Fantasy Casting of Book Characters

Firstly: generally, I hate this idea of casting book characters! HATE it!

Many authors and book reviewers love to “cast” the books they’re writing or reading. This makes sense for an author to have some inspiration to go by, a visual cue just as you might have for pictures of places you’re setting your book. In fact, I love to research the locations the scenes of a book I’m reading are taking place in.

However, attraction is a very different thing, and I’ve had books ruined by “fantasy casting”. I tend to stay away from certain books’ reviews (the Big Series books that attract all the fangirls) for this reason. As soon as an image of someone… totally wrong-looking is put in my head, I can’t erase it and therefore the characters are ruined for me.

Apart from anything else, too often the actors or models chosen are people I dislike in real life, for their attitudes, their behaviour, the crimes they’ve committed, the thirty relationships they’ve had that ended because of cheating… I don’t like Hollywood much in general and hardly ever go to the movies or obsess over television shows.

But too often it’s not reviewers; it’s the authors doing it. For example, at the beginning of a contemporary romance I read recently, I was told the sexy, rugged hero looked like Tom Hanks. Now, Forrest, Forrest Gump, I think you’re sweet, but this is not what I find attractive!

 Tom Hanks 1

If you want to create a believable female character in her early twenties, it’s best not to have her comparing her love interest to a dopey man who is nearly three times her age!

Another author, this time of historical romances, has Pinterest boards full of fantasy casting for her series. I made the mistake of browsing them one day – and had her characters ruined for me. “Casting” modern-day Hollywood stars, complete with heavy makeup, revealing clothes and overtly (modern-day) “sexy” poses – it ruins the historical context of the book for me. Also, I didn’t find the actors chosen remotely appealing!

Some other authors have “cast” Mark Harmon (using very recent pictures) as their hero. I have nothing against the man, but I don’t find him attractive, young or in his mid-sixties as he is now – he’s just so forgettable-looking! Plus I can’t stand NCIS. I understand most authors are older than the characters they’re writing, but this is not what I want in my head when picturing a hot twenty-five year old hero:


I can think of exactly ONE time an author using actors for their books worked for me: Sylvia Day choosing Henry Cavill for her Crossfire series:

 Henry Cavill Crossfire Series

He’s even dressed for the part!

I have no problem with people using pictures as character inspiration. But I really don’t want to hear who you chose!


One thought on “Fantasy Casting of Book Characters

  1. Pingback: The Week: 14th – 20th September | Sonya's Stuff

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