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I hate it when people go on about how film adaptations spoil their favourite book. Don’t watch it and shut up. No-one likes a pedant. But first let me go on about this one point. It’s okay, it’s acceptable going-on, because it’s the worst piece of casting in literary adaptation history.

A.S. Byatt’s Possession describes literary scholar Roland Mitchell as shy and awkward. His nickname is Mole. Let me repeat that he is a literary scholar. And he is shy and mole-like. Now no-one likes typecasting or stereotypes. No-one would insist that literary scholars all look shy and awkward, but it is crucial to this story that he is.

Whatever the case, has anyone ever pictured a literary scholar to look like this? Like a big chinned Hollywood star?

Obviously some movie producer did. He read the script which described a shy, awkward literary scholar with a nickname of ‘Mole’ and the first name which came into his mind was Steven Segal. But Steven being unavailable, the next name that came into his head was Aaron Eckhart (whom I have nothing personal against). And so Eckhart became Roland Mitchell, with predictable results.

(On the other hand, Gwenyth Paltrow is perfectly cast as Maude, might I add.)