Fan Cast: The Children of Hurin by J. R. R. Tolkien
My fan cast to J.R.R. Tolkien's book The Children of Hurin. In honor of the upcoming release of part one of Peter Jackson's The Hobbit. Key plot points and short summary are included.
Greeting. MCott 62094 again. I'm bringing you another fan cast. This one is a little bit different from the ones I usually do.
Starting this year, in December 2012 and going through 2014, Peter Jackson is releasing his trilogy The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Desolation of Smaug, and There and Back Again. Along with the Rankin/Bass animated adaptation of The Hobbit, Ralph Bakshi's animated epic The Lord of the Rings (which told more than half of the trilogy), and was finished with the Rankin/Bass animated The Return of the King the Hobbit trilogy will be the 7th, 8th, and 9th adaptations of Tolkien works.
However, these are not the only Tolkien works...and not the only ones about Middle-Earth. After Tolkien's death, two other works were edited by his son, Christopher, who put the stories together using his late father's notes to form a complete narrative.
First, in 1977 came The Silmarillion. This is the story of Middle-Earth and explains most (if not all) of the mythology of Middle-Earth. How it was created, the god of Middle-Earth, the birth of men, elves, dwarves, etc. It also explains all the history of Middle-Earth, from it's creation all the way to the end of the Second Age (the third age of Middle-Earth is detailed in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings).
However, as badly as Tolkien fans want this to be filmed, I find it very unlikely for three reasons:
1. Tolkien sold the film rights to his completed works (key word: Completed) in the 60s. When Tolkien died in 1973, The Silmarillion was nonexistent and his writings were incomplete. His son, put his writings together to form a complete narrative and published it in 1977. Therefore, The Silmarillion wasn't one of the works that Tolkien sold the film rights to.
2. Tolkien's oldest son, Christopher is the head of the Tolkein estate. He has expressed that he is against the filming of his father's works, calling the novels "unfilmable." As such, it seems unlikely he would sell the film rights now.
3. The Silmarillion covers hundreds if not thousands of years of history in Middle-Earth, telling many different tales. It would be hard to condense that much subject matter into a film series.
However, there was another book published. A tale that was told briefly in The Silmarillion. In 2007, Christopher Tolkien published The Children of Hurin. Despite the issues with acquiring the film rights from the Tolkien estate, it would be more likely that this book would be adapted for the silver screen.
After reading this novel, I thought I would fan cast it to commemorate with the release of The Hobbit.
For those of you who haven't read The Children of Hurin:
Plot summary: The Children of Hurin tells one tale of one time long before the appearance of hobbit, and the war against a dark entity known as Morgoth, a fallen Valar (the equivalent of gods in Middle-Earth). One of Morgoth's more powerful and troublesome foes was a man named Hurin. Morgoth abducted and imprisoned Hurin and cursed him and his family that evil would befall them for as long as they lived.
The story followes Hurin's son, Turin as he travels the land fighting Morgoth's forces. One of which, in particular, is the first dragon of Middle-Earth Glaurung.
Morgoth's curse takes it's toll on Turin as he encounters many woes on his journey, including one that will lead to his ultimate downfall.
Unlike Tolkien's other works, The Children of Hurin is much darker in tone and story.
Hurin Thalion: Robert Carlyle
Hurin Thalion: Hurin is described by Tolkien as the greatest warrior of men of the First Age. He fought many battles against Morgoth. Hurin was captured by Morgoth and tortured to reveal the location of the secret Eleven city of Gondolin. When Hurin refused to break, Morgoth cursed Hurin and his family that evil would befall him and his family for as long as they lived. Hurin was chained to a mountaintop and through Morgoth's magic forced to watch the tragedies of his family unfold. After years of watching his family suffer (and the death of his son), Morgoth released Hurin from his imprisonment. Hurin wandered Middle-Earth, broken and in grief until he drowned himself in great sea.
Robert Carlyle (Once Upon a Time as Rumpelstiltskin/ Mr. Gold) is an underrated actor. People may remember him in British films like The Full Monty or 28 Weeks Later or even the television series Once Upon a Time. For the character Hurin, I wanted an actior who could both portray his strength and misery, and Carlyle was the only choice.
Morwen Eledhwen: Finola Hughes
Morwen Eledhwen: Morwen is Hurin's wife, and Turin's and Nienor's mother. Morwen traveled to the elf Kingdom Doriath in hopes of finding her son Turin. When she learned he wasn't there, she traveled to seek him out. She and her party were ambushed by the dragon Glaurung. The dragon caused the horses to go mad and flee and scatter. Morwen's horse carried her to parts unknown. She resurfaced two years after the deaths of Turin and Nienor, her children, Morwen reunited with her husband. Hurin did not tell her of their children's fate. Morwen dies the following morning.
