Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell discussion

Who would you cast in a BBC series based on this novel?

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Richard Jacoby Just throwing this out there because I think someone could do a great job with this as a lengthy television series. Michael Caine would be a great Mr. Norrell.

Will IV The mental image I have in my head of Mr. Norrell is not very Caine-esque (I don't remember what the book described, but the mental image I'm getting is much short than Michael Caine with less physical presence and bearing, more posh in accent than cockney and perhaps a bit "rounder"), but I can't really think of the actor I would choose right now.

They are planning on adapting this into a movie, so I guess we'll see what happens there.

Richard Jacoby Guess I picked Caine since his talents cover such a wide range. I was thinking of his ability to play someone who gets kind of cranky. Good point though.

Richard Jacoby And besides, Albert Finney is probably getting a bit too old for a role like this.

Badgerlord I'd like Benedict Cumberbatch as Childermass and Alan Rickman as Vinculus. That just seems to fit in my mind.

Also, is there going to be a BBC series, or is this just idle ideas? Please don't be the latter.

Tehanu I pictured Mr. Norrel as Timothy Spall, I think he could easily bring out Norrel's personality.
I've seen people cast Tom Hiddleston as Strange, but it doesn't feel exactly right for me. Cumberbatch would do though...
I couldn't shake David Bowie's face of my mind when the gentleman with thistle-down hair appeared. Specially his appereance in "Labyrinth".

Will IV Great pick for Timothy Spall as Norrell. I could definitely see that.

message 8: by Hippystick (new) - added it

Hippystick I was thinkng Anthony Hopkins as Norrell.

Helen Maybe David Tennant as Jonathan Strange? Or how about the actor who played Stephen in Birdsong - he has the right hair colour! Timothy Spall would make a great Mr Norrell!

António Matos I kinda always saw Mr. Norrell as Ian Holm-ish, myself.

message 11: by Hippystick (new) - added it

Hippystick António wrote: "I kinda always saw Mr. Norrell as Ian Holm-ish, myself."

He was in Alien, years ago? Yes, I can definitely see him in that role. David Tennant's a bit old for Strange I think, can't really think of a Strange at the moment.

message 12: by Beth A. (last edited Nov 13, 2012 09:50PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Beth A. Lol...ah David Bowie labyrinth...I think that could work actually. Its just that the character is a bit more giddy in his lighter moments. I am afraid it is idle chatter from what I can tell,do correct me if I am wrong.

Good news is....and well,I'm not sure how old the interview is...but she planned on doing a sequel that concentrated more on the lower characters like Childermass and Viniculus. I might google it and check for more info. I'll edit this later if I find any.

Okay,the last she said anything about the book was almost ten years ago...and here's what became of any film rights...its mostly about the hobbit...scroll down to the Facebook comment from the guardian...

Malcolm Logscribe Tilda Swinton for the gentleman with the thistle-down hair and Benedict Cumberbatch for The Raven King (though I'm not certain about Cumberbatch - I like Swinton for both roles). Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje for Stephen Black.

This was one of the few books where I could put an actor to almost every character, but it's been a year or so since I read it.

message 14: by Hippystick (new) - added it

Hippystick Cumberbatch for Strange maybe? He's not the Raven King in my head. Good call on Tilda and Adewale, I can see both of them.

Tracy I just want Ricky Gervais as Drawlight.

Malcolm Logscribe For some reason I pictured Strange as Craig Parkinson. He's the wrong actor, but he stuck. I also locked onto a weird combination of Murray Melvin and Wormtongue for Childermass, which definitely doesn't fit.

Violetta Vane Idris Elba as Stephen Black! He does sad and tormented so well.

I love the idea of Ricky Gervais as Drawlight.

Christopher Eccleston as Vinculus.

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Hippystick Idris as Black yes, he'd need to lose a few pounds cos Black in my mind is a skinny little thing.

Beth A. Well I am glad to hear it in more ways than one. i was saying i really have my doubts about a movie. i think a series has more space for the amount of content in the book.

Beth A. Looked and wondered if even six hour long episodes will be enough. I'm sure better than a movie at least.

Helene I think Jeremy Irons should have one of the main parts, but not quite sure which one. And Anthony Hopkins is a good one. But I forget how old these gentlemen are supposed to be. Maybe more of a Joseph Fiennes age?

Tehanu I don't like the thought of Jeremy Irons anywhere near this. He was in Dungeons and Dragons and Eragon for whatever's sake.

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Hippystick I think Ricky Gervais would work as Drawlight.

Beth A. Definately like Stephen Fry...not sure who either. Perhaps as one of Jonathan's servants? Might be too small a role for him though...

message 25: by [deleted user] (last edited Dec 16, 2012 01:39AM) (new)

Hmm... I don't know but I'm getting a Benedict Cumberbatch feel for Jonathan Strange and if not him, the gentleman with the thistle-down hair. Perhaps someone older would be more suitable though . . . Perhaps I'm fanboying but I think Michael Fassbender would be awesome.

As for Michael Caine, he is an amazing actor but I feel that he is a bit tall for Norrell. I'd have no doubt of him portraying the character, but physically he doesn't match him. I like Anthony Hopkins too but in my personal opinion I think Jim Broadbent would the best.

