Kristen M
Kristen M asked:

I have one question (having just started the book and reached the part where Richard and Bunny are having cocktails/lunch): WHAT DOES RICHARD LOOK LIKE? I haven't read a description of Richard yet and can't picture him in my mind. Thanks.

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Shona It occurred to me halfway through that I was picturing him as Arthur the Aardvark from the 90s children's TV show... presumably Bunny had become Arthur's rabbit friend Buster in my mind, and then each of the characters matched up to one in the show...
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Jessie McClellan I think it's intentionally vague because he's supposed to be the "everyman." His personality lacks a lot of description as well. He's not a leader, you can't even tell if the other characters really like him despite including them in some of their activities. He's just there, experiencing, a conduit (if you will) to allow the reader a brief view into this time and place.
Mitchell Finlay Personally, I never really pictured what Richard looked like... I usually just imagined myself as him. But i'm sure that'd be hard if you were a girl haha... just bringing up a list of young actors about his age, i'd say based on the little few characteristics we're given about him, I think he'd look like Daniel Radcliffe. Not the best looking, but average... slender but not super thin... brown hair and somewhat approachable. Lose the accent and I think he'd be an ideal candidate.

I usually picture actors/actresses for the roles in the books.. so for The Secret History, I had it as:
Richard: Myself/Daniel (maybe Nicholas Hoult)
Henry: Cillian Murphy/Ben Whishaw
Charles: Dave Franco/Jamie Bell
Camilla: Mia Wasikowska
Francis: Will Merrick (maybe a bit too young)
Bunny: Truthfully, I invented someone lol... but maybe Max Thieriot?
rachelbianca Maybe a young Ethan Hawke in "Dead Poet's Society"? (actually, you could probably take most of that cast from that movie and plop them in this friend group). I imagined him as reasonably good looking because he gets a good amount of attention from girls, especially Judy Poovey who I imagined as very attractive and kind of a Kelly Kapowski type.
Reggie I see him as Joseph Gordon-Levitt or at least with similar features.
Christina Everhart I specifically remember one passage in which Richard is cutting his hair, and he describes it as being brown. He also mentioned at some point that he would get hand-me-down suits from Charles that he would have slimmed, so he was probably on the slender side. He also states that Charles is the best looking male in their group, so Richard may have had average looks.
I would speculate that the author purposely hinted at his plainness, as it was a metaphor for the rest of his character. He had a very average upbringing and pedigree that he was always trying to overcome.
Anisa Uddin I imagined him as Eddie Redmayne.
Jennifer English If I remember correctly in the first chapter, when talking about growing up in California, he says something like he was quiet, tall and freckled.
Chris Rigby He seems to get frequently chatted up by some very pretty girls, so I imagine him as being rather good looking.
Kayla I pictured him as Matt Damon from Good Will Hunting.
Teresa Karas He is tall around 6.2 thin and self consciously awkward, brown hair, brown eyes. About a dash above ordinary in looks, but what the girls find charming is his lack of aggression and willingness to go with the flow as he also describes himself in bits through the story. He is more of a witness to life even his own.
Ayah A. Rimbaud haircut, tall, freckly, swimmer shoulders, brown hair.
HILARY I'm about 5 chapters into the book (love it)......The descriptions and tone made me also think of (the wonderful) F. Scott Fitzgerald...and a couple of chapters into the book he does pick up The Great Gatsby and says that he feels a little like him (probably his invented past)....but so far there is very little good physical description of him. This is partly because he is recounting the story (much in the same way that Nick Carraway does in the Great Gatsby), but also because, if he is 'good looking' he doesn't much realise it. So I think we can assume that he is better than averagely good looking but not remarkably so. As others have already said, tall, slim, darkhaired....
Ren I won't lie, I literally saw him as Dan Humphrey from Gossip Girl 😬
Franz Margitza Kinda think of him as Matt Damon in Talented Mr. Ripley-type, the way that he's able to blend into any situation, living the facade of a rich kid, moral indifference, etc.
Shamus Ewer tall and thin, white boy with big penis, essentially gay, but enjoys sex with women.
Agata Wilska i don't exactly know why, but Richard instantly reminded me of Matthew Goode in Brideshead Revisited and Tobey Mcguire in The Great Gatsby. so for me he looks like a mix of these two.

