And the next Bond is..?

This light-hearted post is my way of shaking off the dreadful Covid malaise that has settled over so many of us for the last 18 months. So I’m not talking about mental health, illness, depression, heavy life stuff, art or writing, I’m talking about something entirely daft and wonderfully trivial…who will be the next James Bond?

Barbara Broccoli take note!

Daniel Craig – for many, the definitive Bond.

While I’m a fan of the Bond franchise I don’t count myself as a hardened aficionado, but I am a massive movie geek & cinephile though, so the question of who and how the UK’s most successful movie franchise will continue, does interest me. I’ll discuss the actors touted over the internet and papers as current frontrunners first, about 24 of them by all accounts, then pitch my own out of left field contender & why I think he would be the best choice to take on the new Bond going forward.

Lashana Lynch

Firstly, excluding the idea of a female Bond, for which I think Lashana Lynch is awesome and has more than proved herself a brilliant 00 agent, by all means let’s have a female ass-kicking secret agent, but not a ‘Jane Bond’, but something new instead. As for James Bond, there are several of the male contenders that can be eliminated to narrow the field based on either age/height/acting ability – a short James Bond would be ridiculous! Although to date, Daniel Craig (53yrs) is the shortest James Bond there has been at only 5ft 10″ (most have been 6ft 2″ or slightly under), having a Bond shorter than Craig just wouldn’t work. Even ignoring the ‘tall, dark & handsome’ labels often attributed to Bond by its creator Ian Fleming and subsequent Bond incarnations, at the least Bond is supposed to be physically imposing, someone who can dominate or at least intimidate an opponent either by height/stature or physical size.

There are several frontrunners for the plum role to replace Daniel Craig, these are among the most popular names doing the rounds:

  1. Mad Max’sTom Hardy (44yrs 5ft 9″) – The odds on favourite. Great actor with undoubted versatility & appeal but too physically similar to Craig’s brusque complex Bond and just too short, also, the Venom actor would be one of the oldest Bonds when he starts with only Roger Moore being older.
  2. Luther’sIdris Elba (49yrs 6ft 2″) – Used to be my first choice, wonderful actor who can easily do sexy, suave, dangerous and edgy but now sadly he is just too old.
  3. Superman’sHenry Cavill (38yrs 6ft) – The obvious safe and perhaps boring choice, but rather wooden acting at times and comes with Superman baggage and reported personality problems – bit of a dick. Not keen on yet another private school/posh boy either.
  4. Bridgerton’sRege-Jean Page (31yrs 5ft 11″) – Would make the first Bond of colour which would be great and can certainly do sexy & suave but is he edgy, dark or imposing enough?
  5. Rich Young Asian’sHenry Golding (34yrs 6ft 1″) – Would make the first Bond of non-white Asian descent but too nice a guy? Not dark or edgy enough?
  6. Outlander’sSam Heughan (41yrs 6ft 2″) – Another safe choice, has a good fanbase though not widely known by public and unproven in sole lead role. Perhaps too safe/boring, he is older too and is he edgy enough with enough acting range?
  7. GoT’sRichard Madden (35yrs 5ft 9″) – Too short and still unproven as sole lead.
  8. Get Out’s Daniel Kaluuya (32yrs 5ft 7/8″) – Great actor and very charismatic but sadly far too short and not physically imposing enough. If he were a beefed up 6ft he’d be one of top choices.
  9. Spiderman’sTom Holland (25yrs 5ft 6/7″) – Great actor but way too young and far too short/small in stature. Fantastic Spiderman, but Bond, no.
  10. Loki’sTom Hiddleston (40yrs 6ft 1″) – Would be a safe and popular choice. Good actor but is VERY known for Loki and therefore could be too typecast, also, brings humour but is he physically tough & edgy enough?
  11. McMafia’sJames Norton (36yrs 6ft) – Would be the safe choice and nice to have a diabetic actor in the lead role. Has proved he can do dark and brooding in Happy Valley so a possibility? But yet another advantaged private school/posh boy background is not a bonus.
  12. Star War’sJohn Boyega (29yrs 5ft 9″) – Good actor but just too short and some Star Wars baggage.
  13. Peaky Blinder’sCillian Murphy (45yrs 5ft 6/7″) – Good actor but far too short and too old to play a younger Bond.
  14. 50 Shade’sJamie Dornan (39yrs 5ft 9/10″) – Just a bit too short & damaged by 50 shades baggage.
  15. Dracula’sLuke Evans (42yrs 5ft 11″) – If rebooting Bond for a newer younger version, then too old? Also, his wannabe crooner status is a bit of a put off.
  16. David Copperfield’sDev Patel (31yrs 6ft 1″) – Great actor and versatile, would be the first Bond of colour which is great, but could the Green Knight actor be sexy and edgy enough?
  17. 1917’sGeorge MacKay (29yrs 6ft) – Young actor with versatility, could be a young Bond? But is the Captain Fantastic actor too young though and not edgy or sexy enough?
  18. X-Men’sNicholas Hoult (31yrs 6ft 2/3″) – Great and versatile actor, may be a possibility? Is the A Single Man actor too ‘pretty boy’ in looks though and not gruff or edgy enough?
  19. Kiss Ass’s Aaron Taylor-Johnson (31yrs 5ft 11″) – Good actor, though seen perhaps as a ‘pretty boy’ face rather than serious actor? Can do dark, sexy & edgy though as seen in Nocturnal Animals. Possibly a strong contender?
  20. Downton Abbey’sDan Stevens (38yrs 5ft 11″/6ft) – Too ‘sweet & safe’ choice wise and rather uninspiring/boring. Loyal fanbase but not dark, edgy or physically striking/imposing enough.
  21. GoT’sTom Hopper (36yrs 6ft 4″) – Not a well known actor and ironically, his VERY tall stature may be too tall, meaning the likelihood of him being able to ‘blend in’ in a spy context is doubtful, he’d stick out like a 6ft 4″ thumb! Not proven yet acting wise either or as sole lead.
  22. Rocketman’sJamie Bell (35yrs 5ft 7″) – Great and versatile actor who can pretty much play anything, but far too short/small in stature and lacks sex appeal. I’m afraid this is one role he couldn’t pull off.
  23. Viking’sClive Standen (40yrs 6ft 1″) – Not well known actor, so no massive fan base, would be an unusual choice. Is he versatile enough and too old for young Bond?
  24. Dunkirk’sHarry Styles (27yrs 5ft 11″/6ft) – Too young and not physically imposing enough to pull off Bond & FAR too distracting due to pop icon baggage. A total non starter.

