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The Expanse Casting: That's Not How I Saw Them In My Head

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More casting: https://variety.com/2014/tv/news/syfys-the-expanse-adds-walking-dead-mad-men-alums-1201361228/

 

 

Syfy’s space drama “The Expanse” has added cast members Chad Coleman (“The Walking Dead,” “The Wire”) and Jared Harris (“Mad Men”). They join Thomas Jane and Steven Strait in the galaxy-spanning story of a hardened detective (Jane) and rogue ship captain (Strait) who team up to find a missing girl, and find themselves in an interplanetary conspiracy.

 

Coleman will play Fred Johnson, a former Marine caught in a power struggle between Earth and Mars. Harris plays the “strangely terrifying” Anderson Dawes, who comes into conflict with Jane’s Detective Miller. Kristin Hager (“Being Human”) and Shawn Doyle (“Big Love”) joined Coleman and Harris in new cast announcements Thursday, with Hager playing strong-willed navigation officer Ade Nygaard and Doyle playing “consummate politician” Secretary Errinwright.

 

Coleman's a good choice as Johnson, though it fits the same pattern as most of the rest of the cast of being about a decade younger than I imagined the character.

 

Always good to see Jared Harris getting work too.

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So if there's a season two, are we going to be seeing Bobbie, and if so, who the fuck is going to play her?  There aren't many six foot plus amazonian swimsuit models of Polynesian descent working in Hollywood as far as I'm aware.

Edited by Mars477

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So if there's a season two, are we going to be seeing Bobbie, and if so, who the fuck is going to play her?  There aren't many six foot plus amazonian swimsuit models of Polynesian descent working in Hollywood as far as I'm aware.

 

And probably fewer in Toronto.

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I think Bobbie will be a compromise. I'd rather they just found someone who'd be great in the role than someone who looks the part but can't do the acting stuff. So if she's only 5'8 instead, I won't complain, as long as she's as badass as she is in the books.

 

Avasarala is much younger than I picture her, I have to say. I always pictured her as grey and... well, old. So Shohreh Aghdashloo is in her 60s, but she looks very well preserved. Ah, maybe Avasarala is, and I've just missed that bit of description.

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No, I'm pretty sure they said Avasarala was in her mid-70s in the books. That doesn't make much difference, but I'm slightly annoyed that they're on basic cable so she can't swear.

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I don't know why, but I've always pictured Avarsala as tiny, which Shohreh is not.  Although maybe it was "...relative to Bobbi", who makes everyone look tiny.

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So if there's a season two, are we going to be seeing Bobbie, and if so, who the fuck is going to play her?  There aren't many six foot plus amazonian swimsuit models of Polynesian descent working in Hollywood as far as I'm aware.

They could use Jennifer Cheon who played Andromeda on Minority Report. She's got to be about 6 foot tall. With heels, she looks really tall. She could easily sell Polynesian.

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Aghdashloo's voice is distracting.  Too cultured, to many sibilants.

 

Holden is too young and too thin.  He and Amos - he's big but too pretty and again, too young.  Abe's about right.  Naomi....I don't know.  Thomas Jane's actually a good fit for Holden.

 

Wouldn't mind so much except they're really changing the character dynamics - I'm not recognizing this world yet.

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I keep picturing Gwendolyn Christie as Bobbie despite knowing that the character is Polynesian and disliking when minority characters get whitewashed. If the rest of the cast continues to be wonderfully diverse though, I could get behind that though. She's too in demand for it to happen anyway. Plus, that would probably be too typecasty considering her role on GoT.

I like the Thomas Jane and Shoreh casting the best. Naomi and Alex work for me too. Amos seems too short, young, and cute to me, but I like what the actor is doing.

I go back and forth on Holden. He's younger than I pictured, but fits the "girls love him cuz he's so cute and charming when he wants to be" aspect well. There's something not quite right about the casting for me though. I'm not really sure what it is though.

Edited by cynic

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Alex looks wrong. He's supposed to look like a "teacher". He's starting to be bald, is a bit overweight and on the wrong side of 50. The one we got is way too young and good-looking and don't start me on his (lack of) accent. We are already halfway trough the season and he didint't make much of an impression on me. Anyway, time will tell, I suppose.

