May 25, 2007


Casting Queen & Country

This isn’t a news item; it’s just me fantasizing. Sometimes it’s fun to think about who should star in the movie version of your favorite books or comics, should they ever be filmed. A film version of Greg Rucka’s top-notch spy series Queen & Country (comprising both comics and novels) has been long in development (John Rogers was adapting as of several years ago; I have no idea if his script is still the one of note), and here’s who I would cast, were I making it...

Paul Crocker - Hugh Laurie. Definitely Hugh Laurie. Not only is he tall and skinny like his comic book counterpart (and more angular with age), but he’s demonstrated the perfect disposition for the role on House. He’s already played a spymaster on MI-5 (Spooks in Britain), but Crocker’s both more serious and, ultimately, more compassionate than Jules Siviter.

Tom Wallace - Clive Owen. He looks the part, he’s the right age, and I’d still like to see him play a British spy. He’d probably be better suited to the gritty, realistic world of Queen & Country than to James Bond anyway.

Tara Chace - Well, Tara’s the hardest to cast, isn’t she? Cate Blanchett could certainly do a good job if they went with the slightly older Tara of the most recent novel and the upcoming second volume of comics, but Tara should probably be a bit younger. I’ve always thought that Scottish actress Kelly Macdonald (of Trainspotting and The Girl In the Café, whose spy cred includes an episode of Alias), really looks the part, and she’s a good actress, if not very well known. She’d need some blonde dye, of course, but that’s certainly doable. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of a big star who’s more suited to the part than her, and maybe Owen and the suddenly, finally big-in-America Laurie would be big enough names to cast a relative unknown in the lead...

And as long as I’m playing the part of producer on this movie, I’ll go ahead and say what I’d adapt, too. I’d either start off with a script based on the first two arcs of the comic book, Broken Ground and Operation: Morningstar, or else shoot the first novel, A Gentleman’s Game. If all this is Greek to you and you have no idea who Tara Chace is, that’s probably the place to start!


Rogue Spy 007 said...

I've never read any of the "Queen & Country" material before. I've had it recommended to me, but it seems like I have this huge list of must haves that keeps on growing longer. I went to Amazon and read more about it. It does sound awesome. I think I'm going to have to get some of these soon.

I can't really comment on who I think would be best for what parts. I don't know the characters well enough to do that. I do like the choices you've picked. That's why I thought I would comment on this anyway.

While I've never seen "House," I have seen Hugh Laurie in quite a few of his Brit projects. I think he's a great actor. Recently I've been on some Bond boards and talking privately with some friends about the casting of Q, many have suggested Hugh Laurie as the next Q.

I do like Clive Owen. He would have made a fascinating Bond, even though I'm very happy with the performance of Daniel Craig. I think Owen has been good in all the movies I've seen him in. He's good even in the ones I don't think are all that great, such as "King Arthur."

As far as Kelly MacDonald, I love that woman. She's beautiful for one thing, but not in a sexpot sort of way. She looks like the type of woman who might live in the apartment next to yours. I've liked her in the things I've seen her in, such as "Gosford Park," "The Girl in the Cafe, and "State of Play." Plus I adore her accent. She's great.

Maybe the makers of this movie will listen to your advice. Your casting, etc. has made me interested in seeing what does happen with this film.

Anonymous said...

I always imagined Kate Winslet as Tara Chace

Tanner said...

You're right, Bruce. Kate Winslet would be a good choice, too. I can definitely see that. More of a marquee name, too. But for me Kelly Macdonald just completely looks the part, even as drawn by many different artists.

It's exactly that "next-door beauty" quality that you mention, Rogue Spy 007, that seems perfect for Tara. Tara's definitely attractive, but (except in her absurdly proportioned incarnation Operation: Crystal Ball)she's not a sex bomb. I suppose Winslet posesses those qualities as well, though. Either one would work for me. Of course, we'll probably end up with someone totally wrong for the part, like Lindsay Lohan or something!

I'm very glad to have gotten you interested in reading Q&C, Rogue Spy. It's really an amazing series. I too waited a long time before finally picking up the first trade paperback, but once I did I kept buying the others rapidly untul I'd exhausted all that were available at the time, then switched over to individual issues, which are maddening to wait for! The novels are also excellent. I'd say it's the best ongoing spy series in any medium at the moment.

Never thought of Laurie for Q! I could see it, though, now that you mention it. Definitely. Stephen Fry essentially did the part in Stormbreaker. He would have been good too, but kind of rules himself out by taking that Smithers role...

Rogue Spy 007 said...

I like Kate Winslet a lot, so I would have no problem with her. She is a more well known name in the States.

I do like the idea of Kelly Macdonald. Glad you agreed with how I put her looks. I do think that's true of her. I like the way you put it. She's attractive, but she's not a sex bomb. Now I've got that Tom Jones song in my head. :-)

They will probably cast the whole movie with "It" stars. I can only imagine with horror them casting Lindsay Lohan or Paris Hilton. That's the kind of stupid thing Hollywood likes doing.

I'm glad that you did post this blog about "Queen and Country." I'm definitely going to have to start off soon. It looks really interesting and cool. I appreciate the great recommendation for it. I'm always looking for a new spy series to get hooked on.

Some of us had recently been talking about who we would cast as Q, Moneypenny, and even M. Hugh Laurie was a very popular choice among many of us for Q. Stephen Fry is another good choice. I would have no problem with him. I've always enjoyed his performances and his hosting duties on the BAFTA awards. I guess doing "Stormbreaker" would probably make the Bond producers hesitant to cast him.

Anonymous said...

I jsut want to point out this filmn has been long in the making. So dont hold your breath for it to actually happen. i mean they are fianlly about ot shoot Rucks other series Whiteout with some plain looking girl called Kate Beckinsale.

Also Rogue try and find the show The Sandbaggers since Rucka freely admits that is what he ripped off to make Queen & Country.

Rogue Spy 007 said...

Thanks Bruce. I'm checking "The Sandbaggers" out now on Amazon. It looks pretty cool.

Tanner said...

Sandbaggers is an amazing show. Like most British shows of its era (late 70s), exteriors are shot on film and interiors on video, and there's virtually no score, so that can be a bit jarring. But you get totally sucked in by the drama and the characters pretty quickly and get used to that.

Queen & Country is, absolutely, an out and out rip-off of Sandbaggers, but like Bruce said, Rucka's the first to admit that. And it's one hell of a rip-off! Easily equal to a fantastic original. (Some have speculated that Q&C might actually be a direct sequel to Sandbaggers.)

Anonymous said...

A word of warning about Sandbaggers. Series 1 and 2 are both top notch and worth it. Then there is series 3 where the creator of the show only wrote a few of the stories and it shows. It also ends on a huge cliffhanger that you'll never get answered.