Pink VIII: Dream Casting

This post was written by Miss Eliza of Strange and Random Happenstance.


I admit that in my casting of Laura Grey I might have done a little typecasting. The thing is, I might actually be one of a few people who actually knew who Michelle Dockery was prior to Downton Abbey. Why you ask? Because of Terry Pratchett. With his recent death the world has lost one of the most amazing writers I have ever met, but luckily he lives on in his books and his few television adaptations. Hogfather was the first live action Terry Pratchett adaptation and was also Michelle Dockery’s second ever acting gig. She made quite an impression as Susan, the granddaughter of DEATH, so much so that she IS that character for me now. As it happens Susan was a governess. The same year Downton Abbey premiered Michelle was also the ill-fated governess in a new adaptation of The Turn of the Screw, ironically enough with Dan Stevens, her ill-fated Downton Abbey husband! Therefore she’s became kind of the go-to governess for me. But more than that, she has this ability to withdraw into herself that can mask her inner turmoil when needed. For some reason I had totally convinced myself that Downton Abbey didn’t play a part in Michelle being Laura for me, but looking at the fact that I first read this book only two days after watching the first season finale of Downton Abbey… I think that perhaps it played a little part.


As for Jaouen, the first time I read The Orchid Affair his casting was a mystery to me. I couldn’t see anyone playing him. This frustrated me more than a little and might have been a tiny bit of the reason as to why I fell behind on my dream casting for Lauren’s later books. So, as my OCD nature demands it of me, I’d occasionally be watching a show and think, hmm, could he be Jaouen? Sometime last year I thought I had finally found my André while watching the newest adaptation of The Three Musketeers, The Musketeers with Doctor Who! OK, so it doesn’t REALLY have Doctor Who, it’s just that the show was better before Peter Capaldi was killed off for him to go be The Doctor. There was Santiago Cabrera, the heartthrob Sir Lancelot from Merlin, oh, and the comic guy killed on Heroes. I thought, yes, I have found him. I have found my Jaouen at last! And then I started to re-read the book and in walked Dominic West. Dominic West has hijacked my dream casting! Yes, he’s a fabulous actor, if you were ever in any doubt watch The Hour. But seriously, I don’t know how he did it, whether he’s been lurking in my subconscious since I watched The Affair last fall waiting to pounce, or what. But, aside from surprising me, I do have to say, he’d make a great Jaouen!

Laura Grey played by Michelle Dockery
André Jaouen played by Dominic West

19 thoughts on “Pink VIII: Dream Casting

  1. I have always and will always picture Andre as a young Christopher Plummer a la Sound of Music. That’s just who he is. As for Laura, I think I picture Emma Thompson.

    And on a totally unrelated note- WHERE CAN I FIND THE TURN OF THE SCREW REBOOT? It’s one of my favorite books of all time.

      • I pretend that the real Christopher Plummer doesn’t exist. He will perpetually exist in my mind as the wonderful Captain von Trapp that Hollywood created. I reject reality and substitute my own! And now, going to buy a new DVD 🙂

    • I am also a Terry Pratchett fan and Susan is my favorite of his characters. I was very nervous about casting for Susan in the Hogfather film but I agree that Michelle Dockery is perfect in the role- she doesn’t look particularly as I picture Laura but her voice has the perfect blend of humor, cynicism and hope that the human race will turn out better than she has been led to expect up to this point for Laura.

      Have you seen her in one of the Cranford television series, another early role for her? It took me forever to place her the first time I saw it but all of a sudden my brain assembled her eyebrows and voice and recognized a very confident Susan with no doubts about her place in her family.

      • Ah yes, the “Return to Cranford” sequel that should never have been made because they totally changed everything in the book! But then again, so did the first Cranford miniseries… I have issues with both. But Return to Cranford underused SO MANY fabulous actors! Tim Hiddleston was boring, and Tim Curry had like two scenes!

        And yeah for fellow Pratchett fans!

  2. I can see Michelle Dockery although I had Emily Blunt in mind for Laura. I also had trouble picturing any actor as Andre but I just saw The Age of Adaline and I think Michiel Huisman might be a good choice.

  3. Dominic West totally stole my heart in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (no easy feat, playing alongside Christian Bale!). I think he’d make a great Andre. I think Michelle Dockery is a good choice too – I can totally see her pulling off Laura’s Suzette save.

  4. Santiago Cabrera could definitely be Andre Jaoun in my mind, but then I’ve always loved Christopher Plummer and could see Captain von Trapp as Andre. Haven’t thought of a suitable Laura yet.

    • I think I really need to go and re-watch me some Sound of Music. The last time I saw it was as I was sick with chicken pox and vomiting into a bucket… so understandably, the movie doesn’t have the best connections for me. But I did adore Lady Gaga’s tribute at the Oscars this year!

      • Sound of Music is an all- time favorite for me. I showed it to my students for the past ten years as a connection to a book I always read them, Number the Stars. It takes place in 1943 Denmark and is about two girls, one Jewish, one Christian, and the Nazi decision to round up the Jewish people and ‘relocate’ them. As a good visual of the Nazi takeover in Europe, Sound of Music shows the mood change in Salzburg, people having to choose sides, and above all, honor and refusal to captitulate. That’s what Christopher Plummer has always signified to me. You might want to try it again – maybe the chicken pox did have some effect.

  5. Sound of Music is one of THE best nanny films of all time!!! I always dreamed that Julie Andrews would come to my home in her guise of Maria or as Mary Poppins and rescue me from trouble. Wound up I always had to rescue myself. Perhaps that is why I love the pink books like I do!

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