Friday, January 14, 2011

Wait! Before I forget...

"For me, ideas have never been the thing that stalls me. I don't mean to sound arrogant about that—I'm not even saying necessarily that these are good ideas. They may be ridiculous and stupid ideas—that's up to the reader. But that's not the axis on which I have difficulty, and I am convinced that the vast majority of us have many many more ideas than we think we do, all the time... Sit down and talk to a 5-year-old for 20 minutes, and you will have a barrage of ideas, just crazy ideas—what happens is that at a later stage, we get trained into filtering out a lot of our own ideas. And I think for some of us the issue is not that we have more ideas than anyone else, it's that either we have less of a filter, or we've learned to ignore our filter, that little voice that says, "Oh, you're being silly." We don't hear it or we don't care about it or whatever."
- China Mieville.

Nik came across that comment from China, and we both remarked upon how much we identified with it. So I thought I'd share it with you here.

Other stuff: I've been really busy this last week or so, with a battery-recharging visit to Black Library towers, from which I returned bursting with more ideas than... Something So Very Full Of Ideas It's Going To Burst. Just for now, I must make time to mention four things:

This Saturday, the 22nd, I will be making two more appearances as part of the "Prospero Burns Tour". You can find me at Games Workshop Thurrock (Lakeside) from 11 until 1, and then at Games Workshop Bluewater from 3 until 5. Be there or... I'll be lonely.

On Saturday the 29th, I'll be popping up at the Kent Adventure Gaming Society's GameCon, details of which you can find here. I'll be there from 12 until 2, waxing lyrical and defacing books.

Then, on Saturday 5th February, I will be at the SFX Weekender, talking, signing, and then attending a screening of Ultramarines with producer Bob Thompson. Details of the Weekender here, but please be aware I am NOT a weekender. I am only going to be there for the Saturday.

Finally, Saturday 12th February, I will be signing the hnaftafls off Prospero Burns at the Games Workshop Oxford Street Plaza store. Details from all good Black Libraries. I believe Graham will be there too, so it will surely suck for him, because I am Russ and he is Magnus, and I will therefore be obliged to poke him in the eye with my cock-spankingly giant axe.

Couple of pleasing reviews came my way, so I'm sharing them below. Here's a nice one from

"In some ways, "Heroes for Hire" seems to be Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning's version of "Marvel Team-Up" where they can throw together any sort of character they want. What's that? Silver Sable and Paladin meet Satana and Ghost Rider? Hey, why not? As long as it works—and trust me, it works.

"Part of Abnett and Lanning's trick in making it work is that the book never feels like it's slowing down, not even for an instant. The pace is steady and quick, and every time you think the book is going to resolve itself, Abnett and Lanning throw in another obstacle that needs to be overcome.

"They're also not afraid to slightly buck reader expectations. Books where the controller is sending out heroes on missions (in this case Misty Knight taking that central role) and one hero needs the cash, well, you can predict some of what's to come. At some point the cash is going to come back up again, but Abnett and Lanning turn it on its head with Silver Sable being told to leave but still get paid and being told not to. It's a good turning point, that moment where you start to realize things are going wrong, and it keeps the interest up.

"Abnett and Lanning are also already starting to explore the overarching plot of Misty Knight and her captor, something which I figured we wouldn't see for a while. It's nice to know there's going to be that common thread knitting the issues together, and it makes me that much more eager to see next month's issue. Never mind the random heroes getting tossed into the mix, I want to know what's going to happen to Misty.

"I'm also pleased to see Abnett and Lanning reunited with Brad Walker and Andrew Hennessy after their time together on "Guardians of the Galaxy." Walker and Hennessy's art looks even better than ever, from the thick locks of hair on Silver Sable, to the rumpled and bunched up clothing we get whenever people are leaping through the air. They get the big moments just right too, from that demonic grin on Silver Sable's face as she starts firing one of the cursed weapons, to the dramatic reveal of Ghost Rider. Ghost Rider's on the cover of the book, but his appearance looks so larger than life and powerful that I ended up being startled in spite of my previous knowledge.

