Remember how I said that Athena Andreadis was fancasting Drakon? She’s shared her cast list on the Candlemark & Gleam blog, and I couldn’t be more thrilled! Every single one of the actors she’s chosen would absolutely nail the part. I’m rereading the book with this cast in my mind, and it adds so much to hear Tilda Swinton’s low, dangerous alto or to envision Helen Mirren’s icy dignity.
If Drakon were ever adapted for film, this would be my fantasy casting call. Click “Continue reading” for more!
Note on race in casting: Many of these characters are coded as white (or ethnicities that we would today consider white) in the novel, but that doesn’t mean that other readings are invalid. For a film adaptation, I would be delighted if many (or all) of the white-coded characters were cast as characters of color.
Drakon Casting Call
Elizaveta Vladimirovna Tarasova (Liza) (28; considering actors between 20 and 40; White, Near/Middle Eastern, East Asian, or Mixed Race). Tall, broad-shouldered, athletic; think Gwendoline Christie. Intense, hot-tempered warrior who prefers to solve problems with her fists. Has a drinking problem and a deep-seated need for control. Actor needs a commanding, magnetic presence that can wring sympathy from a reluctant audience–Liza dominates every scene in which she appears, even ones that show her in an unflattering light.
Innokentiy Vladimirovich Tarasov (Kesha) (26; considering actors between 20 and 35; White, Near/Middle Eastern, East Asian, or Mixed Race). Tall, raw-boned, sharp-featured; red-haired or red-tinged hair. A morally grey scholar with a sarcastic and saturnine temperament; always gives the impression that he’s holding something back. Actor should be comfortable with extensive green screen work.
Pyotr Vladimirovich Tarasov (Petya) (21; considering actors between 20 and 30; White, Near/Middle Eastern, East Asian, or Mixed Race). Tall, broadly built. An engineer and friend to the working people of his town. Petya is immediately friendly and likable, but weaker-willed than the rest of his family. As the natural second-in-command, he keeps tensions from flaring. Actor should look like a leading man, always have the audience rooting for him.
Vladimir Petrovich Tarasov (Late 50s/early 60s; White or Near/Middle Eastern). Tall but heavyset, with a pronounced gut. A hereditary lord, with the bearing and privilege that come with it. Nasty, petty, cruel, and cheap, always angling to use or manipulate the people around him. Vladimir holds his town in check with his father’s good name and his own politicking and machinations. Think Falstaff, but funny at others’ expense rather than his own.
Yelena Sergeyevna Tarasova (Late 50s; Any race). Dignified and imposing; think Helen Mirren. In a family of strong personalities, she is cold and immovable as a fortress wall. Always has more wheels in motion than she lets on. Must have excellent cast chemistry–Yelena ratchets up tensions even when she says seemingly innocuous things.
Mikhail Dmitrievich Orlov (Misha) (Early 20s; Any race). Short and fat, which is never played for laughs. Kesha’s best friend; a snarky, canny law student who knows that the Tarasovs are always looking for an ulterior motive. Knows just how much to manipulate them in order get their attention. One of the smartest characters in the cast.
Anastasia Ivanovna Vasilevskaya (Nastya) (Early 20s; White or Near/Middle Eastern). Thin and sharp-featured. Proprietor of a tavern where the Tarasovs go drinking, an influential woman in the town, and the oldest of five girls. Sharp-tongued, impatient, and practical, and done with Vladimir’s bullshit long before the story begins. Would do anything for her family. Liza’s love interest.
Galina Ivanovna Vasilevskaya (Galya (Early 20s; White or Near/Middle Eastern). Nastya’s younger sister and Petya’s former lover. Anxious and excitable. Eager to defend her town as a volunteer fighter when the opportunity arises.
Peter Wainwright (30s; considering actors between 25 and 50; Any race). Built like a welterweight or lightweight boxer; slight bow-legged Tim Roth stride. A British lieutenant stationed at the Tarasov fortress, eager to prove himself and earn their trust. Always appears fundamentally honest and decent, which the Tarasovs consider highly suspicious. The kind of man who looks unruffled even with his face smashed in. Actor should have strong chemistry with all three Tarasov siblings.
Ludwik Jaworski (40s; considering actors between 30 and 60; White or Near/Middle Eastern). A Polish soldier and former comrade of Vladimir’s brothers in the Russian army. Always the voice of reason. Stoic and controlled, but occasionally shows flashes of cold temper.
Söz, the Voice (considering actors between 30 and 80; Near Eastern, Middle Eastern, North African, Black, South Asian, East Asian, other European/Asian ethnicities). A spymaster for the Ottoman Empire, a polyglot and a polymath; she is unquestionably the smartest character in the cast. Mild-mannered and polite and unfailingly self-assured. Her actor should always convey a sense of power held in abeyance: at any moment, she might decide to close the iron fist hidden beneath her velvet glove.
Aysel (voice only). An impatient, pedantic young dragon; a warrior and a lover of stories. Dreams of a better life for herself and her people. Actor should be comfortable delivering lines in Latin.
Boris Baivich (voice only). A draconic historian and poet. Buries his crushing defeatism under mountains of snark. Actor should be comfortable delivering lines in Latin.