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I think casting has been pretty decent so far.  In some cases we haven't yet reached a point where we can tell for sure if some specific casting is really a good representation of the character in the book.  For the most part, I don't place extreme importance on how the actors look.  It's simply impossible to get exact matches.  We aren't going to have a cast full of Belters looking exactly as they are described in the books.  Casting can't be totally blind to appearances, of course.  Amos would be something different if a middle aged fat man were cast, for example.  But he needn't be a hulking meathead with a 40 inch neck in order to be the Amos we know in the books.  He should be fit, yes, but it's more important that he convey an air of intimidation coupled with amiability.  You can be intimidating without veins popping out.  

 

I do think it's important to maintain diversity when casting and this is one area where I will feel strongly when it comes to judging the physical appearance of the actors to determine if it's a good cast.

 

Thomas Jane as Miller has been the most spot on.  He conveys the sort of shady intelligent washed up detective who doesn't know he's washed up that's written in the books.  He's both likeable and unlikeable.  He was my favorite character in the book so I'm most happy this casting has worked so well.  

 

I like the Roci crew.  Even with the changes they've made in the adaptation, these characters are still very familiar to me.  I definitely hear Cas Anvar's accent and I've had several friends unfamiliar with the books asking why he's speaking like me (a Texan native).  My opinion on the Roci crew could change when the story turns to them interacting in the same way they did in the books.  That sort of chemistry and relationship between them will really define things.

 

I don't have much opinion on Chad Coleman as Fred Johnson.  It's probably how I imagined him physically, though perhaps a bit older.  He was an officer and is like the CEO (or equivalent) of Tycho and later becomes the equivalent of President of the OPA, but I'm not really seeing that sort of persona yet.  I'm seeing the asshole that is the Fred we know, but so far he's looking more like a mechanic who has worked his way up.  We'll see how that works out.

 

My only complaint might be Avasarala.  I'm not a fan of Shohreh anyway so I was always going to be annoyed with listening to her gross voice.  My my personal hatred of her voice isn't all that relevant.  It was always obvious that Avasarala was never going to be exactly like she was in the book.  There can't be that much cursing on basic cable.  I do wish they'd have adopted something like "frak" to convey a swear.  But there is a way to make Avasarala the character we know in the books without the potty mouth.  I'm just not sure if polite backstabbing of close friends while the earth is on the brink of war is really making her the character she was in the books.  I'm not impressed so far.

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I haven't read the book so I have to ask: is Miller's hairstyle book canon? After 'Intelligence' was canceled I never expected to come across another male lead whose hairstyle I would hate so much and yet here we are. What is this thing? A Belter bob?

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I haven't read the book so I have to ask: is Miller's hairstyle book canon? After 'Intelligence' was canceled I never expected to come across another male lead whose hairstyle I would hate so much and yet here we are. What is this thing? A Belter bob?

Miller is portrayed as something of a wash out, someone who tries to hard, thinks he's sort of above it all, but also totally unaware of this.  It's much the same in the books.  In the books, the Belters have very distinct looks.  They all look much like that one Belter that Crisjen had hanging on hooks.  This is just impossible to really portray on screen.  Instead, they seem to have gone with hairstyles and tattoos to differentiate the belters from the Martians and Earthers.  A lot of Belters have tattoos and a lot have those hairstyles with half the side buzzed short, and many have both (like Naomi, for example).  

 

So, with Miller's characterization and with how they are differentiating the Belters, universal dislike of his "Belter bob" is probably the point.  It looks so stupid, but being a huge fan of the books and Miller specifically, I have to say that it's such a perfect touch in making the character.  

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...(like Naomi, for example)....

What great luck that they found such a good actress to play her who already wears her hair like that. 

 

Now that I think I see where they are going with Amos, I'm more okay with the casting. He uses those huge eyes really well to convey both a certain childlike, arrested quality and being kinda unbalanced. I'm not done with the books yet, but I thought he was more just pragmatic there. Can't say I really like the change.

 

I have to admit that I'm falling for Holden's charm. The more they let him relax and smile, the more I identify with the many girls on the Cant. 

Edited by cynic

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I have to admit that I'm falling for Holden's charm. The more they let him relax and smile, the more I identify with the many girls on the Cant. 

 

I can see his charm too. He's had nothing but stress and panic and tension since the end of the first episode, so there's been precious little time to see who he normally is. I think Steven Strait is starting to show a little of that now things are calming down a bit for them.

