There's a rumour that Returning will be made into a six-part television series to run on the BBC. At least, there will be, provided you nice folks who stumble upon this post get it going. Do that for me. Please. After all, if enough people, bloggers, Twitterati, actors, trend-setters, start saying the BBC is doing this, some people there may just find themselves wondering how it is that they aren't. So, start the rumour.
Who would be in such a series? The only obvious choice is that I should play President Gordon. Obvious to me. It's the sort of part I tend to get anyway. Older authority figures. And Gordon is kind of an arsehole, which is always fun.
I have no idea who should play Sara Ellsworth or Ellen Harris. I just don't watch that many television shows or movies that feature 15-year-old girls. There are no doubt any number of blue-eyed blonds ready to jump at the part. Presuming the casting sticks with the descriptions in the book, which isn't a given.
I could easily see Karen Gillan playing Romiwero. She's four inches taller than the character in the book, Scottish, and for a major part of the series, Romiwero would be in her mid-forties. Still, it's easier to make someone a few years older than younger, and the character starts out at thirty.
There's an obvious problem in casting this. The returnees are us, but they're not us. They're the us of 87,000 years ago, and several of them are a different sub-species that hasn't existed for the last 30-40,000 years. Who do you cast as a Neanderthal, and just exactly what do you make them look like? I suspect that, racially, there wouldn't be a great deal of difference, with skin tone and other characteristics determined by adaptation to local conditions, just as they were over the last several thousand years.
I do think British casting traditions would be preferable to American. The British like to cast the best available actor. Americans tend to cast stars. This is a bit odd, really, when you consider that one of the highest grossing films of all time, Star Wars, had only one "name" actor in it, Alec Guinness, who played a supporting part, while the most important parts were played by actors who were essentially unknowns at the time. It has to make you wonder about the Hollywood obsession with casting people for name value. If the film is good enough, it's not going to matter.
Doctor Vordik is a special case. I suppose you'd want to cast an athlete, preferably a power lifter, and use effects to shrink him to his 4'11" height (he's a tall New Barzakite). I've jokingly suggested that Vordik would look like someone the size of Danny DeVito with the body of Lou Ferrigno or Arnold Schwarzenegger. Not them, though. The man is only 39.
We've got one Doctor Who veteran on here already, so why not another. Peter Capaldi would fit in nicely as Prime Minister Sir Charles Vickers, Bart. I suppose some anonymous young actor or model would play Doctor number 95, whose only appearance is on a sign hoarding in any case. Officially, the book never says it's talking about the Doctor, but rather obviously that's who it is.
There's an obvious temptation to cast Neve McIntosh as Sergeant Gnitschish, what with her considerable experience as a Silurian, but I think I'd rather see her as Captain Maniah, the Imperial Marine company commander.
I keep throwing Scots in here, don't I? And actors who've worked on Doctor Who. May as well toss in a couple more. Georgia Moffett would seem a distinct possibility for Lieutenant Marina Fehmadaatin. Keeping it in the family, her father would be a good bet for one of the British politicians.
Perhaps needless to say, should this book actually be converted into a film or television series, my casting ideas will no doubt be completely ignored. Except me as Gordon. I may just want to include that in the option.
While I'm at it, I think it's generally a good idea not to respond to reviews. Particularly consumer reviews. But a one-star on Amazon does seem to require at least a mention. No, I don't think all pastors are crooks, and in it just for the money, but that does seem to be the case with most TV preachers and travelling evangelists. Nor do I think that all Christians are in favour of totalitarian theocracies. That's just the way it's always worked out whenever anyone tried it in the past.