For the past few months a rumored writers strike in Hollywood has made television producers and executives push up all productions on their shows to get as much in the can before summer ends. What does this have to do with this film?
Three months ago young actress Adair Tishler was cast in the leading role of Caroline for our film. One month ago we recieved a phone call from her agent informing us that Adair would be working for three episodes of HEROES over our shoot dates. He assured us that they would only need her for one day per episode and that she’d be completely able to do both.
This worried me, my producer Erica, and my casting director Erica (Silverman). Even though things were looking up at the time, Silverman began see other young actresses just in case. Well of course HEROES becomes massively behind schedule, working their cast and crew into double overtime. They began calling Adair for days after days after days, and as of Wednesday of last week, we realized that the train-wreck of HEROES was about to crash into our production as well. Adair and her Aunt Rhonda fought with me until the end, putting her career in jeopardy by bullying the casting agents and producers of the show. I cannot tell you how much it meant to me to see them fight so hard.
So that brings us to last Wednesday, six days before production begins. As of the previous Sunday, a young actress named Madison Davenport had returned after filming six weeks in Canada for the anticipated New Line Picturehouse/ HBO venture Kit Kittredge: An American Girl Mystery. Tuesday night she comes into a casting session for the film after being highly recommended by the family of Jake Johnson (actor playing Darrell.) Silverman uploaded the session onto a secure website for the Monster team to watch.
Blew us away.
We called Madison back the following night to push some of the films most challenging material to see how far she could go. That night, while sitting in my hotel room in Utah, I watched my computer screen and for the very first time I listened to my lines being read as I started to cry.
Bombshells like loosing your actress a week before shooting are all but too common in the movie business. But typically they birth possibilities never imaged before. For me this is Madison. We have had three shooting days together and every day is better than the next. She has such a complex understanding of the themes of the film and motivations of her character. With Madison we had found Caroline.