Sunday, February 21, 2021

Book to screen: Hits and misses

HALLIE EPHRON: I’m sure I’m not the only mystery reader who’s been variously delighted or dismayed by the different actors who’ve portrayed iconic fictional sleuths. My all time favorites include Leo McKern as Rumpole of the Bailey, Helen Mirren as Jane Tennison, and John Thaw as the quintessential Morse. I also love the entire cast of detective on NEW TRICKS. Until they changed up the actors and it went downhill.

Also less than a rousing success was Katherine Heigl’s Stephanie Plum. Tom Cruise felt violently miscast as Jack Reacher. Hopefully Amazon’s new Jack Reacher show will be truer to the character with Alan Ritchson in the role -- at least he’s got the height and he once played a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.

A ton of actors have played Hercule Poirot, including:
- Peter Ustinov
- Albert Finney
- Kenneth Branagh
- David Suchet
- John Malkovich

… and Miss Marple has been portrayed numersouly by:
- Margaret Rutherford
- Angela Lansbury
- Joan Hickson
- Julia McKenzie
- Geraldine McEwan)

And then Sherlock Holmes who has probably been portrayed more times than any fictional character by, among others:
- Basil Rathbone
- Christopher Plummer
- Michael Caine
- Jeremy Brett
- Robert Downey Jr.
- Benedict Cumberbatch)

What have been the hits and misses for you when it comes to seeing an actor play a favorite fictional detective, and what made the difference? I know whom I’d give stars and who’d get raspberries.

137 comments:

  1. Hhhhmmm . . . I don’t always pick “favorites,” but after some thought . . . .
    I liked both Basil Rathbone and Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes; Joan Hickson is the actress I most associate with Miss Marple; Peter Ustinov, the one I most associate with Hercule Poirot.
    Tom Cruise did not fit my mental picture of Jack Reacher and I didn’t love Katherine Heigl’s Stephanie Plum . . . .

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    1. I'm with you on Jeremy Brett and Joan Hickson. Peter Ustinov, not so much. He's more shambling than preening. David Suchet is my all time favorite Poirot. His fussiness, he got it from the pinched patent leather shoes to the perfect mustache.

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  2. Love this topic, Hallie, but I realize how little TV and films I have seen.

    Tom Cruise certainly did what he could with the part of Jack Reacher and the plots were faithful to the books. But Reacher is a menacing character from his size alone, and that element was missing from Cruise's role.

    I have enjoyed the recent Holmes portrayals, but none of the men cast as Sherlock Holmes fit my idea of the character in the stories. I, nevertheless, have been entertained. So, all is forgiven.

    Most recently, Irwin and I have loved the adaptation of Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch books to the small screen. The books are completely mashed together, characters live who had died in the books, and actors claimed
    their characters with authority. Titus Welliver shines. At first, it was frustrating if you have read the books, but actually, it was genius.

    I will keep checking in to read what everyone says today. Great topic.

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    1. I watched one episode of Bosch and recognized the threads of stories from the books, but Welliver rubbed me wrong. Maybe I'd read and loved too many Harry Bosch books. I should give it another go.

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    2. Titus Welliver IS Bosch!!! Got Prime just so I could watch Bosch and love it. Very sad that it is ending with the next one.
      Dar Simpson

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    3. Hallie, I had to watch a couple episodes before I got used to Titus Welliver in the role. But now, I agee, he is Bosch.

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  3. We just watched "Murder She Said" featuring Margaret Rutherford as Miss Marple and had our own discussion about the different actresses. Ben Mankiewicz (always interesting introductions on TCM) told us that Christie initially did not approve of Rutherford, but then the two met and became fast friends. We liked her portrayal of Marple a lot and look forward to some comparisons.

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    1. I really did not like Margaret Rutherford. Put her on the shelf with Peter Ustinov as Poirot. Wrong. Loved her as Madame Arcati in BLITHE SPIRIT but she just didn't cut it for me as Miss M.

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    2. Wouldn't you love to have seen Maggie Smith in that role?

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    3. The thing I adore about the Margaret Rutherford movies is the terrific music. So spritely and cheery.

