Who Should Play Emerson?

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Thanks to all of you who responded. We’ll let you know when we get the multi-million dollar contract.

Vote Summary


# of votes

F. Murray Abraham 1
Richard Armitage 3
Alec Baldwin 1
Christian Bale 2
Eric Bana 3
Antonio Banderas 1
Sean Bean 11
Patrick Bergin 2
Brian Blessed 4
Orlando Bloom 1
Kenneth Brannagh 3
Pierce Brosnan 28
Richard Burton 1
Gerard Butler 25
Gabriel Byrne 4
Nicolas Cage 1
Bruce Campbell 3
Dean Cain 5
Michael Caine 1
Jonathan Cake 2
Jim Caviezel 1
Henry Cavill 1
Kyle Chandler 3
John Cleese 3
George Clooney 3
Billy Connolly 4
Sean Connery 17
Gary Cooper 1
Simon Cowell 1
Daniel Craig 2
Russell Crowe 8
Robert Cuccioli 1
John Cusack 1
Timothy Dalton 50
Jaye Davidson 1
Robert DeNiro 1
Daniel Day-Lewis 4
Johnny Depp 3
Robert Downey, Jr. 1
Aaron Eckhart 1
Cary Elwes 1
Rupert Everett 11
Oded Fehr 5
Joseph Fiennes 1
Ralph Fiennes 3
Nathan Fillion 1
Colin Firth 96
Harrison Ford 27
Jonathan Frakes 1
Brendan Fraser 36
Clark Gable 2
Mel Gibson 7
Philip Glenister 1
Cary Grant 1
Hugh Grant 1
Robson Greene 1
Paul Gross 2
Ioan Gruffud 1
Harry Hamlin 1
Nigel Harman 1
Rex Harrison 1
Ethan Hawke 1
Charlton Heston (young) 1
Ciaran Hinds 7
Lee Horsley 1
Jason Isaacs 2
Hugh Jackman 34
Dwayne Johnson /The Rock 4
James Robertson Justice 1
Thorsten Kaye 1
Val Kilmer 3
Kevin Kline 3
Burt Lancaster 1
John Lithgow 1
Joe Manganiello 1
Matthew McConaughey 2
Dylan McDermott 2
Kevin McKidd 1
Julian McMahon 1
Dale Midkiff 1
Ben Miles 1
Alfred Molina 1
Roger Moore 1
Jeffrey Dean Morgan 1
Viggo Mortensen 6
Liam Neeson 15
Sam Neill 1
Craig T. Nelson 1
Paul Newman 1
Jeremy Northam 7
David O’Hara 1
Alex O’Loughlin 1
Clive Owen 14
Lloyd Owen 1
Nathaniel Parker 3
Mandy Patinkin 4
Jason Patric 1
Adrian Paul 28
Gregory Peck (young) 3
Walter Pigeon 2
Michael Praed 1
Vincent Price 1
James Purefoy 1
Aidan Quinn 2
Keanu Reeves 1
Alan Rickman 4
Pernell Roberts 1
John Rhys-Davies 3
Ivan Rutherford 1
Dougray Scott 1
Tom Selleck 26
Rufus Sewell 1
Charles Shaughnessy (Mr. Sheffield from “The Nanny”) 2
Kevin Smith 2
Will Snow 1
Donald Sutherland 1
Robert Taylor 1
John Travolta 5
Mark Valley 1
Clint Walker 1
Patrick Warburton 1
Greg Wise 1
Billy Zane 5
Me (the voter) 1

Recent Comments from the Voters

“I totally agree–Ramses: Joaquin Phoenix. The eyebrows alone should nail it. He can also do a ‘stone pharoah face’ and he can really act… see ‘Walk the Line.’ Saw him on the cover of GQ a few years ago–article was ‘Joaquin Phoenix Exposes Himself’–he is soooo my Ramses. I really don’t get Orlando Bloom as Ramses. Not solid enough.”