When I was thinking of casting choices, I never would have thought of soap opera star Finola Hughes (General Hospital as Anna Devane). But I actually started watching GH, and really liked it. My favorite character is Anna Devane played by Hughes. Hughes' character has toughness about her that I felt worked. And the fact she is a former dancer also helps give her an air of elegance and grace.
P.S. I understand a lot of you might not like Finola because of the ABSOLUTELY ATROCIOUS TV film Generation X... or was she the only good thing about the film? I don't know. I'm just glad I never saw it.
Morgoth: Mark Strong
Morgoth: Morgoth was formerly one of the Valar called Melkor. Melkor was the first and strongest of the Valar. During the creation of Middle-Earth, he disrupted the event, contributing to the creation of the world, but also leading to a temporary imprisonment for Melkor. Melkor vowed revenge and waged war against the Valar and their creation, the elves, seeking total domination. Melkor twisted and corrupted many being to his side, most notably a general named Sauron.
Mark Strong (Stardust as Prince Septimus) is an overused choice when casting a villain in general. But there's a reason for that. He's good at it. Strong's villain are motivated not by evil, but by some a combination of twisted pride and personal pain. And that is needed for Morgoth.
Turin Turambar: Stephen Moyer
Turin Turambar: Turin is the main character of the novel and one of the Children of Hurin. He is actually depicted on one of (if not several) edition covers as pictured below:
Turin is the son of Hurin and Morwen. He is a proud man, whose pride is eventually his downfall. When 7, he was sent to Doriath and raised by the elf king, Thingol. Fighting with the forces of Doriath, Turin became feared by the orcs, more so than any other warrior. As an adult, Turin was attacked by a jealous elf named Saeros, who wounded Turin's pride, and Turin accidentally caused his death. Before being sentenced, Turin fled and joined a group of bandits. When Turin's friend, Beleg found him and told him the news, Turin refused to return out of pride. Turin captured the petty-dwarf Mim who was forced to open his home to Turin and his band. Mim betrayed Turin to orcs who captured him. Beleg rescued Turin but Turin killed Beleg in the confusion.
Turin's journeys brought him to the Elf kingdom of Nargothrond, where he served the elf king Orodreth. Turin's pride caused him to make foolish decisions such as making the elves abandon their ways of secrecy and build a bridge to Nargothrond. Morgoth sent his dragon general, Glaurung to attack the city. The dragon hypnotized Turin into abandoning the city to ruin.
Turin came to a town called Brethil. There he found a beautiful young woman whom he called Niniel, and married. However, Glaurung attacked again. This time Turin slayed the dragon and collapsed due to exhaustion. When he awoke, Turin learned the truth. His wife, Niniel was actually his sister Nienor. Turin impaled himself on his sword.
Throughout his journey, it should be noted, Turin wielded a black bladed sword called Anglachel. Turin later reforged the blade and called it Gurthang. The sword was believed to be malicious and incapable of good.
For a while now, I had been wanting to use Stephen Moyer (True Blood as Bill Compton) for a while now. I had thought of several roles that would fit for him, but none worked. I think I may have finally found the perfect role, a prideful man who is cocky and arrogant.
Nienor: Lily Collins
Nienor: Nienor is the daughter or Hurin and Morwen and Turin's younger sister.. She spent most of her life with her mother, never meeting her brother before (as he was sent to Doriath before she was born). When Morwen learned of her son's whereabouts, she set out to find Turin with a party of elves. Nienor secretly joined the party. The group was ambushed by Glaurung, who scattered the party. Glaurung enchanted Nienor, wiping all of her memories from her.
The maiden wandered until she came to Brethil where Turin found her and named her Niniel. Eventually, she and Turin were married, and eventually, she wound up pregnant. Glaurung appeared again, and Turin slayed him. Fearing for her husband's life, Niniel sought him out and found him unconscious. As she wept over Turin's body, Glaurung used his dying breath to undo his enchantment on her and reveal to Niniel that she was Nienor and her husband Turin was her brother. Realizing what she had done, Nienor threw herself off a cliff.
Lily Collins (Mirror Mirror as Snow White) is a young actress who certainly embodies the beauty Nienor has. In interviews for Mirror Mirror she has stated that she wants to do less lighthearted and darker work. In which case, I think this tragic character would be perfect for her and her acting abilities.
