Seeing your favourite book characters on screen (whether TV or cinema) is a funny thing. You build up a specific picture in your head of what that person is like, what they look like etc, and if the actor chosen to play that character doesn't quite fit, it can really throw you out of the story you're watching. That's why I think good casting is very important!
I actually don't think what the actor looks like is too important, in my opinion it all rests on the performance, so as it stands, my top five page to screen portrayals are:
1. Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter series
This was a beautiful performance. I hated Umbridge so much in the books I had to put the book down at times and take a few deep breaths! Staunton manages to play her in a way that translates that hatred right onto the screen and I love her for it.
Speaking of villains...
2. Louise Fletcher as Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
This is another performance that makes me want to throw something at the screen. She's just so vile and yet so fabulous to watch!
3. Wallace Shawn as Vizzini in The Princess Bride
I tend to enjoy Wallace Shawn in any of his performances (He's also the second DS9 actor on this list!) and I just think he's brilliant in this film. Inconceivable!
4. Ian McKellen as Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films
Do I need to expand on this one? Just glorious.
5. Benedict Cumberbatch AND Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes in various adaptions
Ok, I am incapable of cheating on these lists, but I CANNOT choose between the two! Rathbone was always Holmes in my head when I read the books and he is certainly my Victorian Holmes, but Cumberbatch is just brilliant in that part and made me believe that you could make a decent modern day adaptation of Holmes, so he has to go on this list too.
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