“I don’t know if you’re still taking votes for who should play Emerson but I have to tell SOMEONE my ideas as I don’t know anyone else who reads the books. So, here are my picks for Emerson, et al, after much deliberation with myself:

Emerson: Clive Owen
Amelia: Minnie Driver (She’s got the look, the skill and – her real name is Amelia!)
Walter: Matthew Macfadyen
Evelyn: Melissa George
Ramses: Orlando Bloom (even though I don’t care for him, he seems perfect)
Nefret: Bryce Dallas Howard (Ron Howard’s daughter) or Kate Bosworth with red hair.
Sethos: Johnny Depp
Cyrus: Tom Selleck

– Kelly

“I vote for Tom Selleck to play Emerson! He’s sexy and and can play pompous, too!”

“I’m surprised no one has suggested Minnie Driver for Amelia, with her coarse, wavy black hair, and her skill with period characters.  She’s a sexy ball-buster who would be a match for any Emerson (I like Hugh Jackman or Russell Crowe.)”
– Monica

“Adrian Paul or Oded Fehr. It depends on the age first portrayed. Johnny Depp as Sethos, Corbin Bleu as a young David.”

“Has anyone thought of Richard Armitage (North and South and Robin Hood) for Emerson? He’s tall, dark, gorgeous and has a brilliant scowl.”

“I do think Clive Owen would be a good early to middle of the series Emerson. Check out the stills from King Arthur – rugged, dark hair, blazing blue eyes, and I think a cleft in his chin.”

“Emerson- Jason Isaacs

Amelia-Rachel Weiz

Ramses-Ioan Gruffudd

Nefret-Kate Bosworth with red/gold hair”

“Emerson: Eric Bana or Gerard Butler (those eyes are great)

Amelia : Jennifer Ehle ( Lizzie from Pride and Prejudice A&E version) I can’t see any one else playing that part.

Ramses: Orlando Bloom need I say more

Nefret : Keira Knightly?

Sethos: I like the idea of Johnny Depp”


“Here’s another vote for Clive Owen as Emerson. Much as I love Colin Firth, he just doesn’t look quite right – maybe he could be Walter. Ioan Gruffudd would be good as a younger Emerson or adult Ramses. Hugh Jackman = Sethos?”

“I found the perfect Ramses. Sendhill Ramamurthy who plays Mohinder on the TV series Heroes. He’s absolutely gorgeous.”

“Orlando Bloom should be both Ramses and David Todros (or a young Emerson, just so long as he’s in the movie) and Kate Winslet should be Nefret. Lia should be Natalie Portman. Rachel Weisz and Brendan Fraser would be perfect for Peabody and Emerson, but of course it would probably be too similar to The Mummy, so that being said I would like to see Simon Cowell as Emerson! He could definitely be the “Father of Curses!” I think Angelina Jolie has the strength of character to play Amelia. Johnny Depp should play Sethos. Emma Thompson as Evelyn. Colin Firth as Walter. Johns Cleese and Lithgow need to be in it somewhere, just not sure who they should be. Burt Reynolds or Tom Hanks should be Cyrus Vandergelt. Abdullah should be John Rhys-Davies.”


“Mandy Patinkin — definitely!! Someone with a little cragginess in his face, but with the chops to be both overblown and tender. I would LOVE to see Amelia and Emerson in a movie!!!!

Just read the other comments — YES, YES!! Tom Selleck for Cyrus –too perfect. And I totally can see Kate Winslet as they young Amelia, and Colin FIrth not as Emerson, but the quieter Walter.”


“Emerson older:    Patrick Stewart

Emerson younger: Adrian Paul

Amelia:  Emma Thompson

Ramses:  Hugh Jackman

Sethos:  Jeremy Irons –absolutely nobody does charming evil better that Jeremy Irons

Cyrus Vandergelt:  Michael Caine

Nefret:  I can’t remember her name.  The actress who played the Rhohirim princess in LOTR

Walter:  Colin Firth

Evelyn:  Keira Knightly”

“Check out Aaron Eckhart! He’s got the piercing blue eyes, cleft chin, and stature. I don’t know of any British actors that match Emerson’s physical characteristics so closely. More importantly, Eckhart has the acting chops to pull off a convincing “Father of Curses”. An authentic accent is great, but if the actor can’t do masculine, beautiful, powerful, snarling, stubborn, and passionate, he will be a dissapointment. Coach Eckhart in the Queens English and you will have yourself an Emerson.”


