I read a little while back that Martin Scorsese was set to direct the film adaptation of ‘The Snowman’, a savage serial killer novel penned by Norwegian author Jo Nesbo. I was partially interested only because I had the novel sitting on my bookshelf, but I had yet to actually read it. Well, I read it last week and now I have an opinion. First off, I’m happy this will be a feature film. It works as one. The novel is very visual and so it will work well, possibly even better, on the big screen. I hope that some liberties are taken to some of the situations. I hope that the finale is tweaked a bit, since it can come across somewhat silly if not approached the right way, so I’m hoping that Scorsese tones it down a tad to give it some realism. But most of all, I really hope he gets the casting right, since this really needs the right cast.
And so, I’m offering some suggestions.
Instead of trying to stick to authenticity of character nationality, I’ve branched out a bit to include all actors and or actresses that I think fit the bill of the character, emotionally and physically. I think this is more important since there’s no telling whether or not Scorsese is going to contain this to Oslo, and he’s most likely not going to look for foreign actors for this.
I’m just hoping he doesn’t try and pass Leonardo DiCaprio off as Harry Hole.
Arve Stop is a shameless ladies man and an arrogant bastard. You kind of need someone who can play that smugness without appearing desperate. Robert Downey Jr. comes instantly to mind, and I’d love to see him in something that doesn’t involve a superhero, but I don’t think he’d be right for this role. I actually think that Nikolaj Coster-Waldau would be perfect for the role, if it were to be produced and manufactured in Oslo, but since it’s not I tried to skew more towards American audiences. I actually think this could be a perfect role for Michael Fassbender (and a chance for him to work with Scorsese). It would also give him a chance to pour on the charm with reckless abandon.
For Idar Vetlesen, the slimy plastic surgeon, you almost need someone similar to Stop, but not quite as confident. There needs to be an air of insecurity that squeezes itself into his atmosphere. I’m also not sure he would need to be as pretty as Stop, and yet it probably wouldn’t hurt. To be honest, the whole time I was reading the novel the actor I was visualizing in the role was Chris O’Donnell, but like that would be disgusting. What about someone like Julian McMahon? I was obsessed with him back when Nip/Tuck was a thing, and he has experience playing this type of role (plastic surgeon with a bit of a god complex). Besides, he’s really talented and deserves some more work; high profile work at that.
Filip Becker is somewhat of a weakling and needs an actor who can convey that aspect of his personality without making him appear pathetic. He doesn’t need to be ugly, but shouldn’t be a stud either and really needs a small frame to be honest. The only actor I kept seeing in the role was Michael Fuith, but I’m not even sure how good his English is, and we all know that Scorsese is not making a foreign film (not with the box office potential) so he’s probably way out. Stanley Tucci may be a bit old and possibly a bit obvious, but he could work with the right set up. Still, I think this needs someone younger and less well known. I come around to Benedict Cumberbatch. He has the perfect frame and he’s roughly within the right age bracket to play a young father. He also has this great way of displaying turmoil in his face without crossing that line into appearing pathetic. His performance in ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’ showed expert balance on developing the character behind the character.
For the unstable yet mysteriously cloaked Katrine Bratt, there was only one option in my eyes; Jessica Chastain. The current ‘it girl’ is everywhere, and with good reason. This role is the largest female role in the book and is prime bait for an actress willing to dig deep. She has some key scenes that will be a stretch for any capable actress (and I do hope they tame some of it, since it comes off a tad too comical in the novel) and so someone like Chastain could really make this something special.
When envisioning Mathias Lund-Helgesen, the only person I could see in my head is John Tesar from the latest season of Top Chef. I don’t know why, but his face was all I could see. Obviously, that’s not going to work here. Maybe someone like Josh Lucas. He’s talented, but not too well known. His star never really caught on. Better yet, what about someone like Barry Pepper? I like that idea a lot. The great thing about Barry is that he can play both charming and sleezy without leaning too far to one or the other. There is a great balance of development he shades into his performances; and he’s not widely known so it would add to the performance.
For the rest of the cast, you have to think about the longevity of the actor or actress in the role. They would have to be willing to continue with the series, since there are a lot of Harry Hole novels and this could become a franchise if it takes off.
For Gunnar Hagen, Hole’s boss, I was thinking of Jason Bateman. He’s used to working in television, so he has the right mentality and workmanship to dedicate himself to multiple films. He’s also an underrated dramatic actor, and it’s not like this is a really heavy role, so it would give him presence without relying too much on him to carry the film.
Rakel Fauske is Rachel Weisz; no ifs, ands or buts. I mean, there is no other option for this character. It just works so beautifully.
The character of Oleg Fauske is hard because finding a young actor in that age bracket changes every year. I want to say Miles Teller because he’s awesomely talented and can skew young, but I highly doubt THIS young (Oleg is in his early teens). So, maybe Max Records. He’s fifteen now, which would be perfect, and actors usually skew younger on screen, so if this film gets made in the next two years he’d be, at the oldest, seventeen. He was astonishingly good in Where the Wild Things Are, and I’d love to see his career blossom.
And then there is Harry Hole, obviously the most important piece to this puzzle. Please, stay away from Leonardo DiCaprio, and while it may seem obvious, let’s leave Daniel Craig out of this as well. Yes, I want one person and one person only for this; Bruce Willis. Yes, he’s a big old for this (ten years too old to be exact) but Harry is a worn man, and Bruce wears his age perfectly to portray a man in his forties ravaged by the job and alcohol. On top of that, Willis wrote the book on rugged cops bent on doing things their own way, but this would allow Bruce a chance to dig deeper and really flesh out a character that is more than skin deep. There are quite a few scenes within The Snowman that would allow any actor to find depth in this genre (especially scenes with Jonas) and Bruce Willis is that actor who has it all in him and yet has never really been given the chance to do anything about it. His work in the 90’s was so varied and impactful and yet it led to even more clichéd roles for him. Please Martin, think of what this would do for Willis’s career. Besides, he’s at that point in his career where a franchise may be a smart move; keep him relevant and keep him working.
So those are my thoughts and my tentative cast. What projects would you love to cast? What do you think of this lineup? Have you read The Snowman? Any suggestions?