Here it is! The first in my To Cast a Villain blog series. I hope you enjoy and please, feel free to send me any feedback or suggestions you may have. Let’s begin with Padan Fain.
When we first meet Padan Fain, he is a simple peddler that brings goods and news to the Two Rivers from the outside world. In the Eye of the World Rand’s internal dialogue lets us know that last year Padan Fain finally started acknowledging the boys and seeing them as “men.” Of course, we later find that Fain’s attention to the boys had a nefarious purpose.
Padan Fain is from Lugard in Murandy. We don’t have a general physical description of people from Murandy, but Fain is described as being pale, skinny, has gangly arms, and a massive beak of a nose (TEotW, Ch. 3). Personally, I have always envisioned the Disney animated version of Ichabod Crane.
Knowing Fain is from Lugard gives us a bit of insight into his personality. Lugard also has a reputation for thievery and licentiousness. Residents consider any outsider to be a fair mark for theft or con (TWoRJTWoT, Ch. 30). So, it is not surprising that he went the route of Dark Friend.
Aside from having a very distinct look, the actor that plays Fain will need to be able to convey a condescending attitude, vengeance and just plain crazy. A popular fan choice
for Fain is Andy Serkis, you know Gollum from The Lord of the Rings movies. Most recently, he played Ulysses Klaue in Black Panther. Now, as far as acting chops I absolutely think Serkis could handle the part. But for me, he doesn’t fit the physical description. Now for some characters, the physical description doesn’t matter, but I do think it is essential for Fain to have an almost rat-like appearance and to seem physically fragile.
Another suggestion I have seen is Steve Buscemi. While Buscemi is a closer fit physically,
I still don’t think he is a good choice for this role. He is an established, well-known actor and while he can play villains, I don’t know how well he can do vengeful and crazy.
So, where does that leave us? I don’t think Fain’s character arc warrants the hiring of a well-known actor. He actually does not get that much screen time and I would rather they (the studio) use their budget on good effects, an excellent narrator and maybe a big name to play Moiraine or Thom.
My top pick for Padan Fain is Larry Hankin. Now I am going to guess that you most of you don’t recognize that name, but you will know his face. He has had numerous TV and movie roles, and he is one of those actors that we all recognize on sight, but we have no idea what his name is. I think he has a look and the acting range to play Fain, my only concern is his age. He is 77, and while that is probably around the age, Fain is I am not sure that bodes well for a casting suggestion. Since we don’t really know the timeline of the actual production, there is a good chance Mr. Hankin would be retired before the tv adaption ever hit the small screen.
My second choice for Fain is John Hawkes. He has the look and an impressive acting
resume. He is another one of those actors that you know, but don’t know. A plus to this pick is that he is 58, and while that is a younger than Fain I think it will give us more leeway as Fain transforms to Mordeth as far as visuals. I think it is easier to make a younger person look old and haggard than to make an older person look younger. And Fain should definitely look haggard at some point.
So, there you have it, my casting picks for Padan Fain. Let me know what you think. You can comment on this post or email me at Ebonysedai@gmail.com.
Next week we will be casting Semirhage.
See you then!