"This is a fun comic that's already picking up steam. When do we get #3? "Heroes for Hire," I'm sold"

And here's one from Ain't It Cool News:

“Y’know, it is a really rare thing for me to “fanboy out” I guess would be the term for getting all wound up about certain characters getting having a huge moment – Spider-Man taking down Morlun, Batman taking down a handful of White Martians with some gas and a match, etc. I would wager it stems back to honestly being more or less jaded at this point; I’ve simply read too many comics and seen most my favorite characters have countless moments. Taking that into consideration, what happens for me anymore these days in my superhero reading is I find myself getting my jollies when I see second or third tier characters getting their time in the spotlight. It’s why I have adored what Abnett & Lanning have been pulling off in the cosmic sector of the Marvel Universe and now that they are working with the Marvel Knights section of it as well, I could not be happier.

"Well, okay, I lied. There are some places I would like this book to go. But for now I am highly entertained. I like the build up that is going on here involving, for those who have not tried this yet, a rotating cast of anyone Misty Knight can call upon for a little butt kicking, which there has been a plethora of. There’s a pretty interesting and disturbing master plot going on to, where Misty has been calling on these heroes while in the thrall of the Puppet Master, a twist that was very unexpected at the end of the first issue but is an intriguing hook. At the least it is a means to a hopeful end, which I will get to now.

"While I do dig on this rotating crew thing for now, especially in the early going, I do hope this turns into something a little more stable. I know it is not right to judge a book on what it might be until it happens, but I think a rotisserie of a couple characters a month will get old fast, given that I felt a little momentum lost already with just one more issue. So I’m hoping this turns into at least a semblance of a team book, like a GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, with several characters you can count on to be mostly there but a nice drop-in/drop-out esthetic with a couple new MK-based faces every so often. But who am I to argue with these two gents given their handling of the Marvel Cosmic material?

"I guess “fun” is an easy word to throw around when it comes to any well produced superhero book, but HFH is excelling at it so far and with some rather dark overtones to boot. Lots of stylish action with a creepy missing persons arc to get things rolling. Digging Brad Walker’s work on this as well, in the wake of his material in the aforementioned cosmic books. It has the hyperkinetic tendencies this book needs and looks fantastic all the while shit is being blow up oh so good (even if Puppet Master looks like a pedophile caught in a wind tunnel). This book has it going on from both ends and is helping me channel that inner fanboy that I usually keep locked away, not unlike Ms. Knight in her current peril…okay, too far. Just buy it already…”

So that was nice. Anyway, like I said I'm very busy and I'm teetering on ideas overload, so I can't stay here gassing. I haven't had time to prepare a full response to the Gaunt casting ideas yet, but I have been enjoying them. Some in a "what the hell..?" kind of way, and others in a "Oooh, never thought of that one..." style (in the latter camp... Radha Mitchell as Criid, James Purefoy as Bask etc). I will make some picks of my own soon (though you won't like them). In the meantime, please feel free to keep coming up with ideas.

If you want a new task to focus on... Eisenhorn. Casting for him, Ravenor and the crew, if you like, but what I'm REALLY interested in is what he sounds like. Who would you pick to give Gregor Eisenhorn a voice?

Can't imagine why I'd be asking that...


Phillip said...

"Who would you pick to give Gregor Eisenhorn a voice?

Can't imagine why I'd be asking that..."


With that out of the way, ooh you are a tease! Methinks Codex pictures' next outing will be something of an Inquisitorial flavour...

I fairly lousy at the casting game, I can nitpick other peoples choices (this is teh internets after all) but I have trouble drawing faces and voices to mind.

Certainly someone British, I've never imagined Eisenhorn as an American. John Hurt would be a perfect match, voice wise, for Uber Aemos.

