Thursday, September 17, 2009

Last Lap of Auditions... dreaming our little dreamy dreams

Good casting in a film isn’t small stuff. It shows the ability to see beyond a picture, beyond movements and initial interpretation. I think of Joan Cusack when I say this. She’s strong and female and unique. And while her look is unusual, and her speaking style is peculiar, she makes it come alive and creates a character from it. Instead of trying to bury it, she uses it as a tool and becomes someone you want to watch and see and hear. In the end, you don’t see the flaws, you see the character and embrace it as real.

I thought of this when I replayed the auditions from last Saturday. I want to be open-minded and aware of actors that can offer anything unique and special and wild in a way. My personal philosophy is to try to always maintain a sense of abandonment in life, in whatever you’re doing or creating. Freedom within a character, that’s what I’m looking for.

For Round 2, we had different actors, mostly men. It was interesting to watch how and in what manner they chose to create the father figure of Gil. For one actor, I wanted to interrupt him and remind him that in his youth, he was a hottie… the mother had remembered him and mourned the demise of their relationship. Oddly, the guys were stuck in dad-mode, and not communicating the vision of older hottie-dad, which is actually the pivotal element of the character. That’s why I had them read from the table scene. (Jim Jarrett, where are you?) One woman gave the most heartbreaking read for Joan. She was lovely and sweet. And while she struggled with the “angry and mean” Joan, her delivery of the discovery scene was dead on. The close-up made me melt.

But we couldn’t absorb much more. My casting team was tired. We had two 6-hour days of actor after actor. By the end, I’m not sure how much we were able to digest so I’m grateful we shot all of it on HD.

Now, as we move into the final lap of auditions, each character will have another actor trying on the role, and at the end we’ll have a beer, watch the videos and see who makes us believe the story.

So we’ll end here with a poem, best remembered from the classic Willy Wonka movie. It’s from Ode (1874) by Arthur O’Shaughnessy.

We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams;—
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.

A breath of our inspiration
Is the life of each generation;
A wondrous thing of our dreaming
Unearthly, impossible seeming—
The soldier, the king, and the peasant
Are working together in one,
Till our dream shall become their present,
And their work in the world be done.

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