Thursday, September 20, 2012

Hypothetical Casting - The Lost Symbol

For the second time, I have read Dan Brown's novel, The Lost Symbol, and I am, once again, enthralled by the author's outstanding talent. His amazing ability to fuse intriguing history, conspiracy, and engrossing plot ceases to stun me any time I have the pleasure of reading his books. I've stated this many times outside of the sanctioned domain of this blog, mind you. This book, as well as its predecessors Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code, was such a major success that they were all optioned for a screen adaptation. What they all have in common, aside from the captivating conspiracies, is the charismatic protagonist, Robert Langdon, a prominent Harvard professor who always gets into life-threatening predicaments within a twenty-four hour period. (I believe this character is an additional reason for the books' great quality, as Dan Brown's other novels without Robert Langdon are not as impressive, nor did they get transferred onto the big screen.) Portraying Robert Langdon on-screen is the revered Tom Hanks, which demonstrates one of the greatest casting choices in cinematic history. As I read each novel, I could practically see Tom Hanks ease into the role with perfection. Without watching the film-version first. By reading the novels first, I places myself into an unfortunate position: I did not enjoy the movies one bit. This appears to be more-or-less common when it comes to novel-to-screen adaptations, though I cannot think of an example right now. (Twilight, for one, but teen novels are really simple to adapt. Shame on those filmmakers, as well as the person who chose Kristen Stewart to play Bella.) Anyway, both The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons proved to be far more entertaining in the form of a book. While Tom Hanks performed his part exceedingly well, it did not make up for the immensely long film's dragging quality. What makes this more upsetting is that Ron Howard directed each of them, and this is sad because I happen to like Ron Howard. (Though he has made some disappointments, such as the more recent dud, The Dilemma.) Despite all that's been said, I do not hate the film versions, or find them to be horrible movies. They were just disappointing as all, which isn't too surprising in retrospect because Dan Brown's books were simply extraordinary.

Moving on to the point of this post. I've recently finished reading The Lost Symbol, and am pleased to discover that it, too, will receive a film adaptation with Tom Hanks returning as Robert Langdon, along with a new director, Mark Romanek. (Perhaps that substitution will enhance the film.) While there is no release date for the film, nor are there any rumored cast members, I've taken the opportunity to list my own possible cast for the film, based on how I imagined the characters in the novel. Here they are:

Michael Fassbender as Mal'akh
This image was so fitting to support my casting him.
Honestly, he was not my intended choice. I was looking up images of James McAvoy, actually, when I found a few images of this dashing man and thought, "Say, he would be even better!" That's the origin of my casting him as the sinister, monstrous villain, Mal'akh.

Liam Neeson as Peter Solomon
I chose this picture because Peter Solomon is meant to have gray strands of hair.
See those strands in Liam Neeson's mane? They're there.
This shouldn't be surprising because he's chosen to play the dignified, mentor-type in films. While I notice that he is only four years older than Tom Hanks, and in the book the two characters are supposed to have a ten-year-plus age difference, I don't think it's that important. There have been many issues such as this in the past. Furthermore, I realize that Peter Solomon is supposed to have a Mediterranean appearance, but, then again, not too drastic to consider. What is somewhat accurate is the Irish actor's slight resemblance to Michael Fassbender. (For those who read the book, you'll know why that's important. Though I feel I may have given it away anyway.) You must agree that Liam Neeson would be suitable as the wise, sophisticated Peter Solomon. You simply must.

Catherine Zeta-Jones as Katherine Solomon
She embodies the role, as I see it, flawlessly.
There is no better choice to play an intelligent woman in distress than the radiant Catherine Zeta-Jones. No explanation needed, frankly, as she is absolutely ideal for the my opinion. Once again, I realize that she and Liam Neeson look nothing alike, and I say "once again" because this is yet another context/adaptation error. And, based on how strongly I feel about each of the casting choices, I must say again: It's inconsequential, my dear.

Morgan Freeman as Warren Bellamy
An expected choice, but that's because it's meant to be
When choosing an African-American actor to portray an esteemed, older gentlemen of acclaim, there can be only one option, and his name is not Laurence Fishburne or Forest Whitaker. It really goes without an explanation of why I picked Morgan Freeman, right? Of course.

Linda Hunt as Inoue Sato
Yet another uncanny match.
Now, I've been perusing over many other "potential casting" boards, and found that many have listed Michelle Yeoh as their choice to play the formidable Inoue Sato. There is only one response to that: Inoue Sato is meant to be horrifyingly disgusting and intimidating and short. While I, myself, have made my share of inaccurate casting decisions, I find that to be unacceptable. This short little woman can be a very good Sato, if, that is, she be intimidating. For the sake of resemblance, I'm hoping she can. (Also, I imagine a very strict, unfunny Edna Mode, from The Incredibles, in the role of Sato. Funny notion, yet agreeable.)

