Thursday, September 24, 2009

Brian Ruckley's "Godless World" trilogy

Brian Ruckley's recently completed fantasy trilogy, the Godless World, consists of the books Winterbirth, Bloodheir, and Fall of Thanes.

Here he shares some thoughts on the way ahead should anyone be thinking of doing a big screen adaptation of his tale:
Well, you've got start with the director, since that's likely to decide whether you get a masterpiece or a turkey. My Godless World trilogy is big, dark, epic fantasy: it's got its fair share of mayhem, set in dramatic landscapes, involving lots of heavily armed people. For those action scenes, I was directly influenced in my writing by certain types of movies, so it seems only fair to give one of the relevant directors a shot at this adaptation - I'll nominate Ridley Scott or Mel Gibson. They've shown they can conjure up the sort of high impact, visceral, immersive battle scenes I was trying to create (and imitate), and can deal with big, visually rich settings.

Character-wise, I've got lots to choose from, and most of them face some pretty trying circumstances (to put it mildly - I'm using 'trying' in the sense of 'catastrophic' and 'virtually intolerable') as events unfold. The main plot is about an old conflict that flares up after years of dormancy, but then spirals out of everyone's control as new and much more powerful players get involved. I deliberately adopted an uncompromising and fairly realistic approach to depicting the consequences of the mounting chaos, so we probably need actors who can do 'haggard' and 'beset' and 'struggling on against unreasonable odds' quite well. I'm not the kind of writer who casts the book in their head as they're writing, so for a lot of the characters it's hard to come up with good matches. But a few do spring to mind, so here goes:

My personal favourite amongst the characters is probably Taim Narran, a veteran warrior endowed with stubborn loyalty and persistence, generally good intentions, and a not inconsiderable talent for killing people (though he takes no great pleasure in it, being a basically decent sort of bloke). If we could just age him a tiny little bit, I think this is Daniel Craig's role. He's got a certain capable, slightly rough around the edges, stubborn aura about him.

Another of the key protagonists, operating in a much more morally grey area than Taim Narran, is Kanin, the leader of an invading army who gets caught up in some violent and thoroughly unpleasant events that make him question whose side he's really on. For him, I think maybe Clive Owen would do the trick (in his dark, troubled action hero mode rather than his romantic lead mode).

Some of the main characters in the story are na'kyrim, half-human wielders of a mysterious power called the Shared, and casting them is tricky. One - Yvane - is a rather querulous and strong-willed woman of advancing years, and if we can turn back the clock a fraction, I'd like to see the Judi Dench of maybe six or seven years ago take a shot at that. The real challenge, though, is casting Aeglyss, a na'kyrim who is at the heart of much of what happens in the trilogy. Part of the problem is the radical changes he undergoes in the course of the story, going from being a feeble, bitter man to becoming the biggest threat the world has seen in many years. For him, we need someone who can do both drastic physical deterioration and hugely threatening, sometimes at the same time. It's a tough call, but I think maybe Ralph Fiennes.

All in all, I'd say we've got the kernel of a stellar cast there. Blockbuster in the making, surely? And hopefully undreamed of riches for all involved (especially the writer of the original books...).
Learn more about Brian Ruckley and his books at his website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue