Someone once told me that 99% of a director’s job is casting. If you cast a film well, then you’ve already done quite a bit of the work it takes to get a good product. I’m of the opinion that it’s never too early to think about casting. As I write, I oftentimes find it beneficial to envision a role as would be played by a specific actor. I don’t do it as a rule, but more as a tool to visualize an actual person while I’m typing away. Sometimes it’s an Oscar-winning actor I have in mind and sometimes it’s just an actor friend that I’ve known for years. Either way, it helps me throughout the process up until it’s time to actually cast the film.
At this juncture, casting actors in certain roles in Passing Harold Blumenthal could be key in securing funding for the film. While not all investors are influenced by who’s acting in the movie, having a well-known actor “attached” can definitely sweeten the offering and potentially lend a certain caché to the project. Many people would finance any film, no matter how bad the script, as long as the right actors are in it (see It’s Complicated).
Usually, the idea is to cast one or a few roles before or during fundraising and then fill out the cast later on. While I have some ideas of who I want to play whom, there are definitely holes that will need to be filled. For now, I am working with a casting director to share the screenplay with some accomplished actors and see if they might be interested in the project. For obvious reasons, I can’t give more details at this point but suffice it to say, getting these people would be super awesome.
Seeing as I am going to make my film whether or not I secure famous actors, I am not going to spend too much time waiting for A-list stars. There are plenty of wonderful actors in New York that would be terrific in these roles, and I already know a few of them personally. Because of my timetable (and impatience), I am casting while I fundraise. If preliminary casting doesn’t pan out in the high-profile, money-getting way, the low-cost, “no budget” alternative will do just fine. The acting does not need to be famous, it just needs to be good.