So, those are narrowed down to 11 now…still a long list. If you discount anyone 40 or over, to reinvigorate Bond as a new younger Bond (which I think is definitely needed after Daniel Craig’s retiring Bond – re: my pitch idea later), then the list is narrowed further to just 8 possible contenders. Despite the fact that Ian Fleming’s Bond is supposed to be in his mid-late thirties around 37yrs, certainly in Moonraker, given that you would want any new Bond to have as many years as possible playing the role, then you could start looking at dismissing the older of the contenders too (meaning Henry Cavill at 38yrs and with his ‘maturity’ may not have much of a Bond run in him and would certainly struggle to play a Bond much younger than his actual age.) Do I seem fixated on age? There’s a reason for that…

How to overcome the colossal influence of Daniel Craig’s James Bond?

Daniel Craig has undoubtedly made a huge and lasting impression as Bond, for many he is now their favourite all-time Bond, with his mix of rough n’ ready physicality, that brusque side with a slight hint of tenderness beneath. So, how on earth do you follow such a powerful and definitive interpretation? Do you just offer up more of the same? The ONLY thing you can do, is to take Bond in an entirely new and fresh direction. Just continuing in the same vein but with another similar actor like Tom Hardy, just won’t work as brilliant an actor as Tom Hardy is, it would just be too familiar. Daniel Craig mark 2.0.

Here’s my pitch idea…!

The fact that Craig was playing an older Bond getting ready for retirement, means that the only way to really refresh and reboot the series is to take Bond in the opposite direction. Go from an aging older Bond on the point of retiring to a young Bond, in fact, Bond BEFORE he became Bond!

Restart the new series with a new Bond by having a younger actor play a youthful James Bond as a naval officer first, which, after some terrible event where he not only manages to survive against the odds but proves his bravery, cunning and skills, leads to MI6 approaching him and them recruiting him as a new agent! So the film charts how Bond became Bond, from how he was recruited to his training and first missions to what made him a 00 agent, with the film ending with him getting his 00 status and being directed to his first mission as 007. The series would then be up and running for years to come!

Not only would this approach give us something entirely new and fresh, we have NEVER seen a young Bond before he became Bond, what put him on the path, what drove him, what his training was like, what he had to give up, his mistakes etc., but it would give the new reboot a fresh start and one with plenty of mileage!

Francois Arnaud

Now, my other pitch idea – casting…and here’s my out of left field suggestion. The name is Arnaud…Francois Arnaud.