Beleg Cuthalion: Chris Hemsworth
Beleg Cuthalion: Beleg is Turin’s best friend, an elf captain of Doriath. After Turin fled Doriath, Beleg set out to bring him back. Beleg found the Turin and his band of bandits. Beleg’s friendship earned the hatred of one person in Turin’s band, Mim the dwarf. The dwarf betrayed Turin’s party, and led a band of orcs to them. Mim took Beleg prisoner, planning to deal with him personally, but the elf escaped.
Beleg was able to catch up to the orcs and rescue Turin, who had been kidnapped. In the darkness, Beleg used his sword (it should be noted, Beleg wielded Anglachel before Turin) to cut Turin’s bonds, however he slightly cut Turin in the process. Turin awoke from his daze, and thought he was being attacked. He wrestled the sword into his grip and struck down Beleg, only to learn he had killed his closest friend rather than an attacker.
When you’re casting the elves, eleven men anyway, you want to steer toward handsome. With that in mind, Chris Hemsworth (Thor as Thor) …well, came to mind. Luckily, Hemsworth can also act and do his own stunts. The only real concern I see is his beard…or facial hair, whichever one he sports. Elves (in Middle-Earth anyway) are described as having no facial hair…and he seems rather attached to his.
Mablung: Ben Barnes
Mablung: Mablung is an elf captain of Doriath alongside Beleg. He witnessed the accidental death of the elf Saeroes who attacked Turin. Later, he would be one of the party traveling with Morwen to find Turin. After Glaurung’s attack on the party, Mablung found the amnesiac Nienor. Mablung tried to get Nienor to Doriath but the two were ambushed by Orcs, causing Nienor to flee into the woods. After Turin slays Glaurung, it is Mablung who tells Turin that the mysterious and beautiful Niniel was actually his sister Nienor.
Mablung played a larger role in The Silmarillion than in CoH, but he still plays a role in the key events.
We’ve seen what Ben Barnes (Dorian Gray as Dorian Gray) is capable of the Narnia film series. Plus he’s handsome and has the long hair (another elvish trait) working for him. Barnes displays a versatility with acting and stunts…especially sword play and bow skill.
Thingol: Rhys Ifans
Thingol: Thingol is the king of the Elven city Doriath. Like Mablung, his role in CoH is smaller than in other tales in The Silmarillion. But he is prominent in Turin’s life. When Turin was a child and sent to Doriath, Thingol took in Turin as his own, adopting him. During the accidental death of Saeros, Thingol was hesitant to punish Turin. When Turin’s name was cleared, Thingol sent Beleg to retrieve him.
With the elf king, I wanted someone who had an overpowering presence, and Rhys Ifans (The Amazing Spider-Man as Curtis Connors/ The Lizard) came to find first. Like many of the actors on my list, Ifans is talented and would be great as the elf king.
Mim: Ray Winstone
Mim: Mim is the last of the petty-dwarves (dwarves who were exiled from their homelands). Turin and his bandits capture Mim, and force Mim to open his home to them in exchange for his life. Over time, Mim develops great respect for Turin. That changes when Beleg shows up. Mim bears a strong hatred for elves.
While out on a mission for Turin, Mim is captured by Morgoth’s orcs. Morgoth betrays Turin by telling the orcs where Turin and the bandits are hidden in exchange for his and Turin’s life. The orcs slaughter the bandits in a vicious battle, which ended with Turin getting capture. Mim captured Beleg, intending to torture him, but one of the bandits scared the dwarf off and helped Beleg who went on to the fatal task of rescuing Turin.
Years later, after Turin’s death, Turin’s father Hurin ran into Mim. Hurin who had seen everything through Morgoth’s sorcery killed the dwarf.
For some reason, I think that Ray Winstone (Beowulf as Beowulf) would work really great as a dwarf. Especially considering they’re stout, stubborn, and tough and Winstone exhibits those qualities in a lot (if not all) of his roles. Even now, at his age he’s still doing action roles. I think he’d be perfect….you know, once re-sized with special effects.
Gwindor: Colin O’Donoghue
Gwindor: Gwindor was an elf who was enslaved by Morgoth. After 14 years of imprisonment, he escaped and met Turin. He led Turin to another secret Elven City, Nargothrond. Gwindor opposed Turin’s ideas of open warfare but his opposition fell on deaf ears. At Turin’s advice, the elves built a city into Nargothrond. Morgoth sent Glaurung and his forces across the bridge, beginning the Battle of Tumhalad. Like most of the elves of Narothrond, Gwindor was slain.
