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POSSESSION

About The Casting
The biggest change from Possession to Possession was the decision to make the character of Roland Michell an American. In the novel, he is a working-class Briton. In making the movie's Roland an American within the closed English academic world, he could be seen expressly as an outsider.

As Neil LaBute explains, "I turned Roland into an American because I knew less about the class structure in England than about being someone from another nation spending time in a different society. I did a fellowship at the Royal Court Theatre and poached a bit from there, just in terms of the way they looked at me as an American playwright — I felt louder and more aggressive than I have ever felt in my life. There was a sense of decorum that I tended to overstep without thinking about it, which I tried to imbue Roland with. The impulsive nature of his character brims over in a way that he can't control. For me, this story offered a very potent idea in having two colleagues from very different mindsets and cultures igniting a spark which came not only from them being male and female but also from being products of two different societies."

Paula Weinstein notes, "Roland is driven by passion for his work. He often steps outside the lines of the text and the way that things have always been done. He makes connections which may not even be there, but rushes on, fueled by his love of what he might discover."

Aaron Eckhart, cast as Roland, sees the character as "a guy who's run away from a situation in his past in America. He's in a job he loves, but he really wants to be an artist, and he's now writing about poets. Possession shows the journey he makes to find his heart through Maud, and pursue his true calling."

Eckhart was able to strongly relate to the character: "We've all been in a situation where we're running from something and we don't know what to do with our life. I have a lot of similarities with Roland physically, spiritually, and emotionally. It's the human condition and we have to face our problems and appreciate the fact that love is not perfect, that it hurts, but that you still have to love."

Eckhart and LaBute have known each other for over a decade. They attended the same school and have collaborated on stage works and all of LaBute's feature films. Eckhart notes, "This is our fourth movie together and I think it reflects some sort of evolution not only in our film work, as we become more experienced in our trades, but also in the material that we choose. This is unknown territory for both of us — especially for Neil, who had to take on the Victorians in adapting a novel. We can't believe that we're working with these people and having these amazing experiences. I feel we have a great understanding of each other's work: we ask each other a lot of questions and then I beg Neil for direction. We have a trust which has developed."

LaBute adds, "I've worked with Aaron enough that I think he can do pretty much anything I might throw out as an idea — he's always interested in experimenting. He loves to dress up in different clothes and find himself a new character. There was a comfort zone of working with him that made absolute sense for Possession.

Essential to the movie is the chemistry between Roland, the unconventional outsider, and the far more pragmatic Maud. She constantly restrains herself,<

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