C.S. Lewis’s “That Hideous Strength” Review and Fan-Cast

Written by Ben Casey. Media by Bekah Dothager.


Source: amazon.com

Aliens, religious allegories, talking heads, Merlin’s revived corpse, and England! No, it’s not a crazy dream conjured by a late night snack; it’s the contents of what I want to be the next big summer blockbuster!

That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis is the third book in Lewis’s Space trilogy. The series depicts cosmic travel through a spiritual lens.  Despite THS being the last part of the series, it was written to stand on its own.

I picked up Lewis’s Sci-Fi series just this summer. The first two books, entitled Out Of The Silent Planet and Perelandra, portrayed the travels of the protagonist Ransom from Earth to Mars and then from Earth to Venus.

The third, however, takes a sharp turn. Ransom, the main character and narrator of the previous two books, is only a minor character in this book. This is the only book that takes place completely on Earth.




Graphic by: Bekah Dothager


This book would make an excellent Sci-Fi comedy film, in the spirit of Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. There are a number of scenes in the book that would make very memorable moments in a film and would just be incredibly fun to watch.

At the beginning of the novel, the protagonist Mark’s wife, Jane, has a dream involving a severed head talking to her and people digging up an old dead man who is actually not dead.  This would make a ridiculous and visceral scene to watch, surreal and comedic in its absurdity.

Later in the book, Mark meets with his severed head.  His reactions to this would make for an unbelievably bizarre and hilarious scene to watch. Additionally, the scene where Mark meets Ransom, who claims to be the King of Logres, heir of King Arthur, and when he met with several aliens—who are also angels and Greek gods—would make for a great viewing experience.

Not to mention, the ending where the revived Merlin casts a gibberish-speaking spell to free animals being worked on by N.I.C.E and the angel of Venus causes an earthquake and transports Ransom back to Venus before telling Mark to be a better husband to his wife.

Graphic by: Bekah Dothager


The outlandish story combined with the book’s almost formal tone comes off first as aloof but soon develops into the kind of dry British humor seen in Monty Python or Edgar Wright films.

And now for a fan casting!

Simon Pegg (Source: narniaweb.com)

Mark (Simon Pegg) – The awkward, but well-meaning protagonist who, despite not having much ability himself, accomplishes his goals. This is something Simon Pegg is familiar in playing.

Jane (Gemma Arterton) – Gemma has shown herself to be a strong female lead, which is definitely what is needed to play Jane, the psychic wife of Mark.

The Head (Christopher Walken– I mean, come on—who doesn’t want to see Christopher Walken as a dismembered head?

Lord Feverstone (Nick Frost) – Nick Frost works really well with Simon Pegg and I’d absolutely love to see him playing the villain. The fact that the N.I.C.E. are supposed to be very subtly evil would definitely help out.

Elijah Wood (Source: biography.com

Elwin Ransom (Ricky Gervais) – Gervais could easily pull off the casual insanity of the story of Elwin Ransom presented in the book.

Merlin (Elijah Wood– I really would like to see Elijah Wood bringing his expert skills in drama to the role of an old wizard—especially a slightly crazy, old wizard.

Vagabond (Daniel Radcliffe)  In the book, Merlin switches clothes with a homeless vagabond who the N.I.C.E. then believes is Merlin. DanRad’s experience at playing a wizard combined with his likeness to Elijah Wood makes this a hilarious idea.

As for a director, I would choose the always wonderful Edgar Wright.


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