 

He seems to have that easy charisma that would make him a popular guy. I like the casting more now than I did when the first episode aired. Amos is still quite different from the book version, but this version is working for me. He's strange and off-putting, which is how most outsiders seemed to take Amos in the books. It was just his crew-mates who seemed to know how to take him.

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On 2016-01-07 at 10:40 PM, MissLucas said:

I haven't read the book so I have to ask: is Miller's hairstyle book canon? After 'Intelligence' was canceled I never expected to come across another male lead whose hairstyle I would hate so much and yet here we are. What is this thing? A Belter bob?

Yes! It's terrible. Even he seems to hate it. It keeps getting into his face.

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Quote

 

Definitely curious to see where this season goes.  

Even having read all the books now, I'm still curious to see who David Strathairn is playing.  Couldn't figure it out from the brief clip they show.  I'm guessing Elizabeth Mitchell is playing Anna.

 

Thuganomics, yes, Elizabeth Mitchell will play Anna and David Strathairn will captain the recommissioned Nauvoo.  So I guess we are going to get well into book 3 this season.

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6 hours ago, Haleth said:

 So I guess we are going to get well into book 3 this season.

I wish they would sync the show to the books better.  I understand that they want to have excitement for the next season, but if you're trying to read along (like I am), it's kind of frustrating.

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David Strathairn as Ashford should certainly be something. I didn't know he was going to be in this until I saw the trailer. 

 

Spoiler

But I'm prepared to absolutely hate him, particularly if they send Drummer down Sam Rosenberg's path rather than Michio Pa's... but Drummer is a much better fit for Pa's storyline, so fingers crossed.

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On 4/14/2018 at 5:20 AM, Danny Franks said:
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But I'm prepared to absolutely hate him, particularly if they send Drummer down Sam Rosenberg's path rather than Michio Pa's... but Drummer is a much better fit for Pa's storyline, so fingers crossed.

Spoiler

Speculation (fueled in part by some oblique showrunner comments) is that Drummer will stand in for an amalgam of book characters, including some combination of Pa, Sam, and Bull. Obviously she can't simultaneously end up where all of them ended up, but the gist is that she will be there to be Fred's proxy aboard the Behemoth and eventual foil to Ashford.

Edited by btp

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I saw a bit of a Strange Empire episodes last night. Can’t say I like the show, but Cara Gee looks great as a Metis BAMF. Her voice sounds very different,

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I got to meet Dominque Tipper this weekend at Escape Velocity.    Absolute lovely woman who loves her fans.    

She says she loves playing Naomi (although admits she only auditioned because -- paying work) because of the morals that Naomi brings to the Our Intrepid Heroes.   She understands the Belter point of view coming from East London and growing up in Council House herself.  

Really absolutely terrific person.   but TINY.   Really tiny.  

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Lyndie Greenwood as Elvi Okoye is disgusting, arguably worse than Ade since Ade at least was a blink-and-you'll-miss-it character but Elvi Okoye is a POV character and plays a significant role in this series. And they whitewashed her. An explicitly described as dark-skinned Nigerian woman gets played by a biracial character. The insidious anti-blackness in this show is disgusting. 

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I remember Lyndie Greenwood as Jenny Mills on Sleepy Hollow.  I liked her quite a lot on the show before I gave up on it because they killed off Abbie and otherwise turned the show to shit.  I find I'm looking even more forward to Season 4.

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On 7/2/2019 at 6:47 PM, johntfs said:

I remember Lyndie Greenwood as Jenny Mills on Sleepy Hollow

Lyndie was good, but Nicole was so much better.  And Lyndie is of Caribbean, definitely NOT Nigerian!  (Here's a page of Nigerian models).

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20 hours ago, jhlipton said:

Lyndie was good, but Nicole was so much better.  And Lyndie is of Caribbean, definitely NOT Nigerian!  (Here's a page of Nigerian models).

Agreed.  In truth, I left and never really came back after the end of the second season where the show kind of shit the bed over the whole Katrina thing.

I'm willing to agree with you that it might have worked better for the character to use a Nigerian actress.  Of course, I still haven't read the books, so I don't know anything about this character.  Really the whole which actor/actress is the correct color/ethnicity for which character is just not something I care about from much any direction. 

No, really, I'm fine if Superman is a black guy.  I do not care how he looked in the comic book.  I'm cool if characters are race-shifted or gender-bent though I don't want a bunch of "white-washing."  But for me, the fact that the woman of color playing a character who is a woman of color isn't quite as dark as presented in the book is just not a hill I care about dying on.  

