For a film of this nature and tone to work as designed, the casting of the film was of paramount importance. With an ensemble cast like this, every role mattered, and at times would directly impact who would be cast in a corresponding role.
The most straightforward casting of the entire film was for the lead female role of Seraphina Brooks. A part written specifically with Georgina Campbell in mind. So much so, that no alternate list was devised. Georgina was the only actress we wanted in that role. Thankfully, after reading the script and offer sent, Georgina accepted within 48 hours. After which, it was only a matter of logistics to line up our shooting schedule to accommodate Georgina’s availability considering the numerous shoots she was doing both in the U.K. and internationally.
After a zoom call with Akemnji Ndifornyen, it was clear how strong he would be as Joel. His passion and commitment for the role was evident on that casting call, and an offer was made within 24 hours of that call, which was accepted.
Therefore, those two leading roles were more straightforward than we could have first envisaged, because we focused in on both of these actors, and brought them to the project within six weeks of each other.
“With an ensemble cast like this, every role mattered.”
Brittany Ashworth was an actress our director had wanted to work with for years, and nearly had on a previous production. Brittany had just done a lead role for a feature on Netflix, but she agreed to consider the role of Mrs Swan once she had read the full script. Thankfully, Brittany loved the script and could see the importance her character had had on Joel when he was younger. Her schedule also worked out with our shoot date for the scene in question, so casting Brittany completed our trio of lead roles on Chairs.
“We had over 650 actors apply for those 15 roles. That is in addition to those we approached ourselves, taking the tally closer to 700 actors.”
This left 15 more roles to cast. After an ad was placed, we had over 650 actors apply for those 15 roles. That is in addition to those we approached ourselves, taking the tally closer to 700 actors. Every actor was considered and watched. Many of these were directly liaised with asking them for additional clips or further details about their understanding of the film itself. Through that casting process, a shortlist soon emerged, and from that, 15 stood out above all others.
The process to cast all 18 actors in our film took six months to complete – making it one of the longest casting periods of any Sunset Aperture film.