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  4. I agree with JUDY, Titus Welliver is fantastic as BOSCH on TV. He has also narrated some of Michael Connelly's Bosch audiobooks.

    And John Thaw IS Morse.

    And yeah, Tom Cruise's size was totally wrong for the menacing presence of a Jack Reacher.

    I also did NOT like Nathaniel Parker in the Inspector Lynley mysteries but he was better as Gamache in Louise Penny's Still Life adaptation.

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    1. Also LONGMIRE on Netflix was great with Robert Taylor as Longmire. I cancelled my Netflix subscription after that series ended.

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    2. Grace, I didn’t see Inspector Lynley nor most of the series mentioned but I watched Louise Penny’s Still Life and none of the actors seemed a good match for me. Nathaniel Parker may be good but was far from my idea of Gamache. He had the calming side but not the imposing side.

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    3. DANIELLE: I agree with you about the other actors in STILL LIFE.

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    4. I so agree on Longmire and Inspector Lynley... perfect actors for those roles.

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    5. Yes, loved the Longmire adaptation.

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    6. GRACE, they picked a gorgeous actress to play the artist who was supposed to be plain in Louise Penny's STILL LIFE.

      Diana

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    7. DIANA: I do wonder how some casting director choose the actors in these productions.

      BTW, did you see this 2020 announcement there is a NEW GAMACHE SERIES coming to Amazon called Three Pines?
      https://deadline.com/2020/05/three-pines-left-bank-amazon-louise-penny-adaptations-1202939209/

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  5. A couple of hits are Brenda Blethyn playing Vera, and Jill Scott playing Mme Ramotswe. And of course Helen Mirren. Olivia Colman has been fabulous as the older Elizabeth in the Crown.

    But where oh where are the screen adaptations of the Red's books? THAT's what I want to see. All of yours!

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    1. Edith listing Olivia Colman made me remember another fantastic adaptation of John Le Carre's thriller THE NIGHT MANAGER on Amazon Prime. It is a 6-part miniseries. What a cast, including Hugh Laurie as the baddie, Tom Hiddleston as the night manager and a very pregnant Olivia Colman as the British intelligence officer.

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    2. Edith,

      For some reason, I see that actress who plays Rory on the Gilmore Girls as your Quaker Midwife Rose. Another possibility is Kellie Martin.

      Diana

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    3. YES on Brenda Blethyn! She was great in Little Voice, ages ago.

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    4. Brenda Blethyn is pretty great in everything she does, from the pot-selling widow in Saving Grace to Mrs. Bennett in one of the many versions of Pride and Prejudice. Olivia Coleman has been one of my favorites starting all the way back in Hot Fuzz.

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    5. In my writing class, our teacher suggested that we draw a picture or use a photo for each of our characters. I am currently using a photo of the actress who plays Helen in the New All Creatures Great and Small as my protagonist when creating her physical descriptions.

      Diana

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  6. For the most part I haven't seen any of those that were mentioned so I can't weigh in. however when I first heard about Tom Cruise being cast as Jack Reacher I knew he was all wrong! I've never watched it but I'm sure my mind wouldn't be changed.

    Brenda Blethyn is absolutely perfect as Vera! They hit the jackpot with her! I'm not sure I would want to see my favorite characters brought to life on the big screen. I see them in my mind but I might not see them as anyone else did. Has anyone watched the show which is supposedly based on a C.J. Box series? Not on the Joe Pickett series thank goodness. I stopped even reading that Cassie series after a favorite character of mine was killed off. It never worked for me again so I really didn't care what they did with the TV show. The episodes I saw were terrible. Other than the scenery which was fantastic.

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    1. "...the scenery was fantastic" - talk about damning with faint praise!

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  7. The cast of Longmire were spot on. I'm reading the books now and visualizing the Netflix cast. John Thaw was the quintessential Morse, Joan Hicks and Peter Ustinov as Marple and Poirot were fabulously cast Harrison Ford as Jack Ryan and Indie Jones - perfect. The misses - Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher is woefully miscast.

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    1. Kait,

      Colin Dexter said John Thaw was the ONLY actor he wanted to play Morse.

