The saga of Gormenghast begins with the birth of an heir: Titus, 77th Earl of Groan. His arrival ignites a period of turmoil and treachery that threatens to destroy the ancient castle and its ritualized way of life. Spurned by his parents and stifled by duty, Titus dreams of life outside the castle, often sneaking away in pursuit of the Wild Girl and the freedom she represents. Meanwhile, the Machiavellian Steerpike schemes to claim the very birthright that Titus rejects.
Andrew N. Robertson plays the older Titus, forced to confront his absentee mother and the weight of his royal duty. To prepare for this role, Andrew studied videotapes of Prince William that helped him understand and sympathize with the pressures of duty and etiquette that the British royal family endure. Titus, he argues, carries the same burden. Robertson appeared in Ian McEwan's film The Cement Garden in 1993 and only recently returned to acting after attending university.
Thirteen-year-old Cameron Powrie plays the younger Titus Groan. "He's 12. He doesn't like the ritual of the castle and is fed up with what he has to do as Earl, so he runs away," explains Powrie. "He's down to earth; he wants to be like a normal child and rebels."
Cameron spent "about three days in total" preparing for Gormenghast by "flicking through the script with the director and other actors.... Everyone was very nice, cast and crew. We were at Shepperton Studios, and it was kind of weird. Behind the castle wall you could see all the rigging." The young actor has most recently appeared in the Royal Shakespeare Company's Antony and Cleopatra, in which he sang to the guests aboard Pompey's galley.
In Peake's words:
Small though he looked on the gray [horse], there was something commanding in the confident air with which he sat the saddle -- something impressive in his childish frame, as though there was a kind of weight there, or strength -- a compound of spirit and matter; something solid that underlay the whims, terrors, tears, and laughter and vitality of his seven years. By no means good looking, he had, nevertheless, this presence. Like his mother, there was a certain scale about him, as though his height and breadth bore no relation to the logic of feet and inches.
-- Gormenghast, Chapter 4
As for Titus, he was almost grown now to his full height. But he was of an odd highly-strung natures -- sullen and excitable by turns. Strong as need be for his years, he was more apt to have his energy sapped by the excess of his imagination than of his body.
-- Gormenghast, Chapter 57, Part 3
|Steerpike | Groan | Gertrude | Titus | Fuchsia | Flay
Swelter | Nannie | Barquentine | Clarice + Cora
Dr. Prunesquallor | Irma Prunesquallor | Bellgrove
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