Three Children in a Marianas Trench-Coat

Earlier, I was discussing the rule that one shouldn’t criticise a solution unless one was prepared to offer an alternative. As I am not the only Lovecraftian in my circle, the discussion swept over whether Yog-Sothothery was an exception, which reminded me of some strange realisations I had as a younger man about the casting of a live-action Cthulhu.

And by younger man, I mean a couple of years ago.

If I had to pick one actor to play Cthulhu, I’d cast Andy Serkis because of the subtle oddity of his Gollum in Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films.

A man holding his head in his hands
I said cosmic dread not bread!
©NateCC BY-NC-ND 2.0

However, given the option, I wouldn’t cast an actor; I’d cast several actors and have each of them do a selection of distance and close scenes. While many actors are superb at mimicking another person’s movements, with multiple actors playing the same character is unlikely they would all be a perfect copy of each other; thus, Cthulhu would visually be the same character in every scene but wouldn’t have the visceral consistency of motion that a single person has, creating an unconscious perception of “otherness” in the viewer’s mind.

If I was really going for the unconscious oddity, I might use the actors who played the various significant characters as the group that played Cthulhu; thus adding an imperceptible echoing of others to the self-dissonance.

Any of you think this wouldn’t work, or have a good idea for how to capture the indescribably otherness of Cthulhu? Or have encountered a film that has already tried my portmanteau casting idea?


3 thoughts on “Three Children in a Marianas Trench-Coat

  1. Given that Cthulhu is not human, I’m not sure that any human or combinations of different humans could do a good job of representing him. Surely some sort of technological creation would better convey a sense of utter non-humanness?


    1. My issue with technological creations to portray Yog-Sothothery in live action media is the way the mind automatically uses “normal” to unconsciously label other things as fake. While solutions might develop to achieve it in the future, at the moment combining live action people with purely generated places/creatures creates an unconscious contrast in “realness!”; I find the most “real” portrayals of Yog-Sothothery are animation because the benchmark of “normal” human is animated so animated otherness is no more fake. So, ironically, the most cosmically dreadful live action Cthulhu I’ve seen is in the HPLS homage to black and white movies because the humans are stylised too.


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