Good Omens Dream Cast
The fate of the world is in the hands of an angel and a demon that have become quite accustomed to life among humans and wouldn’t mind a few more centuries to enjoy it.
“That’s how it goes, you think you’re on top of the world, and suddenly they spring Armageddon on you.”
With the impending end of times, we have the usual suspects; the 4 horsepersons of the apocalypse, the anti-Christ (in the form of an 11-year old boy), witches, witch hunters, more demons, more horsemen (bikers, really), a hound of hell, and a couple of satanic nuns thrown in for good measure.
I am of course talking about the award-nominated novel “Good Omens” by Neil Gaiman (American Gods, Neverwhere) and the late Terry Pratchett (Discworld, Going Postal). If you haven’t yet read it, please go and do so. It is the most loaned out book in my library, aside from Christopher Moore’s “Lamb”. My copy has been around the world (at least twice), dropped in a bath, accidentally caffeinated, and mostly, just truly loved by all.
When it was announced earlier this year that it will finally be adapted into a 6-part miniseries to be developed in collaboration with BBC and Amazon, I was over the moon. The series will be written by Gaiman, who will also serve as the showrunner. Sadly, since the original announcement in January 2017, there has been no further news. We have been duped before, with the book set to be adapted into a film by Terry Gilliam (Monty Python, Brasil) back in 2002. Needless to say, that did not happen. Then it was rumoured that another Monthy Python alumni, Terry Jones, was working on a TV adaptation in 2011. Also, no word on why that didn’t happen. Sir Terry Pratchett’s death in 2015 seemed like the end of all hope for an adaptation, but he apparently made a posthumous request to Neil Gaiman to get it done.
So here we are, with another dangling carrot. Hopefully, the success of American Gods will provide the impetus required to get this one over the line. I really would feel a lot better if there had not been radio silence on the matter for 6 months, but I am nothing if not an optimist.
While we await news of any sort, let’s plan our own dream cast. I’ve played this game over the years with family and friends. When we started, my choices were pretty solid…but people age, even actors. So, I have had to make some modifications along the way.
Here are the characters as described by the authors themselves at the beginning of the book:
There are too many players to address them all, so let’s focus on those that are critical to the story.
You will also notice that I have skipped all the kids, because a) We have had so many false alarms for this adaptation that I have had to change my casting choices due to ageing and children have a much shorter shelf life, and 2) Googling lists of child actors under the age of 12 all day is the sort of thing that winds you up on watch lists.
Crowley used to be an angel. You may have heard stories about a serpent in the garden of Eden. That was him, though he was known as Crawly back then.
Then, there was an incident with an apple, and long story short, Crowley is now a demon living amongst the humans. He has embraced all that the world has to offer and over the centuries, he has actually grown to like it. Besides heaven doesn’t have one single sushi restaurant.
I have only one Crowley, Mark Strong (The Long Firm, Stardust).
We need someone who can rock a pair of snakeskin boots and dark glasses, driving a Bentley, at 200 miles an hour, on fire (the car, not Crowley), while smoking, and listening to Queen (because “All tapes left in a car for more than about a fortnight metamorphose into Best of Queen albums.”).
I know Mr. Strong is now approaching vintage, but I just cannot imagine anyone else.
Aziraphale is an angel. He was with Crawly in the garden of Eden and he also got a bit of flack over the whole apple thing. He now runs a second-hand bookshop in London.
Refined, intelligent, and sarcastic in the most angelic way, Aziraphale is often perceived as “gayer than a tree full of monkeys on nitrous oxide”. But he’s not.
This has caused me so much grief. I have anguished over it, debated about it, and even had Mr. Jez spend a night on the couch because of it. I have heard Jude Law’s name banded about a bit too much for my liking. Aziraphale needs to play well with Crowley, so I have landed on Christoph Waltz (Inglorious Bastards, Django Unchained)
He brings the perfect blend of wise, polished, and dead-pan to the part.
Hastur and Ligur are demons of hell. They are a bit stuck in their old ways and are having trouble understanding the modern world. They are bound by their duty, and stringent with their process, but not really all that bright.
Stephen Merchant, Ricky Gervais. Seems about right.
Agnes is the author of the prophecies that are at the centre of the story. She wrote “The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch” just before she exploded. Technically, she was burned at the stake, but she managed to take down a few spectators in the process.
She’s described as a handsome woman; intelligent, cheeky, with an eye for detail and a mean sense of humour. Very much like her great-great-great-great-great granddaughter, Anathema.
However, my pick is Rose Leslie (Game of Thrones, Utopia, The Last Witch Hunter). I can see her as the prophetic type who would say a big F-U to the witchfinders with nails and gunpowder in her petticoats.
Thou-Shalt-Not-Commit Adultery Pulsifer
The original Witchfinder Major. TSNCA Pulsifer was the man responsible for the death of Agnes. He is the one who lit the pyre, and also the one who suffered the greatest trauma as a result. His hat was reportedly found in a tree 2 miles away, with his full name stitched on the inside, “Thou-Shalt-Not-Commit Adultery Pulsifer”.
