TremonTEAM: welcome to the casting couch


A delightful invitation from TremonTEAM this week: to cast our favourites. Who can resist? Not this reader, whose only difficulty will be settling on the talent to properly convey the intellect, the sensuality and the careful patience of a certain Duchess. This is too big a task for this reader alone; so consider me the casting agent, offering recommendations to those of greater wisdom.

Let’s see, where shall we start…

First, I need to make two confessions: one, that it’s not even a month since I said that every time I try to fantasy cast anything, the answer is always Tom Hiddleston; two, that I’m more or less incapable of casting non-Brits in period dress. In a totally unexpected turn of events, Tremontaine is the one occasion on which I can’t find a question to which TOM HIDDLESTON is the answer. And I’ve even managed to cast someone who isn’t British. So I’m considering this week’s challenge an exercise in personal growth. Thank you, TremonTEAM.

Now – let’s get to the couch!

Let’s start with William Alexander Tielman, Duke Tremontaine. Long of body, pale of hair, blue of eyes. A learned man, with a great library and interests at the University. A man more interested in his books than in the affairs of state (or of his estates). 40, or thereabouts, still passionately attached to his wife – although that, sadly, is about to change when we meet him.

I propose Paul Bettany or Rupert Penry-Jones. Because honestly, Bettany has done enough on and off screen flirting with other men to convince he’ll convey the less-than-conflicted affections, and Penry-Jones has always done a fine simmer.

But what about the heroine – or villainess – of the piece (o Duchess my Duchess); the intelligent, sensual, manipulative Diane of Tremontaine. Blonde, petite, grey-eyed and immaculately dressed, she wields words as weapons (and has swordsmen for when words won’t suffice).

Natalie Dormer is the Duchess for me, but fellow readers who’ve enjoyed Swordspoint will no doubt have an older Duchess in mind too. I propose an ageless lady of elegant poise for those later years: Gillian Anderson.

What young man could capture the Duke’s eye and lead him to stray from such a Duchess? Rafe Fenton is a well-educated boy with a mind buzzing with equations and student politics. He’s also a gorgeous rake, with an easy manner and as many notches on his battered bedpost as any City-born Casanova.

What do you say to Nic Hoult as our wayward young scholar?

But what of our Riversiders? Fiery foreign spy Ixkaab Balam, aspiring swordswoman and passionate lover? Kaab is a tricky lady, and I’m going out on a limb here, but I wonder if Alexandra Shipp could capture her strength of will and her desire to cut men to ribbons for the slightest offence?

And what of her beloved Tess the Hand, forger extraordinaire? We need a gorgeous redhead with a steely core who can stand up to Kaab as well as seduce her. I don’t doubt Rose Leslie or Eleanor Tomlinson could match her at every step.

Then there’s Vincent Applethorpe, tall and lithe, with a swagger to his step and a watchful eye. Oh, who am I kidding? I’m indulging myself with this one: please can we have Richard Armitage? Please?

Having had a sneak peek ahead at Convocation, I can’t promise that there won’t be another fantasy casting for our new characters in Season Two. Not least because I have a long-standing love for Basil Halliday, and a burning desire to fit Lara Pulver, Ben Whishaw and Harry Lloyd into this cast…

Of course, these are all but humble suggestions. What do you think to the choices? What changes would you make to our cast?