When in the Eisenhorn timeline would you be looking to set your story? Terrence Stamp's voice might be a very good match for Eisenhorn, imperious, eloquent and authoritative. I know that I'm picking from the Ultramarines cast list but, if it ain't broke don't fix it.

Willard said...

Vincent Price for Pontius Glaw!

It's extra appropriate as he's dead:)

Henning said...

Agian, i would recommend Alan Rickman or Jeremy Irons

Anonymous said...

Young Eisenhorn - Tom Hardy

Old Eisenhorn - Patrick Stewart? Or is it just because he's bald?

Anonymous said...

Sean pertwee would have been perfect, well he has the PERFECT 40k voice.

But you cant over use the guy.

How about Brian Blessed.

Shadowheim said...

Brian Blessed for Osma, Rorken or Tantalid maybe. He's ostentatious and authoritative enough. For Eisenhorn? That's a toughie. Maybe Ian McKellen for an older version of him, not sure about younger.

Dukeleto said...

you are an ideas man, always thought your books are packed with more ideas than is strictly fair, most authors average one per book, if they're lucky!

Off the top of my head, some things that deserve a book of their own;
The Turing Shroud, The Olamic Quitude, and Desolane.

Re. Casting Eisenhorn, maybe it's just the name, I don't think he had a Tuetonic accent in my head, but how about a German actor? Jurgen Prochnow, Max Von Sydow or Rutger Hauer? All with impeccable sco-fi credentials, too.

sredni vashtar said...

Michael Wincott. For serial.

edward said...

Oh you tease.

Ben Kingsley can do hard-nosed majesty and wisdom; He did play Gandhi after all.

He's terrifying in Photographing Fairies, and can roar like imagine Gregor does, and has the right sort of laugh.

The Voice of Captain Scarlett, Oliver Hollis, would be my choice for young Ravenor.

The Betancore's have always, in my head, had a Mediterranean twang with just a hint of Afrikaans to their voices. Slghtly breathless with a hint of steel. No idea who'd be suitable.

Tilda Swinton for Bequin, simply for that playful voice of hers.

Harlon Nayl is a tricky one. Jason Statham does 'hardman' quite well, but so does the Dexter Fletcher (suprisingly so). Really, you want someone who can convey 'really badly hurt but still highly dangerous' in a single grunt, without sounding too generic.

unscarred_j said...

Eisenhorn needs to be educated but tough. The actor also needs to be able to do pre- and post-facial paralysis - slight speech impediment while still being comprehensible. In my mind his voice is deep and confident before, then slightly hoarse after the torture.
I suggest Peter Serafinowicz.

Jonathan Green said...

Yippee! The Keeler Image!

Am I right? Or is Eisenhorn popping up in the next 40K movie?

MonoManual said...

not to be too much of a nitpicker but Rutger Hauer is very much Dutch :P

I have to agree on Terrence Stamp for an older Gregor,
Peter Renaday was cool as Duncan in the Dragon Age game, though he would have to add some authority.

As for a younger Eisenhorn: I'm not put off by the idea of Tom Hardy, but it's a difficult one.

Matthew F. said...

Laurence Fishburne for Eisenhorn. Claudia Karvan for Bequin. An Australian actor named Richard Carter for Fischig. Martin Scorsese for Osma. I don't know why, I always just pictured him when I was reading Osma's scenes. Marc Gascoigne for Cherubael. Sam Waterston for Voke.

Rob Leigh said...

For me I think either Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen or possibly Anthony Head would be a good choice.

Uber Amos HAS to be John Hurt.

Boom said...

If we're talking just the voice I would give it up to Bill Nighy or Kenneth Branagh.

I'll have to think about other members of the inquisitorial team...

Nik said...

I know it sounds like it's coming out of left field, but I can't help thinking that John Noble would make a very cool, understated, authoritative Eisenhorn, voice-wise at least. He does, of course, have far too much luscious hair for the visual.

Anonymous said...

+200 for Nik and her suggestion of John Noble!

The man is a LEGEND. Absolutely perfect for it in my honest opinion.

