Welcome back, Miss Eliza!
Miss Gwen might be the only character I feared to get wrong. She does have a way with a parasol and I have very bruisable flesh. Unlike some other readers I had always pictures Miss Gwen in her late 30s or her early 40s, so I didn’t have this presumption working against me. My first choice years ago was Maggie O’Neill because of her wonderful job in the Billie Piper version of Mansfield Park. While a fabulous actress, she is a little too blond and busty, and has a tendency to be the killer on any murder mystery she’s in, which might actually delight Miss Gwen, but I felt it just wouldn’t do. Then when I first read The Passion of the Purple Plumeria I started to think that Lucy Cohu would be great. She’s another fabulous actress who I was drawn too because of the denied passion of Gwen calling out to other similar roles she has had, but, in the end, too short and too busty. Knowing the re-read was happening I started to become a little desperate. Who would be Miss Gwen!?!
I started to think about what defines Miss Gwen. She has a core of iron, as if her backbone was made of the steel her parasol conceals. She has to be fabulous with the delivery of a put down. She has to have wit, height, yet a secret vulnerability. Going with these traits I started to think Lena Headey, who plays Cersei Lannister on Game of Thrones, might work. Seriously, watch how she can just deliver a smack down without even saying a word, even if Miss Gwen says she’s never mastered the art of the single raised eyebrow I think we could let it slide. Though while watching a recent episode right when I had started to re-read The Passion of the Purple Plumeria I began to second guess myself. Later that night I was curled in bed reading and I was struck by how much Miss Gwen reminded me of the Queen of Thorns, as played by Diana Rigg, on Game of Thrones. I thought was picturing a younger Diana, but then I realized it wasn’t Diana at all, it was Diana’s daughter Rachael Stirling; who most people know because of her stellar work on The Bletchley Circle. She’s elegant, witty, tall, has a husky voice, and has somehow become the perfect actress for this role in my mind. Therefore, despite much thought and much backtracking, I have found my Miss Gwen. I hope you approve, she might have a few choice words if you don’t.
As for William… I got preoccupied with his red hair, so much so that there was literally a ginger parade of actors going through my head. Tony Curran, Toby Stephens, James Cosmo, on and on, but all were too young or too old or just plain wrong, despite all being amazing talents I might add. I was so caught up on hair that I forgot that hair can be dyed. Duh. So once I stopped trying to cast by hair and instead cast by character I instantly knew who Colonel William Reid was. He was Anthony Stewart Head who played Giles on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The reason I believe Tony is perfect is because of his acting range, he can do comedy, drama, singing, whatever you have, he can do, and do it riding a horse. More importantly, he has this inner mirth that is infectious. When he smiles and his eyes start to crinkle at the edges and then he tilts his head back to laugh, I just see the similarities to William and know that no one else would do William justice, he’s a likeable rogue. Plus, can I get a hell yeah for how well he’s aged? Rarely have I ever wanted the villain to win on Warehouse 13, but Paracelsus can win any day with me.