I'm still happy we're even getting a 4th or 5th season to be too picky about stuff like that.

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2 hours ago, johntfs said:

But for me, the fact that the woman of color playing a character who is a woman of color isn't quite as dark as presented in the book is just not a hill I care about dying on.

Colorism, particularly in the US, is an extension of racism. So kindly don't dismiss it into the same category as fans are upset that "Daniel Radcliffe should have worn green contacts for the HP movies". That is just insulting to the very real people who are affected by it. And by people affected by it, I mean there's a billion dollar industry that thrives on making dark-skinned African and South Asian women believe that their natural skin colour is inherently unattractive

23 hours ago, jhlipton said:

Lyndie was good, but Nicole was so much better.  And Lyndie is of Caribbean, definitely NOT Nigerian!  (Here's a page of Nigerian models).

It's not even her actual heritage - Aja Naomi King could pass as Nigerian and to the best of my knowledge, she's African-American with all the genetic heritage that comes with. But Lyndie is unambiguously biracial - from her skin colour to her facial profile - and it's obvious why she was cast

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1 hour ago, Katsullivan said:

Colorism, particularly in the US, is an extension of racism. So kindly don't dismiss it into the same category as fans are upset that "Daniel Radcliffe should have worn green contacts for the HP movies". That is just insulting to the very real people who are affected by it. And by people affected by it, I mean there's a billion dollar industry that thrives on making dark-skinned African and South Asian women believe that their natural skin colour is inherently unattractive.

Let's face it.  Stuff like that is pretty universal in the fashion/beauty industry.  Their whole message to men, women, black, white, etc. is "You are inadequate as you are.  You need to use our product/service/process/etc to truly be a complete person.  Without it, you are garbage."

Yeah, skin-lightening thing is creepy and crappy and completely something I'd expect the beauty people to do.

As for Lyndie Greenwood, she did pretty well on Sleepy Hollow, so I hope she does well on The Expanse.  If she was removed and replaced by a Nigerian actress-model... I'd hope the same thing.  As long as the people who've been cast do well inhabiting their roles, I'm fine with whoever they are.

Edited by johntfs
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Shorheh Aghdashloo isn't Indian. Dominique Tipper isn't a mix of African, Asian and South American. Cas Anvar isn't Indian. Florence Faivre, Francois Chau and Nadine Nicole aren't all descended from the same part of East Asia yet they're playing immediate family members.

If characters being cast only from actors who share their heritage is a serious issue, then the ship has well and truly sailed on that.

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1 hour ago, Danny Franks said:

Shorheh Aghdashloo isn't Indian. Dominique Tipper isn't a mix of African, Asian and South American. Cas Anvar isn't Indian.

You just listed all the (explicitly described in the novel as) dark-skinned characters that the show "upgraded". It's almost as if you're making my point for me or something... 🙄 Also the "they picked the best people for the job (the implication being that black/dark-skinned people can't act)!" hasn't aged well since The Last Airbender movie came out.  

1 hour ago, Danny Franks said:

Florence Faivre, Francois Chau and Nadine Nicole aren't all descended from the same part of East Asia yet they're playing immediate family members.

I clearly pointed out that I would have had no problem with Aja Naomi King, an American being cast to play the role of Elvi. 

But nice try at derailing a conversation about racism/colorism into one an irrelevant segue on ethnicity/nationalism. 

3 hours ago, johntfs said:

Stuff like that is pretty universal in the fashion/beauty industry. 

It's also pretty universal in racism too but thanks for diminishing the societal discrimination that leads little black girls to think that dolls that look like them are evil as irrelevant. 

Edited by Katsullivan
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1 hour ago, Katsullivan said:

You just listed all the (explicitly described in the novel as) dark-skinned characters that the show "upgraded". It's almost as if you're making my point for me or something... 🙄 Also the "they picked the best people for the job (the implication being that black/dark-skinned people can't act)!" hasn't aged well since The Last Airbender movie came out.  

I clearly pointed out that I would have had no problem with Aja Naomi King, an American being cast to play the role of Elvi. 

But nice try at derailing a conversation about racism/colorism into one an irrelevant segue on ethnicity/nationalism. 

It's also pretty universal in racism too but thanks for diminishing the societal discrimination that leads little black girls to think that dolls that look like them are evil as irrelevant. 

