Pink XI: Dream Casting

Welcome back, Miss Eliza!


I will state this once and once only. I didn’t dream cast Eleanor Tomlinson as Sally Fitzhugh because of Poldark thus making this post hip and au courant. Seriously, it is the most bizarre of coincidences that her rise to fame coincides with my writing of this post; because, for me, Eleanor has been Sally since December of 2013. Let’s look back to that cold December. I had gotten horribly sick over Thanksgiving weekend, it could be because I stood in a snow drift in tennis shoes, but what can I say, things happen, especially when you are trying to entertain small children during a freak November snowstorm. Being laid up, I obviously started to devour books. I read fifteen books in four short weeks, many of them Christmas themed to try to buoy my spirits. There’s one book that does this more than any other during the holidays, and that is The Mischief of the Mistletoe. While re-reading this book for the umpteenth time I was thinking of Sally a lot, most likely because I knew her own book, The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla, was coming out the following summer. Simultaneously, the much waited for adaptation of Death Comes to Pemberley was airing on consecutive nights on the BBC and became the highlight of my family’s day. I had great hopes for this adaptation, having a strong dislike of the book but a love of the cast. But little did I expect that Sally was going to make an appearance. There was Sally, going by the name Georgiana Darcy for some reason… well, whomever she was pretending to be, I knew it was Sally. There was never any doubt in my mind that it was she. Beautiful, funny, a “gilded beanpole” with a fierce will of steel that can easily wield a stoat; Sally was cast.


If there’s one show that I think everyone should be watching right now its Penny Dreadful. Yes, I know Poldark is awesome, but it’s Penny Dreadful that has my dark heart. Combining a plethora of literary characters in the dark Victorian demimonde of London I just can’t get enough of the show. In fact my previously mentioned Tom Mison loving friend Marie is one of my recent converts. Why am I bringing this up? Because it’s in the world of Penny Dreadful that I found Lucien, the Duke of Belliston, and Marie agrees. The actor Reeve Carney plays Dorian Gray, that sexy immoral immortal. His beauty, his enigmatic air, he is Lucien! But more than that, he has this look in his eyes, this quirk at the corner of his mouth that indicates a constant amusement with the world around him. I think that this is exactly the side of Lucien that Sally brings out and that Reeve can play. They have a playful relationship, despite the hardship of murders, and both actors need to understand this humor. I also think it’s funny that the “casting” of Lucien was so easily decided when Marie brought it up to me. She asked who I saw, I said Reeve Carney, she agreed. Now if only making this miniseries a reality and getting all my dream actors together was that easy…


But, I must tell you the whole truth here. I must be completely honest. Though Reeve Carney was instantly and irrevocably Lucien, part of me didn’t want him to be. There’s a part of me that has been longing for so long for a role worthy in Lauren Willig’s oeuvre of one of my favorite actors, Blake Ritson, that I hoped he could be Lucien. He is just amazing in everything, with that voice that you would die to have wake you every morning. His amusing turn as Mr. Elton followed by his layered portrayal of the Duke of Kent on the new Upstairs, Downstairs, made him a permanent resident in my heart. And if you haven’t seen him as Riario on Da Vinci’s Demons, go do that right now, after you finish Penny Dreadful. At the same time as I was first reading The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla I was reading Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Series, where the seductive villain could only be brought to life by Blake. So Blake was on my mind. A lot. And I kept thinking, damn, he could ALMOST be Lucien. Almost. And I’d try him out here and there and yes, he could work, but he wasn’t Reeve. So I ask you this; who is your Lucien?

Eleanor Tomlinson as Sally

Reeve Carney as Lucien

15 thoughts on “Pink XI: Dream Casting

  1. Ok Miss Eliza – I’m going to be totally honest here. I have never heard of or seen either of the actors you suggest for Lucien, so based on NOTHING but the pictures I see here, I think Blake Ritson looks more like the Lucien in my head.

    • I do love me some Blake. Also, I think you need to watch some Blake centric shows… start with the new Upstairs Downstairs, then move onto Da Vinci’s Demons 😉

  2. For me the only choice for Lucien is Ben Barnes. He def has the tall dark and handsome thing down pat and with those eyes he could be rumored to be a vampire. 🙂 As for Sally, I think Jennifer Lawrence would be perfect. This was the first time I read Manzanilla but from the very beginning there was no doubt that she would be amazing as Sally. She has the looks, wit and strong will and I think she could totally handle the stoat!

    • Ben Barnes could work, I liked him in Easy Virtue, though it was so obvious he was going to lose the girl to Colin Firth. What man can stand in the way of Colin Firth? As for Jennifer Lawrence, what can’t she do? Seriously? Especially if she’s not restricted in any way and her full goofiness was allowed to show she could totally be Sally.

  3. Sorry, but my daughter is an actress and she is the perfect Sally. She does musical theatre and this would be an excellent breakout film or television role for her. I almost had her take a pic in a Sally costume for this eventual post. 🙂 Sometimes the truth sounds like madness.

      • It would be worth a thousand words. By the way, I didn’t read Death Comes to Pemberly, but I also liked the BBC America production. This makes me want to watch it again! I think somehow I missed out on Penny Dreadful. 😦

      • Seriously, don’t read Death Comes to Pemberley, EVER. It’s easily one of my most recommended to skip books. Oh, and I totally want to watch it again too. Viewing party? Penny Dreadful is missed by many because it’s on Showtime. But season two just ended, so if you have Showtime or I think you can watch it online, now is the time to catch up!

  4. My trouble with dreamcasting is that I don’t read a book trying to picture an actor or actress in the character roles. I create images in my mind based on author descriptions, therefore it is often difficult for me to transfer my image to a suggested actor/actress. Of those mentioned above, the closest to my mental image for Lucien is Ben Cross. Still haven’t decided on Sally, but appreciate all of the recommendations.

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