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Subject: Casting away... ( 43 of 59 )
Posted by William Billingsley

I thought it was time I chimed in the fantasy casting theme with my own thoughts:

I have tried to avoid people who would demand too high pay-packets -- Even $120m budgets have limits. [1]

ARTHUR. Boothby Graffoe. He's a comedian rather than an actor, but in fantasy-casts the fantasor can always assume the fellow can act (so long as it's not a soccer player). He's English, and has a permanently-lost-in-Debenhams air to him. He's also genuinely funny. He has an unusual but not unnatural voice -- it's deeper than Simon Jones's but still has a slightly eccentric quality to it.

FORD. Richard E. Grant could do this quite well. Having an English duo playing off each other normally works better than an Englishman and an American, particularly with the quirkiness and plays-on-linguistics in Ford and Arthur's conversations. (This always seems to be a perculiarly English humour). In fact, thinking back to _Withnail and I_, Paul McGann would probably make a good Arthur.

ZAPHOD. Please let him only have the one head - two heads works well for the humour in books and on radio, where the second head doesn't get in the way for the rest of the time (for the rest of the movie it's best if people aren't distracted from the dialogue by always looking at Zaphods other head).
Maybe we need an American for marketing purposes by now .. I'm sure there are lots of brash Americans who can play froody.

TRILLIAN. We're really asking someone to play Carol Vordermann here, aren't we? Again I'm sure there are lots of possibilities. Someone who is genuinely bright would be good. (Very often it does show through in mannerisms on screen)


CAMEOS. It'd be nice to have the original cast turning up somewhere. Of course it could be as easy as picking other characters for whom they did the voices on radio, but where's the fantasising in that?

Arthur -- PROSSER/JELTZ. This has the advantage of giving him the first line (apart from The Book). Simon Jones starting things off with "Come off it Mr Dent..." would be quite fun. And he does do bureaucratic quite well - _The Devil's Own_. (I assume Prosser and Jeltz will still both be the same actor.)

Ford -- CAPTAIN OF THE B-ARK. (unless David Jason feels like reprising the role).

Zaphod -- COMPERE AT THE RESTAURANT (although the radio series actor was very good).

Trillian -- It's slightly tricky to find very memorable female roles. Perhaps it's tempting to change the gender of Vroomfondel or Magicthighs. Or maybe the Mice leader who makes the "O people who wait in the shadow of Deep Thought" speech. With no gender-switching, the Golgafrinchan hairdresser is the best choice.

It would also be tempting to put two of them in as Benji & Frankie mouse.

OK that's enough playing at casting director for one night; I'm getting indecisive.

William Billingsley.

[1] I've also excluded me. Everyone knows that a real fantasy cast involves the fantasor at least six times, but I'm willing to break that rule today. Something makes me feel that one screen-test for a tv series and some amateur theatre is a tad too little experience. :-)

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