Best Served Cold

The other night I finished reading Joe Abercrombie’s newest book Best Served Cold. This is a stand alone novel which deals with revenge. It is set in the same world as the First Law Trilogy, but uses different characters.

The book is very dark, funny, and action packed. Seriously, I read the last 500 pages Sunday night, I could not put it down. The best review I could find for the book is here.

I decided to have fun again, like I did for the First Law, and I will cast the characters for the movie. I will probably have spoilers in each character description.

Monza Murcatto
The star of the book, apparently beautiful, but also deeply scarred and crippled. She starts out seeming like a cold-hearted bitch, but as the story goes on we see a different side to her. Granted, she still wants revenge and will stop at nothing to get it, but maybe all those ideas about her we hear in the beginning are not so true. My first thought was Rosario Dawson, but she just does not seem right. Then it hit me, Kristanna Loken. She is hot, and has done a few movies where wields a sword and kills people. She also has that cold bitch thing down from Terminator 3 (yes it sucked, I know).

Benna Murcatto
We only see Benna in the first chapter before he is murdered. After that we get to see him through a series of flashbacks and we learn a bit more about him. At first he seems quite innocent and simple. He does not fight, enjoys looking good, and making money. He even seems to want to give up their warrior lifestyle. Unfortunately, we learn that this is not the case. We learn that he was the one who butchered an entire city, and his sister took the blame. He murdered a rich merchant and stole his money (under the pretense that they were going to protect him), and he conspired to overthrow Duke Orzo and have his sister become the Grand Duke of Talins. So, we need someone who looks like they are a really nice guy, but in the end they are a vile person.

Who better than Emile Hirsch? He is a good actor (Into the Wild, very good movie), girls think he is attractive, plus he can pull off the “I seem really nice, but guess what, I’m a dickbag” role.

Caul Shivers
My favorite character of the book. Shivers is a Northman, just like Logen Ninefingers in the First Law Trilogy. Actually, Shivers was in those books as well. He was the guy who wanted revenge against Logen for killing his brother and nailing his head to a door. He goes through the book trying to be a good man, he does not want to kill people, but the money is good and he is good at it. After he loses his eye though, he starts to actually relish murdering people.

They describe him as big, muscular, and very wild. It’s hard to think of an actor who could portray him. Honestly, I think a professional wrestler would probably be best. You need someone who is bigger than most people, looks like they should be wielding a battle-ax. But, Alexander Skarsgard (from True Blood, and pictured in the post below) is 6’4, and is pretty ripped. I bet he could pull off Shivers. He also has the ability to act, probably more so than some roided up wrestler.

Friendly is a murderer. He also seems to be a bit autistic about numbers. He counts everything. I would say he needs to be played by someone bigger, but not huge. Someone who looks kind of creepy, maybe even mildly retarded. As I read the book, I kept picturing him to be like the guy from The Jacket, no not Adrian Brody or Daniel Craig, the creepy guard at the nuthouse, who later becomes an inmate. Brendan Coyle. Tell me that is not the guy who should play Friendly. Give him a cleaver and let him battle it out with Shivers!

Nicomo Cosca
The great soldier for hire, now a raging alcoholic. We saw him with Glokta in the last series, and he was quite entertaining. His character only gets better. We learn that his soldiers never really fought too many battles, and that he has no problem accepting money from both sides.

He is one of the tougher ones in my opinion. I have a mental picture in my head, but unfortunately I cannot think of any actor who resembles it. My best guess would be someone like Gerard Butler. I know what you are thinking, and yes his being in 300 proves he can do the whole warrior thing, but have you ever seen him in anything else? He mostly does crappy rom-coms. So, that leads me to believe that he can at least be funny on occasion. And Cosca is probably one of the funniest characters. He never shuts up, constantly bragging, and most of the time trying to avoid actually fighting. When he does fight though, he has the ability. I guess the reason I like Butler for the role, would be the one scene in 300, where he is eating the apple and says “There is no reason we can’t be civilized.” Very funny, because he is stepping over dead bodies. That is Cosca.

Plus, Butler looks like the kind of guy who has woken up from a three day bender and said something like “where the hell am I?”

Castor Morveer
I think the description someone used for the master poisoner was slimy pig. He is someone who gets under your skin, he also comes across as very intelligent and full of himself. His mouth is his own undoing. Making fun of Cosca and basically giving Cosca a reason to quit drinking. I have read in some reviews that he is this books Glokta, and I guess I can see that, except that Glokta was likeable (well for a torturer).

I racked my brain for someone who fits Morveer, and the best I could come up with is Brad Dourif, the guy who played Grima Wormtongue in LOTR.

I like this picture because it reminds me of the scene where he has Shivers and Monza paralyzed when he first meets them and he is explaining how much money he will charge for each killing.

In fact, the more I look at this picture, the more I see the scene taking form in my mind. Pretty cool.

Shylo Vitari
An underused character in this book, in fact she was in the previous books as well, and little used there. Remember, she was the one that was sent to watch Glokta, and he was constantly afraid she would murder him in the night and that people would find his body floating in the river.

Anyways, she switched to Glokta’s side once things went downhill and we learn that she has kids and that is why she was hellbent on surviving. If I remember correctly. She parts ways with the company and I wonder if the reason for that is maybe her own standalone book? Apparently Abercrombie is doing another standalone, and it seems odd that this character never seems to get closure or much action…

We know that she is a redhead and that she is pretty good looking. She also can be pretty ruthless, her comment to Cosca regarding Monza was one of my favorites of the book. She says “that is one stone-hearted bitch.” Cosca tries to play it down, and Vitari responds “It was a compliment.” Very cool.

