About The Casting
With its Chaplinesque comedy, and long
list of exaggerated characters in the screenplay, including circus sideshow
freaks such as Chicken Man, Lil' Zip, Rubber Woman, Flipper Boy, Human
Sasquatch and Dr. Phreak, "Bubble Boy" was filled with rich material
that many actors found intriguing. Casting was a very delicate operation. For
the lead role of Jimmy Livinginston, the bubble boy, producer Beau Flynn says,
"A lot of people read for this part. We always felt we needed a dramatic
actor inside the bubble because he was going to have to be reactive to
everything going on around him. When Jake [Gyllenhaal] walked in for an
audition, Blair Hayes and I looked at each other and said, â€˜That's Bubble
Boy!' Jake had something special that we hadn't seen in anyone else. His
acting is multi-layered and he is a great comedian. Jake has wide eyes and seems
so open to the world. He's an amazing actor."
Director Hayes was instantly taken with
the young actor's range of talent. "Jake's abilities are amazing,"
the director states. "There's an honesty to Jake that he can't hide. He's
capable of being very funny, but equally adept at being very dramatic. He's
what I call an honest actor. He handled the comedy and emotional material with
equal strength. There were a couple of other actors who came close to the role
who were strictly comic actors. This would have been an entirely different movie
without Jake and I commend the studio for getting behind him because he made the
film more universal."
Jake Gyllenhaal says of his
introduction to the role, "I've never done a comedy and I wasn't really
thinking about that genre when I was looking for my next project. But it hit me
right across the face when I first read the script. You rarely read a script and
laugh out loud, and that's what drew me to the project. I love the broad,
biting humor of the screenplay."
The filmmakers were delighted with
their choice of casting Jake, but the actor far exceeded all of their
expectations. As Beau Flynn points out, "I feel that comically, his
performance is very nuanced. I never expected it to come out that way. You see
his evolution and how meticulously he made the decision to make his character
grow along the way. Also, his work ethic as an actor was wonderful. He worked
immensely hard and took the utmost pride in creating a character that everybody
loves. His performance is simply fantastic."
"Frankly," says director
Hayes, "if I have one regret it's that I couldn't do more close-ups of
Jake. Aside from his huge mesmerizing eyes, he's fascinating to watch."
Gyllenhaal returns the compliment to
his director, saying, "The comedy in the film comes from a place where
Blair allowed us to bring our own creativity to the role. Blair just lets us go
free with improvisation. Rarely do you work with a director who is as
Casting the role of Mrs. Livingston,
Jimmy's domineering mother, was another example of the filmmakers being drawn
to an actor who brought an elevated level of understanding to the character and
thus made her the ideal choice for the role. Award-winning actor Swoosie Kurtz
was selected to portray Mrs. Livingston, whom Kurtz facetiously describes as
"Donna Reed meets the anti-Christ. The character's only goal in life is
to keep her little baby boy sheltered and close to her until she dies, or until
he dies, whichever comes first."
"I love Swoosie Kurtz and her
versatility," says producer Beau Flynn. "I thought she was a<
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