As the reality dawned on me that the book was about to become a television series—a visual version of my story—I realized that the characters I spent years creating in every intimate detail were now going to be recreated by actors, and I wondered nervously who would be cast. I need not have worried. When I learned who had been cast, I was thrilled. They are from the top flight of serious actors. I have seen, admired and enjoyed their work.
The people I created in my mind and my imagination are going to be represented by some of the most talented actors around, actors who can make you scared, angry or tearful. From the marvelous Ian McShane as the dark soul Waleran Bigod, who believes he is God's will; the intense and multifaceted Rufus Sewell as Tom Builder—probably the most popular character I ever wrote Matthew Macfadyen, who portrays the complex Prior Philip with unrelenting strength; the highly regarded Sarah Parish as the manipulative and dangerous Regan Hamleigh. Then there's the wonderful young talent: the lovely and truly gifted Hayley Atwell playing our heroine, Aliena and Eddie Redmayne as our hero, Jack, who gives a performance of amazing depth and passion. I've been looking at footage regularly since Pillars went before the cameras in June 2009, and the cast is so good I can hardly believe it.
When I was on set in July of this year, I observed a scene that was being shot between Aliena and Elizabeth, the scene in which Elizabeth tells the story of how her husband, William Hamleigh, has beaten and abused her over the years. As I watched this scene and got tears in my eyes, I thought: Wait a minute! I made this up! For all authors, it is a real buzz to see characters brought to life by good actors in a set that is been so lovingly created.
Keeping the characters of The Pillars of the Earth true to the book