He can go from sounding completely pleasent to horribly cold in an instant. Brilliant.

Ravenkeeper said...

Gerade butler as Eisenhorn, most definetly. Imagine that voice saying "my patience is not without limits, unlike my authority" (my subcounscious always adds "bitches" to that line XD

Bequin: first choice Kiera knightly, great voice and accent. but don't know if she has the acting talent. so Anne Hathaway would be my second choice.

Godwyn: uuh tough one. I'd go with Kevin Conroy off the bat. dude that voice acts batman. always imagined Godwyn with that sort of gravity.

Amos: hard to imagine anyone but John Hurt saying "most perpetuary" ^^

Midas: shermar moore (the betancore have always been hispanic in my mind)

Medea: Michelle Rodriguez with a moments doubts, she has the sassy attitude and well attitude to make a good Medea ^_^

Nayl: Jason Statham, who else XD the man basicly plays Nayl in all his roles =P

Kara: hmm tricky also... Emily brown possibly.

Cherubael: oh that's trick, real tricky. a really great actor would be needed to convey the charm and evil of this daemon host.

Maximus: Hugh laurie I think he'd be perfect ^^

Ravenor: hmmm Paul bettany, I think he could convey the quiet strength and serious mind of Ravenor quite well.

Ravenkeeper said...

as an afterthought:
if Codex pictures are brewing something with Eisenhorn, I seriously hope they raise the bar a notch or three.
Personally I found Ultramarines disappointing. Good try, I'll give'em that. But there's some real forhead smacking screwups in that movie.

imc69 said...

This is my voice cast, but some of them could be the live cast as well.

Eisenhorn - Ray Stevenson

Midas - Chiwetel Ejiofor

Medea - Zoe Saldana

Fischig - Kevin McKidd

Aemos - Ross Noble

Bequin - Emily Blunt

Nayl - Tom Hardy

Kara - Gemma Arterton

Glaw - Bill Nighy

Ravenor - Joshua Jackson

Cherubael - Toby Kebbell

Anonymous said...

When I think of good Inquisitorial voices, I think Ciarán Hinds (Julius Cesar from Rome), and Hugo Weaving (V for Vendetta, Lord of the Rings, The Matrix). Ciarán Hinds immediately comes to mind, he even looks like what I picture Gregor to look like. Hugo Weaving is just a tremendous actor, both voice and live action.

Nips said...

Eisenhorn has to be Hugo Weaving in look and voice.

John Noble is fantastic,could do the perfect voice but is too old to play younger Eisenhorn.

He would be a fantastic Aemos.

Midas - Chiwetel Ejiofor
Kara - Gemma Arterton,

great shout on both imc69.

Bomster said...

Seconding Ciaran Hinds. He immediately came to my mind when I wondered who to voicecast as Eisenhorn.

Michael Gambon would be a nice Aemos I think.

HiWayRobry said...

The voice of Eisenhorn? Simon Cowell. A haughty, arrogant prick with a secret heart of gold (or not!)

robert said...

For Eisenhorn, either voice or live action, I've always envisioned Vicent D'Onofrio.

For just voice acting, Simon Templeman has a great voice. I don't know who I'd cast him as though, Pontius perhaps, or even Eisenhorn.

Cole Hauser as Fischig

Someone like Johnny Lee Miller as the voice of Carl Thonius.

And I like Craig Parker for Ravenor.

P.S. Sean Bean is Wistan Frauka. :P

Anonymous said...

RAVENOR THE MOVIE cast line-up:

Patience Kys = Eva Green

Harlon Nayl = Ty Olsson (BSG Captain Aaron Kelly)

Carl Thonius = Sam Witwer (BSG 'Crashdown')

Kara Swole = Sienna Miller with bob-cut hair(stunt doubled for acrobatics :S)

Wystan Frauka = Clint Eastwood when he was younger

Zeph Mathuin = Sticky Fingaz w/ dreads (Blade TV series)

Eisenhorn as a voice... James Earl Jones maybe

Cheers from Chris K

Curtis said...