“Daniel Craig should play Emerson! He is the only actor with eyes anything like what Elizabeth Peters describes in her novels!!”

– Krista

“Please only British actors.
So many recent productions have been damaged by using Americans in British roles or rewriting to accommodate.  Timothy Dalton is Emerson personified!  Unless you want a younger Emerson and that could be Colin Firth though he is not a ruggedly handsome as your description.
Now, as for Amelia the really hard piece of casting, I have two suggestions: Helena Bonham Carter or Sarah Parish. Ms. Bonham Carter fits the physical description but Sarah Parish seems to fit the personality.
And, how does Uma Thurman fit as Vicky?”
– Jane

“When I first read this poll, I couldn’t think of anyone other than my honorable father to play the role of Emerson.  Then I saw Nanny Mcphee with Colin Firth.  I didn’t know who he was before that.  During the final scene of the movie I thought, “That’s Emerson!  I wonder if anyone has thought of him!”

I see that you have – and we are all very wise, aren’t we!?!”

“I have written a few suggestions for the role of Emerson and the other characters over the years, so it came as a welcome surprise to read about your votes. Since the last few books would put the age of Emerson at about 65, we really would be talking of artistic license.

I have always thought that George Clooney was perfect for the role, but Clive Owen also has the charisma. (Harrison Ford really is tooo old, he looks about 70 just lately, my father-in-law is 84 and his face looks better!)

Never thought of The Rock, he does have the right personality, and the sun kissed features, with the breadth of shoulder that Amelia admires.

Brendan Fraser as David Todros?

Amelia could be Rachel Weisz or Brooke Sheilds, remembering that she started the books as a 32 year old.

Nefret- Ann Hathaway or Natalie Portman.

Evelyn- Cate Blanchett

Ramses- Orlando Bloom

I’d love to know what Elizabeth Peters considers ideal for the roles.”
– Ruby

“I would say for Emerson – Hugh Jackman, Amelia – Rachel Weisz, Nefret – Kate Winslet, Ramses – I can’t place Ramses; Keanu Reeves would be able to do the deadpan, no showing emotions face, but I have someone at the back of my mind and can’t quite get it. Frustrating.

Rachel Weisz would have to be aged for later obviously, but I think she can pull it off. Otherwise there is a local actress at the American Players Theater here in Wisconsin named Sarah Day who could do it so muuuch justice!”

“Emerson . . . Jeremy Northam

Amelia . . . . Rachel Weiz

Sethos . . . . Hugh Jackman

Rameses . . . Johnny Depp

Nefret . . . Keira Knightly

Cyrus . . . Tom Selleck”

“I voted a long while back but still say Brendan Fraser as Emerson, Colin Farrell has been mentioned and I think he’s be a great Walter.  Rachel Weisz as Amelia, Kiera Knightly as Nefret, she is fragile yet strong at the same time, Jake Gyllenhal as Ramsey, he has both the profile and  stony facade when necessary.  Nicole Kidman as Evelyn, and yes maybe Johnny Depp would make a good Sethos, he doesn’t have the height but I know in the movies they can fix that.”
– Wendy

“For the early years: I think Clive Owen is the best pick for Emerson. For Peabody, Amanda Peat, with help from the best dialogue coach in the business. She has the look and the attitude, and also the subtle wry wit and intelligence. For Ramses and Nefret I am stumped — perhaps pluck them from the British stage? They are both also very strong characters in their own right, even as children, and will require very special actors to convince me. I also have conflicting feelings about a movie being done at all. Good Gad, I just do not see how anyone can do these stories justice. They are each, quite simply, little treasures. It was fun to play around with it though!”