Yes, this is NOT a British actor (remember Pierce Brosnan is Irish, George Lazenby is Australian), BUT, this French Canadian actor can bring something truly unique to the part. Here are just 10 reasons why:

Francois Arnaud as Cesare Borgia, a guy not to mess with.
Francois in black Bond tux n’ tie
  1. Brit AccentFrancois Arnaud can do a perfect British accent as seen in his work on The Borgias.
  2. Languages – He is fluent in English, French & Spanish – in today’s multilingual society especially in the world of espionage, spy’s & secret agents, James Bond would HAVE to be able to speak in multiple languages, especially when he was undercover and assuming another identity. How great to have a tri-lingual actor that could do this naturally as well as doing British AND American accents flawlessly, allowing him to change multiple identities effortlessly. James Bond with some subtitles, hell yes!
  3. HeightFrancois Arnaud is 6ft 2″ tall, therefore he has the height, physicality, body and stature needed for the part, and is loved by ladies and men alike!
  4. Looks – He also has the looks (‘tall, dark and handsome’) to pull off a convincing James Bond, from his handsome face and great body to his deep voice and ridiculously thick hair. No (Sean Connery) toupee needed here!
  5. ActingArnaud has great range and acting chops and is one of the most versatile actors working in TV & film today, working in both French speaking and English speaking roles. After winning the Best Supporting Actor in a Canadian Film Award (VCFF) early in his career in the critically acclaimed I Killed My Mother, he went on to famously play the dark and dangerous Cesare Borgia in The Borgias, displaying an ability to portray brooding, sexy, Machiavellian and violently ruthless characters to the point where he was outshining established star Jeremy Irons. He can play shady, duplicitous characters in TV’s The Blindspot, romantic leads in films like Permission & She’s in Portland, humour and more sex appeal in US TV’s The Moody’s or angst ridden unhinged characters in French film Rabid Dogs and most recently he can be seen as a disturbed ex-military soldier unable to adjust to civilian life in French Canadian film La Switch.
  6. Solo lead/track record – Arnaud is never out of work! Unlike some of the other contenders on the list who have yet to carry a film or project single-handed, Francois Arnaud has already played the lead in both mainstream TV & independent film projects, from Midnight, Texas to French Canadian film Origami and upcoming Norbourg as well as joint lead with Lili Taylor in upcoming US indie film The Winter House. He has never given a duff/bad performance even if he is the only glue holding a project together.
  7. Age – He is 36yrs old but looks younger so could easily play a young Bond recruit in his early-mid-late twenties onwards, giving him possibly the longest run as a new Bond.
  8. FanbaseFrancois Arnaud being a French Canadian actor working in both French speaking & English speaking films he has the benefit of having a solid and very loyal fanbase, including those that love his work in independent films and network television shows like Heat Wave (Les Grandes Chaleurs) and Midnight, Texas. So although he is not a household name in the UK, apart from The Borgias, with the baggage and typecast problems others may have, neither is he an unknown and unproven actor with no following or fanbase.
  9. Hidden talents – Apart from speaking three languages fluently and a bit of Hungarian too, the guy can also play the piano and sing…yes, multi-talented. Could we have a scene with Bond tinkling the ivories?
  10. Something different – It would also be great, and a great forward movement for the franchise, to have an international actor in the role and one who happens to be bisexual too, although this doesn’t have to play any part in the role of Bond, it would show a more inclusive open policy on behalf of the movie makers and a major move away from being seen as old-fashioned and out-of-step.

There, there’s my pitch! I can see Francois Arnaud starting off as a young naval officer who’s unit comes under attack in South America or the Philippines (so he could use his Spanish to get out of his situation) or French speaking Africa etc., where he is able to survive a terrible assault, stop the bad guys, save people etc,. which makes MI6 take notice of him and decide to recruit him as a fresh new agent in training…hence the title of the new film ’00….’, as it charts the story of how James Bond became 007.

Barbara Broccoli, you can send me my cheque in the post! ūüėČ ‚̧ ūüėÄ

White Mountain The Movie – Part II Filming Locations

Taking a slight break from the Distant Worlds author interview series, hopefully this will be a visual treat for all those who love travelling (in real life or in the imagination) and film addicts like me!

As an avid¬†film fan, back in January I had a bit of fun and shared my vision of White Mountain –¬†The Movie, specifically focusing on my dream cast and director.

So, with visionary Ridley Scott directing, Christopher Plumber as Mr. Agyk, Rufus Sewell as the voice of Gralen, either Natalie Portman or Gemma Arterton as Wendya, a possible Henry Cavill or Aidan Turner as Korrun and charismatic Michael Fassbender as evil villain Morreck, the cast is ready.

For the full cast and character profiles, check out my original post: https://sophieetallis.wordpress.com/2015/01/04/white-mountain-the-movie/

Next we shift¬†our cinematic¬†focus¬†to filming locations for White Mountain – The Movie! ūüėÄ

*(Please note that apart from my illustrations and a few of my own photographs, most of the images used to show places/locations are NOT my own unless otherwise stated. Many thanks to their various creators. :D)

***

In order of book locations, first up, Mr. Agyk and Gralen’s home, White Mountain itself! Real location: Mont Blanc, Switzerland. (My inspiration: Mount Cook ‘Aoraki’, New Zealand).

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The living room.

