Sunday, April 30, 2023

Daniel M. Ford's "The Warden"

Daniel M. Ford is a native of Baltimore. He has an M.A. in Irish Literature from Boston College, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from George Mason University. He lives in Delaware and teaches at a college prep high school in rural Maryland. His previous work includes The Paladin Trilogy and the Jack Dixon novels.

Here Ford dreamcasts an adaptation of his new novel, The Warden:
I try not to dreamcast my own books while I'm writing them. But once I have, once the characters are established and I know who they are, quite often while I'm wa

tching a movie or a show, an actor will leap out to me and my brain will just say, yes, that, that is the character. And as I've been working on The Warden since 2015 I've had plenty of time to think about this.

The Warden is the title of the first book, the job-title of the main character, and the title of the series, and these all point to Aelis Cairistiona de Lenti un Tirraval, the very rich, very privileged, very powerful daughter of a major noble family. She's smart, fearless, competent, charismatic, probably a little too certain of being the smartest person in the room, and extremely enthusiastic about her magical focus of Necromancy. So much in a screen adaptation would depend on the right Aelis, and last winter I saw the perfect actor to play her when I was watching, and loving, the Disney+ series Willow.

Ruby Cruz as Aelis de Lenti. The role she played as Kit Tanthalos was not precisely Aelis, but it was about 90% Aelis, and I'm convinced she'd be perfect for the role. I loved her performance in Willow so much I can't see anyone else portraying Aelis in my mind's eye.

Chaske Spencer as Tun. It would require a lot of special effects to bring a half-orc mountain man (from an orc culture that maps most closely to fantasy vikings) to the screen, whether practical or CGI. But when I saw The English on TV last year, Chaske Spencer's laconic eloquence and confident screen presence blew me away. I think he could bring that to the character and shine through no matter what kind of effects were in use.

Katie McGrath as Maurenia. The half-elf adventuress is a significant secondary character. McGrath as an actor radiates confidence, equipoise, and intelligence, and she'd be great as the deadly, beautiful, brilliant Maurenia.

Timmuk Dobrusz: Tom Hardy. If I'm dream-casting I might as well dream big, and he could play the heck out a gregarious dwarf adventurer who is also ready to cut throats at the drop of a hat. It'd be fun to see him do fantasy.

Rus and Martin, the Innkeepers: Nick Offerman as Rus and Tim Blake Nelson as Martin. Rus is quiet, knows more than he says, has a lot of life experience. Tim Blake Nelson can be vulnerable like Martin seems but also suddenly competent when necessary.

Otto: W Earl Brown. One of my favorite actors would be great as the veteran struggling to raise his niece with his unreliable brother Elmo, for whom I'd cast Timothy Olyphant. Like I said, I'm gonna dream big here.

Dalius: Christopher Lloyd would do a great job as a harmless, doddering old hedge wizard...
Visit Daniel M. Ford's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Warden.

--Marshal Zeringue