      Diana

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    2. Kait, I think Tom Cruise did an excellent job with the Reacher films, but the physical difference between the actor and the character was impossible to overcome.

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  8. One of my favorite TV adaptations was the Cadfael series with Derek Jacobi as Brother Cadfael and Julian Firth as the weasely Brother Jerome. The best Miss Marple in my opinion was Joan Hixson--sharp as a tack and only dithery if the moment called for it. One series that left me aghast was Martha Grimes' Richard Jury. It was a German production, so I only saw stills--but Jury's character looked like a younger version of Peter Falk's Columbo, wrinkled raincoat and all, and Melrose Plant looked like a caricature of an English country gentleman--so totally wrong for the major characters!

    And I thought Longmire was well-cast also.

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    1. Cadfael! Derek Jacobi was sublime. And I see it's streaming now.

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    2. Ooooo! Thanks for the tip!

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    3. Yes, Jacobi was perfect for the part.

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  9. The Flower Shop series by Kate Collins in my opinion was cast badly and I didn't like that they changed who the characters were.

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    1. Dru,

      Hallmark movies rarely cast actresses that fits the fictional characters in cozy mysteries.

      BBC usually has casting that fits the fictional characters in novels.

      Diana

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    2. It's so disappointing when they miscast a favorite character... I agree, BBC usually does it better but that's because their actors and actresses are more likely to look like real age-appropriate people.

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    3. I so agree about The Flower Shop mystery, Dru. I suspect they had to change the characters to accommodate Brooke Shields. She was a 50-something actress and the original character of Abby is in her mid-20s.

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    4. That's tough. Age and physical description should be something that is considered when casting characters. I am always so disappointed if the actors just don't fit.

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    5. Is it Very unusual to see a character in her mid twenties adapted for an actress in her fifties?

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  10. Another great topic, Hallie! I recall that Agatha Christie was never happy with the casting for Hercule Poirot nor Miss Marple. She did not think Albert Finney was Hercule nor did she think that Margaret Rutherford was Miss Marple.

    I recall that Angela Lansbury was Miss Marple in Mirror Cracked. That was before I started reading her books.

    MY opinion: I thought that Joan Hickson WAS the perfect Miss Marple. And David Suchet is the perfect Hercule Poirot. Love Hugh Fraser as Captain Hastings. Based on looks, I thought Basil Rathbone was the perfect Sherlock Holmes.

    Regarding Hallmark adaptations of mysteries, I take it as a given that they will Never cast actors that look like the fictional characters. I would be surprised if Hallmark casted an actress who fit the description of the fictional character in a mystery.

    Diana

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  11. Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch, right? I mean, you can’t even separate the actor from the role in that. Essentially everyone in that movie was perfect. Hrelen Mirren. And how about Olivia Colman and David Tennant in Broadchurch?

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  12. Hank,

    Yes! Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch was perfect. Unusual for Hollywood to pick the perfect casting, right?

    Diana

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  13. I agree, Joan Hickson absolutely channeled Miss Marple. And I bow down to Helen Mirren as Jane Tennison. But am I the only one here in love with Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock? (Be still my heart)

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    1. I am I am I am!! I only wish they'd do more in that series. So clever.

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    2. I think that he is a terrific Sherlock. He is an actor who always gives a role his very best!

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    3. Amy,

      Interesting that they did not change Benedict Cumberbatch's nose for Sherlock Holmes because I recall SH had an aquiline nose and Benedict has a straight nose.

      Diana

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    4. Cumberbatch and Freeman are great IMHO in that surprising adaption of Holmes. Petherbridge as Wimsey, always thought so. Derek Jacobi as Caedfal of course. (But when isn't he great?) Someone said something like "Alec Guinness rules" in Le Carre movie. Or anything else, in my experience.

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  14. Question:

    WHICH actor was Lord Peter Wimsey? Ian Holm or Edward Petheridge?

    Diana

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    1. DIANA: I preferred Ian Carmichael (not Holm) as Wimsey.

      But I did like Ian Holm as Len Deighton's spy in the GAME, SET, MATCH trilogy.

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    2. Neither! Edward Petherbridge was lovely as Peter.

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    3. Edward Petherbridge had the better sets. That piano was divine!