also Henry could look like younger Ben Whishaw, but a loooot taller
Alretha Thomas I never see anyone specifically when I think about Richard. The thought never occurred to me that the author doesn't give a detailed description of him. I know there's something about him that makes me relate to him. I feel comfortable with him. Perhaps because he's really the outsider in the group.
Laura I'm also at the same place in the book. Pg 53 (they've just walked in to the restaurant) mentions they are "2 handsome college boys", so he must be somewhat attractive.
Lisa I assumed the main character was a woman and couldn't figure out who the hell "Richard" was when the name was first used. I figured it out, of course.
Beatrice I don't know why but I imagined him like a young Leo DiCaprio because of his Gatsby-ish will to elevate himself XD
Karen Klink I think the author left it up to the reader to picture him any way you want.
Judy Lindow I think he's more of a connector type of person. He's the invisible person that rubs no one wrong, thereby becoming everyone's friend. He appeases, questions unobtrusively, problem solves, but is not the leader - probably because of his volatile family of origin (a dry alcoholic father and co-dependent mother). With narcissistic parents, he is used to going with the flow and taking that role again, in an extended family metaphor. I think his 'looks' are left to the imagination of the reader on purpose, for us to project.
Carolyn Gee my go-to "good guy" character with no description is always colin hanks in my head. so, colin hanks.
Kathy He's a first person narrator, so unlikely to describe himself, except tangentially, for example when he tells you about the clothes that he buys / wears. We experience the story through his eyes, so, the idea is that we see him from the inside, not the outside.
Cătălina Vrabie I never thought about this, but as I read your question, what came to my mind was Matt Damon in the Talented Mr. Ripley...I think this is how I pictured him all along without even realising it haha
Barbara From Michelle Podsiedlik Blog: Reference:

I found an awkward note of apology in my mailbox, wrapped around a paperback copy of the poems of Rupert Brooke and a box of Junior Mints. (p.109) (Kindle edition p.124)

Rupert Brooke (1887-1915) was an English poet known for his idealistic war sonnets written during the First World War, especially “The Soldier.” He was also known for his boyish good looks, which were said to have prompted the Irish poet W.B. Yeats to describe him as “the handsomest young man in England.”

I feel like this is our closest clue to what Richard looks like. Knowing these characters, how they think, their pool of references, I think Bunny gifted this book to Richard partly because Richard reminds him of Brooke.

I am basing this on pretty much nothing.
Clarissa Moore Now that I'm reading all these possible descriptions of him I'm starting to forget how I imagined him haha
Elisabeth McCall Well, I just started reading 10 minutes ago and the description said he was "prone to freckles" Thus I pictured him as an Irish American boy from California. The book also mentioned he was tall. So tall , skinny not vibrantly Irish American more like the kind of Irish American boy that blends in at a summer camp.
Claire I don't know what any of them look like. I have a hard time distinguishing Henry from Francis. This is one of my main issues with the book. If I made the movie version, I would probably consolidate them into one character! Charles seems completely nondescript, and I was up to page 200 before I was informed that Camilla has a "boyish haircut". I never really wondered what Richard looks like. I guess he looks sort of like Tom Petty.
Celeste I have imagined it as a young Tom Schilling, don't ask my brain why.
Lane i always imagined him to look like daniel radcliffe in kill your darlings tbh
C I picture a cross between an adult Daniel Radcliffe, Eddie Redmayne, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Cecile Perez I didn't really picture him,but to me,Henry definitely looks like rob James collier,( Thomas barrow in downton abbey!)
Sabrina In my mind he looks like Jamie Bell:
Ali Great question. I just finished and I have been trying to cast them all as tv/movie stars. I pictured Richard to look similar to Jason Segal for some reason. Camilla is Carey Mulligan, Charles is Tom Holland and Francis is Jesse Tyler Ferguson. Bunny, and especially Henry, I cannot picture.
Jules I always pictured him as looking like a "Dead Poets Society" era Robert Sean Leonard. Leonard also narrated the abridged audiobook, so the two are forever linked in my mind.
Dawn I think he is super ordinary looking. Average height, average build, light brown hair, brownish eyes, bland clothing. I would imagine that he is not ugly, or they wouldn’t have taken him in.
chip minnick I picture him as Donna Tartt.
Ryanbubu well i imagine him as a little olived skinned or just less pale than the others and he does have freckles as he said in the book...and yeah that he is tall but i mostly don't even pay attention of imagining him.
a He describes himself as having dusty brown hair while cutting it."Stepping carefully over the tufts of dusty brown hair, he sat down at my desk. Inspecting my profile in the mirror, I went back to work with the scissors. 'What's up?' I said, reaching over to snip off a long clump by my ear."

