This is a really long response and I apologize. I just got more and more irritated as I wrote and I couldn’t really stop.
Yes. I agree completely. I’m not saying she’s not a good actress but Martin and Benedict definitely are better actors and it showed. I was fine with her in the beginning. But as soon as the big reveal was made I immediately was like ‘That was miscast’. I can’t think of a better way to describe it other than she can’t do serious. As I said in my OG post she was a good homemaker character. She was sweet, and had that bit of snark that made her kind of funny, and was that cookie cutter-with-a-picket-fence-and-2.5-children wife that John wanted. And I really only think that worked because from what I’ve seen of interviews, and the like that’s very similar to her natural personality. She didn’t really have to actually act, y’know? She just was herself on set and they filmed it.
But then with the assassin thing, she’s supposed to be this vague grey area character now and it just did not mesh. I could not look at Amanda and think ‘femme fatale’ the way I did with Irene (and I don’t even like this version of Irene). She couldn’t add a layer of believable depth to the character. When people said she was playing two different characters it’s because she was. And the whole ‘Moftiss didn’t give her the script until after TSOT’ excuse is still just an excuse. That was a stupid thing to do imo, because actors deserve time to prepare, but good actors know how to make the best of a bad situation. Just look at all those fantastic actors in lame sitcoms with horrible plots that still manage to come out as the best.
And seriously, no casting calls? From that I can just tell that they merely cast her because of her chemistry with Martin. So they honestly only cast her because she was the wife type not because of actual acting. That really ticks me off too. I hate unfair advantages like that. Especially when it’s so OBVIOUS that she wasn’t a good fit.
Benedict’s parents also upset me but to a lesser extent. They were basically there to play themselves, but because they weren’t huge plot points I didn’t care too much. Steven Moffat’s son though was just NO. To be a bit shallow here, he didn’t look like Sherlock and that’s a big deal to me that I can see where this little kid would have grown into Benedict. And also because it would not have been that hard to choose an actual child who needs a chance to break out acting instead of your kid who just by being your son will have thousands.
Acting’s a nepotist’s game. I am curious as to what Moftisson would have done if AA was a civilian. Hiring someone’s real-life partner can be an attractive solution for when you have to establish a long-term relationship between two characters without eating into the screentime. The problem’s made worse in that the audience wants to hear more about what Sherlock’s been up to than what John’s been doing because Sherlock’s the main character.
I agree that withholding the script from her for so long was a daft idea. What they should have done was let her be the only one to see it and kept everyone else in the dark. I dunno, maybe they thought it would give the game away too quickly if they let Amanda’s acting choices be influenced by HLV ahead of time. Maybe they should have shot that section of HLV earlier. I know there are some directors who have built a career on keeping their actors in the dark until the camera’s rolling, but that’s not really conducive to show like Sherlock. Mike Leigh can get away with shit like that because his stories tend not to have a super-specifc fixed endpoint that has to reached. Even though we don’t know exactly what’s going to happen in Series 4 and 5, I don’t think that that’s true of Sherlock.
I’m undecided about whether or not I like AA’s performance overall. I’ll have to wait for this story line to run its full course to come down on a decision. I do like to think about other people who could have played Mary, but obviously the duality of the role makes her really difficult to cast. Nina Sosanya, maybe?