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    4. GRACE, Oops! I meant Ian Carmichael, not Ian Holm! Thanks!

      Diana

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  15. Alec Guinness as George Smiley. He owns the role. Joan Hixson, David Suchet (particularly how he mastered Poirot's "penguin walk", Helen Mirren as Jane Tennison, Derek Jacobi as Brother Cadfael, John Thaw as Morse (and his daughter Abigail playing the reporter in Endeavor-- strong family resemblance), Brenda Blethyn as Vera, Douglas Henshaw as Jimmy Perez.

    Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher. No. A parody of the brilliant character.

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    1. Margaret,

      that was another question that I had. I wondered if Alex Guinness was George Smiley. I've never read the books though I've seen snippets of the BBC programme.

      Diana

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  16. David Suchet as Poirot is the nearest and dearest to my heart...I thought he was perfect. Followed by Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes...though he did tend to overact on occasion...Joan Hickson as Miss Marple was simply fabulous. I loved John Thaw as Morse...and Roy Marsden as Adam Dalgliesh.

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    1. Debora,

      Agreed that David Suchet was the perfect Hercule Poirot.

      Diana

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    2. We must be kindred spirits, Debora Horsey. I agree entirely with your preferences. Here in Pennsylvania in the US I am rewatching every Agatha Christie I can find on Britbox and Acorn TV. I fell in love with her works as a teen when I discovered an old hardback of Hickory Dickory Death; and now at age 71 I remain a devoted fan. Another Debra (but I like your spelling better)Raver

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  17. Question:

    Thoughts about the actor who played Inspector Allewyn? I forgot his name.

    Diana

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    1. You mean the adaptation of Ngaio Marsh's series? I remember liking him quite a bit and I'm a big fan of her books. Simon Williams played Alleyn.

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    2. Hallie, thank you! I could not recall if it was Ngaio Marsh who created Inspector Allewyn. I saw the series with Agatha Troy. The actress who played Agatha was slso the wife of Ben Cross in a BBC series about a country doctor, I think.

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  18. Hallie,

    This reminded me of a conversation I had with an author friend. His Detective is a Scotland Yard Inspector and a movie company wanted to change his detective to a Sheriff in Nebraska! He said NO thank you!

    Diana

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    1. Good for him. It's hard to walk away from a movie deal.

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    2. Why would you even entertain the thought, if you were part of the production company?!? Just hire a writer to create a sheriff in Nebraska...

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    3. Julia, exactly! This reminded me of when Lionel's book was adapted into a movie by Hollywood and they really changed too much! It was from the tv series AS TIME GOES BY.

      Diana

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  19. Jungle Reds,

    If they were casting actors/actresses to play your Detectives, who would you pick?

    Diana

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    1. It's a moving target, Diana: the actors I would have thought of back when I was first published in 2002 are too old to play Clare and Russ now!

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  20. Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes is my gold standard. Helen Mirren as Jane Tennison is another high watermark.

    I agree that the Hallmark mystery movies are never going to be considered great casting jobs. The Hallmark movies just recycle (for the most part) the same actresses that they have in their Christmas movies so they can have a year round income.

    Katherine Heigl as Stephanie Plum was an epic embarrassment. She was bad, the movie was total crap and the fact that Janet Evanovich put herself out there in the press hype as loving the choice of Heigl kind of soured me on the entire franchise as a whole.

    When I originally saw the Rumpole episodes I really loved them, but I didn't see it from the beginning. When I got the chance to see those early shows, I found them rather boring. Leo McKern definitely IS Rumpole but I found it nearly impossible to get through the episodes in that first season.

    As for Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher, I actually liked the movies. Now, I know that Tom Cruise isn't the 6 foot 5, 240 pound man mountain as the books have described Reacher. But Tom Cruise attached means the movie gets made. Let's face it, there aren't that many actors that fit that physical description that would have the acting chops to pull off the role.

    Titus Welliver as Harry Bosch is fantastic.

    As for Walt Longmire, I attended a book signing for Craig Johnson. Hank was interviewing him and he talked about how he and his wife saw various audition tapes during the casting process. He said that Robert Taylor was the only character who took off his hat as he entered a house and how that made Johnson think he was the right person for the role. Turns out he was right because Robert Taylor IS Longmire to me.

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    1. So agree, Jay! Isn’t that a great story?

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    2. Jay, I love that story about casting Robert Taylor as Longmire--those small gestures show an actor really thinking about the character.

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    3. What astonished me about Robert Taylor is that he's actually Australian! He can act.

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    4. HANK, As usual, you did an amazing interview with Craig Johnson. Loved it, and the story.

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    5. Jay, I agree about Tom Cruise and the Reacher movies. The movies were good, they stuck to the book plots very nicely and Cruise is a good actor. I read an interview with Lee Child who said that he was thrilled that such a competent and famous actor bought the rights to the role. But, if you want a movie to really be faithful to a book, then casting is important.

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    6. Amazing that the Australian actor has the same name as the American actor Robert Taylor.

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    7. I had a wicked crush on Jeremy Brett and my dream come true was seeing him as Sherlock on stage in London. He WAS Sherlock. Helen Mirren as Tennyson--oh, god, yes! Robert Taylor as Longmire, definitely. And Welliver IS Bosch, every inch. Thanks for this thread, Hallie! Hank, where can we hear your interview with Craig?

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  21. Suchet will always be Poirot to me (although I didn't care for the adaptation of Orient Express with him) with Ustinov did a good job. Of all the Marple portrayals, I preferred Joan Hickson. And while I do think Jeremy Brett is the gold standard Holmes, I thoroughly enjoyed Benedict Cumberbatch.

    I never read a Reacher book, so my "meh" on Cruise as Reacher had nothing to do with how closely he matched the character and more on a general "meh" for Cruise.

    The casting of The Night Manager was brilliant all the way around.

    And nobody else will ever be Atticus Finch for me.

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    1. So glad you said that about movie Orient Express. I started to watch it and bailed.
      And twenty thumbs up for Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock. Even more thumbs up for Marin Freeman's Watson and Amanda Abbington's Mary Watson.

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    2. Tom Hiddleston is another actor that I would watch read the phonebook!

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    3. Liz,

      The earlier Poirot stories with David Suchet were a lot better than the later adaptations. I did not care for the new Murder on the Orient Express adaptation because it was so different from the book. Though Agatha Christie was disappointed by the casting of Albert Finney as Hercule Poirot, I thought the story in the 1974 movie was more faithful to the book.

      Diana

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    4. Hallie, yes. They all nailed their parts.

      Debs, then I'm sure you've found Hiddleston on YouTube reading poetry, right? Alan Rickman, as well (there was another perfect casting - Alan Rickman as Severus Snape).

      Diana, I agree with the Finney version of Orient Express. He didn't make a great Poirot, but the story was so much more faithful. And if Branagh's version deviated as well, I'm glad I never saw it (and I'm quite fond of Branagh as an actor).

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    5. Yes, Deborah! Tom Hiddleston. Yummy! He was perfect in the Night Manager.

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  22. The Agatha Raisin tv series- M.C.Beaton had always described Agatha as an early 50 year old. She was a little overweight, had good legs and was starting to develop hip problems that she tried to hide. She had thick auburn hair and eyes that were bear like. So one had a pretty good mental image of Agatha. So they chose a young blonde with ice blue eyes to play her. The tv Agatha was what one would think Priscilla would look like in the Hamish series. I thought at the time, has the casting department even read the books. Also, the Aurora Teagarden tv series had the wrong look for Aurora at first. Thought the same thing. In later series, she did have thick auburn hair when they filmed. But the Agatha choice was the worst.

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    1. Sometimes I think TV brass must think no one reads the books.

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    2. Lynn, I so agree on Agatha Raisin! The only good part about the actress is her Scottish accent.

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    3. For me, this was a huge improvement. I don't care for the books, and I don't think I'd have wanted to watch Agatha the way she was written. But I love Ashley Jennings in the part and thought the whole TV adaptation delightful.

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    4. Debs, that's a good point. Ashley Jennings does make that character more appealing. She just doesn't fit my image from the book.

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    5. Thanks. Now I know why I was so confused when I saw the tv adaptation of Agatha Raisin.