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The map room, think of a pyramid room covered in maps and star charts with a central dais and the ‘tapestry of time’ shifting world map on it. (Lol, little bit like the map room in Raiders of the Lost Ark!) ūüėÄ

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Next, the ice city of √Źss√§tun, high up within the Arctic circle. Real location: the Arctic, Svarlbard, and Greenland. (My inspiration: the Franz Josef glacier and glacier terminus, New Zealand).

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The ice dungeons below the city.

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Back to White Mountain and the great library ( I love my libraries!).

Photo of Mount Cook aka White Mountain - CopyWhite Mountain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then¬†travel to the¬†Grey Forest deep within the Russian boreal forest or ‘taiga’. Real location: Russian Urals/Siberia. (My inspiration: Forest of Dean, UK and Wistman’s Woods, Dartmoor, UK).

B5C2A8 Russia Siberia Sayan Mountains And Taiga. Image shot 2007. Exact date unknown.

Russia Siberia Sayan Mountains And Taiga. Image shot 2007.

 

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The pancake rocks that Mr. Agyk & Gralen spent the night on, as hunting firewolves draw near. Real location: Russian taiga/Siberia. (My inspiration: Combestone Tor, Dartmoor, UK & Punakaiki, South Island, New Zealand).

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Grey Forest clearing

Wendya’s home – a tumble down cottage in the heart of the forest (less Bavarian fairytale and more decrepit than this though).

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Wendya’s summer retreat, high up in the Llrinaru trees – a treetop¬†sanctuary. Real location: Siberia. (My inspiration: the giant Kauri trees of New Zealand).

View over the Grey Forest from Wendya's summer home.

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The Amazon jungle, following the great river and its tributaries deeper into the rainforest.

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The path to the Oracle.

016Jungle path to the 'Oracle of the West'.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The dead gully.

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The Oracle’s Lair.

chislehurst_03[1]Then cross the Atlantic to the heart of Africa, the Congo Rainforest, home of the most ancient city in the world, Kallorm (Dwellum of old or Silverden in the «ľllfr tongue). Real location: Congo and Democratic Republic of Congo. (My inspiration:¬†the Waipoa rainforest, North Island of¬†New Zealand and Abel Tasman rainforest, South Island of New Zealand).

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The¬†oldest and largest¬†Dworllian¬†realm, Kallorm – the ‘City of Light’ – a bustling subterranean metropolis of crowded honey coloured sandstone buildings, viaducts, bridges, rivers, forums and market squares deep beneath the jungles of the Congo (Democratic Republic of Congo). Real locations: Sandstone buildings of Petra, Cairo, Nairobi, Kolcatta, Dwarka. (My inspiration: the narrow crowded architectural streets of Rome, particularly the Roman Forum and the market squares of Florence, Italy).

Firstly, one of the many ancient bridges to cross into Kallorm.

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The White Palace, the Royal House of Kallorm and the Senate, the seat of government. Inspired by Indian and Middle Eastern architecture with some Italian Renaissance thrown in!

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The Falls of Tarro. Real location: the Victoria Falls, border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. (My inspiration: the Huka Falls, New Zealand, Lyford Gorge, Dartmoor, UK and Canonteign Falls, Devon, UK)

69b553d5b8c9dd992b0e4d3076d9469b[1]Falls of Tarro and city of Kallorm

Draellth chambers and catacombs beneath the city of Kallorm. Real location: the Hang Son Dong cave system in Vietnam. (My inspiration: the Waitomo caves, New Zealand and Wookey Hole, Somerset, UK).

The secret passageway behind the Falls of Tarro16fd69ac89d29787b641144be667124d[1]9ebb332cced0f95b3451aa960968cb9a[1]543605b2a694d0cb5add1b5411ccaab2[1]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The ‘Resting Rooms’ of Kallorm, a peaceful sanctuary and¬†haven to heal all wounds amidst the bustle of Kallorm.

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7b25eed066a091d9324ba17a3ebe459c[1]The journey to Fendellin, following the mighty Indus River up to the wild hills and mountains of the Hindu Kush where the demonic snow leopard attacks.

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The Himalayas, searching for the ‘Lost Kingdom of Dragons’, Fendellin.

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Fendellin, ‘The Lost Kingdom of Dragons’ – the vast hidden land within the Himalayas (the Encircling Mountains), originally an «ľllfren stronghold, now one of the last Dworllian kingdoms and home of all dragon races…also the home of M’Sorreck himself. Real location: Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal and Himalayan region. (My inspiration: the Southern Alps, South Island of New Zealand and the Tongariro National Park, North Island, New Zealand + the Tibetan legend of Shambhala).

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The ancient steles beside the iceberg lake in Fendellin.

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Mund’harr¬†and the capital, the Golden City. Real location: Architecture of Cambodia, Burma, Laos and Spain.