Billy Connolly (Boondock Saints, A Series of Unfortunate Events) would be perfect as a man so committed to his morals, however misplaced they may be.
Shadwell is a crabby old chain-smoking, expletive-shouting, generally unpleasant witch-hunter. Sorry, Witchfinder Sergeant.
One might think of him as racist, except for the fact that he is nasty to everyone, regardless of colour/gender/age/species.
When I had started this game (many, many years ago), my first choice was Bob Hoskins. Sadly, we lost him in 2014.
So, I have now settled on Peter Capaldi (Dr. Who, The Thick of It).
Yeah, he can do crabby.
Madame Tracy is a painted jezebel (no relation). She is also a medium, and just generally a lovely little lady who is far too nice to her neighbour/tenant, Witchfinder Sergeant Shadwell.
I would absolutely love to see Ashley Jensen (Catastrophe, The Lobster) in this role.
I think she can relay that relenting kindness that Madame Tracy exudes.
Olivia Colman (The Night Manager, Fleabag) was a very close second.
In fact, I’m just not sure at all.
Newton Pulsifer is not a particularly attractive man. It is said that “if he went into a phone booth and changed, he might manage to come out looking like Clark Kent”. The last descendent of TSNCA Pulsifer, Newt is awkward, gawky, weird; wages clerk by day, aspiring witchfinder by night.
Newton is no dummy though. He has a thing for electronics. Not a successful thing, but a thing nonetheless.
This sounds like a job for a Weasley. I’m bringing in Domhnall Gleason (Harry Potter, Ex Machina) for this.
Anathema is an occultist, but that’s really more of a hobby. Truly, she is a witch.
She’s described as pretty but not in a classic way. Each of hear features individually are nice enough, but “the entirety of her face gave the impression that it had been put together hurriedly from stock without reference to any plan”. Anathema is intelligent, quirky, precocious, and more than a little bit psychic. From a very young age, she has been obsessed with “The Book”, written by her great-great-great-great-great grandmother.
So many options here, but I am going with Karen Gillen (Dr. Who, Guardians of the Galaxy).
OK, Karen is just proper pretty. It’s TV, sue me.
There are a few satanic nuns in this story, but the most prolific is Sister Mary Loquacious of the Chattering Order. This woman can talk. In fact, she talks so much that she often forgets what she’s meant to be doing. She means well, for the most part. You can’t really hold the satanic thing against her either. It was just something to do on Saturday nights.
Someone that I always enjoy watching is Susan Wokoma (Crazy Head, Chewing Gum)
I have a feeling Susan will have no trouble with stream-of-consciousness dialogue delivered at breakneck speed.
Mr. Young is a nervous father-to-be. He’s an accountant with a simple life and awaiting his first child. The nuns confuse and perplex him. Though not as confused as I am that an accountant and his wife would choose a hospital run by satanic nuns to have their first child.
Nevertheless, this is the role for Chris O’Dowd (Moone Boy, The IT Crowd)
The Four Horsepersons of the Apocalypse
War is a flame-haired beauty, striking fear and lust into the hearts of men everywhere. She walks the earth as a war correspondent, polished and perfect.
So, Natalie Dormer totally has this one.
Famine spreads his message through diet books. A bestselling author, tall and lanky, with killer cheekbones, Famine is really popular with the supermodel crowd.
This could be any number of people; Tom Hiddleston and Jude Law would both be solid choices. Even Cumberbatch, I suppose. Nevertheless, my choice here is Djimon Hounsou
Cheek bones, check. Fit, double check. Ability to make a girl want to drop a dress-size with a smile and a wink, oh yes.
Pollution is not pretty. He is pasty-faced, awkward, a bit of a loner. He leaves candy and crisp wrappers wherever he goes.
I couldn’t decide here whether I want this character to be more on the loud/obnoxious side or insidiously lurking in the shadows. Someone like Luis Guzmán would be a cool twist on Pollution. In the spirit of staying true to the source material, the better choice may be DJ Qualls.
For me, he’s that person who can be really in your business, or totally blend into the scenery. You just can’t unsee that face.
Death is indefinable. Not much to go on here for physical description, but he talks in ALL CAPS and has a somewhat morbid sense of humour. What a wanker.
This role needs someone that had a voice that sounds like, “a cold slab of sound, gray, and dead”. I know just the man.
Step right up, Tom “I have a use for you” Hardy (Taboo, Layer Cake).
Other 4 horsemen
Did you not know about the other horsemen? They were kind of co-opted into the roles so they had to quickly come up with names that would distinguish them from the more well-known 4. They landed on “Grievous Bodily Harm”, “Really Cool People”, “Things that still won’t work even after they’ve had a good thumping”, and “Cruelty to Animals”.
This just needs to be the cast of The Inbetweeners.
And that’s all I have to say about that.
Hate it all? Have your own favourite picks? Come rant at me on twitter @jezzie_bell