Friday, May 13, 2016

Friday Fun - Pick Me! Pick Me! Casting Call for Georgette Heyer

Avril Tremayne has been in meltdown mode ever since the news hit that, after the disappointment that was The Inheritance (based on Heyer's The Reluctant Widow) in 1950, another Georgette Heyer novel was finally being made into a movie. So today she's back at the Pink Heart Society, talking about about her favourite Heyer novels and giving a few casting suggestions, should they ever make it to the screen.

I’m not saying this is a universal truth, but I am saying it’s a widespread phenomenon: ask a romance writer for a list of their key influencers and Georgette Heyer’s name will crop up. It doesn’t matter what subgenre they write, historical or contemporary, sweet or sexy, Georgette makes the list so often, it’s uncanny.  

Georgette Heyer was a British author (16 August 1902 – 4 July 1974), best known for her Georgian and Regency romances, but who also wrote a dozen detective novels, a smattering of contemporaries, and a few novels set in other historical periods. She published her first book, The Black Moth, set in the Georgian era, at the age of 17! Remarkable – or am I the only writer who comes across the scribblings of their 17-year-old self and wants to get out the matches and set fire to them? 

Heyer was a consistent best-seller despite never giving interviews, and was selling a million copies of her books a year in Britain alone at the time of her death. (Alison Flood, The Guardian, June 6,2015

Some excellent authors have taken the Regency romance Heyer  basically invented into new territory, but she remains as relevant today as when her books first appeared. That's because...
  • Her books are meticulously researched, bringing the details of that time vividly to life.
  • She’s witty and clever, and writes dialogue that sings, making you laugh out loud, your heart soar, and your body swoon with longing. 
  • She writes heroes and heroines of all persuasions – beautiful and plain; street-smart and naive; complicated and simple; fiery and calm – and somehow makes every one of them not only different, but endearing and intriguing. 
  • Her secondary characters leap off the page so that you wish they were part of your own life, with all their well-drawn idiosyncrasies and eccentricities to charm and delight you.
There are books and articles aplenty on the wonderful Georgette Heyer, so that's as far as I'm going to go here – but the reason she's so much on my mind at the moment is that at long last, it seems a film of one of her most delightful novels is in the works. Yes, The Grand Sophy is being made into a movie. (You can read about it here.)

This of course has sparked quite a lot of social media discussion among her devoted fans, including me, so I thought I'd share my top 10 Heyer novels with a little suggestion here and there as to ideal casting…

1. Sylvester

Now, I was  certain I was keeping the role of the proud, autocratic, loyal Sylvester for Aidan Turner – just his eyebrows alone should clinch it. But I've had an epiphany, placing Aidan elsewhere on this list and barracking instead for Sam Claflin.

2. Friday’s Child

I'm going with Nicholas Hoult as the youthful, dashing, confident Sherry. And let's pop Kit Harrington (Jon Snow for the Game of Thrones watchers) into the tempestuous and Byronic George Wrotham role. I'm open to suggestions for the innocent and lively heroine. (Side note: I almost named my daughter Hero after Friday’s Child’s heroine, Hero Wantage!)

3. The Grand Sophy

I always thought Romola Garai would make the perfect Sophy, in the same was she made Austen’s infamous Emma come to life. But I’m not complaining about the real choice of Jessie Buckley, who seems to have the vibrant personality to carry it off. And she sings...

I’d love to see Catherine Zeta Jones as the Marquesa. Just look at here in this black lace number

4. Venetia

Will someone please cast Richard Armitage as the rakish, world-weary Damerel pronto? (He has, of course, used his dreamy voice to narrate some of Heyer's books!)

5. Devil's Cub

Okaythis is the role for Aidan Turner. He has that edge of darkness about him, the tempestuous flare of possessiveness, the perfect hint of danger, to become Vidal. I mean, just look at him..

And while I'm on Devil's Cub, I’d love to see Stephen Fry as the droll Lord Rupert Alistair – perfection. 

