This past Saturday marked the 216th birth-versary of musical composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Recently, I watched the special edition director’s cut of one of my favorite flicks – the fantastical, academy award winning movie Amadeus. With 20 extra minutes of never-before-released footage and a 2nd disc dedicated to interviews on the making of the movie, this music/film aficionado was in heaven. The director’s notes – as always – proved fascinating, but I was especially struck with what the filmmakers had to say about casting characters.
Casting for Amadeus was an arduous process. At one point producer Saul Zaentz tallied the number of actors they’d auditioned at 1,263 – and they weren’t yet finished. Said director Milos Forman:
Of course you start with the main characters and then you go down. But down doesn’t mean less important. I think the small parts are as important as the main characters. In a certain way, I pay more attention to casting the small, bit parts because they will have to be …(pauses)…once you see them, you will never forget them. Nothing drives me more crazy when I am watching a film and somebody appears, then disappears and then reappears. And he looks like the guy who was just there, and I’m asking ‘Who is he? Who is she?’
Distinctive. Those secondary characters must be distinctive. But how to make it happen? [Read more…]