ZDIW: curtain in five minutes, principal actors on stage, please

Over in the Livejournal, Ginger puts down a few thoughts about how personality and face time work in House of Cards.
If you have spent any time here, you know I owe most of my casting effort, the visuals I share with my Players, to the House of Cards dramatis personae.
So collected here, for the first time are the GM reasons behind some of the faces–in order of age— because that’s what matters in this family.
Benedict: is the ultimate survivor who keeps a mannered but snappish regard for his family. He chooses his words carefully because his father was the ‘show me’ King of which all others are but shadows. Basil Rathbone is chosen for his precise speech, his ability to play a villain and his uncanny way of projecting competence when doing nothing at all but watching. It helps that he is narrow of face but broad of mind.
Eric: is the charming handsome prince who knows he’s better than most of his family and can often prove it. He can explode into action. He prefers to sneer and discuss the weaknesses of his opponents in detail. He can make you smile even when you don’t like him. Jonathan Frakes is chosen because he has attitude, charm, a terrific smile and I don’t trust him any further than I can throw him. He does a good sneer. It helps that he has done commanding roles and is a pretty good director.
Corwin: is a straight ahead bastard who just may have been even colder and meaner in a younger life. He was held down and abused by his much older more competent brother Eric. He resents authority, but can get a job done. He prefers wine, women and song. He is used to breaking rules to get things he wants. No one likes Corwin except people who don’t know him. Timothy Dalton is chosen because he is quite likable unless he is a stone cold killer. He has that air of switching between gentleman poet and psycho action hero. It helps that he played James Bond and got all the girls. He plays a good jerk.
Deirdre: we don’t get but a taste of Deirdre. She’s lovely, she’s quite feminine, she’s awfully good at talking people into things and she can break a werewolf across her knee and kill it. Oh, and she prefers an axe when most princesses use bows or daggers or spells. She isn’t exactly subtle but she seems to be a bit of a fussy femme. Possible manic mood swings, probable incredible manipulator given her father and older sibs. Catherine Zeta Jones is chosen because she does action roles, swords, cat burglar, femme fatales even though she is tiny and almost delicate. It helps that she has played killers without moral yardsticks and does a fair job displaying incredible vanity.
Caine: is an eccentric in a family of sibs that toe the line to King Oberon. He’s dark and laughing, alternately mean and crass and quite ingenious. He’s bloodthirsty but conniving and practical. He misbehaves, a lot. He doesn’t mind being underestimated in a family where that gets you out of favor and trampled. He will talk to anyone in persuasive manner, regardless of his station or ranking in the official lists. He’ll stick up for brothers he doesn’t even like. He’s a bit contrary that way. Oded Fehr is chosen because he is exotic to the entirely too Euro-centric feel of the myth in Amber. His look and feel bumps the appreciation of the princes into a whole different shape. It helps that he appears formidable even as he appears mysterious.
Fiona: we get a lot of Fiona canon. She’s glamorous, feminine, extremely petite and rather lone-wolf compared to other princesses. She likes puzzles, mysteries and she’s really really good with jibes. She’s off-handed in her brainy qualities and she knows that makes you crazy. Myrna Loy is chosen because she’s redheaded, smart, witty, playful and can also be mysterious, athletic and exotic. It helps that Myrna was once the woman all women wanted to be. Please do watch her in ‘The Thin Man’ or ‘Mask of Fu Manchu’ to get a sense of the range of intellect to her acting.
Bleys: is good at everything he lets you see. He’s good at things he hides. He’s just good. A worthy prince and a daring one. Impractical? Perhaps. Kenneth Branagh is chosen because he’s cool and charming and dashing and sharp like a knife. It helps that he has a terrific sense of humor and drama.
Llewella: is withdrawn and more than a bit guarded. She’s otherwise off doing other things. She quits the center of power, or so everyone believes. Maybe she’s not playing the Family game? Llewella is almost the only member of the Family obviously of another species. Grace Kelly is chosen because leaving the center of power when you are beautiful and important is part of her legend. It helps that she happens to look otherworldly also.
Brand: is whip-crack smart and quite the persuasive fellow. He’s a compulsive talker, but knows that and has as many layers of chat as he needs to hide his real agenda. Jeremy Irons is chosen based on faith that Ginger and Michael know what they are talking about. I liked him in ‘Lion King’. Never seen his work otherwise. Note that younger pictures of him are spot on for artistic redhead.
Julian: is refined and competitive and quite the wit. He takes the quiet intellectual route as all other brothers are busy dashing about proving something for Dad. He seems to like appearing cruel but definitely has his hidden side. His ability to think ahead of his brothers may be more than just wishful thinking on his part. This quality stands him well with his breeding of creatures for his gain of power. Jude Law is chosen because he looks like he could skewer you with a jibe and keep his armor immaculate. He’s also able to bring the smackdown action. It helps that his delivery of dialog is very precise and cutting.
Gerard: is likeable and somewhat dangerous to annoy. He protests he is not really up to snuff with the intellects in his family. So he asks a lot of questions. He jumps to conclusions. He roughs up folks. He preempts actions of his sibs when he thinks things are getting too complex. Liam Neeson is chosen because he plays a great affable fella. Then too, when he gets mean, he’s quite scary intense. He can deliver very soft dialog and equally ferocious growls. It helps that he is really large, looks good in a kilt and might be able to tip over a car.
Florimel: is so apolitical that no one is quite sure if she has personal agenda. She’s considered weak and sometimes stupid. However, she never seems to pick the losing side. Lots of chance seems to fall her way. Susan Sarandon is chosen for her accessible manner and ability to analyze men at a glance. She does glamour. She does wiles. She does quiet strength and bawdy laughter. She is versatile and sexy. It helps that she is a bit of a chameleon and can keep you guessing.
Random: is the youngest and conspicuous for his lack of any redeeming qualities by most accounts. Described variously as a layabout or drinker or homicidal fink. One gets the distinct impression that Oberon did not care much for his offspring at that point and Random took that lack of attention as license to be a royal pain in the ass. Ewan McGregor is chosen because he can range from rocker layabout and drunk musician to redeemed authority figure. It helps that you almost forgive him anything if he laughs and includes you in his joke.
Well…there. Certainly not modern or complex or definitive….casting calls like this prompt kudos and strong dislikes in equal chance. Folks bring to the exercise a hidden emotional agenda…which often will get you words like ‘hate this one’ or ‘omg, she is so not!’
But perhaps the narrative above gives you some insight into my Amber-verse.
and of course…. Oberon was a prick.

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