Cast­ing call

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Red Alert -

“I didn’t grow up read­ing literary fic­tion, I grew up watch­ing Doc­tor Who,” says AL Kennedy. The award- win­ning nov­el­ist and stand- up co­me­dian has just penned The Drosten’s Curse, a new ad­ven­ture for Tom Baker’s Doc­tor. “My agent knew that it was pos­si­ble to write adult Doc­tor Who books, but we’d al­ways get a re­ply go­ing, ‘ No, you’ll kill ev­ery­body!’”

In­deed, be­fore now Kennedy’s rep­u­ta­tion had mainly been for pow­er­ful nov­els like The Blue Book and works of jour­nal­ism such as On Bull­fight­ing. The Drosten’s Curse in con­trast is bright and funny, though shot through with darker un­der­cur­rents.

The chance fi­nally came on the Doc­tor’s 50th an­niver­sary when she wrote a Who ebook – The Death Pit. “The treat­ment was miles longer. I said, ‘ Well I could write the whole thing if you want…’ and they fi­nally let me.”

So why the Fourth Doc­tor? “He’s the one I grew up with. The oth­ers were fine, but as soon as Baker came in, it was like your groovi­est teacher turn­ing up. And he did it for so long, it made sense to plug into that.”

In­deed, the book fits neatly into the tone of the era. “That’s why you’ve got a char­ac­ter with [ Dou­glas Adams’s] pen name, David Agnew. I wanted to com­bine the two great­est things in the uni­verse: Doc­tor Who and Dou­glas Adams!”

It’s clear that the Doc­tor means a lot to Kennedy. “There’s a story Tom tells about a grown up com­ing up to him and say­ing that he’d had a ter­ri­ble child­hood, but the Doc­tor had been there for him. That’s a big deal. And work­ing with the BBC, it wasn’t about telly or money, it was about peo­ple think­ing ‘ this is a good thing in the world for chil­dren’. That’s the bot­tom line.”

Com­mu­nity’s Joel McHale ( above) to guest­star in Fox’s X- Files minis­eries as Tad O’Malley – a news net­work an­chor who be­comes a Mul­der ally.

New Girl’s Max Green­field checks into Amer­i­can Hor­ror Story: Ho­tel, but ac­cord­ing to showrun­ner Ryan Mur­phy, won’t check out.

Greg Grun­berg’s psy­chic cop Matt Park­man to guest star in He­roes: Reborn.

ASH VS Ev il Dead adds Mimi Rogers as a mother re­united with her fam­ily af­ter an ac­ci­dent.

Stephen King adap 11/ 22/ 63 en­lists The Good Wife’s TR Knight as dan­ger­ous sales­man Johnny Clay­ton.

Agents Of SHIEL D pro­motes Luke Mitchell’s elec­tric In­hu­man Lin­coln to se­ries reg­u­lar for sea­son three.

Sher­lock’s Tom Brooke cast as ob­serv­ing an­gel Fiore in Seth Ro­gen’s Preacher pi­lot, which re­cently be­gan film­ing.

H arry S hearer – voice of Mr Burns, Ned Flan­ders and many other char­ac­ters – quits Th e Simps ons af­ter more than 25 years.

“I had to fax some­thing to him. So I made this big hand

drawn cover page that said Fax von Sy­dow… I don’t think he thought that was funny.”

Max von Sy­dow isn’t an easy man to please,

ac­cord­ing to JJ Abrams.

TVan­ity Fair mag­a­zine photo shoot that re­vealed Adam Driver is play­ing three- pronged lightsaber wielder Kylo Ren and Gwen­do­line Christie is sil­ver Stormtrooper Cap­tain Phasma has de­liv­ered more key in­tel on The Force Awak­ens. Turns out Andy Serkis ( the owner of the voice that told us “there has been an awak­en­ing” in the first Episode VII trailer) is play­ing Supreme Leader Snoke – and that ( un­sur­pris­ingly) it’s a per­for­mance cap­ture role. We reckon he’s a high- up ( pos­si­bly the high­est- up) in the First Or­der that’s re­placed the Em­pire, and that he’s ei­ther an alien, or a hu­man whose body has been through a lot. Also, could the lack of per­for­mance cap­ture dots on his legs mean his lower limbs will be me­chan­i­cal?

In another Van­ity Fair scoop – we can only as­sume they’ve al­ready got their hands on those elu­sive Death Star plans as well – Force Awak­ens writer ( and The Em­pire Strikes Back vet) Lawrence Kas­dan has di­vulged that he and JJ Abrams are do­ing ev­ery­thing they can to keep the run­time lean. “One of the things that we al­ways re­fo­cus on from the get- go was that it not be one of these very long, bloated block­busters,” he said. “A lot of very en­ter­tain­ing movies lately are too long. In the last 20 min­utes, you think, ‘ Why isn’t this over?’ We didn’t want to make a movie like that. I mean, we were re­ally aim­ing to have it be when it’s over you’ll say, ‘ I wish there’s more.’”

And it looks like 007 him­self may have made a de­tour to a gal­axy far, far away. Asked whether he was mak­ing an ap­pear­ance in The Force Awak­ens at Man Up’s Lon­don pre­miere, pro­fes­sional Star Wars fan Si­mon Pegg let slip, “I wasn’t a Stormtrooper. Daniel Craig, he was a Stormtrooper,” be­fore adding: “I shouldn’t have said that.” With Har­ri­son Ford al­ready in the movie, this is pos­si­bly the clos­est we’ll get to a Cowboys & Aliens se­quel...

Au­thor Kennedy has pre­vi­ously writ­ten a Fourth Doc­tor ebook.

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