Scott: Again, it's a similar thing. Inevitably, small dramas have a tough time now and the financiers and potential financiers are always wanting you to cast Richard Gere or George Clooney, know what I mean? You always have the battles over casting stars, and that I found really frustrating, and luckily, the financiers we ended up with didn't see it that way. They really trusted my judgment in casting, 'cause to me, those characters had to feel real and authentic and if you started casting... I don't want to mention other names, but there are some fantastic, very fine actors out there who aren't necessarily "People Magazine" famous, and Jim (Gandolfini) to me... what blew me away was that Jim wasn't considered to be a major catch.
CS: And he is actually.
Scott: And he's an incredible actor, and Melissa had just done "Frozen River" so that really helped, and Kristen wasn't known for "Twilight" then. That hadn't happened yet. She had just finished shooting before she came onto our film, so we didn't know that "Twilight" was going to be this major success, so Kristen was, at that time, not a big star, so it was an interesting but very frustrating process to get the film financed but we ended up with the right people who believed totally in what we were doing, and we were all making the same film.
CS: Did one of the three actors get attached earlier than the others?
Scott: Jim and Kristen got attached pretty early, and Jim was 18 months before we started production.
CS: I want to ask about working with the three actors, because one of the things I really liked about the movie is that it is just three characters with a few people floating in and out, but it's really focused on those three. Did all three actors want to develop the characters on their own, did you have to work with each one individually, did you do a lot of rehearsal?
Scott: They all three have a different process, and Jim's preparation is really script-oriented. He's very focused on script and he's really good at it, and he had very strong ideas about the emotional logic of his character's journey. He also comes from a tradition of method acting, and he's rigorous about it, and I'd not really worked with that before, and so, I kind of just had to allow him to do it. His method is his method, so when he comes on set, and he and Melissa have an eminent respect for one another. Melissa is a very thorough actor who prepares in a different way, and she's really into detail of her character, of her physicalities and her behavior. So you have these two amazing actors - let them do their thing! So they'd come on set and we'd rehearse on set. Rather than rehearse before the shoot, we actually just sat down and talked a lot and discussed a lot. They were a bit resistant to rehearsing scenes because I think that a lot of actors find on movies that they can over-rehearse. And Kristen is just complete instinct, everything is instinct. I kept her away from the others, because that was the nature of the relationship, and she kind of met strippers and hung out with some strippers that I introduced her to and kind of got a sense of their world, and it was her first time being independent from her parents on a movie, so she was alone. I think that was quite a big thing for her. She's a young lady, just turned 18 at the time, so she was pretty vulnerable.
So you're dealing with three very distinct types of actor. I'm not that experienced with actors and I just learned to trust them and learned from them and found it not easy but it was the best part of making the film was actually working with them. I looked forward to it. Actors, they have a reputation sometimes of being quite difficult.
CS: How did you deal with Kristen on shooting some of the racier scenes and how to prepare for those?
Scott: Very sensitively. You know, you've got this person who is young, who is having to expose herself, more emotionally than physically, but pretty physically as well, and she had to relate to Jim in this, to Doug Riley, and I think we had to be protective. Jim was really good at that, and that was partly their relationship, the characters Doug and Mallory, that's kind of what their relationship was. He was protective, he's not exploiting her, so it made my life easier in terms of watching out for Kristen, but you did feel like you had to... The irony is that Kristen was fine with dealing with it, she's very courageous. Really put herself and threw herself (into it). There were times where she'd do a take and you'd go, "My God." She'd just blow me away at how far she was willing to push it, and she's always trying something new, it was interesting, really interesting.
Read the full interview at ComingSoon.Net