*I originally posted this on the Wheeloftime.tv blog at the request of Narg Trolloc.
Namene Damendar Boann,
Mistress of Pain,
The Forsaken that actually scares the other Forsaken,
Semirhage by Ariel Burgess
She is my favorite female Forsaken (Mesaana is a close second). As such, I am going to go ahead and tell y’all that my fantasy casting pic for Semi is Angela Bassett.
But we don’t have “Bassett Bucks” so we are just going to continue on with a more realistic casting. And for the record Viola Davis would be my second pick and she would kill the role. But we don’t have “Davis Dollars”, either, so….
Let’s start with Semirahge’s physical appearance. From the book we know:
- She is taller than most men, with a smooth dark face and dark eyes (LOC prologue)
- She is slender and very tall. Her charcoal black face is beautiful and she has large black eyes and full lips (WH, CH 14)
- She has short, wavy, black hair. (WH, CH17)
The WoT Companion gives us a bit more detail. She is 6’1 ½ “. With skin a dark as one of the Sea Folk with large dark brown eyes and short, wavy black hair she is considered beautiful by many. She is also described as being slender, graceful and having delicate hands.
The biggest issue I think we will have when trying to find an actress to match Semirhage’s height AND being slender with delicate hands so I am not going to worry about height so much. I would still like to see an actress on the taller side in this role, but I am not holding my breath for someone 6’1 1/2″. Anyway, I am sure they can create the illusion of height if necessary.
Whoever is cast for the role of Semirhage she will have to have an imposing screen presence. The WoT companion says Semi had a “cool, even cold, and imperious air” but when she was in her sadist glory she was ruthless, cruel and a vicious killer. So we are going to need an actress that looks cool, calm, and collected one minute and terrifyingly cruel the next. However, she will also need to have an almost clinical way about here when talking or performing her sadist acts. I mean, she was a Healer during the Age of Legends.
If you look back at her torturing of Cabriana Mecandes in Chapter 6 of Lord of Chaos you can see an example of her calculated cruelty.
These picks aren’t in any specific order. I actually don’t favor one actress over the other, but from the pool of known actresses, these are the three I think would do the role justice in both appearance and acting. And they won’t blow the budget. (I really wish we had “Basset Bucks” though)
Tika Sumpter is the closest when it comes to Semirhage’s look. She seems delicate at first glance but I think she would be able to pull off cold and calculating, as well as, scary as hell. She has a few movies under her belt but has done more TV work. Her career does seem to be taking off as she is currently working on or finishing up 5 projects, so she may not be as realistic of a choice as I like, but I think she would do well in the role.
Next, we have Sharon Leal. Leal has been working in “the biz” since the late 90’s. She had a recurring role on Guiding Light as Dahlia Crede from 1996 – 99. She also had recurring roles on Boston Public and Private Practice. More recently she has appeared on Instinct (TV series) as Lt. Jasmine Gooden and on the Supergirl TV series as M’gann M’orzz. I will
be honest, I don’t think her look is quite Semirhage. There is a softness to her face that I don’t imagine Semi has, BUT if her acting skills are up to par that softness wouldn’t matter
And, finally, we have Anna Diop. You may have heard about the controversy surrounding her playing of Starfire in the new Titans streaming series. The majority of Diop’s experience is in television. Most recently she has appeared on the series Bosch as Desiree Zealy and as Nicole Carter on 24 Legacy. I think given the chance to play Semirhage she would us noteworthy performance. As far as “the look” I don’t think she has the delicacy Semirhage is described as having. That aside, she is fully capable cool, calm and crazy vibe.
So that is it for this week’s To Cast a Villian. Who would you pick to play the Mistress of Pain? Email me at Ebonysedia@gmail.com.
Next week we will be casting Asmodean!