This post was written by Miss Eliza of Strange and Random Happenstace.
Very rarely am I 100% inflexible on my casting. In fact I usually try out a few actors in my head before I alight on just the right one. It’s kind of fun, having one actor exit a scene and having another actor enter as the same character, much like watching a Regency version of The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. But this is not the case with The Betrayal of the Blood Lily, and it’s all down to Lauren’s writing, with one of the leads more directly so then the other. The direct one has resulted in me having Penelope be my only 100% author approved casting ever. One day on Lauren’s blog she mentioned that she saw Penelope walk across the screen in a recently episode of PBS’s Masterpiece Mystery, though much like me Lauren correctly referred to it as just Mystery! Lauren thought it might have been an episode of The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, but wasn’t sure, though she did proclaim: “There she is! That’s Penelope!” I, being the BBC addict that I am instantly recognized that it was the first episode from season one of Lewis and the actress was Anna Madeley. I had already seen Anna in The Secret Life of Mrs. Beeton, ironically in an unsuitable marriage and had thought she’d make a great Pen, so when Lauren reiterated my interior monologue I was totally on board, she is Pen. All her amazing roles since, from The Old Curiosity Shop to Sense and Sensibility to Mr Selfridge have brought home the fact that she IS Penelope to me again and again.
As for Alex Reid? He’s obviously Aidan Turner. Sometime during 2009 I devoured the entire first season of Being Human and promptly decided that I MUST watch EVERYTHING Aidan Turner had ever been in. The only thing available Stateside was a single episode of The Tudors… Therefore when Desperate Romantics came around, well, he can be my Dante Gabriel Rossetti any day, and actually was when I read Lauren’s That Summer! But more importantly, in the fall of 2009 laying sick in bed with my ARC of The Betrayal of the Blood Lily, well, there was Aidan hanging out with Anna! The brooding, the appearance, the conflict, all emotions that I had seen Aidan emote so amazingly as the vampire Mitchell, made him Alex. My re-reading the book while luxuriating in his new staring turn in Poldark has only reinforced my opinion, as has that little quirky smile of his and his regimentals. There is and can only be one Alex Reid.
As for the final point in this love triangle… or should we just say, the complication that got what he deserved? Lord Frederick Staines. Originally I had thought that he could be played by Rupert Penry-Jones, because I couldn’t think of anyone who has the pretty boy, slightly vacant charm that Rupert has with the ability to be nasty when he needs to be. But I think, besides getting older, well, I like him too much to love to hate him. I think I was too caught up with the “golden boy” look and while re-reading The Betrayal of the Blood Lily I was struck by the scene when Freddy has been discovered with his mistress and he sags with relief when he thinks he’s got Pen mollified. The actor that instantly sprang to mind was Matthew Goode. I seriously adore Matthew and he is someone whom I can love to hate, heck I was rooting for him to win in Watchmen! Plus, he did a good job actually distracting me from Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game, which in and of itself deserves a reward. Plus, if need be he can go Ozymandias blond again… only if need be.