Earlier this summer, author Jacqueline Carey put hope in the hearts of fans of her Kushiel’s Legacy trilogy when she said that Game of Thrones had opened the door for a potential adaptation of her sexy, brilliant, fantasy series. Now, there’s no specific project in the works right now, due (somewhat ironically) to the current glut of fantasy series. But now that we know television audiences like their courtly intrigue served with a generous helping of alternate fantasy and sexposition, it’s only a matter of time.
To that end, we couldn’t resist fantasizing about who should star in the hypothetical Kushiel’s Legacy TV show—starting with book one, Kushiel’s Dart. Check out our picks for Phèdre herself, the men who love and serve her, her teacher—the “Whoremaster of Spies”—and the dangerously alluring woman whose grip she can never quite escape.
This dream cast addresses the major players in Kushiel’s Dart, since that book alone would provide an entire season’s worth of material. That said, I couldn’t dream cast without pondering who would play these characters once they’re a decade older in Kushiel’s Avatar, so I threw in some younger and older castings as I saw fit.
Phèdre nó Delaunay de Montrève
Carey said on her blog that she would like to see “the next Tatiana Maslany” play Phèdre, “because it would take a stellar performance to sell that role.” Considering that Orphan Black could well be off the air by the time we saw Kushiel’s Dart, I’m just gonna go full wishful thinking and nominate Maslany. (Or, if she couldn’t, Lost Girl’s Anna Silk, who basically has played the poor man’s version of that character already.)
But who could play young Phèdre for the first two books? I’ve got to nominate one of my favorite up-and-comers, Zoey Deutch: Her performances easily blend snarky and sexy, and she’s actually the appropriate age to play the headstrong, brilliant anguisette in her first bloom of beauty.
Photos: OK Magazine / Mercedes Grundy/NOW Magazine
Before Delaunay, before Joscelin, Phèdre’s first protector and partner in crime needs to be played by someone who can embody both comedy and tragedy. I envision Avan Jogia as the more carefree “Prince of Travellers” who acts as Phèdre’s eyes and ears in Night’s Doorstep during her early years as an anguisette. But as their friendship and the realm is tested, and they continually lay down sacrifices for one another, it’s Diego Luna who could best bring the pathos that tempers Hyacinthe’s youthful arrogance.
Photos: Disney Enterprises, Inc. / Mark Abrahams, Anthem Magazine
In contrast to his drab Cassiline attire and finely-honed training, Phèdre’s bodyguard (and eventual lover) is continually described by his summer-blue eyes and stern beauty. Both X-Men: Days of Future Past’s Lucas Till and Tron: Legacy’s Garrett Hedlund embody Joscelin’s farmboy good looks, and could blend his disciplined attitude with his rare flashes of emotion, brought on by Phèdre’s antics. Of course, it’s difficult to envision either man with Joscelin’s trademark long hair, but we know that at least the older of the two will fare OK: His bit part as Patroclus in 2004’s Troy (yeah, we didn’t recognize him either) proves he can rock the long braids.
Photos: Twentieth Century Fox / Matthew Brookes for YSL Beaute
I think readers are pretty unanimous that British actor Matthew Goode would bring the wryness, smarts, tenderness, and a dash of arrogance that make up Phèdre’s foster-father and mentor. Goode has slowly worked his way up through Hollywood’s ranks, from supporting roles in Match Point and Watchmen to recent success in last year’s horror film Stoker. His patience and slow-but-sure career advances reflect Delaunay’s careful training of Phèdre and Alcuin, earning him the nickname “Whoremaster of Spies.”
Alcuin nó Delaunay
This one is thorny, because up until a few months ago Andreja Peji? would have been the shoo-in. (I recently described the character of Alcuin to my non-geeky, fashion-obsessed roommate, and before I had finished, she nominated Peji?.) Now that the model (who formerly went by the name Andrej) has undergone sex reassignment surgery, however, it wouldn’t feel appropriate to cast her as the willowy boy; she’s stated that she no longer wants to play to that androgyny. However, I seem to have found an equally great candidate in fellow supermodel Tait Hughes Geijer.
Photo: Robert Erdmann
I’ve been a huge fan of Sarah Shahi since she played sweet DJ Carmen on The L Word. And while her roles since then have had her acting pretty goofy, I believe she’s capable of embodying Melisande’s shrewd cunning, her love of the game of thrones, and her use of her sexuality as a weapon.
The other major reason I want to see her as Melisande also hearkens back to The L Word: She’s already played a sexually fluid character. The actresses portraying Phèdre and Melisande have to be able to sell their strange, dark-and-light love story.
Ysandre de la Courcel
House Courcel’s heir and the top candidate for the City of Elua’s throne, Ysandre is a cool, ambitious girl. Stoker’s Mia Wasikowska immediately comes to mind as someone who can play both Ysandre’s vulnerability as hers and the other royal families claw their way to the throne, as well as the deep well of calm and wisdom upon which she must draw in order to maintain her throne. As for the adult Ysandre—mostly benevolent, but still prone to flashes of cold fury when her authority is questioned—Diane Kruger is my best pick.
Photos: Dean Rogers/Magnolia Pictures / F/X
Drustan mab Necthana
The Cruarch of Alba was a tough one to nail down, as I wanted to find actors with dark hair and eyes, ideally from Ireland so as to somewhat match Alba’s inspiration. Robert Sheehan and Aidan Turner have the looks—it’s easy to imagine their faces covered with blue paint, right?—but can they also embody Drustan’s warrior’s pride despite the shortcoming of his clubbed foot? Oh, you bet this former Misfit superhero and Being Human vampire definitely can.
Photos: E4 / BBC America
While Kushiel’s Dart has more than one villain, Skaldic warlord Waldemar Selig is the character who most explicitly threatens Terre d’Ange’s peace. Casting him is difficult, because you want to capture his warrior’s body and general’s mind, making him somewhat brutally attractive while still devastatingly cold. Liev Schreiber would do handily.
Photo: Suzanne Tenner/Showtime
There are so many supporting characters I want to cast as well—Eamonn and Grainne of the Dalriada; Delaunay’s loyal manservant Guy; Prince Baudoin and other members of the royal family—but that would make this post nearly as long as Kushiel’s Dart itself. Feel free to share your picks in the comments!
Natalie Zutter writes plays about superheroes and sex robots, articles about celebrity conspiracy theories, and Tumblr rants about fandom. You can find her commenting on pop culture and giggling over Internet memes on Twitter.