Dream Casting: The Secret History of the Pink Carnation

I don’t know about you, but one of the things I always think when I finish a great book is, “That should be a movie!” I know sometimes movie adaptations don’t live up to what’s in my imagination, but it’s fun to think about which actors would play the characters in your favorite books if you had the chance to cast them! On that note, today we have a guest post from Miss Eliza of Strange and Random Happenstance, who is here to tell us about her ideal casting picks for a movie version of The Secret History of the Pink Carnation.

This might shock some of you who know me from my book blog and being one of the moderators for the “That Summer Read Along” but I wasn’t always a book person. Shocking, I know. In fact I kind of came to reading via a back door. I was a movie addict when younger, I still appreciate movies but books have filled what time I had for movies.  I bridged this gap in my adolescence with novelizations of movies, the Willow novelization being my favorite. Mmm, Val Kilmer. I then expanded to Timothy Zhan’s Star Wars books which were continuations of the original trilogy, in particular Heir to the Empire, and well, the rest is history. But that part of me that loved films is still there and because of this I can’t help but cast books as I read them.

If you participated in the “That Summer Read Along” you know I can’t keep these casting suggestions to myself, and I love to discuss them, so as part of Ashley’s year-long Pink Read Along I’ll be popping in once a month to discuss who I think would be perfect for the leads of that month’s book. This being the premiere month with The Secret History of the Pink Carnation I say we jump right in. The year was 2007, and that March I had just watched and fell in love with the newest adaptation of Northanger Abbey starring Felicity Jones and J.J. Feild. Shortly thereafter I picked up The Secret History of the Pink Carnation and I instantly saw Amy Balcourt being played by Felicity Jones. The bubbly personality, the short stature with the enthusiasm to hunt down those laundry lists, or French spies made her a perfect choice.


My main problem was in casting Richard Selwick. Amy came so easy, and so did Richard, to an extent… because, let’s face it, Richard is Cary Elwes in The Princess Bride. Only, well, Cary wouldn’t work, age and food have seen to that, and I try to be realistic in my casting, so I thought of a perfect alternative, his name is Bradley James. Most people will know Bradley from his stint as Arthur on Merlin, but the reason why I chose him is that throughout Merlin he showed he has the same acting chops and comedic timing as a young Carey Elwes, so he makes a perfect substitute.  You can read the full profiles for Amy and Richard over on my website, but I’d like to discuss who your Amy and Richard would be!

So what do you think of Miss Eliza’s choices?  What actors would you like to see take on characters in Pink I?  We’d love to hear your suggestions for Amy and Richard, or anyone else from the book.  I know someone has a good idea for who should play Edouard or Delaroche…

37 thoughts on “Dream Casting: The Secret History of the Pink Carnation

  1. its a bit of typecasting, but shouldn’t Delaroche be played by the Severous Snape himself, Alan Rickman? He plays that dark and nasty with that sense of the ridiculous so well.

  2. For casting: what about Tom Hiddleston as Richard and Colin? I thought of Rosamunde Pike as Jane when I first read Pink I. Daniel Auteuil as Delaroche and for Amy…..I really like Eva Green. She played Serafina Pekela in the disastrous film version of the Golden Compass. Eloise is the hardest person to cast…..Emma Stone looks the part, but if Laura Linney were twenty years younger she’d be my pick for Eloise (think Love Actually). For Miss Gwen, I think Samantha Bond who plays Grantham’s sister Lady Rosamunde on Downton Abbey would be perfect.

    This is fun…..let’s cast all the Pinks we re-read in the next months…..okay?

    • Samantha Bond might be too old… give what happens in Miss Gwen’s book… I totally have finally nailed Eloise, and that actress would be Amy Adams! My friend Marie and I were watching The Muppet movie at a Jason Segel book signing and we turned to each other and were both like, there’s Eloise! Eva Green is too too too creepy! I mean, yikes! Just that Camelot show and then Penny Dreadful (ESP Penny Dreadful), fabulous actress, yes, but fabulous at being evil. And yes to wherever Hiddels ends up, I could see him as Colin easily!

      • I’ve never seen Eva Green in an evil/creepy part …..interesting. I’ve met her and she is lovely and very funny. Amy Adams is too short and too old to play Eloise, but she’s adorable to be sure!

    • We’ll do it, Mel!

      I like the idea of Eva Green – she doesn’t creep me out at all, but I haven’t seen Penny Dreadful. She was a little odd in Dark Shadows, but who wasn’t? I do think she might be a bit old for it, but she has the look.

      I agree with Hiddleston for Colin!

  3. Ok I’ll get in on the game here 🙂 I think Isla Fisher would be a good Eloise. I haven’t figured out Colin yet but I’ve got time, we’re only on book one! As for Richard, I’d say Alex Pettyfer and Lily Collins for Amy.

  4. I am the worst ever at most dream casting. I rarely read something and cast it with real-life feasible actors. There are exceptions, but it isn’t my natural automatic mode. I like hearing everyone’s ideas. What I absolutely do think is that this is one book that would make a brilliant mini series or film.

  5. I looked up Bradley James, and although he’s 30, he just looks so young to me (about 18). Also, I picture Richard with a strong jaw line and nose – don’t know why. With my limited experience of current young actors, I would suggest that I could see Chris Hemsworth as Richard – also, Robert Pattinson as seen in Water For Elephants. Both could be strong, yet humorous, in my mind and perfect for a spy. I will have to check out the other actors/actresses mentioned here, but definitely think this could be an awesome series.

    • Too funny! Mrs Bale is the quintessential Miss Gwen!!
      All the perfect Miss Gwens are to old! Just think how wonderful Judi Dench, Joan Plowright, Judy Parfit or Maggie Smith would have been when they were younger. What about Emma Thompson for Miss Gwen?

  6. I know how one dimensional I can be but I can’t get around Richard Armitage/Tom Hiddleston/Matthew Macfadyen/Henry Cavill/Gerard Butler/JJ Field and the guy that plays on the Tudors (Jonathan Rhys something) starring as heroes in the Pink books. I would watch!!!

    I always picture a much younger, svelte version of myself (with long NOT gray hair) as the heroine. Very shallow, but that’s just me. – Joy

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