Casting the ‘Fathom’ Crew: James Walley Sets His Imagination Wild!

Image: Melanie R. Meadors

If you like quirky fantasy in the vein of Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams, then James Walley is your man. This week he tells us who he imagines in the roles of his characters in his newest book, The Fathom Flies Again!

“But James, who would you like to see playing the parts of the main characters of the Wink series in a movie?” I hear you cry. (Yes, you did. I heard you. Shush.)

Well, that’s a question I’ve thought long and hard about for at least the last few minutes, and as a movie buff, I have to say it’s a tough choice.

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Having said that, Marty is a simple choice right off the bat. Since day one, I’ve modeled my “hero” on the great Simon Pegg, more specifically in his roles as Tim in the TV show Spaced, and Shaun in the movie Shaun of the Dead. I’m a huge fan of Mr. Pegg, and his portrayals of the ne’er do well everyman who somehow comes up smelling of roses (with just a hint of zombie brains) is the perfect fit for my ne’er do well everyman who somehow comes up smelling of roses (with just a hint of gunpowder and rum). Anyone who’s seen Pegg’s performance in the aforementioned Zom-Com will see where Marty’s character was conceived. He has no idea what he’s doing, and spends most of the story trying to get out of trouble with the minimum of common sense or planning, and somehow manages to fluke a win. He’s the perfect hero, in as much as he’s a complete screw up who finds a way to look awesome. The only problem is that Pegg’s getting on a bit now (Sorry Simon!).

Image: Ragnarok Publications

That choice makes the casting of Timbers a no brainer. In voice form only (since Timbers is a toy, obviously), who better to fall in alongside a Pegg-driven Marty than his long time collaborator, Nick Frost? Frost carries the sort of cheerful enthusiasm, coupled with a slice of potential madness which makes Timbers the lovable little maniac that he is. In my mind, the little captain has always been archetypally British, but with a loud, brash confidence that comes from knowing that you are, in fact, all that. He embodies the same “hit it and hope” attitude that Marty champions, but backs it up with a swagger and bravado that Frost at full gallop has played many times over. Check out his “excited innocence turned badass” performance in Hot Fuzz for evidence of this.

Kate is a tough one, because there are so many awesome young actresses to choose from. Or at least there would be if I wasn’t a huge Star Wars fan. It’s Daisy Ridley hands down for me in this role, after seeing her epic performance in The Force Awakens. Kate is a ‘girl next door’ who’s basically Ripley from Aliens. She has reserves of strength, emotion, and cunning that you’ll glimpse in The Forty First Wink, and see in greater detail in The Fathom Flies Again. From day one, I didn’t want to write a damsel in distress into my trilogy, because this is the twenty-first century, people. Kate isn’t here to be rescued, she’s here to whupp clown ass, and that’s precisely what she does when a horde of them descend upon her town in Fathom. Ridley is undoubtedly my pick for that part, even if she’ll have to do without a lightsaber on this occasion.

Whipstaff has basically been stolen from me. If you’ve read Wink, and watched Guardians of the Galaxy, you’ll have seen parallels between a certain first mate, and a certain fast-talking, explosion-loving racoon. Yep, Bradley Cooper is my choice to voice the angry, gun-toting, shiny-chasing second-in-command of The Flying Fathom, solely because of his rip roaring performance in the Marvel sci-fi caper. Although weighing in at a very close second would be Michael Keaton, for his Beetlejuice chops.

As for Oaf. Who do you pick to play a monosyllabic, gruff, tiny giant, who has his head in the clouds even when his head isn’t literally in the clouds? I don’t know why, but I can see John Goodman delivering the befuddled one liners here. Maybe it’s the Sully in him (Monsters, Inc.), with his affable, do right, even if he isn’t sure why quality. Either way, it gets my vote.

Last but not least, and short but not sweet, Mr. Peepers. I will simply say this. You’d have to go a long way to beat Tim Curry’s Pennywise. Anyone got a better call than that?

Photo: James Walley

About James Walley:

Hailing from the mystical isle of Great Britain, James Walley is an author who prefers his reality banana shaped. 

His debut novel, The Forty First Wink, released through Ragnarok Publications in 2014, scuttles gleefully into this bracket, with a blend of humour, fantasy, and the unusual. 

A clutch of follow-up work, both short and long (including books two and three in the Wink trilogy) are in the offing, and have a similar demented flavour.

 When not writing, James is partial to a spot of singing, the odd horror movie or ten, and is a circus trained juggler.

About The Fathom Flies Again (Wink #2):

It’s time to wake up and smell the carnage. Just as every night gives way to dawn, all dreams yield to the break of day. For Marty, that’s kind of a problem. When you’ve fought killer clowns, sailed the seven skies, and generally laid waste to your own dreamspace, real life can be kind of a drag. At least, until your nightmares crawl through the cracks and shadows, and take a liking to your town. When the jesters come a knocking, it’s time to man up. When the unmentionables under your bed come a biting, it’s time to grab your trusty, pint-sized pirate compadre and lead a charge against the night terrors. What does this mean for Marty? It means the crew of The Flying Fathom are back, surfing on rainbows, swashing their buckles, and saving the world, one sleepy little town at a time. Book one of this series, The Forty First Wink, brought you a glimpse of utter, rum-swilling madness. Now The Fathom Flies Again, pushing you over the edge and chuckling at your plummeting screams, before scuttling off to find something shiny to steal. Remember, if you hear something under your bed, don’t move. Don’t make a sound. Draw your cutlass and think of something devilishly witty to shout, because things, my friend, are about to get all too real.

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Melanie R. Meadors is the author of fantasy and science fiction stories where heroes don’t always carry swords and knights in shining armor often lose to nerds who study their weaknesses. She’s been known to befriend wandering garden gnomes, do battle with metal-eating squirrels, and has been called a superhero on more than one occasion. Her work has been published in Circle Magazine, The Wheel, and Prick of the Spindle, and she was a finalist in the 2014 Jim Baen Memorial Science Fiction Contest. Melanie is also a freelance author publicist and publicity/marketing coordinator for both Ragnarok Publications and Mechanical Muse. She blogs regularly for GeekMom and The Once and Future Podcast. Her short story “A Whole-Hearted Halfling” is in the anthology Champions of Aetaltis, available April 12, 2016.