Well, this is it. The finale to the Tier 2 Wheel of Time Casting Call. Most of the pseudo-main characters are done, and next time you see a Casting Call after today, we will be focusing on the really BIG PICTURE characters – the SuperGuys, SuperGals, and a couple other important peepz. But for now, let’s talk about this week.

There are only six this week, as that fills out the remainder of my arbitrarily-assigned Tier 2 Cast, and if I were to guess, I would say that most of the castings this week should go by with very little hitch. It’s not to say I’m perfect (I can talk about that in another blog sometime if you’d like), but I believe these last six are just not going to cause a lot of grief. I could be wrong (it’s happened before – rarely), but I think this will be a pretty smooth-sailing week.

As a note on the art: For most of the art I use for characters, I am getting it from the amazing Seamas Gallagher gallery, who does some of the best WoT art out there. Some of the other I’ve used is from the equally amazing Jeremy Saliba. A lot of the art I use is cropped, so that I can fit the most character on the screen without having to deal with fancy borders and such, so you guys should definitely check these guys’ sites out (where you will find the full, beautiful pictures) and support them if at all possible. Some characters, no matter how important(ish) they are, do not have art though. There will likely be no squids this week, though I was awfully tempted to throw up a few fish pictures in one character’s introduction. Stupid fish.

As a note on the continuity of this project – next week, I will not be posting (or if I am, it will just be a bit of a round-up of Tier 2), and will get back to posting the actual list on Friday, May 20. As a note on spoilers – they will exist (likely). Read on!

Tier 2 Casting

First up this week is everyone’s favorite Wise One, Sevanna. Sevanna was known throughout pretty much the entire series (books 4 – . . . 11?) as one of the biggest Toolz (TM) to ever walk through Randland. But man, she caused a lot of strife. She, along with Couladin (and with no little help from Asmodean) help set into motion the massive Shaido-OtherAiel War that never really ended. Perrin stomped out most of it in Knife of Dreams, but as far as we know, they could still be around. Sevanna received her well-deserved uppance, but unfortunately, her head has not decorated a pike yet, which is really about the best fate that she could get at this point.

She is known to be a bit of a slut . . . well, slut, flashing herself all across the place. She is also very beautiful, with golden hair, green eyes, and a “considerable bosom,” which is often lavishly covered with sparklies – likely only there for the sole purpose of drawing the eyes to said bosom.

I’m going Tricia Helfer for this role, who pretty much played the same character through the first season of the new Battlestar Galactica. She has all the attributes needed to meet our Sevanna criteria, and she’s just plain awesome. I considered her for Graendal as well, but she wasn’t quite curvy enough for that. Oh, she’s also very tall, so that fits the whole “really tall Aiel” thing that we like to fit when possible.

Tricia Helfer as Sevanna

Places you’ve possibly seen her:
Battlestar Galactica
Burn Notice (for half a season)
Plenty of other TV shows

Shaidar Haran, by Jeremy Saliba
Next up is everyone’s favorite SuperFade, Shaidar Haran. Shaidar first showed up in his current incarnation during Demandred’s meeting with the Dark One in Lord of Chaos, and has shown up at various (in)convenient parties since then. He is the Hand of the Dark One, and as far as most people are concerned, he’s pretty much Shai’tan’s avatar on the planet.

He looks like most Myrddraal, but is tall, even for one of them. He is also described by many as the only Myrddraal to be seen smiling (though Rand sees one smile at him in tEotW – we’ll ignore that as an EotW-ishm). Basically, he’s a big, bad-ass brute. Not much more to go on.

Stab out his eyes, and Robert Maillet is a spittin’ image of Jeremy Saliba’s art up above. In fact, in his role in 300, he actually looks very much like the art. Even loses an eye to Leonidas. Maillet is a wrestler first, but he’s been getting in to movies, and he’s currently one of my favorite tough-man actors running amok in Hollywood.

Robert Maillet as Shaidar Haran

Places you’ve possibly seen him:
Sherlock Holmes
err… WWF? Several movies coming out soon, too!

Siuan Sanche, by Seamas Gallagher
Caught like a fish in a net in The Shadow Rising, Siuan Sanche spends the remainder of the series making odd proverbs about her time boating and fishing as a young girl. Amyrlin first, once in Salidar, she quickly becomes a tiny fish in a big pond, trying to bait a bunch of bigger fish to kill the shark. Or something. Fish metaphors are stupid.

he is nearly a hand taller than Moiraine and is pretty, if not quite beautiful, with blue eyes and a delicate mouth. She is fair skinned with dark glossy hair to her shoulders. After being Stilled, she has lost about twenty years and looks very young now. The artwork above shows her looking bitchy while (presumably) tending to Gareth Bryne’s underwear. I like that picture.

Gemma Arterton is getting this one. I didn’t really know about her until the newest James Bond movie, but I thought she played a saucy character pretty well there. She is tall(ish), with naturally dark hair, and very fair-skinned. I would think she would need to get her voice a bit deeper to sound like how I imagine Siuan, but all actors have to do some voice training every now and then, right?