6. Frederica

Frederica may be the hardest part to cast. A young woman who manages her rambunctious family with the lightest of touches. Independent, sensible, straight-talking, unaffected and graciouswho manages to accidentally attract the jaded, selfish Marquis of Alverstock! Very difficult – but I'd give Hayley Atwell a try at this one.

7. Cotillion

Cotillion has one of the most adored of all Heyer’s heroes. Freddy Standish is not your usual alpha hero of radiant testosterone and bulging muscles. Au contraire, he's always exquisitely dressed, his manners are impeccable, and he's cast in the shadow of his seriously buff and handsome cousin Jack. I would love to see Jack Farthing, the villainous George Warleggan of Poldark, become the hero this time around.  

                     8The Quiet Gentleman 

Who would be better than Tom Hiddleston for Gervase Frant, the seventh Earl of St Erth – he of the perfect smile and guinea gold hair? And for Miss Drusilla Morville, one of my all time favourite heroines, who is prosaic and unromantic and quite, quite wonderful…? My suggestion is Yasmin Paige.

9. Black Sheep 

For the careless, rakish Miles Calverleigh, a guy who has lived, my pick is Ioan Gruffud. 

                      10. Bath Tangle

The heroine, Serena Carlow, is a gal with confidence and beauty. She's headstrong and independent, and the gorgeous Rosamund Pike would be perfect. 

I relish every chance I get to delve into Georgette Heyer, so please share your favourite novels, favourite characters and preferred actors for the roles.

Although Avril writes modern, sexy novels, there's one thing she likes to think she's learned from reading Georgette Heyer, and that's the art of witty banter. It's one of the compliments she enjoys most, and has been a hallmark of her novels ever since her first Harlequin novel, Here Comes The Bridesmaid, came out:

Can she make organizing her friend's wedding any harder?
  1. Sunshine Smart has only got two months until the big day!
  2. She has to include the grouchy, surly best man Leo Quartermaine—a top chef and her complete opposite!
  3. Said best man is extremely handsome and sexy—and knows it!
  4. He has no interest in decor, flowers, clothes or shoes…but has an uninformed opinion on all four!
  5. And just a few days in she's already slept with him. Rookie mistake...
To connect with Avril Tremayne, you can visit her website and follow her on TwitterFacebook, Pinterest, and Goodreads.


  1. Nonononono!! Not Jack Farthing for Freddie. Freddie needs to be masculine, despite being foppish. And if Richard Armitage gets to be anyone in Heyer other than someone's father, that would be another movie I couldn't see. And not that insipid blonde bloke for Sherry. Sherry is big and strong and gorgeous. Other than that, and despite Aiden having the wrong role good job, Avril. But Jack Farthing? Never ever. Ever.

    1. I stand by Jack! I can totally see him in that role. He's a great actor - makes me sympathtise with George Warleggan, so it would wonderful to see him as the hero. I knew you would arc up about Richard but he is roughly the right age for the dissipated Damerel; he'd need to get the lightness right, though - Damerel is not all about dark brooding. I would love to see other options for Sherry, though, if you have some suggestions. That one is so hard to cast, because Sherry's such a young, impetuous guy's guy - and the contrast with George has to be there too.

  2. I always pictured a c.1970 Katy Manning as Hero Wantage. And how about Kate Beckinsale as Sophy? She already played basically the same role in Cold Comfort Farm.

    1. I did seriously think about Kate Bekinsale in various roles, but the fact she's already played Emma was stopping me! Age is also a real problem with casting Heyer, too because so many of her characters are in their twenties and you just wish all kinds of people got the chance to play them in years gone by. I also thought of Lily Collins as Hero

  3. I always pictured a c.1970 Katy Manning as Hero Wantage. And how about Kate Beckinsale as Sophy? She already played basically the same role in Cold Comfort Farm.

  4. Gwendoline Christie is the only choice for the Grand Sophy. Dour in "Game of Thrones," she has an extraordinarily vivacious quality that strongly reminds me of Miss Stanton-Lacy. It's a shame that Christopher Lee isn't alive to glower at her, as he would be the perfect Charles Rivenhall.