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Finding a quiet cloister in the city of clouds…

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The Hanging Gardens of Mund’harr. (My inspiration: the hanging gardens of Babylon & Nineveh).

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The blue poppy fields of Fendellin.

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The Tolltek Pass and the road to Morreck.

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The Shudras – the ‘Silent Marshes’.

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Hal’Torren’s choice, the ruins of Oralam. Real location: the deserts of China.

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The salt lake and Kavok’s Peak.

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Valley of darkness, Morreck’s fortress and the stone Sentinels.

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The sentinels

The Cavern of Souls – Morreck’s lair. Real location: Basilica Cistern at Istanbul, Turkey and Petra, Jordan.

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The Flame of Fendellin.

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The cavalcade home.

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Back to White Mountain again.

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***

Lol, there you go, a very looong visual exploration of the¬†cinematic locations for White Mountain – The Movie! You can tell that I’ve spent WAY too¬†much time¬†thinking about all this!

Next time, the beasts and creatures of White Mountain – The Movie! ūüėÄ

 

Oh, and for all you lovely White Mountain fans, there’s still a chance to vote for it in The People’s Book Prize. Voting stays open until August 31st, so if you love it please lend your support, every vote really does count! And a HUGE thank you to all the fabulous people who have already voted, White Mountain has garnered the most amazing comments and votes!

THANK YOU! ūüėÄ xxxx

White Mountain

White Mountain – The Movie!

 

 

To kick the New Year off, here is a bit of fun. As the final instalment of The Hobbit continues¬†to play in¬†cinemas and my own¬†epic fantasy takes flight and hits Waterstones and Amazon, it got me thinking…

This is probably every author’s dream, to have their book fully realised and immortalised in film, but hopefully in an epic Lord of the Rings quality film and not an ill-conceived¬†damp squib Dungeons and Dragons or Eragon cinematic outing!

So, for my flight of fantasy, here is my White Mountain – The Movie! (Are you listening filmmakers? Hey, a girl can dream!)

***

Director:

Peter Jackson made an awesome trilogy of films with LOTR but then made the Hobbits films…ah, disappointment, so no, he wouldn’t be my choice. For me, despite a few duds along his cinematic career, it really could only be one Director – a visionary filmmaker, director of my favourite all-time film, Blade Runner, not to mention Alien, Gladiator, Thelma & Louise, lol, even Kingdom of Heaven! The one and only Ridley Scott! This, is a director who puts the ‘epic’ in epic filmmaking and has to¬†have about the best visual eye in the business! ūüėÄ

The Cast:

Mr. Marval Agyk – played by Christopher Plummer. Scruffy, eccentric, mercurial, warm hearted and a humanist, most unusual in mages of the ancient order. Intensely protective of those he loves but flawed, as too often he allows himself to be ruled by his heart over his head.

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Gralen – voiced by Rufus Sewell. Impulsive, rash, quick to anger and laughter, fiercely loyal, ruled by his stomach. Thought to be the last of his kind/bloodline, the last Eurasian dragon still in existence, he is as head strong as he is stubborn.

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Wendya Undokki – played by Gemma Arterton or Natalie Portman. Somewhat of a hermit. Distrusting of outsiders, humans and the modern world, fragile but capable of great strength, melancholic, conflicted. In many ways, a lost soul scarred by the tragedies of her past and fearful of the future.

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Korrun (of Koralan) – played by Henry Cavill. Angst-ridden, revenge driven, guilt laden, an outsider in every sense. A highly skilled warrior and tracker, he is a survivor, quick witted and suspicious of all. Impulsive, quick to make enemies and slow to make friends he is however, intensely loyal.

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King Dorrol (of Kallorm) – played by John Hurt. Wonderfully flamboyant but frail ruler of Kallorm. Warm hearted, jovial, intelligent but plagued by doubts for the future of his people and the decisions he has made.

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King Baillum (of Fendellin) – played by Alan Rickman. Distant, highly intelligent, cold, a warrior king in the classic sense who inspires loyalty rather than love from his people.

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Frell, son of Baillum Рplayed by Emile Hirsch. Ruled by duty and blind obedience to his father, who he seeks approval from. A skilled fighter and captain, but plagued by self-doubt and mistakes from the past.

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Lord Tollam – played by Patrick Stewart. Jovial, strong, warm of heart. Wistful and keenly aware of everything around him, he is as perceptive as he is kind. Inspires devotion and love from his people and his son.

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Hallm, son of Tollam Рplayed by Ben Barnes. Confident, self-assured captain, master of horses, devoted son. Known as much for his playful nature, as for his skills as a warrior. A cavalier character, he is very protective of his father.

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Lord Nerrus – played by Ciaran Hinds. Strong leader to his people, serious but capable of humour, albeit grim. Fiercely protective of his daughter who he adores, but scarred by past tragedies.