The only other descriptors are that Francis is thinner and taller than him, and that his hair is usually badly cut.
Kyle Richard is the reader.
Amber Medley This is my favorite comment!
John Richard is a kind of bystander narrator, like Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby (as I see Hillary suggests below). He's an observer. He doesn't believe that there is much that is interesting about himself. And even if he did tell us what he looks like, should we trust it? He tells us in several places that he's a liar. Finally, it's something of a cliché for a narrator to describe what she or he looks like in a mirror.
Mimsy I'm so happy this thread exists! I have just finished this book for the 2nd time in 10 years and have been dream casting it in my mind..
while this doesn't really match up age-wise this is who I'd love to see in these roles:
Henry - Adam Driver (tall, dark, brooding but charismatic) or Ezra Taylor
Bunny - a pre-scandal Armie Hamer (tall, blonde, described as handsome, could do annoyingly jovial but also passive agressive)
Camilla - Anya Taylor-Joy (got that ethereal beauty going on)
Francis - Finn Jones (doing a mid-Atlantic accent, he's got reddish hair, is openly gay and could do warm & charming easily) or Sam Heughan
Richard - this is a tricky one and for me I'd be happy to do a blind casting for it.. someone who isn't white would add another layer to the story (even though it's not stated in the novel). Riz Ahmed could be amazing or Lakeith Stanfield or Himesh Patel.
Nicole I loved casting this book in my notes app (hah), and I think if it were cast to appeal to a young audience today, Cole Sprouse or Alex Wolff would be great picks for Richard (although they would each make excellent Henrys as well). I also think that an Adam Devine type of actor would be great at playing the annoying and irredeemable Bunny while still making it believable that the rest of the characters maintained a soft spot for him...until they don't.
Debbie Joseph Gordon Levitt. An everyman. Sweet on the outside but a little dark inside. Naive and lonely.
Tara Mohan A bunch of people are saying Daniel Radcliffe, but I thought Henry seemed more like Daniel Radcliffe. I felt Richard looked like Charlie from The Perks of Being a Wallflower, aka Logan Lerman.
Olivia To me, John Cusack in High Fidelity and nothing else, except younger and less emotive.
Sasha Ozmytel Good question) I finished the book but I can’t answer it. I think he’s good-looking guy but his face is easy to forget.
Rosemary Beau I imagined Richard to be an average looking slim and on the short side guy with slightly feminine facial features.
Amany Rajab Good question, I didn't notice the same thing is happening to me till I read this!
Liam Madden Heard a lot about this book over many Moons but was just wondering how long it is...could anyone in the Community tell me how many pages it is?
Steve I figure he has to be attractive based on the fact he barely opens his mouth but seems to have lots of girls attracted to him based on the several hook-ups and invitations to hook-ups he receives throughout the story?

I like what Shana said about him being an empty shell - he was a ghost of a narrator barely involved in the plot....
Jen He was really insecure yet a lot of women were attracted to him, and Julian's group took him in, so I decided he must be handsome and sexy (rock star skinny) with long hair and wire frame glasses.
Morgan Bowden I don't know why but I kept picturing him as Will from Good Will Hunting
Velina Matthew Bell is how I personally pictured Richard.
William Gaule I've only just started it but on the second page of chapter 1 there's a brief description: 'I was quiet, tall for my age, prone to freckles.' and further down, in the next paragraph: 'my clothes were cheap and my haircut too short ...'
Lina i always pictured him as bryan dick (the guy who plays rafe from "blood & chocolate"); i have no idea why! he probably doesn't even match the descriptions.
Leah Noble I picture him rather average in all ways. Not tall or short, and not skinny or fat. Though in the book when Henry goes to Richard with the mushrooms, Richard is cutting his own hair and discribes to be similar to Arthur Rimbaud.
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