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As Scott, Bruckheimer and Lustig began organizing the giant production effort, the filmmakers also began to search for the appropriate actors to inhabit the more than 40 principal roles in Nolan's screenplay. Despite the fact that the film focuses on American soldiers, Scott felt in no way inhibited by the separation of cultures or continents, for in the end he cast not only a large group of Americans, but also selected several talented actors from the British continent (English, Scottish and Welsh) and even one from Denmark.

"I just look for good actors," Scott states, "wherever they happen to be from. It was tricky to cast this ensemble, because there are some 40 speaking roles. All of them are important, and it's always sensitive when you're talking to an actor who's accustomed to a bigger role, and they're saying 'Well, I've only got four scenes.' I say, 'Yeah, but they're four really good scenes.' So it was a hard process of casting and persuading them what a good project it was going to be, and that all the effort would be worth it."

In fact, most actors in Black Hawk Down were more than willing to cast their egos aside for the opportunity of working with Ridley Scott and Jerry Bruckheimer on a project of such significance.

Of key importance, of course, was casting the key roles of Eversmann and 'Hoot,' and Bruckheimer and Scott were in full agreement as to who they wanted as the lead— Josh Hartnett, one of America's most talented young actors who had just starred for the producer with Ben Affleck and Kate Beckinsale in Pead Harbor. States Bruckheimer, "I think Josh is unique in that while the camera certainly loves him, and he has undeniably 'heartthrob' appeal, he's a young actor of genuine commitment and depth who completely immerses himself in his work. As handsome as Josh is, there's also a remarkable vulnerability and humanity about him, which was perfect for the role of Matt Eversmann."

Hartnett, having been through one tremendous war recreation for Pearl Harbor, saw elements in Black Hawk Down which were substantially different than the World War II epic. "What really sets this movie apart is that it tells a story about something important that most of us don't know all that much about," comments Hartnett. "It's one of those stories that when people watch it, theyll say 'My God, I can't believe this actually happened.' And hopefully, it will get people interested in all the other things that are currently happening around the world."

Eric Bana came to Bruckheimer and Scott's attention from his native Australia, where he had carved out a big reputation, first as a stand-up comic and star of his own television series, and then for his astonishing starring role as complex sociopath Mark "Chopper" Read in the feature film Chopper. Virtually unknown in the U.S., he immediately impressed both Bruckheimer and Scott during initial meetings. Bana was enthusiastic about the project and the enigmatic character of Delta Sgt. First Class "Hoot" Gibson.

"I grew up watching war films, notes Bana, "but Black Hawk Down is different in the sense that it's about modem urban warfare, which hasn't really been captured on film. I was a little bit angry with myself for not knowing more about the Battle of Mogadishu, but then realized that most people don't, which is a great reason to make this movie. As tragic as aspects of the event are, the heroism of those soldiers is unbelievable.

"I knew as soon as I read the book and the script that the film couldn't fail," Bana continues, "and I think that's really rare. And when I considered that Ridley Scott was the director and Jerry Bruckheimer was producer, it immediately became the greatest project I ever heard about. The decision-making process becomes really easy at that point. I'm proud to be a part of<

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