So, yeah, casting.
We’ve talked about how this works before. Casting is one of the hardest, most important things we do. Getting the right actors into the right roles is critical and complicated and hard.
When casting you will watch dozens or sometimes hundreds of actors read for a single part. And all of them (OK, not all, but really the vast majority) will have something to recommend them: the right look, the right ethnicity, the right height, the best acting chops, the best availability, the most affordable rate, the best chemistry with the other actors, and on and on.
You have to be flexible with it. Ready to let go of your preconceived image of the character and see what happens with the skills and toolboxes and talents that come up. If you’re lucky, you find great new versions of the characters to bring to life. But no actor, however awesome, matches exactly what you had in your head walking in. That’s just too much to expect.
So let’s talk about casting our favorite Martian Marine, Gunnery Sergeant Roberta W Draper, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, Force Recon.
Bobbie Draper has athleticism and a sense of peak fitness and physical training. She’s a Spec Ops warrior at the top of her game. Confident.
Bobbie’s also Polynesian. (She’s described as Samoan in the books, but there are many people’s from the islands in that part of the world that would have had the right look.)
She’s tall. Gunny Draper should never have to look up at anyone. She dominates any room.
That’s a hell of a lot to ask for. And then we asked for more.
We put her through hell in our second book. Whoever takes the role needed to be able to cover a lot of ground emotionally. Strength, sorrow, vulnerability, fierceness. You have to be a seriously talented actor to do all that in addition to everything else we’re already looking for.
So what did we compromise on?
Turns out, nothing.
Meet Frankie Adams.
New Zealand-born actress Frankie Adams, athlete, amateur boxer, standing a healthy six feet tall, and with all the acting chops to nail the role, and with a look that says she has zero time for your bullshit.
You don’t know who Frankie is yet. She’d only really broken out in her acting career in New Zealand when we found her, but we were all blown away by what she brought to audition, and by the work she’d already done.
Frankie is also coming to the show ready to work. She’ll be spending a month or so with some of the toughest ex-military trainers we could find, getting her into the peak physical condition of a spec ops warrior. By the time she’s done, she won’t be playing Bobbie, she’ll damn well be the gunny.
So, sometimes you get lucky. You imagine a character, and she just shows up. And if that doesn’t get you excited for what we’re planning in season 2, I don’t know what will.
Also, without context, a sneak peak.
Hat tip to Cher Martinetti who broke the news here http://www.blastr.com/2016-4-14/exclusive-expanses-ty-franck-daniel-abraham-reveal-major-cast-addition-season-2