      Diana

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    6. I agree with Deborah! I loved Ashley Jennings as Agatha Raisin. Though anyone I've talked to about that completely disagrees with me.

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  23. Some more:

    Stephen Tomplinson as DCI BANKS was good, but I still remember the actor as the priest in BALLYKISSANGEL.

    Peter Davison as CAMPION (Margery Allingham). It was only ran for 4 episodes on PBS Mystery but I loved the series so much I bought the DVDs. And I still think of Davison as the original Tristan on All Creatures Great and Small.

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    1. GRACE: I was going to ask what people thought of Peter Davison as Campion.

      Diana

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    2. DIANA: I wondered if you or anyone would mention Campion since it was only 4 episodes. What did you think?

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    3. GRACE: Believe it or not, I've never read Campion and I have only seen a few episodes. I started reading Lord Peter Wimsey AFTER seeing the TV adaptation with Peter Petheridge.

      Diana

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    4. DIANA: I am the opposite. I read Allingham and Sayers (and Christie, Marsh) as a tween/teen, and then saw the TV adaptations much later on. Davison was good as Campion and the actor playing his manservant Lugg (Brian Glover) was spot-on, too.

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    5. I was disappointed that there wasn’t more of the Campion series. Peter Davidson was a very winning Campion and Brian Glover was so good as Lugg. And the music was perfect.

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  24. I tried to watch the new ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL and was so put off by the casting... especially Samuel West as Siegfried Farnon... the housekeeper also totally unbelievable. So disappointed I tuned out after one episode.

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    1. HALLIE: I saw a clip with Dame Diana Rigg as Mrs. Pumphrey and was intrigued but you are certainly discouraging me from trying the new series.

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    2. I've loved it, Hallie, and I was a HUGE fan of the original.

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    3. If you liked it, Deb, I'll have to give it another try.

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    4. Mrs. Pumphrey and her dog Tricki-Woo make the show. So much fun and all of Herriot’s caring for animals and gentle humor shine through.

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    5. Love the new ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL, though Helen's Hugh was not in the original series. I remember my Mom said that in the original All Creatures Great and Small, the actor Christopher Timothy did not fit her image of what James Herriott looked like.

      Interesting trivia: James Herriot is a pen name of Jim Wight who was a vet in Darrowby.

      There was a real person named James Herriot in Scotland in the 19th century who was a Deaf cabinet maker.

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    6. I liked the original series a lot, but -strangely, maybe- don't remember the details. I am loving the new Great and Small, and I don't care who knows it! Is it different? Maybe,but that's ok for me. Yorkshire scenery, eccentric animals, more eccentric people, charm and humor - and no resemblance to our real lives. What is there not to like? Strongly recommended to people dear to me who are enduring tough times. And hour of grace Sunday night

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  25. So many to choose from !

    As I read the Outlander books over the years my brain refused to register Jamie's red hair; I persisted in giving him dark hair, for some reason. But as soon as I saw Sam Heughan in the role I made the switch. He is so totally Jamie Fraser. And most of the characters in that show are just as appropriate, including Clair. She's not quite as zaftig as the Clair in the book, but I can live with that.

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    1. Karen,

      Diana Galabron (sp?) who created the Outlander books was inspired by a Scottish Highlander character on Doctor Who to create Jaime Fraser!

      Diana

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  26. This topic has me thinking about series I love to read that I wish could (with love and care) be made into series--because I love movies as much as I love to read. Of course, the Reds are at the top of the list. Imagine Lucy's Hayley and company, that Key West setting--would be so much fun! Clare and Russ--great characters, setting, lots of undercurrents (sort of like a Hill Street Blues' vibe for our times), Duncan and Gemma to give us our Brit-fix. I could go on and on--so much potential! And William Kent Krueger's series! But at the back of my mind is the fear of what the movie industry has been known to do with great books!

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  27. Adding to perfectly cast: Scott and Bailey! Loved that show. Suranne Jones (Bailey) and Lesley Sharp (Scott) and Amelia Bullmore who played their boss. Hope they don't try to reprise it with different actors.

