Friday, January 1, 2010

Remnant Newsletter #1: Our Cast!

I'm writing this on January 1st, 2010 (not sure if that's Two Thousand Ten or Twenty Ten), which means we are exactly twenty-one days away from the start of production on Remnants!

We have our cast. We had some amazing auditions. I've sat through auditions in the past that are pure torture. As soon as the actor walks in, you know that not only are they wrong for any part you're currently casting, they're wrong for every part you will ever cast. You give them a chance, you let them do their best, you smile, and say, "thanks for coming out!" Mercifully, that was never the case while casting Season 1 of Remnants. Everyone was great. We wanted to work with everyone, and it's my belief that we will, but we have such a small cast for Season 1, we had to find out who was perfect for the roles at hand. And that's what it came down to. Not "who's the best actor," but "who's the best Derek? Who's the best Annabelle? Who's the best . . ." And we've found them. We have found the best.

We also found people who will be perfect for characters in Season 2. Which is as exciting as it is frustrating. Seeing people who will be perfect for characters who haven't been introduced yet is like finding the perfect Christmas gift for somebody in August -- sure, you found it, but now you have to wait five months to give it to the person.

But no more ado! Onto our Season 1 cast!

Derek Fisher, our main protagonist and through whose eyes we'll witness the basic end of the world, will be played by Evan Johnson. This will be the first time I've worked with Evan off stage, and I'm super excited. The last time we worked together Where He Lies, a play that I directed for Ripple Productions back in the fall 0f 2004. His was the last audition we held, and he came in and blew us away. His energy, his resourcefulness, his improvisational skills . . . we can't wait to unleash on the part.

To describe Annabelle Fisher simply as "Derek's sister" would be grave disservice to the character. For while it's through Derek's eyes we witness the events of Remnants, Annabelle serves as the first of several catalysts that start Derek down The Path of the Hero. But she is her own character, and someone who has already journeyed The Path of the Hero. Who she is and who she becomes is both startling and amazing. She will be the character to keep your eye on as the story unfolds.

And to describe Brianne Johnson as "Evan's sister" would be an equal disservice to Brianne. Out of the entire cast, she is the actor I have worked with the most -- starting with Ripple Production's That You May Believe, to Brian Young's senior project A Boy's Tale, to my most recent short film Martyrs. She was the first actor we cast. She walked in, auditioned, and we knew we had our Annie.

Robin Fisher, the mother to our two young heroes, is a woman of incredible strength in her own right. After her husband died in combat, she became solely responsible for the upkeep of the home, financial income, and raising two teenagers. She's done the best she can do, and now it's time for her to let her little ones stand on their own two feet. Cast in the role is Nina Jones, an Atlanta-based actress who we met through a mutual Facebook friend. We had a vague idea of what we wanted out of the character of Robin, and Nina came in and defined the part for us. It was wonderful and we can't wait to begin working with her!

Frank Levitt. That's all I want to say. For those of you who haven't read the script(s), I don't want to say anything else. I'm just going to say he's something of an antagonist and you're going to have to show up to see what I mean. Frank is in the capable hands of Tom Goddard, co-founder of Ripple Productions, current director of the Destiny Drama Company, and an actor who is a sheer delight to act opposite of. Back in my acting days, he cast me in That You May Believe, a play that he was directing and co-starring in. Bantering and improving off of him will always be one my fondest acting memories and I'm intrigued to see what he'll do with what is a decidedly darker role than I've ever see him do.

No-Last Name-Yet John will be played Matt Lassiter, an actor I met thanks to Agentia. Agentia is a Chattanooga-based talent and training agency. And when his agent heard about our auditions, he sent Matt and we're thankful he did. I've never worked with Matt before and this will be his film debut. He impressed us so much, I re-wrote the character just for him.

General Rhodes was perhaps the easiest casting decision we had to make. Which is not at all what I was expecting. It's a big, pivotal role. He only has one scene, but like the Joker in The Dark Knight, his presence is felt in every scene he's not in. Neither Loren or I were expecting Rick Hardaway to walk in, deliver the most eloquent and powerful speech we ever heard, and walk out with the part in hand. Trust me when I say he's going to give you chills. Expect to see more of him in Season 2, 3 . . .

There you have it, folks. Our principal cast. There are still a few smaller roles we need to cast, so if you're reading this and you're thinking to yourself, "I could do a small part," let me know! There's a couple of roles we need to fill that could be fun to play and, who knows, you might just show up and make us write you a bigger part in Season 2!

Expect more newsletters like this as we keep going. We have much to discuss, much to do, and not nearly enough time.

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