Ah, so all the casting is terrible, then. Here was me thinking the show did a great job of finding actors who brought these characters to life.

Interesting to learn that ethnicity is "irrelevant" to racism too. That's a new one.

Unfortunately, the tone of your response makes it clear this won't be a discussion worth continuing.

Edited by Danny Franks

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If you can't discuss this subject without being polite about each other's opinions, your post will be removed.   Do not lecture or accuse each other or you will be warned.

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On 8/25/2019 at 12:09 AM, Katsullivan said:

It's also pretty universal in racism too but thanks for diminishing the societal discrimination that leads little black girls to think that dolls that look like them are evil as irrelevant. 

Well, figure there's plenty of racism in the fashion/beauty - especially when they can use it to sell stuff.  I will state that I have to figure that a lot of Nigerian actress/models live in Nigeria while Lyndie Greenwood is from Toronto - and The Expanse films in Toronto.  Which means that they know her and it's easier to cast somebody that you know (which you also know can do the job) than to go looking for someone else who might be better/more ethnically appropriate.  So that was probably part of it, too.  It doesn't mean they couldn't have made more of an effort to cast a more visually fitting actress, just that they didn't think they needed to.

Still, figure there's a limit to how much effort anyone wants to make in casting.  We don't want them spending so much on finding the "perfect" cast that what's left over makes the rest of the show look like Turkish Star Trek:

And at this I point I want to say "Let's just agree to disagree."  Except that I don't really think we do disagree when it gets down to it.  It's just that this issue is clearly personal to you and you're passionate about it.  Which is fine.  It's not personal to me so I'm not nearly as passionate about it.

Edited by johntfs

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I don't think it'd be that hard to find Nigerian-American or Nigerian-Canadian actresses (here's a list of just a few) to play the role of Elvi. They definitely could've made the effort. I liked Lyndie Greenwood a lot in Sleepy Hollow, so I'm sure she'll play this role well. But this show missed an opportunity to really lean into the rich diversity portrayed in the books by casting a dark-skinned actress in the role.

Edited by Gillian Rosh
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Someone missing on that list: Oluniké Adeliyi. I really loved her in Flashpoint and miss her on my screen. That said I also love Lindy Greenwood and since the show has been doing a good job with getting its diverse cast right so far (finding Bobbie can't have been easy) I give them the benefit of the doubt here.

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Yetidi Badaki would probably have been my choice to play Elvi, but then I'm biased, as I love her in American Gods.

I know the showrunners mentioned bringing a character in for the 4th season that book readers thought they forgot (Bull? Michio Pa?), but I'm curious who they might be leaving out/combining with other characters (Havelock? Basia?)

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I remember Tweeting something to an actor/actress about how someone one of the regulars on a show used to work with on a different show might guest star on that regular's show.  I asked if that's because the regular suggested/recommended that person.

The person I tweeted to confirmed that stuff like that happens a lot.  It'd take a bit of work, but it's quite possible that if we cross-referenced work Lyndie Greenwood has done with work others on The Expanse have done we'd find some points of commonality.

That's actually how Freddie Highmore became Charlie for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  Director Tim Burton was gearing up for a full-on Harry Potterish search across Great Britain for his next Charlie.  Then Johnny Depp pulled him aside and recommended Freddie because he'd worked with him on Finding Neverland and knew him to be a capable young actor.

I suspect it's things like that as much as "colorism" that screws some people out of roles.  It's hard to break in because people will tend to recommend people that are already in.

Edited by johntfs

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19 hours ago, johntfs said:

It's hard to break in because people will tend to recommend people that are already in.

And the ones that are already in tend to be lighter, because of past biases.

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5 hours ago, jhlipton said:

And the ones that are already in tend to be lighter, because of past biases.

Sure.  Still, it is getting better if slowly.  In the past biases would be such that the ones already in would tend to be white, with even lighter coloring mostly excluded.

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16 hours ago, johntfs said:

Sure.  Still, it is getting better if slowly.

Since we're getting off the subject of The Expanse, I've replied in Small Talk.

Edited by jhlipton

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On 12/29/2015 at 11:51 PM, Hootis said:

Aghdashloo's voice is distracting. 

I just started watching this show and her voice is killing me. It's not the accent. It's that she actually sounds like she smokes 3 cartons of cigarettes a day and eats nothing but broken glass. It makes her scenes incredibly difficult to watch.

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