The Jade Legacy Serie "Dream Team" casting 2: Lauren Cohan as Nyode-Claudia
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Second entry to be added to the list of such a deluxe casting. As you know, this story opens with Claudia's appearance on the scene. She is the first real appearance of a character in the saga.
The choice of Lauren Cohan as Claudia has led me down a winding road. It has not been an easy choice as there have been many factors to consider. I hope that these factors are well argued in the following lines.
Claudia is described in her twenties, but her exact age is not determined. It is hinted that both she and Alex might be about ten years older than Cronista. We put Cronista's age at around 15, which would lead us to assume that Claudia and Alex would be around 25. An age range of 23-26 would be an acceptable range for these characters. That would be their age at the beginning of the saga. We will have to assume that Claudia grows up and matures past 30 by the end of the saga.
Therefore, the first choice should be what age range the actress playing her should be in. We can look among the casts of series with young actors or opt for older actresses who could easily take on a much younger character on screen.
I have not had any doubts: for me, experience is always a rank.
It may come as a surprise to some that Lauren Cohan is currently in her forties. So... A 40-year-old actress to play a 25-year-old girl? As if that's weird! Casts are full of actors and actresses whose ages have nothing to do with that of the characters they play. It's not a rarity: it's the norm. The industry has plenty of resources to age or rejuvenate an actor or actress at will, and many of them don't even need to, as is the case here. The advantage of having a veteran actress is precisely that, the experience, the range of her acting skills.
In this situation, the choice of Lauren Cohan was determined precisely by her appearance. And her appearance is conditioned by the evolution of the character herself.
Claudia goes from the naïve and emotionally fluctuating young woman at the beginning of the saga, to the transcendent Nyode, capable of integrating a complex web of identities that shape her as the final aspect of an intricate emotional polyhedron (okay, all this so as not to be a spoiler!).
So I looked for an actress who could represent this transition, together with the passage of time itself in the narrative and what it all means for the character.
Most of us will recognise Lauren from her role as Maggie Greene in The Walking Dead and I find certain similarities between her character there and some aspects of Claudia herself; so, in principle, it wouldn't be a strange role for her. In addition, in the AMC Networks series she proves to be very comfortable in roles of women of action, a type of role that was not new to her but which she plays with great skill in this series. In this sense, the choice could have been for other actresses with similar characteristics. The list also included shining stars such as Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen, Game of Thrones), who I thought was very good for the first parts of the character, given the sweetness, almost childlike naivety that her face transmits to me, or Katheryn Winnick, (Laguertha, Vikings) who I adore and who gave me the type for the final parts, but I found it more difficult to fit her into the first stage of Claudia. Katheryn Winnick is an actress who transmits a lot of power to me, even when she is softened.
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The somewhat sharp features of Lauren's face are more in tune with the author's mental image of this character. On a physical level, we are talking about a woman who was a lingerie model and who has risen to fame thanks to a series of great physical demands, so we are guaranteed that she can withstand any physical demand and allows the character to show off whatever the shot or aspect in which she shines. I have no doubt that a series inspired by the Jade Legacy would be a physically demanding series.
And one more detail in her favour, which may seem unimportant. Her features allow not only the characteristic bob cut of the initial Claudia but also grow with short or shoulder-length hair looks. Not all women look great with short or very short hair; and this is a physical characteristic that is very noticeable in Claudia.
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In essence, I think Lauren Cohan could be a fantastic Claudia, capable of representing the immaturity and youth of the character in her early stages and gradually strengthening and tanning both Claudia's character and physique until she becomes the Nyode of the end of the saga. All this enhanced by features that are harmonious enough to make her starting point credible, but hardened in action roles that would guarantee the final emergence of this key character in the saga.
Image from thewalkingdead.fandom.com
Foto credits: Frank Ockenfels
I invite you next week to find out the identity of my choice for Alex. I am absolutely sure you will be surprised.
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