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Orrla, daughter of Nerrus Рplayed by Felicity Jones. Courageous and skilled captain, beloved daughter and strong leader, she is keen to prove her abilities as a master of horses and warrior. Hides her feelings for Frell due to their positions and responsibilities.

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Lord Lorrin – played by Kenneth Cranham. Beleaguered Lord, a pessimist or realist he would say. Keenly aware of the decline of his people and the coming war to end all wars. Courageous and grim in equal measure, but fiercely loyal.

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Sedgewick – voiced by Ian McKellan. The great patriarch of the Fendellin dragons (f√Ņrrens), powerful, aged, kind. He is the beloved leader of his people and defender of Fendellin. Sworn enemy of Morreck and Varkul, his servant, who brutally killed Sedgewick’s son.

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Varkul – voiced by Jeremy Irons or Bryan Cranston possibly? (any suggestions?) Without redemption, Varkul is as powerful as he is cruel. Known as the ‘dragon killer’, this evil servant and devoted acolyte of Morreck, has¬†been known to¬†feed off his victims.

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Morreck/M’Sorreck ‘The Corruptor’ – The beautiful and charismatic villain of the book played by either Brad Pitt, Alexander Skarsgard or Michael Fassbender. The epitome of evil in every sense. Capable of corrupting the pure, ‘turning’ loyal subjects into crazed killers and brother against brother, Morreck craves absolute power and the ‘purification’ of the planet (the¬†annihilation of the ‘plague of humanity’).

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A silly bit of fun, eh? ūüėÄ

So there you go…my dream movie cast! Next time, a gallery of film locations! ūüėÄ xxx

To read the book BEFORE the movie, grab yourself a copy now!

UK Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/White-Mountain-The-Darkling-Chronicles/dp/1909845973/

US Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/White-Mountain-The-Darkling-Chronicles/dp/1909845973/

White Mountain full book jacket

Oscars 2014 – predictions and hopes!

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Lol, although I know this post will become dated more quickly than I can sing Happy Birthday to you, as I’m chatting about an event which is happening in only a few hours and will be yesterday’s news…er…yesterday, BUT, I can’t help it…

Okay okay…I’m a REAL cinephile and tonight is the night for all avid¬†film buffs. So, with the Oscars nigh, what are my hopes and predictions for the winners?

Here we go:

Firstly, these are my PREDICTIONS for the people that I think will win:

Best Film: 12 Years A Slave.

Best Director: Alfonso Cuaron (for Gravity).

Best Actor: Matthew McConaughey (for Dallas Buyers Club).

Best Actress: Cate Blanchett (for Blue Jasmine).

Supporting Actor: Jared Leto (for Dallas Buyers Club).

Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong’o (for 12 Years A Slave).

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Now, these are the people I would LIKE to win, that I think are most deserving:

Best Film: 12 Years A Slave.

Best Director: Steve McQueen (for 12 Years A Slave).

Best Actor: Chiwetel Ejiofor (for 12 Years A Slave).

Best Actress: Sandra Bullock (for Gravity).

Supporting Actor: Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave).

Supporting Actress: Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle).

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In reality 2013 has been a great year for film and I’d be happy with any of the nominees getting that golden gong as they’re all such wonderful, substantial and beautiful films, with one notable exception. Although I love Cate Blanchett and think she is a phenomenal actress, I really don’t want ANY of the major awards going to a Woody Allen film. My own personal preference here, but on moral grounds, I really cannot condone or support a man who thinks it’s completely acceptable to have a sexual relationship with their daughter, whether she is biologically theirs or adopted. It is a terrible case of child grooming and abuse, and for Hollywood or anyone to just accept it and then give the man adulation and an armful of awards, for me, is just wrong. Rant over.

On a lighter note, I’m looking forward to the award show. I wish Billy Crystal was doing it as he’s always the funniest and I love the film snippets he does where he puts himself into each frame, but I’m sure Ellen DeGeneres will be great.

So, this film buff has her sleeping bag on standby, snacks at the¬†ready and…ahem…4 doggies to keep me warm as I stay up to watch live coverage in a few hours time.

So, which film do you think deserves the top accolade? Who would get your vote? ūüėÄ xxx

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WOW, EVERY one of my predictions came true!!!! 100% correct!!! Woo and Hoo!!!! I DO wish Sandra Bullock would have won, but didn’t think she’d snag it, wanted Chiwetel Ejiofor to win for 12 Years A Slave, but again thought it would go to McConaughey because the Academy love rewarding actors who have made a come back and have transformed their bodies for a part. Also wish Steve McQueen had won for Best Director, but I DO like Alfonso Cuaron too. My biggest thing, was not wanting any awards to go towards a Woody Allen film, but Cate Blanchett was a shoe-in. Anyway…NEXT year, I’m going to put my money where my mouth is and bet on my predictions!!!! ūüėõ

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‘The Next Big Thing’ – I’ve been tagged!

