ByNancy Basile, writer at
I've been a fangirl since they came out with Wonder Woman Underoos. I'm a freelance writer. See my stuff on,
Nancy Basile

The Paper Magician is a charming book, the first in a trilogy about a unique world of magicians. These aren't Harry Potter magicians, and they're certainly not Lev Grossman's The Magicians. These 19th Century magicians manipulate a physical element, only one kind per magician, to create spells.

Disney acquired the rights to bring The Paper Magician to the big screen. Imagine a genteel London of the 1800s, but with magic and propriety.

I'm super excited about this announcement, because I tore through all three books - The Paper Magician, The Glass Magician, and The Master Magician. I'm a sucker for fantasy/sci fi stories that take place in our own world. The Paper Magician also fits the bill when it comes to my love of historical fiction.

So, who should play the main characters? We've got Ceony Twill, the young magician apprentice; eccentric Emery Thane, her mentor; Delilah, Thane's ex-wife; Mg. (short for Magician) Aviosky, the stern head mistress; and the police chief. Any time I read a book, I search my catalog of memories for actors and actresses to help me picture the story better. The Paper Magician was no exception, so this dream cast popped in my head ages ago.

Ceony Twill

Chloe Bennet is my choice to play the protagonist, Ceony Twill. She's the right age and she's spunky. On Agents of SHIELD, she's proven she can play both comedy and drama, a necessary talent for this character. Chloe Bennet is so eminently likable, that she would also make Ceony less annoying than she is in the books. (Lots of fans say she's their least favorite character.)

Emery Thane

Robert Downey, Jr. would be PERFECT to play Emery Thane. Thane is eccentric, but crazy smart. and he tends to be a wiseacre, something RDJ excels at. I confess, part of the reason I picture him is because of how de-lish he is as Sherlock Holmes, which is from a similar time and place.


Thane's ex-wife, Delilah, is the villain of the book. She's an Excisioner, someone who uses blood to cast spells. Her practice is illegal and, needless to say, dangerous. She needs to be evil, but alluring and sexy, as well. My choice is Kristen Ritter. She's got "menacing" down, thanks to her work in Marvel's Jessica Jones. But she's also stunning, in a dark and mysterious way, perfect for Delilah.

Mg. Aviosky

Who better to play the head mistress of a school of magic than a woman who has already done so? Dame Maggie Smith has the restraint of a well-mannered 19th Century woman, as well as the gravitas to play someone who can wield magic like a weapon when she needs to. Mg. Aviosky has more heart than she lets on. Maggie Smith is tops at portraying a hidden inner life.

Police Chief

The Chief of Police works closely with Mg. Aviosky. He, too, has more going on than Ceony realizes. He's part bluster, part intelligence, and all gentleman. I can just picture Ian Holm wearing a monocle, and quietly conversing with Maggie Smith as Mg. Aviosky.

If you'd like to know more about The Paper Magicians, check out my book review at Media Medusa.

Who would your dream cast be? Let me know in the comments!


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