I have cast 70% of the film plus my two main leads: Woman and Rich. Played by Miranda Magee and Christopher Slater.
Two charismatic, lovely, talented and warm people; with the added benefit of having a Canterbury base – how lucky is that?
Miranda’s improvs were a league of their own and Chris’s monologue reduced the whole room to tears.
When you meet your actors, you go back and revisit your script. You ask the obvious questions: What can Chris and Miranda bring to Woman and Rich? Where will they meet, at which point will they merge and how can I help them do that? Who will influence who?
How do you find a woman to represent Europe? What qualities will she have? Is she going to be a femme fatale? A girl next door? The unattainable beauty? The tortured high maintenance wife? The prude, middle class 30 something that yearns for more?
In Miranda I think I found all the above. Plus integrity. Plus one other fundamental characteristic which I will not reveal now because I’ll spoil the film.
Chris mesmerised us on his first audition. He had this incredible depth, softness and honesty that screamed star quality. The camera loved him and so did the whole room. He felt every line, he felt the pauses, he felt our silence. I turn to my reader right after he finished and she whispered, ‘I want to marry him’ – she meant it.
The one thing I wanted to explore more was his dark side. I wrote him an email explaining more about the character’s demons and during the recall Chris showed me a side of him that sealed his fate. I was shocked and scared and for a minute wondered if he hadn’t damaged himself by ‘getting there’. There are some things you can’t foresee in the first audition particularly because you concentrate on key elements and you don’t want to spread the actor too thin. Once his ‘detailed dark side’ was exposed, I knew what I had in front of me was ‘Rich’ beyond expectations.