Still chasing my tail here, but a¬†few weeks ago I was very kindly tagged in “The Next Big Thing” – a blog hop where you answer a series of questions about your work in progress or your NEXT BIG THING, before nominating others for the same award. http://youngbyname.me/2012/11/14/my-next-big-thing/

I was tagged by fellow indie author, Debbie Young, who had her first book, ‘Sell Your Books!’ published only two weeks after my own.

Product DetailsDebbie Young¬†also works for Readathon UK http://www.readathon.org¬†an amazing national organisation that promotes¬†children’s reading in schools and libraries across the country.¬†I was utterly thrilled when Debbie and Readathon¬†UK¬†approached me to do an interview, especially considering the literary giants such as Michael Morpurgo, Anthony Horowitz, Michael Rosen and Julia Donaldson (The Gruffalo)¬†who support them. Great company to be in! http://www.readathon.org/blog/2012/11/author-teacher-joins-forces-with-readathon/

Anyway, back to ‘The Next Big Thing’!

Ummm, right, my next project/work in progress…well, I have many (head stuffed with ideas thankfully), but I am currently writing the second book of my epic fantasy trilogy!

1) What is the working title of your next book?

The sequel to White Mountain and Book 2 of The Darkling Chronicles? Well to be honest that is a tricky question to answer. I had always envisioned and planned for the book to be called ‘Darkling Rise’, a title I love and an appropriate one for the story, as it revolves around the rise of a ‘darkling’ – a growing dark power. However, this may not be the final title…

2) Where did the idea come from for your book?

032Years ago, when I first had the genus for White Mountain, I knew the general direction the story was heading in. I actually have the ending for Book 3 in my head, though the journey to get there isn’t worked out yet! A lot of The Darkling Chronicles story was inspired by my four-month¬†odyssey around New Zealand back in 1997, an astounding country of epic¬†scenery and breathtaking views. This was truly an inspiring and life-changing experience and one I have written about in my series of travelogues on this blog. The other ideas for the story simply came from my own personal life and experiences, many of¬†which have been rather¬†traumatic and verging on the melodramatic to say the least. I am very pleased to say that those times are behind me and life is now a myriad of happy days…or should I say…a happy daze! ūüėÄ

3) What genre does your book fall under?

Chapter Twenty-One - Into The LightEpic fantasy! Sometimes referred to as ‘classic’ or ‘high’ fantasy. Having said that, it is also a contemporary fantasy as the story is set¬†now within our modern world. It is also¬†an adventure story, a mystery, a romance, an adrenaline fuelled action thriller, a children’s book, a Young Adult (YA) novel and a poetic saga!

4) Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

To be honest, I do have a rough screenplay of White Mountain. It would make an¬†AMAZING film as¬†it is so epic and cinematic in scope, so who knows? Maybe one day…

But I do LOVE this game! Christopher Plummer or Patrick Stewart would be my first choice for Mr Marval¬†Agyk¬†due to his natural gravitas, similar appearance¬†and receding¬†hairline not to mention that wondrous voice! Besides the wonderful Sir Ian McKellen has¬†portrayed Gandalf¬†so well, that any other wizard part would draw too many comparisons. Rufus Sewell would be¬†stunning for the voice of Gralen, that lovely blend of age and sulkiness. Either Henry Cavill, James Purefoy¬†or Tom Hardy¬†as brooding Korrun¬†and new British actress, Felicity Jones or Gemma Arterton¬†or even Anne Hathaway as Wendya. Peter O’Toole would be simply perfect as eccentric and frail King Dorrol¬†and¬†maybe even Gary Oldman¬†as King Baillum? As for my arch-villain, Morreck, I always saw the character as a mixture¬†of Brad Pitt and Pol Pot! A character electrifying,¬†charismatic and handsome, described as ‘perilously fair’, a person you would be instantly attracted¬†and drawn to, but a figure who despite his beauty, is rotten to the core. I’m sure Brad Pitt is a lovely person, but as he is a great actor and is, let’s face it, gorgeous to look at – he would be PERFECT to play Morreck¬†The Corruptor! ūüėÄ

If I had my pick of directors…it would have to be Christopher Nolan or Ridley Scott, two real¬†visionaries!

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

For White Mountain – Book 1 of The Darkling Chronicles:

Attacked and drained of most of his powers, a dying sorcerer must race against time to save himself and the fate of all, from an enemy intent on cleansing the planet and destroying humanity…

For ‘Darkling Rise’ – Book 2 of The Darkling Chronicles:

Darkness spreads as prophetic warnings come to pass¬†and a series of disturbing murders and disappearances multiply across the globe – the hunt is on and the war to end all wars is upon us…!

6) When will your book be published?

