I’ve been talking about this movie for years, and talking EVEN MORE about that over the last several months, ever since we secured real funding. What I have not been able to talk about is the cast, because up until the point where everything was absolutely final, there was still the possibility that it might change. Well, now it’s final. Let’s talk about the cast.
We sold the option and started working on the movie about five years ago, and while I am not actually, technically involved in the film, I’ve become very good friends over the years with Billy, the director, and we consult with each other all the time. About this same time I saw the movie “Where the Wild Things Are,” and instantly thought that the kid in it would be a perfect John Cleaver. He was young, but I knew it would be a few years before we filmed, and I loved the way he was able to express such incredible loneliness. I called Billy and told him I’d found our John Cleaver, and he said he’d look into it. Before he even had a chance, though, one of our producers called Billy as well, and said “I just finished a project with a kid who’d be perfect for that movie you’re working on!” That kid was…the same kid. The producer and I, independent of each other, had both cast our dream John Cleaver, and both of them were Max Records. Billy met him and agreed with us, and for five years now Max and his parents have been on board, uncontracted but planning on it. Max has read all the books, he knows the character inside and out, and now that he’s all grown up he looks the part perfectly. We couldn’t be happier with our John Cleaver.
Mr. Crowley was much harder to line up, and that ties back to the five years we were trying to get funding. Take a script to Hollywood where the two leads are 15 and 75 years old, and they will laugh in your face. Nobody in either age group is a “star,” as defined by the kind of people who give money to movies. The movie Gravity, for example, languished for years, completely unable to get made, because even Sandra Bullock doesn’t count as a “star” either. Finally George Clooney, who was a big supporter of the film, stepped in and attached his own name to it, and it didn’t matter that it was a minor role–as soon as it became a George Clooney movie, it got paid for almost instantly, because now there was a “star.” Our movie doesn’t have a role for George Clooney, so standard Hollywood wisdom is that it will not make any money and we shouldn’t even bother.
We bothered anyway, and managed to get funding from outside of Hollywood altogether. Once that was lined up, we were able to pay a Crowley actor what he was worth, and we set our sights on a long, long list of actors. You can’t name an old man actor we didn’t have on our list–we were thorough and exhaustive, and in the end it didn’t even matter because we were able to get our pipe dream actor from right at the top. Our Mr. Crowley is Christopher Lloyd, and we couldn’t be happier. Lloyd has done a lot of amazing stuff in his career, he can do happy and simple and vicious and evil and sad, sometimes all at once, and we think he’ll be perfect for Crowley. The role that really got me excited about him, though, was Reverend Jim from Taxi–not that Crowley is anything like Jim, but because it’s such a fantastically minimal performance. Lloyd played that entire role with a single facial expression, and that’s the sign of an incredible actor. He’s playing Mr Crowley as friendly, kind, and gentlemanly, but with terrifying undercurrents of desperation and despair. It’s wonderful to watch.
Most of the rest of the cast is being drawn from local actors in the Minneapolis area, and they’re all wonderful, and I’ll tell you about them soon, but I had to get the two leads announced before I exploded with excitement. I’m on set for the next nine days, so I’ll be posting snippets and photos and videos as much as I can.
I hope you’re as excited as I am.