No, this isn’t my dream cast for In the Blood. That would take too long to write.
I am currently re-reading The Neverending Story by Michael Ende (my absolute favorite book). When I was a kid, I used to watch the 1984 movie everyday. And I mean that literally. When my mom wanted to take a short nap, she would lay me down on our living room floor with my pillow and blankie and pop in The Neverending Story videotape and I would watch it everyday. I still have all the dialogue memorized.
Anyway, since I was re-reading the novel and it honestly feels like a completely new book – one of the magic things about certain books – I was thinking about whether Hollywood would ever attempt a remake of the 1984 movie or reinterpretation of the book itself. That got me thinking about who I would cast in key roles. So, here it goes (this survey covers only the characters in the first half of the book. I’ll get to the 2nd half at a later time):
Bastian Balthazar Bux – Gaten Matazzaro
This kid is so damn cute! And he’s got some acting chops. I think he could definitely handle the awkward Bastian of the book’s first half.
Carl Conrad Coreander – Tommy Lee Jones
Famous Hollywood curmudgeon alert! That man is the embodiment of Mr. Coreander with that scowl that hovers between bored and ferocious. I can just seem him barking orders and criticisms from a wing-back chair.
Atreyu – Milli Bobby Brown
Before anybody loses their sh*t, remember that this is just a personal fantasy cast. It’s not like any film producer is going to ask my opinion even if a Neverending Story remake was in the works. Also, I’m usually a purist when it comes to book-film translations. However, after seeing this young lady in Stranger Things, I know she would absolutely kill it as the young warrior Atreyu. In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion that she would manage to transcend the role and make it Oscar-worthy.
Childlike Empress – Isabella Furhman
Isabella definitely has the timeless, ethereal look as described by Michael Ende, but she also has a strong charisma and the ability to portray multi-layered characters. Though the Childlike Empress does not appear in the story (like actually in person) until near the middle of the book, she saturates it with her invisible presence. In a movie, you need an actress who can live up to that kind of build-up. And I think Isabella could.
Voice of Gmork – Andy Serkis
A pioneer in the motion-capture film world, Andy is also just a very talented actor. He can transform his his voice at will and I think he would make an especially creepy black werewolf. Gmork in the 1984 version was certainly scary, but he lacked that gleeful menace that Ende put into his original character. Serkis would be great at reintroducing that quality.
Voice of Falkor – Idris Elba
Anyone who has seen Zootopia, knows that Idris has the voice to bring a character to life. And Falkor is such a complex personality: funny, with an almost childlike temperament, but also caring, wise, and brave. It would take a very talented actor to do justice to such a key player and I think Idris, with his nuanced portrayal of Chief Bogo, has convinced me that he could knock Falkor out of the park!
Voice of Uyulala, the Southern Oracle – Birdy
This young woman’s voice just gets more haunting and nuanced as she gets older. Imagine what kind of melodies she could bring to Uyulala’s poetry, which, until now, we’ve had to imagine for ourselves. Those of us not blessed with the gift of music need a bit of help.
And interesting coincidence, Birdy has a new video up for a song she did with Sigma that stars Milli Bobby Brown. It’s meant to be!
Voice of Morla – Dames Helen Mirren or Judi Dench
Either of these ladies would be fantastic as the long-lived and world-weary Morla. Their voices have power and presence and the capability of portraying both wisdom and the blasé attitude that so defines the Aged One.
Cairon (physician centaur) – Don Cheadle
Cairon’s role in the story is relatively small, but it is he that sets The Neverending Story in motion. He is dignified, wise, and brave. Don Cheadle has played a host of different characters in his career and has the gravitas to make Cairon a stand-out in a very short amount of time.