Obviously you do not actually need a redhead to play her, wigs and dyes are available, but there are some pretty hot redheads out there. I think Laura Prepon would be perfect. You may remember her from That 70s Show or more recently as my GOTW. Despite what many people think because of her role as Donna (they usually played her up as more of a tomboy), she is actually very hot. The scene describing Vitari when they meet her says she is standing in a doorway and that she has a hard look to her. Also, we get to see her dressed like a whore at one point, and I would definitely want to see Prepon dressed dirty.

Plus, Vitari constantly delivers funny little retorts and jabs at the other members, and if you remember, Donna was pretty much a smart ass, so it goes well together.

I will not try to cast each and every character the group set out to kill, but I will with the three big ones: General Ganmark, Prince Ario, and Grand Duke Orzo.

The Union General sent down to Talins to help Orzo (remember King Jezel is married to Orzo’s daughter). Ganmark is described as being a prick. He reminds me of some of the officers in the first books: cocky, self-important, d-bags. Also, he openly admits that he is gay and would rather have sex with Benna than with Monza.

He is athletic though, and you need someone who could have a fantastic sword fight with Monza and Cosca. Well okay, you just need a great fight choreographer. So, who could play a cocky deuschbag? How about Adrian Grenier from Entourage?

Prince Ario
Another not very likeable character. He is the son of Duke Orzo, and instead of having any useful abilities, he would rather spend his time at the whorehouse (nothing wrong with that). That is how Monza kills him. This is such a minor role, and honestly, any young actor could probably do fine. I do not know why, but I kept picturing Orlando Bloom in my head though. Maybe I just wanted to see Bloom stabbed in the throat.


Duke Orzo

Not really someone you need to have a big star for or anything. For some reason, Jeremy Irons always kind of floated in there. I could see Irons admitting to Monza that he did not want to kill them, but Benna was trying to rally people behind her to overthrow him. I do not know why, I guess I think he’s a good actor, whatever.

Alright, so there you have my cast for the book. Feel free to agree or disagree. I am sure Ryan will share his own feelings on the subject.

6 thoughts on “Best Served Cold

  1. i will have my comments nice and limber for ya when I actually read the book. I have a couple other books I’ve been finishing up first…the first one I needed to finish was a 2 book set by Karen Miller called “Kingmaker Kingbreaker” the Innocent Mage, which wasn’t as good as i thought it would have been. Especially since I read her Godmaker Godbreaker trilogy, which was pretty damn good. I got the first book of a trilogy written by the same author but under the pseudonym of K. E. Mills. And right now I’m currently half way through Jim Butchers 7th book of the Dresden Files series.

    So after I finish that 7th book, I’ll read Abercrombies newest art in the works and then head on to other things.

    I will return to this post, or write something on the Pancake when I finish Best Served Cold.

  2. I have to admit, when shenkt tossed shivers across the room. I thought shivers was dead and it pissed me off. But I cheered up when i found he was still kickin in the end. I loved how Abercrombie used the famous line from The Godfather Books as his title “revenge is a dish best served cold”. I’m assuming that’s where he got the title, anyway.

    The endless circles of vengeance, the what seemed to almost be a perfunctory use of vulgar language, the lucid manner of violence and gore, topped off with sex scenes that were borderline pornographic. Made this one of my favorite reads of the year. And, probably my most favorite this summer.

    As for the characters, I like your choices on most of them, but you left out Shenkt…who played more of a major role in the book than either of the princes or Orso, yes with an “S”. Shenkt ended up being my favorite character because of the twist at the end before Menzo killed Orso. That had to be my favorite part of the book…I did not see that coming, even though I probably should have.

    Anyway, here are my choices:

    Monza: Eliza Dushku
    Benna: Zac Efron
    Shivers: Gerard Butler
    Friendly: Owain Yeoman
    Morveer: Michael Jeter (mouse guy from green mile)
    Day: Kristen Bell
    Cosca: Johnny Depp (I see an old jack sparrow for this character)
    Vitarie: Gabrielle Anwar
    Ganmark: Eric McCormack
    Shenkt: Jason Isaacs (picture his Lucius Malfoy character from harry potter, but likeable)
    Orso: George Clooney
    Duke Rogont: Orlando Bloom/Adrian Grenier

    I’m not going to pick anyone for the princes, because as you said, any young actor could play them. But, you did also forget Day, who played a rather larger role I thought, and I liked the part of Duke Rogont, so we’ll cast him as well…

  3. Revenge is a dish best served cold, comes from the Godfather book, but similar quotes were used long before that, but whatever.

    I left out Shenkt because I could not decide who I thought should play him. I cannot see Isaacs, I pictured him slightly different. Almost Ewan McGregor-esque.

    Ugh, please do not tell me you pictured Cosca as a Sparrow knockoff, it’s just too easy to use him, plus as much as I like Depp, I am tired of his name tossed into every movie discussion. Hell might as well mention Robert Downey Jr as well…

    Day, I kind of pictured as a british girl, younger than bell.

    Rogont, I thought of him as a bit older than bloom or grenier. Someone smug and pompous, now Isaacs I could see in that role…

  4. Hey Dude(s),

    I like your cast very much. Especially Castor Morveer is very perfectly fitting. Also Shivers and Monza could do very fine with the chosen actors, but there’s the thing about Cosca- because I’m pretty sure in the first law trilogy, when Glokta first gets into contact with Cosca at the siege of dagoska, he’s described as a black guy, so what about Andre 3000 () from Outcast that played in Revolver? He was also acting a hoodlum so this may’d be fitting.

    Last but not least an RE to KERN: I think Jason Isaacs would be a better Arch Lector Sult because of the spotless white coats that he’s always wearing in the first law trilogy and also in the Harry Potter movies.

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