First off, I have to say that I can't believe how lucky I am that I- and we, because I got some major assistance here- found such awesome people to act in the film. Of course the crew is superb [and I'm sure I'll write BIG POSTS about them later!], and we've worked with each other mostly on 'Super/Heroes' and 'Raw Umber' before, with some new additions, and I love them to death and they're really at the top of their game here at Post. But with a cast, unless you've worked with them before (and I had with Steve in both of those, and Lindsay in the first, and sort of admittedly wrote Cole and Allison with them in mind begging God they'd take the roles) you have no idea if someone will blow you away at an audition and be a complete nutcase on set, or if no one will suit the part at all and there will just be a big black hole.
Danny proved to be hard to find the right actor for, but luckily I found a great guy right on campus who gets his combination of charm, swagger, and douchiness (Ian) without going over the top in the moustache-twirling villain department. Lauren came in for, well, "Lauren", and while she hasn't shot yet she was such fun at read throughs and has been great to talk to, so on top of things- and has made a role which could have also been a gossipy stereotype a layered one. Danny and Lauren aren't stereotypes, they're archetypes of the kind of people you meet in high school (the charming class clown, the outgoing best friend who you may not keep up with too much after college rolls around), and a lot of people didn't understand that. But Ian and Lauren do, and I can't wait to do more with them. Paul brought a LOT more gravitas to Phil than I was expecting from anyone. Phil is a goof who also quietly envies Cole and his steadiness, then doesn't know what to do when he sees that slowly fall apart from the sidelines. Many people up-played the goofy part. Paul plays it differently than I saw anyone else play it, and I love it. When we filmed, I knew he was perfect. Lindsay hasn't been able to be here much for portraying Allison, but her initial reading with Steve absolutely seared with tension and sadness and I know it'll be perfect.
We had a rehearsal with Elizabeth (Margot) and Steve (Cole) the Friday before the first shoot. I was nervous, because I wanted the right amount of tension and history between these characters before such a pivotal scene (prom, the emotional climax of their story) would be shot, and a scene that occurs after so much has happened between them and in their lives. I needn't have worried. They absolutely understood the perspectives of the characters, and while I didn't want to give too much away from the writer's POV because their acting was just so GOOD I didn't want to mess anything up, it was obvious come their dance scene on Friday that they understood exactly where their characters' feelings were at the moment (oh sweet LORD the beautiful tension!). It didn't matter that we weren't shooting chronologically or hadn't shot any of their school scenes or other pivotal scenes before this. They were able to leap into the characters at 18 and 26, after experiencing so much; her about to graduate and him on a precipice of the unknown.
I couldn't be more lucky to have found these people.