In case you darling pandas didn’t figure it out, I adore everything piratical, my book review of “Pirate Latitudes” was the equivalent of a nine-iron to the face in terms of just how much the wolves of the ocean amaze and astound me. Given “Latitudes” is on the way to becoming a full-fledged cinematic feature, I decided to jump the kraken a little and propose my own casting of this bravo of an adventure. Keep in mind all of these castings strictly come from an individual fan’s perspective and in no way speaks for anybody else’s. Then again, if any of the below ARE taken on board (haaa…), I will whoop for joy and carry on like an idiot… well, more of an idiot. So, who would I like to see take the perilous voyage to Mantanceros? Let’s meet the crew…
Captain Charles Hunter: Toby Stephens
Captain Hunter is a privateer who leads the Cassandra crew on the journey for treasure by the trust of Governor Almont. A cunning and resourceful man with a Harvard education no less, he is the soul relative of fellow Crichton creation Sir Edwards Pierce from “The Great Train Robbery”. He abandoned his home and religion at an early age to become one of the most successful and respected privateers in Port Royal. Although generally a reasonable man of word and action, Hunter does not hesitate to use violence and threats to reach his goals—wealth.
In short- stud.
Upon seeing Starz’s “Black Sails”, Toby Stephens as Captain Flint immediately struck me as the man to fill Hunter’s supple, worn boots. I hazard to say that Captain Flint is Stephens’s audition for Captain Hunter, but for now that is wishful thinking. Pssst- if this doesn’t happen, I probably will cry in the corner.
Don Diego aka Black Eye aka The Jew: Naveen Andrews
Don Diego is the owner of a jewelry shop in Port Royal where Hunter is stationed at the beginning of the novel. A highly intelligent man who able to create and invent many instruments to suit his own need or that of his mates, he is a valuable assest to the mission. In his past, he specialised in gunpowder and armaments, costing him three fingers and permanently blackening his eye (hence the name Black Eye). The most harrowing event occured when he lost a son to the Inquisition and is haunted by his guilt for not being able to save his child.
Naveen Andrews really does have a quiet yet regal bearing about him. He’s not especially large nor upfrontedly fierce looking, but there is no doubt this is a man who could cause pain through actions or words. Andrews’s talents would be absolutely ideal to portray the tough, grief-stricken facilitator of arsenal fatality through his smouldering, intense gaze all the while remaining strong for Hunter and his fellow crew with rationality to spare.
Andre Sanson: Jean Dujardin
A very large and heavily built man, Andre Sanson is a visual interpretation of the term “brutish assassin”, with the exception of his surprisingly high and fey voice. Notorious for being the most ruthless killer in the Caribbean, the Frenchman’s skills include the sword, pistol, crossbow, and the most powerful of them all, negociation. He is, however, distrusted by the English due to his nationality and for good reason.
Monsieur Dujardin would really need to hit the gym and stock up on those complex carbs in order to physically match the character of Sanson, but there is no doubt in my mind he could make this highly entertaining mince of a character work. Given Dujardin’s fearless nature as an actor, he isn’t afraid to look like a fool but all the same there would be a cold and precise killer underneath the apparent flamboyance. Sanson thrives on the assumptions made about his character based solely on his voice because when he kills those who make them, that makes the kill all the more sweeter.
Lazue: Cecile de France
Lazue has an almost inhuman talent for marksmanship and extraordinary vision, being able to see far more accurately than anyone else. Raised as a man, Lazue is a woman who is able to confuse her enemies by baring her breasts to gain advantage. Now that is what you call a great distraction strategy!
De France is perhaps of the few talented and charismatic actresses today who can straddle the line between masculine and feminine without coming across as ridiculous or insulting to either sex. It also helps that De France have no qualms about defying the gender roles that are still being forced into film and popular media which by no coincidence is what Lazue is all about. Convention be damned, Lazue would way, eat, drink, fuck and be merry!
Bassa aka The Moor: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje
A huge man of Moorish blood, he is a mute but he doesn’t need a voice. After he avenged the man who cut off his tongue and killed his wife, the Moor escaped to Port Royal to make a living. Communicating with gestures, he provides an excellent image of intimidation in addition to his strength and power.
I won’t mince words here, but Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s turn as Mr. Eko from “Lost” was my most main reason for this casting because when I saw that character, I instantly thought of Bassa with his formidable physique, penetrating eyes and presence of an enormous bear. This type of role takes tremendous talent to be made successful because it’s not just about looking ginormhuge (new word!) and frightening, it’s also about showing what lies beneath. Our man Adewale has that talent giving you a glimpse about what is going on within that powerful body which is precisely why he would fit Bassa to a T.
Mr. Enders: Jeff Bridges
While stationed in Port Royal, Mr. Enders operates as a barber-surgeon (a quack, basically). While at sea, he is a gifted helmsman, able to read and steer the Cassandra perfectly due to his innater powers of perception and is often referred to as a “sea artist.” His relationship to the ship makes his experience crucial many times during the voyage and is perhaps the only crew person who is at one with the ocean and it’s ways.