Peter O'Toole as Reverend Colin Galloway
I know this is a Pope's attire. Move past the small difference.
Reverend Galloway is intended to be an ancient, blind man of God who has wrinkles of wisdom within his face. Who better than the revered Peter O'Toole. Not much to explain here. Though, if the filmmakers do happen to stumble upon my blog and follow my suggestions, they should hurry before the actor passes. It's not a cruel or dark joke, it's a tragic fact that will occur sometime soon, unfortunately.

And last but not least...

Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon

Well, I sincerely hope you've enjoyed my little presentation of possibilities. Perhaps at least one of these actors will be considered, or even obtain the role! How neat would that be! Though not very likely. After a second glance at this list, I now find myself desperately wishing Michael Fassbender would audition for and win the role of Mal'akh. Such a terrific actor, he could benefit from playing a calm, menacing villain. And he's so attractive. With that, I bid thee good evening!

P.S. I am still watching Desperate Housewives.


  1. Hi Veronica,

    Great post!! I finally got around to reading The Lost Symbol this weekend, couldn't put it down (like his other books) and like most people always try to picture who would bring the characters to life in a movie adaptation. So of course I hit Google and tried to find out what was going on with the adaptation and casting and came across your blog. I think some of your choices are great and thought you may be interested in who I was thinking. So, here it goes.

    Sato: Linda Hunt is a no brainer. It almost seem as if Dan Brown wrote that character with her in mind.

    Mal'akh: Michael Fassbender is spot on. I was actually picturing someone like Mark Strong but Fassbender is perfect. He's probably one of my favorite actors right now and if you've seen Shame (my wifes new favorite movie) he is definitely comfortable with his body which would make or break an actors ability to effectively play this role. He is also refined enough for when Mal'akh changes to Dr. Aboddan.

    Peter Solomon: I see what you are saying about Liam Neeson. I picture Peter as American Aristocracy, i was actually picturing Robert Redford about 10-15 years ago, especially in the scenes where Peter is lecturing the students and the last part when he takes Robert on the journey to locate "the word", but he does not have that aura and swagger anymore. So focusing on American actors, I was actually picturing Michael Douglas. He has that arrogance for the scenes where Peter is the top dog, but also the vulnerability for when Mal'akh reveals his true identity. And the age difference between him and Tom Hanks is about right.

    Katherine Solomon: I'm going to take a different point of view in regards to Catherine Zeta-Jones, not because I think it would be creepy for a husband and wife to play brother and sister, but I think she is too beautiful for that role. To me Katherine is more of a classic subtle beauty. Not a head turner but someone who if you really looked at you would notice her strong features that is common from those that come from privilege. i was actually picturing Kristin Scott Thomas, while she is beautiful I think it is more of that refined subtle beauty. I was thinking of an American actress but anyone I could think of was either too old, too young or too attractive. Maybe Frances MacDormand or Catherine Keener.

    Bellamy: Here I'm going to go in a completely different direction. You don't know me, but you're probably going to say "Howie that's crazy!". Yes Morgan Freeman would probably be the safe choice. My problem is I have a hard time picturing Morgan Freeman overpowering the Chief of the Capitol Police. I was picturing Dennis Haysbert, especially with his booming voice. I just picture Dennis Haysbert + Brooks Brothers Suit = Bellamy. Call me crazy. You didn't bring it up, but for Chief Anderson, I was picturing John Slattery, I think he would bring just enough smart assness to that role.

    Galloway: Again, I took a different approach. Maybe it's just because I we just watched the Fifth Element, or because I pictured Galloway to be Hobbit-like, but I was picturing Ian Holm. Peter O'Toole is an impressive man. I took Galloway to be un-impressive except for his mind, which I think is something Ian Holm would be able to portray on screen.

    As far as other characters, I've seen a lot of people saying Pauley Perrette for either Trish or Nola but I think that's too much type-casting. I'm not really sure on those, maybe an opportunity for a no-name young actor. Although for Simkins, I can only picture one person, Michael Biehn, I don't think he has ever played a character that wasn't some type of commando or special forces guy.

    So, those are my choices. Again, I really enjoyed reading your post, I'll have to check out the rest of your blog.


  2. Excellent casting suggestion !! But I agree that Mark Strong as Malakh could be a very good choice, maybe more frightening than Michael Fassbender.

  3. AnonymousJune 13, 2013

    Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon
    Liam Neeson as Peter Salomon
    Julianne Moore as Katherine Salomon
    Morgan Freeman as Warren Bellamy
    Tom Hardy as Mal,akh

  4. AnonymousJune 17, 2013

    Maybe Luke Evans or Ryan gosling (for Mal,akh)

  5. Awesome. this is completely right on point. i love this. who came up with this. noooo Luke evans will be bad for Malakh. its either Michael Fassbender or Benedict Cumberbatch