Gemma Arterton as Siuan Sanche

Places you’ve possibly seen her:
James Bond: Quantum of Solace
Clash of the Titans
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Thom Merrilin, by Seamas Gallagher
Thom Merrilin dances onto the scene within three chapters of the first book, and immediately captures our hearts with his humorous and surly outlook on the quaint little Two Rivers. Turns out he’s a bit more than just a simple gleeman, but we should have known that anyway, being involved in an epic fantasy series and all. Always filled with wisdom (and snark), he’s been hanging with Mat for a long time now, and finally got his girl in the latest book.

He is fairly old, has a gnarled face, shaggy, snowy hair and blue eyes. He is tall, with stooped shoulders, but his white hair and long mustaches make him appear older than he probably is, given his spryness. He is frequently portrayed as smoking a pipe. He limps nowadays due to a never-Healed wound (time for Nynaeve to come take care of that), and his mustaches are the most recognizable features on him, other than his patched cloak.

I did not go with Sam Elliott for Thom, though everyone in the world seems to want him, and he’s usually the pick on the other Casting blogs. Quite frankly, I just don’t like Elliot’s voice – it’s too low and . . . ‘country’ to do what I want with Thom (this coming from the guy who just said all actors do voice training every now and then – consistent, I ain’t). I did, however, find another awesome old spry guy, named Bill Nighy, that I think will do perfectly fine. He may need to wear a weave, and grow out that fine ‘stache, but on the other hand, he’s played characters recently who had an entire squid for a face, so I don’t think it would be too much work just to give him some facial hair.

Bill Nighy as Thom Merrilin

Places you’ve possibly seen him:
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, At World’s End
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Verin Mathwin
Verin Mathwin was a theory-favorite enigma for about . . . oh, twelve books (and continues to be even after her death. See: Nakomi). We finally learned her deal in The Gathering Storm, where she pretty much single-handedly brought down the Black Ajah (thus making Pevara unfortunately irrelevant – let’s hope Pev & Co. get to kick Taim’s ass next book!). She is known as a rambler, but she is very, very sneaky, and has used her seemingly absent-mindedness to accomplish all sorts of sneaky, sneaky things throughout the series.

Verin is often described as plump, and a bit on the short side. She has dark eyes and brown hair, with a touch of gray (making her pretty old by Aes Sedai standards). She smiles often, sometimes to disarm people, sometimes to get what she wants, and sometimes because she’s just a pleasant person. She also has a bird-like stare that can be very intimidating.

Most of you probably don’t know who Kathy Najimy is. I think you should go back and watch Sister Act, and tell me that Sister Mary Patrick isn’t basically just Verin in disguise. I started reading this series in 1995(ish?) and immediately thought of Sister Mary Patrick for Verin – and I had no inkling back then of spending way too many hours of my life Casting the Wheel of Time on the intrawebz. She’s got the look, she’s got a very intense stare, and she has an awesome smile that will suit Verin when she’s properly happy about something.

Kathy Najimy as Verin Mathwin

Places you’ve possibly seen her:
Sister Act 1 & 2
Hope Floats

Faile Bashere, by Seamas Gallagher
And finally, we come to Zarine (Faile) Bashere. Likely, I should have had her in the “F’s,” since everyone knows her by her chosen name, but ah well, hind-sight, 20-20, all that jazz. Faile starts nuisancing her way into the series during The Dragon Reborn, always up in Perrin’s bidnez and shizzle. Eventually we find out she’s cousin to a king, and maybe she’s not all that bad, though she is a major contributor to the Story Line That Never Ends (TM), being the person Perrin is chasing after. I guess she gets a bit of a Moment of Awesome in The Gathering Storm, getting rid of Masema, but I still don’t really like her.

Perrin think she’s beautiful, but at first, kept thinking her nose was just slightly too large. She has black hair falling to her shoulders, and a “generous mouth” (does that mean a “kind and giving mouth,” or a “large mouth?”). She has high cheek bones, slightly tilted dark eyes, and is tall and slim with a high voice and a flat way of speaking. According to Perrin, she has an herbal scent. That may be important in the Casting, so I’m leaving that in there.

I thought about Zooey Deschanel for awhile – not that Zoey has a big nose, but she does have a kind of funny-looking nose. However, at the end of the day, I just don’t like the Deschanel sisters – they’re boring. So I went with Idina Menzel, who does have a big nose, and she even has the tilted eyes we need. Idina is a singer and songwriter first, but has been doing stage work, and recent movie work, and does a good job at them. She meets all our physical criteria, and in Rescue Me, she played a bit of a bitch, so there’s that.

Idina Menzel as Faile Bashere

Places you’ve possibly seen her:
Various Broadway Shows
Various TV Shows

Aaaaaand, that’s a wrap, folks! I hope you’ve enjoyed Tier 2. Next week, if anything, I’ll likely just post a follow-up to this tier (or maybe not, I kind of want a break from thinking about The Wheel of Time for a bit). Anyway, see you on Friday, May 20 for the beginnings of Tier 1 characters. Rand will not be first.

-Brandon Daggerhart