I’m gonna go for broke and elect The Dude to play Mr. Enders because despite his cult following as said character, Bridges is perhaps one of the most versitile, and most sagacious actors around today. He has the power to be laid back and chill yet at the same time remain instinctive and aware of himself and what is going on around him. If you translate that sensibility to Enders and his brilliance as a sailor, Bridges would exude a deep-seeded philosophical yet liquid intelligence whose voice would given Hunter pause before he tries something reckless.
Captain Cazalla: Sergio Lopez
A cruel monster of a Spaniard who commands the Spanish fortress of Matanceros. He has a violent history with both Don Diego and Captain Hunter. A villain in many respects and a brutal and frightening man, he also commands a warship that guards the naos in Matanceros’ harbor with zeal and unspeakable sadism to spare.
Honestly, I don’t think anybody could play a violent yet strangely magnetic villain like Sergio Lopez after seeing his decidedly vicious turns in “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “Dirty Pretty Things”. Apart from the malice Lopez seeps in both films, there is a sense of desperation that veils a secret and pathetic nature. Anybody who indulges and fetishizes abject cruelty is a broken, lonely creature underneath who relies on terror to compensate for their personal insecurities, which is exactly what Cazalla is all about and which is why Lopez is an effortless fit.
Anne Sharp: Abigail Breslin
Anne is a young and beautiful English who was sent to Port Royal because she stole something from her employer in London. Despite her youth and angelically innocent looks, she is not afraid to use her body to accomplish her goals. She was accused of witchcraft, but Governor James Almont still took her as his maid… and his lover.
Abigail Breslin has grown up on the level as an actress and it shows in her maturity and talent. While Anne is no doubt beautiful, it is her cunning brain that truly gets her places which is why she has survived for so long. Breslin has an obvious beauty about her but through most of her performances as an actor, she has shown that she isn’t afraid to tackle a worthwhile challenge and come out no worse for wear all the while with that dazzling smile and charm. So long as the character of Anne is given the opportunity to shine, so will Breslin’s performance.
Robert Hacklett: Rafe Spall
A young and loyal man of England, Mr. Hacklett begins as a secretary hired to assist Governor Almont. Hacklett is a man of many words who throws them around with disregard of consequence. In his eyes, all privateering expeditions of Charles Hunter appear to be piratical ventures. He also has the misfortune of being impotent (or at least sterile) and marrying a promiscuous beauty who is well known to have been a mistress of King Charles II, so you can imagine the multitude of his insecuritiy festering in his every word and action.
Timothy Spall’s son really does look so stuff-shirted and proper, doesn’t he? Given Hacklett’s uptight (and later malicious nature) in the novel, Spall’s stiff upper lip perfectly suits Hacklett’s open opposition to Hunter (believing the latter to be little more than a pirate), a stark contrast to much later in the book when Hacklett commits a reprehensible act born from jealously and betrayal. Hacklett believes in furthering himself by serving the crown and will do and say anything he possibly can to keep it like that- God help any pirate who gets in his way.
Governor James Almont: John Alderton
Governor of Jamaica, Almont presides over Port Royal, where he oversees his duties despite being afflicted with gout and painfully stiff limbs. Known locally as “James the Tenth” due to his privateering expeditions that lead to his own personal tenth shares of treasure, it is Almont who hires the services of Hunter because he wishes to escape this loathsome post in order to return back to England where he may be in comfort and security.
Alderton instantly comes off as learned and seasoned as an older gentleman but there is a distinct spark of cunning in his eyes that defies the rest of his appearance. He has a warmth and approachfulness about him that makes it easy to enjoy him and yet at the same time a spritely ambition. Although at heart Almont is a fool for wasting his finances on privateering he still believes in duty and responsibility which is why he has a good connection with Hunter.
Lady Sarah Almont: Rebecca Hall
Lady Sarah is James Almont’s niece who has gone missing ever since her charter disappeared whilst sailing across the Carribean. When Charles Hunter finds her, she is in the last place she would be expected to be found.
Although the part of Lady Sarah really is not the most substansial role, she still manages to challenge Hunter when they finally meet by questioning his character and his skills. Some of the best exchanges are between Sarah and Hunter whilst on their journey and Hall has that instantaneous charisma to make you care for a character who (at least in the novel) exists as a plot device to ruffle Hunter’s feathers.
Lady Hacklett: Lara Pulver
Robert Hacklett’s wife and alleged courtesan to the king, she is described as not being classically beautiful yet it is her vivacious and fire-blooded personality that has won admiration and notoriety in equal measure.
Lara Pulver is some sort of clone of Jodi Foster, I’m sure of it, in appearance and acting calibre. Considering she is Irene Adler, the only woman to make Sherlock stop in his tracks in a fit of confusion and wonder at her intellect, I feel Pulver will have no problems getting into the skirts of Hacklett’s vivacious bride who catches Charles Hunter’s eye