“I’d like to throw in another vote for Bruce Campbell–ideally, Bruce Campbell about 10 years ago!  He’s got the chin, and he’s got the comedic timing; you HAVE to have good comedic timing to play Emerson. For Amelia, I’ve always pictured her as looking like Sigourney Weaver, but with darker hair.”
“It’s been a long time since I put in my two cents worth but I feel like playing Casting Director today. So here goes! Tom Hanks as Cyrus Vandergelt, Donna Murphy as Katherine Vandergelt, Kabir Bedi as Daoud (See:”The Lost Empire” 2001) and Oded Fehr as Selim. Now that’s PERFECT casting!”
– Bill

“Harrison Ford would be excellent — but with a hint of James Robertson Justice!”

– Michelle

“For Emerson: Pierce Brosnan.

David Krumholtz from the television show Numb3rs is a perfect Ramses in the later books, from his curly dark mop to his large nose. Plus, he has great acting skills.

Colin Firth (Mild featured, good looking, slightly scholarly) would make a good Walter.”

“I’d like to throw a vote Gerard Butler’s way–he’s not only a perfect physical specimen (ahem–I mean, of course, he quite has a physical resemblance to Emerson) but he also seems to be a capable actor. (Have you seen his Phantom of the Opera?) Gerard all the way!”

“Emerson: Mel Gibson. He can do loud, he can do angry, he can do manic, he can do clumsily tender. And he fits the description.

Amelia: Cast me as another vote for Cate Blanchett.

Sethos: I have to jump on the Johnny Depp bandwagon here. Gibson lite, as Sethos should be. Superb comic relief and a genuine dramatic (or melodramatic) flair. Sure he’s short, but so is Gibson.

Ramses: Joaquin Phoenix. The eyebrows alone should nail it. He can also do a “stone pharaoh face” and he can really act… see “Walk the Line.”

Nefret: Bryce Dallas Howard. Perfect!

Cyrus: Tom Selleck is a great idea.”

“Well, first of all, let me say that I have been indulging myself by adapting the books for movie-like format, although I have no way of ever making that happen. And I don’t think that a movie should be made. Not a movie theater movie. It needs to be a series of movies for PBS or perhaps some cable channel. Two to three a year, allowing for some natural aging. And they’d need to be filmed in a certain sequence for this to work with the younger Ramses aging from 5 to 12. We could fudge the age thing a bit. But then an adult actor for the 16 and older Ramses. And we can’t leave a single story out. I’d leave out Deeds if it would help with Ramses’ age transition, but it wouldn’t. Because we have to do Camel anyway. (MPM, thank you for leaving that 3 year gap during Ramses’ teenage years. Otherwise, working out the transition would make my head explode)

Emma Thompson is my ONLY pick for Amelia. She’s simply perfect—so let’s do it now, before she gets too old to do the earlier books. I think that Gwyneth Paltrow would do nicely as Evelyn, and while Nefret is a little more difficult (we meet her at age 13, so the actor has to be able to play young, then quickly transition to a 20-something), I think that in terms of intelligence, beauty, acting ability, facility with languages, and that certain glow, Natalie Portman would do beautifully. Kathleen Turner for Catherine?

The men are far more difficult. Pierce Brosnan is probably the best well-known choice, since both looks and acting chops are up to it. I’d overlook the small nose problem. Oh, and I also think that Liam Neeson could handle Emerson. I also considered Ralph Fiennes, since it would then be fun to have Joseph Fiennes play Walter. Actually, Joseph Fiennes would be good for Walter anyway. Sethos is tough—Ramses is almost impossible. Possibly a Val Kilmer or Hugh Jackman could pull off Sethos. Kevin Kline should do something. I don’t know what. Maspero? All of these characters need to be able to speak convincingly in Arabic (well, except Maspero), and some in other languages. If we get cracking on this mini-series, I’d definitely tap Omar Sharif for Abdullah. Possibly someone like Brent Spiner for Cyrus?”

“I think that Ioan (Horatio Hornblower) should play Emerson, Amelia-Helena Bonham Carter, Ramses-the priest from the Mummy, Nefrret-Kate Hudson.  I wish A&E would do the series since they do such a great job.  Sethos could be played by a couple of different people.”

– Elizabeth

“Brendan Fraser – Emerson
Claudia Black – Elizabeth
Nicole Kidman – Nefret
Reese Witherspoon – Lia”