I’m on record as being a huge Harry Potter nerd, and also as wishing and scheming up a four-book series focusing on the founders of Hogwarts (one book for each founder). Please, Jo? It’s a good idea! It’s a way better idea than that ridiculous play (which I will totally see when it eventually comes to New York or DC). I feel like there is so much story to be told in the founding of Hogwarts. Was Salazar Slytherin a straight-up baddie, or was he a more complex character? What exactly went down when Slytherin and Gryffindor had their famous falling out? How did Helga Hufflepuff and Rowena Ravenclaw figure into the whole thing? What were the reverberations down the centuries? And was there a romance between Gryffindor and Ravenclaw (as I’ve always hoped there was)? I mean, the whole thing is awash in potential.
So I was delighted to find that there are others who share my belief that the founders’ story is begging to be told. Recently I was catching up on some back episodes of the MuggleCast podcast (I’m working my way though my poor neglected podcatcher) and in episode 300, the MuggleCast crew was discussing additional opportunities they saw for Jo to expand the wizarding world canon, and the founders came up – as I knew they would. The MuggleCasters thought a limited TV series would be a good vehicle for telling their story and landed on Netflix as a possible candidate to work up such a project. (They also considered HBO. Personally, I think Netflix would be a better choice, although HBO certainly has the resources. But the stuff Netflix has been doing recently is just gold, so they’d be my pick for sure.) Anyway, I’m completely on board with a limited TV series, or a run of films, focusing on the founders – but first I want my founders books. (I’m thinking that 700-850 pages per founders novel would be a nice sweet spot, although I could go up to 1,000 or 1,200 or so. I think that’s reasonable. Right?)
However, in the event that Jo finishes my book series and they start turning it into a television or film production, clearly we would need to cast the founders. I’ve been giving this some thought and here’s the cast I like:
Bold Gryffindor, from wild moor
Richard Madden as Godric Gryffindor – This was the MuggleCast suggestion, and I’m sticking with it because I think it’s perfect. And not just because Richard Madden is nice to look at (even though he is). I loved him as headstrong, swashbuckling Robb Stark in Game of Thrones (and secretly preferred Robb to Jon Snow even though I know that Jon Snow is everyone else’s favorite). I could see Richard Madden playing a Gryffindor who is very, very set on doing right by the wizarding community, but who gets a bit sidetracked and distracted by adventures from time to time, and who also digs in and refuses to consider other points of view. Perhaps that’s what leads to the famous break with Slytherin? I’d like to see how Madden would play that.
Fair Ravenclaw, from glen
Michelle Dockery as Rowena Ravenclaw – This is the most important piece of casting, in my opinion. As a proud Ravenclaw, I would be very, very committed to getting the right actress to play the founder of my house, and I can’t think of anyone better than Michelle Dockery. Ravenclaws are known for being bookish and cerebral, and valuing logic and intellect almost above all else. Dockery’s cool demeanor makes her the perfect Ravenclaw from my standpoint. Plus, and this is key, she is LADY MARY YOU GUYS and OMG I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LADY MARY.
Sweet Hufflepuff, from valley bluff
Claire Foy as Helga Hufflepuff – I actually had a hard time dream-casting Hufflepuff. The ideal Hufflepuff is someone who can play kind, inclusive, warm and generous with a core of steel. My first thought went to Laura Carmichael, but I just couldn’t bring myself to dream-cast all Downton Abbey residents (keep reading) in every part except for Gryffindor, so I started thinking of other British actresses I like who might make a good Hufflepuff – and that was when I hit on the perfect name. I only recently became aware of Claire Foy after watching her completely steal the show as Anne Boleyn in the BBC production of Wolf Hall (which, if you haven’t seen it yet, RUN and buy the BluRay – it’s amazing). Now Steve and I are watching her dominate another cast as Queen Elizabeth II in Netflix’s The Crown. It’s hard to imagine two English queens more different than Anne Boleyn and Elizabeth II, but Claire Foy plays each of them perfectly and I seriously cannot get enough of her. My only concern with casting her as Hufflepuff would be whether it would be fair to the rest of the cast, because Claire Foy’s awesomeness will not be denied and I would absolutely expect her to run away with this production, too.
Shrewd Slytherin, from fen
Allen Leech as Salazar Slytherin – This was a really tough casting call, you guys. Before casting Slytherin I would have to know the answer to an important preliminary question, which I posed above: is Slytherin pure evil, a straight-up baddie, or is there more to him than that? If Slytherin is a complex character, with his faults but not completely to blame for the break with Gryffindor and the other founders (i.e. if Gryffindor played a role in that falling-out), if he’s a more human character than just an evil, wizard-supremacist precursor to Voldemort, then I would want Allen Leech any day of the week and twice on Sunday. But if he’s just pure evil, then I wouldn’t want to see my beloved Tom Branson in that role. (Lady Sybil would never fall for a pre-Voldemort!) I think Allen Leech could play a really interesting complex, brooding Slytherin, though. So I’m casting him tentatively, but reserving the right to revise my casting decision if Jo makes him a more simple character (which I will leave to her discretion). (I’m including his picture here because I like looking at it, so there.) All other casting decisions are, however, set in stone.
Call me, Warner Brothers!
What do you think of my dream-casting choices for this film event that is not planned, based on a series of books that is not contemplated?