Let's dreamcast the movie adaptation of Joe Abercrombie's Best Served Cold

With a movie adaptation of Joe Abercrombie's Best Served Cold in the works, we've decided to try our hand at dream-casting the First Law series' big-screen debut.
"Best Served Cold" by Joe Abercrombie. Image courtesy of Orbit.
"Best Served Cold" by Joe Abercrombie. Image courtesy of Orbit. /
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Say one thing for Joe Abercrombie's First Law series, say it's ripe for adaptation.

In a media landscape that’s rich in big and small-screen takes on beloved fantasy IPs, it’s only natural that an epic fantasy saga as adored as Abercrombie’s First Law may soon make its way to theaters. The 11-book series — which currently consists of two separate trilogies, three standalone novels, and two short-story collections — is routinely heralded by science fiction and fantasy readers as some of the best fantasy fiction produced this century, a saga that will go down as a hallmark of the genre à la J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings or George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire.

Despite previous efforts from Abercrombie and filmmaker Tim Miller to adapt the initial First Law trilogy into a series of films, the two ultimately opted to develop 2009’s Best Served Cold for the screen. A standalone novel that’s still very much ingrained in the larger First Law world, Best Served Cold is perhaps the most ‘cinematic’ novel of the series, a no-holds-barred Count of Monte Cristo-inspired revenge tale that’s as riveting as it is ruthless.

The Abercrombie-penned, Miller-directed Best Served Cold adaptation was confirmed to be in the works at Skydance Media in May 2023, with Rebecca Ferguson (Dune) initially attached to star as protagonist Monzcarro Murcatto. Though subsequent developments regarding production have been scarce given last year’s Writers Guild and SAG-AFTRA strikes, work does appear to be progressing, with Abercrombie writing in a December 2023 blog post that he, “might be on set in a few months . . . or [he] might very easily never be.

For the sake of our emotional health (which Abercrombie has shown no prior regard for in his novels) and for this article, we’re going to assume the film does ultimately receive the green light and we are one day able to see the Circle of the World on the big screen. In this event, which actors should portray the cherished characters who appear in Best Served Cold? We’ve decided to dream-cast the potential adaptation.

Caution: This article will not spoil the events of Best Served Cold. Several pre-existing First Law characters do, however, appear throughout the novel, and their presence will be acknowledged in this piece. If you have not read the book and wish to go into the novel/film without knowledge of key characters, you may want to avoid this article. You have to be realistic about these things.

Rebecca Ferguson
"Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning - Part One" US Premiere / Bryan Bedder/GettyImages

Monzcarro Murcatto  — Rebecca Ferguson

Though not a one-for-one match for Monzcarro Murcatto as she’s described in the novel, Rebecca Ferguson—the film’s only semi-confirmed casting thus far—is an inspired choice for the character. I won’t spend too much time on the role given that an actress is already attached, but Ferguson—a recent sci-fi/fantasy darling who features prominently in Dune and Apple TV+’s Silo—seems a more than satisfactory pick.

Like most Abercrombie-written ‘protagonists,’ Monza is a complex character, a revenge-seeking mercenary who frequently toes the line between endearing and detestable. Ferguson’s turn as Lady Jessica in 2021’s Dune saw her blend the command, stoicism, and internal conflict that will be needed to pull off the character, and we’ve even seen her display action-thriller chops in the Mission: Impossible franchise. While her casting hasn’t been finalized, Ferguson would be a triumphant pick as Monzcarro.

There are many more characters from Best Served Cold to dream-cast. Click the button below for more: