To Cast Villian: Semirhage, The Mistress of Pain

*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!

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.

 

Semirhage by Michael Komarck

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


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.

Sharon Leal

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

Anna Diop

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!

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A New Blog Series “To Cast A Villain”

Hey, Y’all!! So I haven’t posted anything since Jordancon back in April. That is because pesky things like kids, and work, and adulting keep getting in the way. As a result, I don’t always have as much time to dedicate to Wheel of Time as I would like. However, I am changing that starting with this.

By now most of you have heard that the Wheel of Time TV series is a go. This is what we know so far:

If that name sounds familiar it may be because he has worked on “Agents of SHIELD and “Chuck”. He was also on Survivor: Guatemala (2005).

Even more exciting the following was tweeted on his account:

Rafe Tweet 1            Rafe Tweet 2

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As you can imagine, this information has set the fandom all “a twitter” (no pun intended). Especially those of us that enjoy casting the characters. I mean, some of us have been doing this for years, decades even.

Now I was thinking about the new show and who I would cast, which led me to think about the casting panel at Jordancon (I am pretty sure I will be on it again next year), and that made me think about the theme for Jordancon 11. The theme is Shai’Con, you know, like Shai’tan…..Jennifer and Aubree really like puns. giphy1

Anyway, all that thinking hatched the following idea:

A blog series about casting the villains in The Wheel of Time!!!

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Brillant, right?!?!

Often, (at least in my experience) when fans discuss casting they focus on the Fab Five (Rand, Mat, Perrin, Egwene, and Nynaeve) Moiraine, Thom and Faile.  You may get a Lanfear or Moridin or Ishamael.

With this blog series, I want to focus on the “bad guys”; the Forsaken, Darkfriends, the just plain mean characters and of course Padan Fain.

Each post will include the physical description (of course) from the books and the Companion. It will also have my opinion on what traits and abilities an actor would need to be successful in the role. Lastly, it will include some of my picks for each character.

The series will be weekly starting August 1st.  The first villain I am going to focus on is Padan Fain (since we meet him first)

Do you have an actor in mind that you think would fit the role of Padan Fain?

Email me at EbonySedai@gmail.com with suggestion and the reason why you think the actor would be a perfect fit. I will include a few suggestions from the fandom.

Check back in a couple weeks for the first post in the “To Cast a Villain: The Forsaken, Darkfriends and More” series.

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