World of Shadows: Dream Casting

Good Afternoon my lovely readers,

Not sure about you guys but today is a rather chilly Winter day. I’m looking forward to spending the afternoon and evening doing some writing and reading some fellow author’s works. Today, we have a special treat on the blog. A good friend of mine and fellow author, Emily Rachelle, just put out her book World of Shadows. Today, she is here on the blog talking about her dream cast for her characters. I will also be posting a review of her novel on December 22 so make sure you check back in. Without further ado, my friend Emily.


About Emily:

Born in Panama, Emily Rachelle traveled throughout the country and the world with her Air Force family. She currently attends university in Indiana, pursuing a degree in public relations. When she’s not curled up with a book or her computer, Emily loves to ride around campus on her hideously hot pink bike. Of course, if it’s raining (as it often is in Indiana), Netflix-binging and amateur art are always options. Emily is also the author of poetry collection Rain In December and Christian novella Sixteen. You can find her on her blog or on Facebook.

bookdesign596About the Book:

In this urban fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast, modern-day teenager Beila Durand is plagued by nightmares that lead her to discover – and wind up trapped in – a cursed underground world. The invisible people that live in this medieval village depend on Beila learning the truth behind their curse – and why she is the only one who can set them free.

In her quest for answers, however, all she seems to find are more questions. Where do the echoing screeching at night originate? Who is the isolated man that speaks with Beila from the shadows of his cloak? What does this New York girl have to do with any of it? And will she ever find a way back home?

You can find the book on GoodReads and Amazon


Dream Casting

Every writer I know has several moments in their writing process when they envision their story as a movie. For me, that’s the whole thing; when I write, I’m just recording a movie in my head. You’d think casting a movie would then be second nature to me. In reality, dream-casting World of Shadows is probably the hardest thing I’ve done to promote this book. I have such a clear image of every character in my mind that it’s hard to find someone who fits. But I’m here today to share a potential cast list with you!
Our first order of business is Beila’s family. At the beginning of the book, Beila is moving back into her childhood home with her father, her brother, and her sister. Beila’s dad was a tricky one to cast, but I decided on J.K. Simmons. He seems like he’d be good at a fatherly role. jk-simmons
Beila’s sister Viviann was fairly easy; Landry Bender is perfect for the girl I envisioned. She looks the part and carries herself the way Viviann would.

Beila’s brother Damien was such a headache to cast—almost the hardest, in fact. In the book, he’s the quiet, steady, reliable older brother. There’s actually some deleted scenes in which Beila seeks him out for advice. He’s one of my favorite characters in the book, and I wanted him to be perfect. I ultimately decided on Tom Sturridge, but with the right actor I could be convinced to change my mind.

In the tunnels, two of the most important characters Beila meets are the apparent leader Adele and her daughter Louna. Since both characters are members of the invisible village, appearance takes a secondary place in casting these parts. Personality and voice are key.
I knew the moment I began this casting experiment that I just had to have Astrid Berges-Frisbey somewhere in the cast. I fell in love with her as Syrena in the fourth Pirates of the Carribean movie, and as a French actress she embodies the spirit of the tunnel village. I did consider several other women for Adele’s part, but Berges-Frisbey had my heart before I even started. It was meant to be.
Adele’s daughter was a bit harder to figure out. So many child actors are older than I realized, and I didn’t want someone who could just pass for a young girl—I wanted this movie to be age-realistic. Eventually, I found Harshaali Malhotra. Malhotra is Indian, so not quite the person you’d expect to play the daughter of a French peasant woman, but she looks a lot like the Louna I imagined. She’s young and sweet and innocent, but she can portray the gravitas of a girl who’s lived through the experiences Louna has.

By far the hardest role to cast was Shadow, the mystery cloaked man. I needed someone who could win readers’ hearts without fitting too easily into the usual idea of “tall, dark, and handsome.” I can’t have my character pigeonholed. I’m not sure if that’s where I landed, but it was my goal.
One of the many original inspirations for Shadow’s character was actually Alex Pettyfer, but since he was already in Beastly, I felt that option was out. Then I discovered an actor from Reign, but he played the historic prince that inspired part of my book, so I didn’t want to cast him, either. I thought I’d found my man with Mitchell Hope… who, besides lacking the maturity I wanted, turns out to play the son of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast in their Descendants franchise. Would I ever find a leading man who wasn’t already tangled up in the story?
It took me hours, but I finally determined that Nicholas Hoult was the man for the job. I loved him in Warm Bodies, and I’m so excited to see him in Equals when I get the chance. He can play unusual romantic leads and fill the heartthrob role. His characters always win my heart. I think he can achieve the aura of mystery Shadow’s portrayal would require.

Finally, Beila Durand, our leading lady. Obviously the main character is the most important role in a film. I considered dozens of actresses for this part. After much internal debate, I narrowed my options down to two ladies: Hailee Steinfeld and Ariel Winter. The decision was tough. I watched movie clips and trailers from both women’s works as well as interviews with the actresses. I love Hailee Steinfeld as a singer, and The Edge of Seventeen looks funny and original. But does she have the right personality to play Beila? I’d never heard of Ariel Winter before. It was Winter’s interviews that finally made my decision; her family relationships and her personal motivations in life showed me she was perfect for the part.

It’s highly unlikely my book would ever be a movie. Even if it did, authors rarely get a say in casting decisions when their works are translated to the screen. But writers can dare to dream. If I were making this movie, this is the cast I would choose.


Hope you guys enjoyed having Emily as the guest blogger today. It’s been so much fun working with her on the tour. I am excited to share my thoughts on the book later this week. Make sure you check out her facebook page and blog as well as her book.

Here is a Rafflecopter giveaway for the book.


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