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  28. I want to say, right up front, that I will watch Kenneth Branagh in anything and find something to enjoy. I've read all the Poirot books, and I agree that David Suchet is perfect, but I also find him perfectly irritating. Branagh's Poirot is the only version I've seen that made the mustaches make sense (totally in fashion when he was a young man, wooing his lost love, and held onto ever since) and who also seemed at all like a formidable adversary for any clever murderer. So he gets my vote, probably because he isn't the perfect fussy Poirot.

    I'd also like to cast a vote for Robert Carlisle as Hamish Macbeth. I'm not a fan of M. C. Beaton's books, so I don't much care that Carlisle's Macbeth isn't a redhead. I just love the whole quirky community in the Hamish Macbeth tv series, and the exasperated patience with which Carlisle keeps them all more or less on track. But then, Carlisle is another one of those actors I'll watch in just about anything. Watch Hamish with subtitles.

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    1. Gigi, I agree with every bit of your opinions on Robert Carlisle. It's just a shame the series stopped so soon.

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    2. Robert Carlyle was also in the Full Monty movie and he was the bad guy in the tv series Once Upon a Time.

      Diana

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    3. Add me to the Robert Carlisle fan club. I'll watch him in anything.

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    4. Bibliophile: Bad Guy? I adored him as Rumplestiltskin in Once Upon a Time. He was the best part of that show for me.

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    5. Also, Bibliophile got the spelling right. It's Carlyle, not Carlisle. I apologize.

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  29. Another miscasting long ago. Ian Carmichael as Wimsey
    And why they had the nerve to remake Miss Marple after the perfection of Joan Hickson I’ll never understand. Morse, Poirot, Cadfael were all wonderful. Also Brenda and Helen can do no wrong I did not like Branagh’s Poirot

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  30. Brenda Blethyn is great in anything, and I can't see Vera as anyone else now. And while I'd never have imaginined Jimmy Perez looking like Doug Henshall, Henshall is wonderful. John Thaw as Morse--be still my heart. I adored Cumberbatch's Sherlock, and Martin Freeman's Watson even more.

    Teeth-gnashing miscasts for me? Nathanial Parker as Lynley. Stephen Tomlinson as Banks. John Hannah as Rebus.

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    2. Oh, and although Roy Marsden is a terrific actor, he was never Dalgliesh for me.

      On the thumbs up, Warren Clarke and Colin Buchanan as Dalziel and Pascoe. They were fabulous!!!

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  31. I think I want to remix the Peter Wimsey cast. I think Petherbridge came closer to Wimsey than Ian Carmichael. Love Carmichael but I agreed with Alistair Cooke that he was a little too old for the part. But whoever played his Bunter was perfect.
    I have to view Longmire as two completely different entities. Book Longmire is older, more mellow, and way over his wife's death ten years previously. TV Longmire is younger and his stories have a lot of angst in them. TV Longmire also pulls some stupid stunts book Longmire would never.
    I loved the Shetland mysteries, but it is the same situation in reverse. TV Perez is at least ten years older than book Jimmy, and he doesn't have those Spanish looks.
    I do like the adaptations of Tony Hillerman's books. I can totally see Adam Beach as Jim Chee. Wes Studi is also good as Joe Leaphorn though I pictured him as a bit older.
    I think David Suchet is Hercule Poirot. I will always see Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes, though I thoroughly enjoyed the Cumberbatch version.

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    1. Seconding Longmire. I really LOVE those books, and never quite took to the TV show. I think you put your finger on the reason why, Pat.

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  32. I loved the Cumberbatch/Freeman combo for Holmes/Watson. I also loved Branagh as Poirot and had no idea Malkovitch had portrayed him. I have to go find that now...

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    1. Jenn, agreed that's a great Holmes/Watson team.

      Diana

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    2. I thought they were a great team because the story was also updated to modern times and psychological understanding. It also didn't hurt that Cumberbatch is one of those actors you simply can't look away from, but my favorite part was making Capt. John Watson, Fifth Northumberland Fusiliers, a dashing man of action (after decades of appearing as a bumbling elderly gent.)

