"The Film is Cast!". Sweet words for all the creative team in any project, but especially true here. As casting director, one of my primary concerns is to find and deliver not just a talented assortment of actors, but the RIGHT assortment. Chemistry is important, as is the vision of the director. During the [extended] audition process, we were able to discover some wonderful actors and put together the puzzle in such a way that will help ensure a fine finished product. Curiously enough, there were some actors who came in and did an excellent job at one role, but were ultimately booked for a very different part; a tribute to their versatility. I can honestly say we took as much care in the selection of each role (from the leads to smaller roles) because each choice effects the fabric and personality of the ensemble, which to me is key. A benefit of working in Independent films is that artistic integrity - not being bound to a particular studio, or having the process overseen by "committee" allows the artistic vision to flourish.
I am also very proud of some of the actors who were NOT cast. In the midst of callbacks, it was my goal to offer a number of subtle choices to the director - not just the few best. Therefore, while not being able to use them for THIS project, I was confident that ANY of the people brought in for the final callbacks COULD play the part very well, (each in their own way), and so it became a matter of mixing and matching styles or attributes while never sacrificing quality.... I will most certainly remember them for future projects.
But the process continues to evolve, I just got an E-mail telling me that we need 3 new characters created in a re-write.
Oh, well... back to work.
Good news.... After only a day's listing, I have nearly 500 submissions on the 3 roles. Some of them look very promising. What I would LIKE to do is take a day or two of PRE-screenings in the afternoons before I bring the more likely callbacks in for you (which we can, of course do in the mornings). I'll have everyone on tape, should you want to double check my evaluations - it just might move faster and we can see more candidates.
(From an e-mail by Rich to Vitaly Sumin)
OK. Here are the character descriptions for the breakdown on the 3 leads, I might even add Bob (easy to describe) to the list before I submit it. I'll release them as SOON as you give me your input - I kept them a little vague but evocative, to get the most submissions to choose from. I'll also include a blurb about the story (taken from your treatment) and a tiny bit of background about the production:
STEVEN: (Lead) - Male, Mid-20's --Thoughtful, volatile, talented and attractive. An actor who throws himself into the role of the great Russian writer Dostoevsky (for whom he may bear an eerie resemblance) .... he drinks heavily and has nightmarish dreams of the past. Political, easily agitated, becomes embroiled in relationships with two women AND a mystery.
IRINA: (Lead) Very Beautiful Female, mid to late 20's -- An actress turned prostitute, she radiates a cold calm - but can jump from emotion to emotion without skipping a beat. Manipulative. Has the look of a cover girl - but has deep dark secrets. Irina is of Russian heritage with piercing eyes, probably blonde, and sophisticated. Not easily embarrassed or intimidated --- a professional aloofness which only later gives way to tears of desperation and fear.