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What do you think?

message 26: by Hippystick (last edited Dec 16, 2012 01:49AM) (new) - added it

Hippystick Beth A. wrote: "Definately like Stephen Fry...not sure who either. Perhaps as one of Jonathan's servants? Might be too small a role for him though..."

Perhaps Fry as one of the original magicians? The one who calls the meeting, can't think of his name offhand.
If there's to be a narrator, Simon Prebble (who did the audible reading) would be perfect.
A bit out there perhaps, but Harry Enfield for Vinculus?

message 27: by Beth A. (last edited Dec 16, 2012 08:58AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Beth A. I dunno about him...maybe I am just not seeing the right image here.

I kinda like David Tennant considering he has played a very old character a manner of speaking. But anyways I never thought the character was that old anyways. For curiosity sake and people who don't watch silly tv,here is a link to the Oddities fellow. Perhaps he would be a bit young(not to mention not a real actor)but he has the right features. Scroll down to the third...

Pratiti I'd think Cumberbatch as Jonathan...

indileen Cumberbatch as Jonathan, Derek Jacobi as Norrell.

Oliver I'm surprised no one's mentioned Bob Hoskins for Norrell -- I never saw anyone else in my imagination. And huge though my respect for Michael Caine is, lead role in a 6 hour piece is a fairly big ask for a man who will be in his eighties by the time they start shooting.
Tilda Swinton is an excellent idea.

message 31: by Beth A. (last edited Dec 28, 2012 07:29AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Beth A. Ummm...I think I'm gonna prefer Derek Jacobi on that one. Almost too sophisticated (more society of magiciansish)but that could work to an advantage for the character.

Deirdrebunny Hippystick wrote: "Beth A. wrote: "Definately like Stephen Fry...not sure who either. Perhaps as one of Jonathan's servants? Might be too small a role for him though..."

Perhaps Fry as one of the original magicians?..."


Jacey Norrell is from Yorkshire, so a posh Yorkshire accent would be perfect. How about Patrick Stewart? He can do posh Yorkshire perfectly, being a native. Of course he's a bit old for Norrell, but does that matter? Benedict Cumberbatch is perfect for Strange. Childermass has always been Jim Carter in my mind.

I love David Tennant, but he's not a good fit for Strange. I like the idea of David Bowie as the Man with the Thistledown Hair and Chris Eccleston as Vinculus. Chiwetel Ejiofor for Stephen Black.

No one has mentioned the women yet.

message 34: by Beth A. (last edited Jan 07, 2013 07:12AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Beth A. Patrick Stewart sounds kinda good...maybe not the right height but he's a good actor.

Beth A. The thing with Cumberbatch,is he may be a bit busy right now. He's in the new star trek movie which comes out in May. Perhaps someone with some experience in this could mention if that means they are done done filming and moving on to final production which would probably free up the actors.
Or how does that work when they have a new movie out in months?

Unless we're nowhere close to getting the filming together on the series in which case it would probably be okay. I know there's a script...what now?

message 36: by Joe (new) - rated it 5 stars

Joe Hunt Hey ! I have a question: Anyone ever think Jonathan Strange could be a bit of a Joseph Smith character ? [fr/ Mormonismo]

I guess Segundus wondering "Why not more magic nowadays?" could be compared to angel visits, etc.

Anyhow ! Definitely not Michael Caine for Norrell. For one thing, Norrell has to be a little short & chubby--I think--contrast with a tall / thin Strange.

Hey ! How about Danny Dyer for the Gentleman-with-Thistle-down-hair ? (Saw him in Malice in Wonderland: pretty great.)

Diane H In my mind's eye, Strange has always been Matthew Macfadyen.

Helen I just hope the BBC takes time and care to choose the perfect actors for the parts. They have to get this right. Please, please no American accents and please not Tom Cruise!!!!

Helen Eek. No!!!!!

Jennifer I just don't think there should be a series about this book. I disliked Mr. Strange and Mr. Norrell intensely.
If anything I would much rather focus on Lady Pole and the Butler.

Rachel Hippystick wrote: "I think Ricky Gervais would work as Drawlight."

Good pick!

Rachel Kenneth Branagh as Norrell.

Rachel Cate Blanchett for Lady Pole.

message 44: by Hippystick (new) - added it

Hippystick Rachelmmo wrote: "Cate Blanchett for Lady Pole."

that would work.

Stephen Robert Downey JR Hugh Laurie

Beth A. Hmm..Hugh Laurie...I have enjoyed his and Stephen Fry's Wodehouse based show. Together again? Maybe...

message 47: by J.W. (last edited Mar 23, 2013 04:29PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

J.W. Griebel Willem Dafoe, every single character. Even the ladies.

Vernette This novel would be a great series. The adaptation will have to be top shelf in order to appreciate the tale.
That is why these series fail because they stray way to far away from the story.

message 49: by Hippystick (new) - added it

Hippystick Vernette wrote: "This novel would be a great series. The adaptation will have to be top shelf in order to appreciate the tale.
That is why these series fail because they stray way to far away from the story."

I agree, do it properly or not at all.

Marty Wingate Where is the cast list if this is supposed to show in 2013? I love all these comments. Derek Jacobi as Norrell (or Timothy Spall!) would be wonderful. From the moment I met Vinculus, I thought of Phil Davis.

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