Casting the Characters #3: 'Half Bad' by Sally Green

Casting the Characters is a feature where I choose the actors/actresses that I would like to see bring the characters from my recent reads alive, if the novel was ever to be adapted. Recently, I read and reviewed Half Bad, which had a set of characters that were described in such depth, and so distinct when compared to other novels. Where I usually struggle, this time it was surprisingly easy to pick actresses/actors, and I didn't need to use IMBD for help!
Header designed by Ruby from Feed Me Books Now
The Cast
Asa Butterfield as Nathan
Nathan, the protagonist in Half Bad, is a character we see at different ages throughout the novel. We see him await the arrival of his seventeenth birthday throughout, watching his siblings experience their Giving Ceremonies, from a young age. But, for the most part, the novel is told when he is a teenager, experiencing endless Assessments by the Witch Council to decide whether he is a Black witch(like his father) or White witch(like his mother). He faces bullying - even for his siblings - and brutality for being a Half Code, but also falls in love and questions who he is.
As an actor, Asa Butterfield has proven his depth, playing the lead in the book adaptation The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. He could tackle the emotionally-charged scenes with ease, and then take on those that are crammed with action(after his role in Ender's Game). I don't think I could see another actor in this role; especially as Butterfield has the jet black hair that Nathan describes. Most importantly though, he already has the English accent!
Jake Abel as Arran/Kristen Stewart as Jessica

Nathan's half-siblings, Arran and Jessica, act very differently towards him. Jessica hates Nathan; blaming him for his mother's suicide and refusing to act decently towards him. She is described as being 'full of herself' and tries to trick Nathan into revealing his thoughts towards his Black witch father. Arran is very protective of his half-brother, taking on the role of defending him.

Kristen Stewart
I've seen Jake Abel in both Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief and The Host. The wit - and charm - that he brought to these roles reminds me of Arran, and Abel would be able to settle into the brotherly scenes with ease, possible adding in some humour. Kristen Stewart's role as Bella Swan would really help her when playing Jessica, as their personalities are quite similar. When discussing the physical appearance, both look how I pictured Arran and Jessica when reading, and they would be able to tackle the brother-sister dynamic.
Jeremy Irons as Marcus/Meryl Streep as Mercury
Nathan's main focus during the novel is to find Mercury: a powerful Black witch who is rumoured to eat boys - and who could give him the three gifts needed to become a full witch. With a gift that controls the weather, she is short-tempered and cunning, and is described as being "as cold and heartless as an iron bar". She isn't weak, though. The main character is also waiting for his father; another Black witch who steals the gifts he wants. Hunters, the Witch Council, even Mercury, all want his head.
If you've read Half Bad, you've probably come to the conclusion that I didn't choose these actors for the similarities that they have with Marcus and Mercury appearance-wise. Marcus demands attention, and only Jeremy Irons could have such a powerful presence. His role as Macon in Beautiful Creatures highlighted that. With a few hours in hair and makeup in the mornings, Meryl Streep would be the perfect choice, especially since she would be playing the villain. It would be so much fun to witness this!
Although these characters aren't found in every part, they are the ones I could picture most vividly when working through Half Bad. I'd also love to see Helen Mirren as Nan, and Sophie Turner(from Game of Thrones), possibly, as Annalise.
So, have you read 'Half Bad'?
Who would you cast?
What if your latest read became a movie?
Tell me in the comments!


  1. Sophie, I actually couldn't agree with you more! You literally nailed it :3

    Amy; The Blog Hermit

    1. Thanks so much, Amy! I couldn't imagine these characters as anyone else!

      -Sophie :)


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