Book 2 will be published in September/October 2013, with Book 3 due for publication in 2014.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Ahem…I’m still writing it! My first book had a gestation of over 10 years, yes, 10 years! – creating the back story, the world and universe that the story takes place in, not to mention my exhaustive research. My time frame for writing Book 2 is considerably shorter! ūüėÄ

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Wow! That’s hard. Certainly readers of Book 1 have compared it to J.R.R. Tolkien, David Gemmell, Terry Goodkind, David Eddings, Terry Brooks, C.S. Lewis, Rick Riordan even G.R.R.Martin in it’s epic scope. I would place my work somewhere in there, hopefully between the poetic nature of Tolkien and the dark gift for character of Pullman and George Martin.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Again, personal life experiences good and bad. Places I’ve been to, natural landscapes hold a real magic for me and of course, I had an epic story I wanted to tell. Book 1 is the beginning of that story and is an inspiration in itself, but now the story has a life of its own and it wants to come out!

Humanity beware –¬†you’re in for a nasty awakening!

10) What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

The fact that it is an epic fantasy in the classic sense but with a contemporary twist and that it is set within our modern world. Humans and millenia old magic are about to clash…head on! Can our technology save us from an ancient force determined to cleanse the planet of the plague of humanity?

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Now to highlight and ‘tag’ some other writers for “The Next Big Thing”! In no order…

Product DetailsAndrea Baker – A great writer of paranormal fantasy, Worlds Apart’ – Leah, from deepest darkest Warwickshire! Check out her wonderful¬†debut novel…

Leah knows that her mother died in a car accident when Leah was small and that her father, who used to be the gentlest dad in the world, has become increasingly controlling and occasionally violent. She also knows that her recurring dreams are telling her something more about how and why her mother died, and why her dad turned nasty, but they are becoming progressively more disturbing and confusing. When Leah meets Ben, she is excited to have a friend she can confide in and have fun with, but is he what he seems? The voice of Leah’s mother repeatedly tells her to rely on her instincts, but when Leah is run over in a freak accident and Ben’s family take over her welfare, are they protecting her or using her? And why would anyone, good or evil, bother with an ordinary girl just about to go to university? http://www.andreabakerauthor.com/
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Image of Lindsey J Parsons

Lindsey Parsons¬†– A fantastic¬†fantasy writer with a huge imagination! Check out her debut novel…

Product DetailsVortex¬†is a fantasy romance novel aimed at the upper teen/young adult market. It is the first book in a trilogy called The Return of The Effra. Back cover description: On a night when prophecies stir, an outraged dragon vents his anger, Damian is ripped from everything he knows and Sam’s nightmares become real… Sam isn’t enjoying university life, she’s disillusioned with her course and having second thoughts about her future. It doesn’t help that she keeps having a scary, recurring nightmare and when she thinks things couldn’t get worse a creepy man follows her back to her room. Damian is unique, he has silver eyes, horns and wings, he is also being visited by a ghost girl. She looks so sad and frightened he feels compelled to help her, but the night he reaches out to save her from a dragon’s fiery breath he gets ripped from his life, his world, from everything he knows. Now it’s Damian who’s lost in an unfamiliar world that’s devoid of magic and full of strange monsters. His only connection with home is Sam who he recognises as the ghost girl. Sam has to put aside her fear and disbelief in Damian’s explanations about himself to try and help him find his way home. But in a world without magic is this possible? http://lindseyjparsons.wordpress.com/

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Product DetailsProduct DetailsProduct DetailsWill Macmillan Jones¬†– A prolific razor-sharp wit and laugh a minute purveyor of comic fantasy. He makes Sir Terry Pratchett seem only mildly funny! Check out his latest novel, the third in his wildly¬†hilarious and anarchic,¬†The Banned Underground series…! http://willmacmillanjones.wordpress.com/

The Vampire Mechanic, the third book in the Banned Underground series, is a unique mix of fantasy and Terry Pratchett-style humor for the rock generation and their kids. Different from other comedic fantasies, it parodies the touring music scene, bureaucracy, taxation and with its tongue-in-cheek slapstick humor, witty puns and word games.

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Katrina Jack – An excellent writer of gritty urban fantasy. Land of Midnight Days (The Silver Flute Trilogy) available in Kindle Edition and soon to be released as a hardback! Check out her first novel…Product Details

What would you do if your life was filled with fear: hide, run away – or would you fight back?

In a city at war with itself, Jeremiah Tully already knows how to survive, now he must learn how to live. Mute from birth, of mixed race heritage and his only possession a charmed flute, Jeremiah tries to
discover where his remarkable talent as a musician will take him. http://kateannejack.wordpress.com

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Many¬†thanks again to the lovely Debbie Young for tagging me! It’s been great fun and a real honour.

Please check out her websites: http://youngbyname.me/ & http://offtheshelfbookpromotions.wordpress.com/newsblog/