Colin O’Donoghue (Once Upon a Time as Killian Jones/ Captain Hook) is an up-and-coming actor whose name is becoming more and more known. After watching him on Once Upon a Time, I realized O’Donoghue had the makings to be a great dramatic actor. His performance in OUaT even shows us he has a capability for action.
Orodreth: Cary Elwes
Orodreth: Orodreth is the king of the Elven city of Nargothrond. When Turin arrived, Orodreth quickly made him one of his closest advisors. Turin convinced Orodreth and Nargothrond to abandon their secretive and guerilla tactics and engage in open war against Morgoth. Orodreth was ultimately slain in the Battle of Tumhalad.
Like I said with casting Elven men you want handsome. But with some of the nobler elves, you can go a little bit older, a la Hugo Weaving as Elrond. That helped me decide to cast Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride as Westley) as the other Elf king to appear in CoH. He also has a noble quality about him.
Finduilas: Emile De Ravin
Finduilas: Finduilas is the daughter or Ordreth and princess of Nargothrond. She was engaged to Gwindor, but fell in love with Turin after meeting him. Turin however, did not return her affections. In the battle of Tumhalad, Finduilas was kidnapped. Turin tried to save her, but was hypnotized by Glaurung into thinking his mother was in danger, and Turin set out in the wrong direction.
When Turin realizes he was tricked, he returns to track down and try and save Finduilas. When he reaches Brethil, he learns she was killed. The orcs had to retreat from the forces of Brethil, killing the prisoners they had taken. Finduilas was pinned to the tree by a spear. Turin buried her in Brethil. Later, a confused, amnesiac Nienor would collapse on her grave.
I realize in my fan casts, I have a tendency to use actors from the TV fantasy/drama Once Upon a Time. Robert Carlyle in particular. This one in particular the most OUaT stars of any of my fan casts. This thought came to mind when I came to mind when I made the decision to cast Emily De Ravin (Once Upon a Time as Belle) as the tragic Elfin princess. She’s a talented actress. Plus she bears that noble beauty that both Cate Blanchett and Liv Tyler had in the Lord of the Rings series.
Brandir: Thomas Jane
Brandir: When Brandir was a child, he got into an accident that permanently injured his leg, leaving him lame for the rest of his life. Brandir was the chief of Brethil when Turin arrived. Eventually, Turin became the leader of the men of Brethil, leaving Brandir unheeded and ignored. When Niniel (Nienor) was brought to Brethil, Brandir fell in love with her, but she chose to marry Turin instead.
When Glaurung attacked Brethil, Brandir looked after Nienor. When she ran after Turin, Brandir followed. He overheard Glaurung tell Nienor the truth, and tried to stop her from killing herself, only to arrive too late. When Turin woke up, Brandir told him what he had heard, the truth about his and Nienor’s relationship. In wrath, Turin killed Brandir. Mablung later arrived and confirmed Brandir’s words.
I first saw Thomas Jane (Hung as Ray Drecker) in The Punisher. While a very crappy movie, I thought Jane was really good in it, and took note of his performance. Part of why I casted Jane is that my cast had consisted of mostly British, UK, and Australian actions, and I wanted at least one or two American actors (the other is Lily Collins). I don’t know why, but I feel a tragic character would just fit for Jane.
Glaurung: Voice and motion capture by Daniel Craig
Glaurung: Glaurung was the first dragon to evil appear in Middle-Earth. A wingless creature, legends in The Silmarillion tell that Glaurung crawled out of the earth. Like Sauron, he is one of Morgoth's generals and serves his master, also moving the events of the story along and enacting the curse of Morgoth on Hurin's family:
*Destroying Nargothrond as Turin encouraged open warefare against Morgoth.
*Erasing Nienor's memory.
*Restoring Nienor's memory after she married Turin and was pregnant with his child.
Ultimately, Turin defeats the dragon. With his dying breath, Glaurung removes the curse he cast on Nienor, revealing she is Turin's sister.
When thinking about Glaurung, I knew I wanted it to be a motion capture role rather than CG. I feel motion capture is better quality than CG. When I made this decision, I wanted an actor who was extremely physical and had a powerful voice. Daniel Craig (Skyfall as James Bond) came to mind first.
This was a challenging piece of work and bar far the longest most time consuming fan cast I've ever written. Reviews, and thumbs up, and comments are greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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