Okay, I’ve been thinking about it (’cause I can’t not. I obsessed over this even before they confirmed they were doing the miniseries), and I think the only truly sensible thing the BBC can do, is shoot multiple versions of Good Omens with multiple casts, and then they can release them in a nice big box set.
I’ve cracked it.
There are so many amazing actors that could be cast in these roles. And the roles themselves offer the actors some really fun opportunities. But I suspect we will ultimately only get one cast. Which means the casting director has some very important and difficult decisions to make. Luckily, I’ve put together a little guide for them, which should help considerably.
In the case of unavailability, I’ve also included an alternate choice of actor. If neither is available, please consult with me. We’ll figure something out together.
I haven’t included the kids (“THEM”) because all the child actors I know will probably be too old for the roles by the time this thing’s in production, but I’m sure there are plenty of appropriate choices. But I’ve cast the majority of the leads.
I didn’t go for a Crowley-Aziraphale double act. This seems to happen a lot when Good Omens gets fan casting, but I didn’t want to go in that direction. There are two characters that I think should utilize the the double act, and they do appear on the list, but I’ll let you run into that for yourselves.
Crowley – David Tennant
Tennant has played heroes, villains, and everything in between. But what category is Crowley in? He’s a demon, but never does anything too terribly demonic. After all, he’s “an angel who did not so much fall as saunter vaguely downwards.” He mostly just likes to drive his Bentley, listen to Queen, and occasionally meet Aziraphale to feed ducks or grab a drink.
He’s the most entertaining character in the book, and Tennant would probably have as much fun playing the character as we would all have watching him.
Alternate: Aidan Turner
Aziraphale – Richard Ayoade
Ever since I got this idea in my head, I’ve had my heart set on it. If he doesn’t get cast now, I’ll be crushed.
I’ll probably still enjoy the series immensely, but I can’t think of any other actor who so clearly embodies so many of Aziraphale’s characteristics in everyday life. Or, at least, his everyday life persona: bookish, geeky, and exceedingly English.
If anyone would like to Photoshop this picture and the last picture together, as though they’re both in the same room, and post it to the BBC, I’ll fully support you.
Alternate: Benedict Cumberbatch
Anathema Device – Sophia Di Martino
If you haven’t read my post about Flowers, go look that up, watch the series, and I think this might make some sense.
She’s really good at playing an ethereal presence, while never losing sight of her character’s grounded emotions.
Anathema is, first and foremost, a witch, but seems (at least to me) to also have a sense of practicality and matter-of-fact air. I could really see Di Martino pulling it off brilliantly.
Alternate: Yasmin Page
Newt Pulsifer – Matthew Lewis
Maybe it’s the 8 movies I’ve seen him play Neville in, but I think of Lewis as rather meek or mild-mannered, but with the good-natured and down-to -earth spirit needed to play witch-hunter-but-not-really, Newt Pulsifer.
I’d really like to see him in a substantial comedic role, so this could be a great fit.
Alternate: John Boyega
Shadwell – Tim Roth
Um, because he’s perfect for the role. We know he can play the lovable grump, we know he can play comedy, and we know he’s a good actor.
He’s probably played more baddies than heroes, so he could definitely pull off the pricklier bits of the character, but he’s also shown he can play the emotional depth that Shadwell occasionally displays, and gives the character depth.
Alternate: Bill Nighy
Madame Tracy – Catherine Tate
You need someone a little wacky, but ultimately sympathetic in this role.
Madam Tracy also doubles for Aziraphale near the end, as he possesses her. Imagine Catherine Tate playing Madam Tracy, possessed by Aziraphale as played by Richard Ayoade. I would watch that on repeat.
Alternate: Emma Thompson
Agnus Nutter – Michelle Gomez
Who wouldn’t want to see Michelle Gomez play a batty old witch that can see the future, while willingly leading the way to the stake where she’ll be horrifically burned to death? See? No one raised their hand.
Granted she usually plays characters slightly more coiffed than Nutter, but watching her unravel would be half the fun.
Alternate: Alex Kingston – apparently “woman who’s snogged the 12th Doctor” is a pre-requisite
War – Karen Gillan
Oh, great, the three Doctor Who actresses I put on the list all happen to be in a row, but this seems like no-brainer to me, when casting a gorgeous fiery redhead that sparks fights and kicks off the apocalypse.
And she’s proven she can do an American accent from her time on Selfie, if they chose to go that way with the character.
Alternate: Katie McGrath (in a wig)
Pollution – Cillian Murphy
He seems to be the fan front runner for this role and for awhile I was sort of “meh” on the choice, but the more I think about it, the more I think it’s a good fit.
Something about his coloring, and I don’t even mean this unkindly, I really don’t, seems sort of sickly. Pollution is the horseman formerly known as Pestilence, and still represents the aspect of illness, so an actor famous for a film about zombies would work well here.
Alternate: Alfie Allen
Famine – Stephen Merchant
Because he’s the skinniest man that exists. This probably appears especially true considering his alarming height.
And the thought of him being in a motorcycle gang makes me giggle.
Merchant is a fantastic comic talent and could really bring that much needed aspect to the Horsemen.
Alternate: Daniel Craig, I know this is going in a bit of a different direction – purely for the reason that he looks good in a suit
Death – John Hurt
They should pull a Vader here, have someone imposing walk around with a helmet on, and CG a skull at the end, but Hurt’s voice would be kind of great.
Metatron and Beelzebub will show up at the end and have booming voices, but I think Death should juxtapose that volume, and Hurt’s soft spoken side would fit nicely.
Alternate: Or go with Charles Dance for a quiet menace
This is a fairly small role, but it’s always been one of my favorites.
This character requires a bit of range. She starts off as a talkative Satanic nun and ends up hosting corporate training events and has an eye for the (un)holy forces that keep cropping up.
I could see Maisie pulling off both angles of the role with ease and lending the right sort of energy to the character.
Alternate: Juno Temple
They’re the dukes of hell whose purposes are basically to make sure Crowley’s always doing what he should be, to inevitably find out he’s not. It makes a lot more sense to me that a double act would be cast as Hastur and Ligur who ALWAYS appear together (well, one meets his demise slightly before the other).
Barratt and Fielding always strike me as equal opposites, and I think it would be nice to see them in these roles. And we’ve already got Ayoade in there, let’s go full Boosh.
Alternates: Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (Ooo, or Simon Pegg and Jessica Hynes and we can get Spaced)
Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for now. Bring on the hate mail.