First choice would be Hugo Weaving, second would be Bill Nighy

Anonymous said...

Peter Serafonowicz for the voice of Eisenhorn. He has a tremendous range of voices, and can do majestic, posh, terrifying etc. He's more than just Darth Maul...(who he did as well.)

Plus he's got form for 40k, as he was the voice of a Space Marine captain (Ardius, I think?) in the Fire Warrior game for the PS2.

And all this casting stuff is all well and good, but how would you cast the Primarchs?


Laurie said...

Ciaran Hinds (as Julius Caesar)!
Ian McShane (as Al Swearengen)!

Big said...

Eisenhorn = Hugo Weaving with his english accent
Ian McShane excellent choice

Dukeleto said...

how about Rutina Wesley as Medea Betancore?

Nathan Dowdell said...

Personally, I can only ever imagine Ron Perlman as Harlon Nayl, though that might just be me.

BigWill said...

I see Perlman as Worma.
Harlon Nayl would be Jason Stratham
Eisenhorn Looks a bit like Hugo W.
as for sounds like, who knows,sounds like you guys have the Britsh accent side covered :)

James said...

Still James Spader.

James said...

Or Hugh Laurie after seeing House for the first time last week.

James said...

OR (my last one) Stephen Russell who did the voice for Garrett in the Thief games.

Anonymous said...

For the love of God, I hope Codex Pictures leaves the Eisenhorn series alone. As a literature teacher, and someone who appreciates good writing as well as good story, I think that Dan Abnett is amazing. If the Warhammer 40K world has got one excellent chance of gaining some really positive reviews for itself in the mainstream film market (read: non-fanboys), I think that Eisenhorn is it. But I don't think Codex Pictures succeeded with Ultramarine primarily (and it will sound like a petty gripe) because it failed to show the immense size and bulk and archaic nature of Space Marines and indeed the Imperium at large. This was not, in case you're reading this Mr. Abnett, your fault, and I love your work. But given the brilliance of the story of Eisenhorn, the manner in which it charts the change of one man into the very thing he swore his life to fight against, has incredible potential to show people not involved in the hobby that the universe is capable of thematic depth, and is about more than just Space Marines.

As for the voice of Eisenhorn, I think Ben Kingsley has a certain stately accent that's hard to ignore, and given that the film poster for A House Of Sand And Fog features a profile shot of him that bears startling similarity to the Eisenhorn pic on the back of the Inquisitor rulebook, I think you'd be hard pressed to find an actor who looked better for the role, to boot.

Dukeleto said...

^I agree with Anonymous.

How about Daniel Day Lewis for Eisenhorn? He's an amazing actor, and capable of being absolutely terrifying when he needs to.

Anonymous said...

Hey imc69,

I think your Eisenhorn casting is excellant. Gemma Arterton is a far better call than my Sienna Miller for Kara. Check out my Ravenor team line-up further up the comments. These definitely hit the mark for me:
Midas - Chiwetel Ejiofor
Fischig - Kevin McKidd
Bequin - Emily Blunt

Cheers, Chris K

Rob said...

Loads of quality suggestions but Peter Serafinowicz has to be the best suggestion by far. That deep authoritive tone and growling sense of implied threat..... Sorry, plunged into Man-crush canyon there for a second.....!!

Andrew said...

I think IMC69 has some of these right on the ball. The only one I have to add for acting and voice is:

Cherubael - Jason Isaacs

He's got the perfect impish face and licorice sweet voice to haunt a man's dreams.

I imagine any Eisenhorn movie has to start exactly like the book: a pict-graph of some poorly-fated Inquisitorial raid and a close up of the daemonhost tearing into something soft and fleshy. And then Jason Isaacs deliciously evil voice.

That is what I want.

Stygian Emperor said...

