic rather than physical way, so that rules out tough physical women that like to kick butt in films. Galadriel should command a room with her presence, the way Judy Dench does (and who is very convincing as Queen Victoria). It's hard to have that aura when you're younger, though of course there are young women who can do it that I've met in real life. But enough on this one.

Celebrían - Sally Hawkins: pleasantly surprised by this choice, and it makes me wish Celebrian had more of a story around her so we could see more of her.

Arwen - Gemma Arterton : another pleasant surprise. Going through her IMDB photos, I saw she was the likable character in The Girl with All the Gifts (just a so-so movie, btw, but it had a few good points). And she's got something about her eyes that draws you into her. I struggled (& succeeded!) to like Liv Tyler as Arwen just so I could enjoy the movies but felt she lacked the depth of character needed for Arwen (and I still give her credit for really stretching herself as a professional to fit that role). I think Gemma is a much closer fit.

Celeborn - Patrick Wilson: my rating = "I suppose." No strong opinion. Movie Celeborn never worked for me, but that was partly the hair, the slow way that he talked, the makeup, and things like that. Under different direction and stagecraft, the same actor might have convinced me he was worthy of Galadriel and thousands of years old and wise. So, maybe this guy could too.

Elladan and Elrohir - Colin Morgan and Ben Wishaw: Ben Winshaw = yes, Colin Morgan = I don't think so, mainly because he has a certain delicate look to him that conflicts with the life of these two brothers living ruggedly in endless vendetta against Orcs for the rape of their mother. They need to have a certain burning inner fire in them to go with the effects of living outdoors and traveling. He looks more like a thoughtful, sensitive character in Merchant/Ivory productions. But Ben Winshaw seems a good choice.

[skipping characters I have no opinion on]

Tom Bombadil - Kristofer Hivju: total yes! What a great choice.
Treebeard - Patrick Stewart : another great choice. He has that resonant voice that I associate with Treebeard. It doesn't matter if I've heard him in a zillion movies, TV shows, and commercials. He'd be a great Treebeard.

Indis - Rosamund Pike: I considered this a minor person until we had a Reading Room discussion about her and people brought up more from the HOME series, plus there's the fact that she's Feanor's stepmother, and his alienation from her and her sons, while she was guiltless (and was happily in love with his father), >> it all really calls for some nuance. Succinctly: yes, I think she's a good choice. She might be a minor character in overall screen time, but she's a pivotal one.

Finwë - Rufus Sewell: talented actor, and it would be fun to see what he would bring to the role of Feanor's doting father who's wise in his own way but has a giant blind spot with his first son.
Míriel - Jennifer Connelly: ha! I didn't even have to think about this one. Definitely a great choice. Now THIS is a complex character, and I think she could totally nail it.

Elwë - Paul Bettany: I remember him as Chaucer in Knight's Tail, many years ago, but can't recall seeing him lately. But casting this role raises so many questions in my mind that I can't answer, I'd say sure, why not.

Beleg - Ioan Gruffudd: I'd look elsewhere for Beleg. I think he needs to be more rugged like Clive Own or Russell Crowe (put one of those two in a time machine and make them a little younger).
Mablung - Luke Goss: he's an unknown to me but a great choice for the role, given his photos of the different roles he's played. Someone who's physical and has a brain and heart too. The way Mablung grieves at the end of Turin's tale is one of the strong parts of that story: he's the honest, brave, loyal warrior who's always trying to do right by Turin and his family and is left mourning them all at the end, feeling like he shares in the blame.

Círdan - Damian Lewis: another role like Indis that can't be cast lightly, and I in particular would be very fussy about it, given that Cirdan plays a pivotal role in many instances yet is given little dialogue or development (we don't know if he's married & has kids, for example). And I don't know Damian Lewis at all; going through his photos and trying to see him as the wise Cirdan who spent 3 Ages in Lindon, like Galadriel fighting "the long defeat," I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

Eöl - Mark Strong: a good choice, I think. Eol has to be somehow attractive, both personally and physically, because Aredhel was "not wholly unwilling," but he needs to be mostly dark inside and half-crazy, willing to kill his own family over pride and paranoia.

Fëanor - Richard Armitage: good choice! And one of the hardest roles to cast. He could pull it off.

Fingolfin - Tom Hiddleston: he wouldn't be my 1st choice (& I don't know who is). The role is to be both elder statesman/patriarch of the Noldor yet also the ultra-passionate king who challenges Morgoth to single combat, and is not a crazy kid but a real menace inspiring fear in Morgoth. I'm not sure Hiddleston could convey that menace, but maybe? But to give him his due, let's contrast him with Chris Hemsworth and how they play Loki and Thor: Hemsworth looks like a tough warrior that could scare anyone, but I don't think he could portray that inner fire that consumed Fingolfin when he thought the Noldor had fallen and he alone could redress that. I think he would just yell and roar a lot, which isn't the same thing. And he doesn't seem bright at all, more like a fun, nice guy that you can count on for a fight, but not a wise king. So given that contrast, I'd lean toward Hiddleston, at least. He has more going on inside.

Finarfin - Dan Stevens: instant agreement on this choice. This is someone I couldn't think of to cast on my own, but I saw this choice, and thought, "Of course!" He conveys all the right qualities. I've seen him as the half-pyscho ex-soldier The Guest, so I know he can be more than Matthew Crawley on Downton Abbey, but his Matthew Crawley attributes would fit Finarfin so well: the reflective, wise leader who isn't so sure this whole revolt against the Valar is a good idea, and who finally musters the courage to walk away from it when pride drives all the others on.

Overall, a great list. Thanks for sharing it, Angel, and it was a fun activity to go through it and try to picture these people in their roles, which also made me think of the whole Silmarillion coming to life on screen.

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