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“We took some time over the choice of the actor to play Snow,” recalls producer Marc Libert, “until the directors and Luc met with Guy Pearce, who was shooting “Mildred Pierce” and was very slim.
James and Steve were worried because Snow is such a physical character. Guy told us that he had been an Australian bodybuilding champ at the age of 16 and that his body would be in prime condition when we started shooting.” The actor kept the producers informed of his progress as he bulked up and he arrived on set looking very muscular compared to the lithe characters he is best known for. “In 2-3 months, he put on fifty pounds,” comments Marc Libert.
Everybody agrees on Guy Pearce’s discipline and organization. “He arrived on set with a file,” continues Libert. “He’d been working on his character’s curve, had underlined particular scenes in the script and had even studied the development of the characters Snow interacts with.” Producer Leila Smith adds, “Jokingly, we told him that he could have saved us the salary of the script supervisor because he was on top of absolutely every detail.” In fact, before he became an actor, Guy Pearce worked in continuity. “Guy was very committed, but with the aim of improving scenes, not stealing them,” comments Marc Libert.
As for Maggie Grace, Leila Smith says, “She’s a wonderful actress to work with. Her attitude is very professional and she is very open to suggestions.” Marc Libert adds, “She sometimes needs to withdraw into her own world with her iPod for a few minutes to focus, but when she’s in front of the camera, she is fully committed from the very first take.” Leila Smith points out, “She didn’t complain when we asked her to fly in three weeks before the shoot started to practice on the wires and rehearse certain scenes. Maggie and Guy were there as soon as their previous commitments had been fulfilled.”
All that remained was to find an actor for one of the hardest parts to cast: Hydell. A real loose canon, Hydell is frustrated at taking orders from his big brother all the time. With his dead eye that didn’t survive the reversal of the cryogenic process, he cuts a terrifying figure. Leila Smith says, “Joe Gilgun, who plays Hydell, comes from one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Manchester.
He’s had a crazy life and got into a lot of trouble when he was a kid. He’s suffered and developed an amazing artistic sensitivity.” Director Stephen St. Leger remarks, “I asked Joe to adopt a Scottish accent because I find it imbued with humor whereas the Manchester accent is a trademark of the Gallagher brothers!”
When Gilgun met Vincent Regan, who plays his brother Alex, the two actors discussed their characters and developed aspects that were subliminal in the script only to emerge in the movie. “The relationship between the two brothers really took shape,” says Marc Libert. “They explored the question and met up regularly off set to take their characters forward.”
Leila Smith notes, “Like most British actors, Vincent immediately knew where to stand in relation to the light. With one glance at the set-up as he came in, he knew where he had to be for the camera. This film literally comes from out of space,” concludes Leila Smith, “not the Hollywood mainstream.
Personally, I enjoy working on debut features because the constraints generate wonderful energy. The budget meant we had to make the most judicious choices possible. Innovation and creativity were at a premium. There was no time for fighting because everybody rolled up their sleeves to help the directors.”
Image Courtesy of Lockout