Bill Nighy would be good for old Eisenhorn, even looks-wise he could pull it off with different hair. He's got the perfect "passive" face, like he's frowning when he's not trying to make a face at all. I think Terrance Stamp's voice would work too, if it were lower.

Anonymous said...

From the Games Workshop website... 'We are extremely pleased to announce that on Saturday 12th February, both Dan Abnett and Graham McNeill will be visiting Games Workshop Plaza in London for a special duel book sigining event!'

A 'duel' event? A 'DUEL' event?

Will there be pistols at dawn?

Surely it will be a dual event? Illiteracy is alive and well at Games Workshop!

Rob said...

Ok, so I'm going to go a little off-the-wall with my casting choices since everyone's used up the straight laced "that makes sense" choices, and since Dan seems to cast on personality rather than looks (e.g. Denzel Washington as Gaunt).

So how about these:

MkVenner: To me, MkVenner has to be THE ULTIMATE CINEMA BADASS of the moment. And thus, Donnie Yen is the only one I can choose. Can't picture it? Watch the video below. Things get crazy at about the 2:10 mark:

Dorden: Maybe it's just his role as Doc Cochrine in Deadwood, but I think Brad Douriff would fill the role nicely.

Eisenhorn: Ian McShane. Mentally shave his head and you'll see it.

Varl: I'm going to go with Nathan Fillon. Not an off-the-wall choice, but screw it.

Uber Aemos: James Cromwell. Explains itself.

Director of Gaunt's Ghosts: I'm really into Kim Ji-woon's The Good, The Bad, The Weird this year, so I wouldn't mind seeing his take. (Seriously, if you haven't seen this, go get it.)

Ravenor: Guy Pierce (Body) Kevin Spacey (Chair Voice) Makes more sense if you've seen Moon here spacey was the A.I.

Frauka: Speaking of Moon, Sam Rockwell as Frauka. He plays dirty well.

Ayatani Zweil: Robert Duvall. Seen Get Low? He's perfect.

Nayl: I just keep seeing Cyril Raffaelli, even though he's younger and a more acrobatic a fighter than Harlon. A young Harlon maybe?

Captain Daur: If I were to go international, I'd say Samuel Le Bihan. If American, you could do worse than a young Cary Elwes. Why don't we split the difference and say DiCaprio in Catch Me If You Can mode.

Rob said...

Somehow that Donnie Yen one isn't working. Remember, hang in until 2:10.

Try This Instead

Now tell me that's not MkVenner to a T.

By the way, this movie is Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen.. One of the best Donnie Yen movies, Ip Man 2 is coming out at the end of the month in the States.

Rene said...

Young Eisenhorn- Tom Hardy from Inception
Old Eisenhorn - John Noble from Fringe

Shane said...

Eisenhorn, in my mind, has always been voiced by Charlton Heston.

Anonymous said...

Gregor Eisenhorn = Steven Berkoff.

#2501 said...

I hope you meant "voice" as in "act", because I always felt your novels would be better as big-budget theatrical pieces (or at least HBO-quality series). I have to agree with Anonymous; Codex Pictures didn't do your writing credit with their video game-standard piece. It just didn't have the gravity and atmosphere I would've wanted from something of that potential.

Offhand, I'd say shop it to Henson or WETA Digital. Eisenhorn/Ravenor is an excellent saga, and it'd be a shame to see it done less than properly.

Back on topic, voice-wise, I have to agree with all those who said Peter Serafonowicz. The man's simply amazing.

While we're on the subject of casting, Daniel Craig has been my mental picture of Gaunt since the first book, with Jason Statham as his Rawne. For some reason, Tom Sizemore keeps materializing when I think of Corbec, even though he's bald as an eight-ball and batshit crazy.

Lastly, whenever I think Horus, I see Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson. Then man looks like the penultimate space marine, and can act, to boot.

Dan said...

Brian Blessed for Osma, Rorken or Tantalid maybe. He's ostentatious and authoritative enough. For Eisenhorn? That's a toughie. Maybe Ian McKellen for an older version of him, not sure about younger.