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Photo: Egon Endrenyi
Author Ken Follett takes you behind the scenes on the set of the movie adaptation of The Pillars of the Earth and gives you a peek into casting the "bad guys" and the joy these villainous characters have brought to the actors. Look for the movie that will air as a limited series on television in 2010.
Before I delve into characters and casting, I thought you'd be interested to know where things are in the post-production process of the television adaptation of my book The Pillars of the Earth. Principal photography was completed on November 21 in Budapest, after 112 shooting days and since then, the post-production team has been going full speed.

Sergio Mimica-Gezzan, is working on his director's cut as you read this and editing hundreds of hours of footage, which is indeed a daunting task.

The music composer is hard at work writing the score for The Pillars of the Earth. As an amateur musician, I can imagine what an exciting challenge it must be for a composer to write music to complement the scenes, the stories and characters. Music is used in so many ways in a film: as background to dialogue, to emphasize pivotal moments in the story or to introduce a particular character. Music is yet another of the key creative elements of this project.

Now to characters and casting, one of the most important parts of the process of making a story come to life. It's essential for the producers to have a clear vision of how they see these characters. Equally important is the casting director, who leads the process of identifying actors to play the individual roles. The casting director must have complete familiarity with every aspect of the stories that comprise the book and must also be able to see clearly the vision of the producers as mentioned above. It is the cast with whom the audience immediately relates.

The Pillars of the Earth is a big book filled with many characters. Some of the most interesting characters to write are the villains. Villains give the writer the opportunity to explore the dark sides of human behavior. Villains may commit heinous crimes, which I feel more or less comfortable writing about, but which would be inconceivable to ever dream of actually doing. Actors often say they really enjoy playing the "bad guy" because, for them too, it provides the opportunity to dig deep and to find the essence of such a person somewhere in their own psyche.

Ken Follett's favorite characters

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