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  33. Patrick Malahide played Inspector Alleyn. He guest-starred on the Poirot series (Five Little Pigs) and also on one of the Morse episodes, (Driven to Distraction) and was the Rev. Casaubon in "Middlemarch." My cousin says he was also "Game of Thrones!"

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    1. Debora, yes, that is the actor I recall as Inspector Alleyn.

      Diana

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    2. Loved him as Alleyn. Also, Belinda Lang as Troy. I have the DVD boxed set of that series.

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  34. I'm surprised at myself for liking several different versions of Sherlock Holmes, including Jeremy Brett, Robert Downey Jr., and Benedict Cumberbatch. My favorite Miss Marple is Joan Hickson, and my favorite Hercule Poirot is David Suchet, although I rather liked Peter Ustinov, too. I love Brenda Blethyn as Vera. I was gaga over James Norton as Sidney Chambers in Grantchester. I can't get used to the new guy.

    I know some of you said you didn't like the Agatha Raisin books by M.C. Beaton. Well, I did, or most of them anyway. I was aghast when they cast Ashley Jennings as Agatha. I mean, Jennings is blonde and tall and, well, just not Agatha Raisin. But, I decided to watch and give it a chance, and I'm glad I did, because putting aside my original vision of Agatha, Jennings is great in the role.

    I still haven't watched the movie adaptation of Louise Penny's Still Life. I have heard so many horrible reviews of it, and just looking at the trailer was enough to convince me that I didn't want to ruin my enjoyment of the books with the movie stuck in my head.

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    1. YEAH, SKIP the Still Life movie.

      Did you see this 2020 announcement there is a NEW GAMACHE SERIES coming to Amazon called Three Pines?
      https://deadline.com/2020/05/three-pines-left-bank-amazon-louise-penny-adaptations-1202939209/

      NO CASTING DETAILS, but we can hope!

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    2. That sounds exciting. I would love a Gamache series. I do hope they get the casting right this time. Fingers crossed.

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  35. There was a short series of tv adaptations of 3 Tony Hillerman books. They cast Adam Beach and Wes Studi as Chee and Leaphorn and the remarkable Graham Greene was in them too. I was glad that they cast indigenous actors to play these roles.

    I liked Raymond Burr in Perry Mason but William Talman as the DA was marvelous. I don't think they've succeeded with any of the Wimseys and I think Gamach is one of the hardest to cast. Fun thread.

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  36. Please, the actress in Agatha Raisin is Ashley Jensen, not Jennings. Her Agatha definitely doesn't resemble the Agatha in the books, but she is quite enjoyable in the role anyway. And I believe that the late Marion Chesney approved of Jensen's portrayal, which can't be said for Robert Carlyle's casting as Hamish MacBeth.

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  37. Helen Hayes played Miss Marple in one movie and was the way I pictured her. However, I liked the other versions. I do wonder when companies plan to film a book or redo a series, presumably they want to retain the fans, so why do they change everything? I understand some adaptions have to be made but I think they could try a little harder to get the casting right. Stay safe and well.

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  38. My favorite casting was Amanda Root and Ciarán Hinds in the film version of Persuasion. Perfect!
    My least favorite was most of the cast in Mama Mia! Too old to be the characters they portrayed. Same thing with Emma Thompson as Eleanor in Sense and Sensibility. Popular, nevertheless, but I just didn’t see I t.

    For me, Holliday Grainger would be terrific as Gemma James but she’s already been cast as Robin Ellacott, Cormoran Strike’s assistant. Matthew Goode IS Duncan.
    A younger Martin Shaw is my vision of Inspector
    Gamache, or perhaps Thibault de Montalembert, of Call My Agent, if he speaks English. ( Not Nathaniel Parker who is a fine actor, woefully miscast as both Gamache and Inspector Lynley, in my opinion.)
    Lovely, warm Madame Gamache is Juliette Binoche, as she looks now.
    Okay, Ashley Jensen is not the Agatha Raisin, as written. Neither is Robert Carlyle as Hamish
    MacBeth. But both are fun and Enjoyable if you can just separate the books from the films.

    In my opinion, Joan Hickson is the definitive Miss Marple. Likewise, David Suchet as Poirot. I respect your right to disagree, even though you will be wrong. Smiley face.

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