About The Production (Continued)
It was the role of
Jesse Tuck that became the most difficult to cast. "It took me months to
find Jesse," Jay Russell recalls. "I realized after I'd met a number
of wonderful young actors that a lot of them have a very modern feel. I was
looking for a young actor who had a timeless quality. Handsome, yes, but not
just for its own sake. I needed an actor who could be the handsome young
romantic hero, but again bringing a depth and a gravity of a much older man.
When Jonathan Jackson walked in the room, I got the sense that 50 years from now
an audience will still be interested in watching his performance. He won't
become dated next year or in 10 years."
relates, "I love the fact that Jesse is very extreme in his joy of life. It's
pretty rare to see that in people. I think it's a contagious kind of joy.
Jesse's view is that he should try to do everything he can to enjoy being
alive, and that includes falling in love."
"Jesse, like most people, has a natural desire to want to spend his life
with somebody; to have a real companion. Winnie is his first love and the only
thing that makes sense to Jesse is to have Winnie be able to stay with him, if
she wants to."
Sissy Spacek adds,
"Jesse is the most like Mae, but while she lives in the moment, Jesse lives
for the moment."
"Jonathan was a
very good match for Alexis," Abraham notes. "Sometimes, casting comes
down to taking a chance and hoping that your actors have chemistry. The director
can help foster that, but ultimately, it's in the hands of the actors.
Jonathan and Alexis made it seem like they were made for each other."
Scott Bairstow plays
Jesse's older brother, Miles. Director Jay Russell discloses, "To me,
Miles Tuck is quite possibly the most interesting character in the entire film.
Miles is the character who has experienced the tragedy, the loss of his
Natalie Babbitt adds,
"Miles presents one of life's deeper experiences.
recounts, "Miles represents the pain and hardship of life. Whereas Jesse
personifies all that's great and wonderful about living, Miles has a lot of
questions, a lot of anger, a lot of sadness about his loss of love and the loss
of his own wife and children. They all died. He had to live. His take on what's
happened is tragic and he is bitter."
"I knew I had to
find a young actor who could understand the tragedy. It's Shakespearean, at
the very least. Scott came in, and in his cold reading he captured exactly what
I was looking for in the part. He became very emotional in his cold reading
audition. The words moved him to tears, and I knew he understood the
character," continues director Russell.
But Scott Bairstow
says, "The one question Jay Russell had for me was whether I could ride a
horse. I told him I could."
Casting Mother Foster
and Robert Foster, Winnie's parents, presented another, different kind of
challenge for Jay Russell. "It was very important for me that the Fosters
look like a family and that the Tucks look like a family. Once I cast Alexis
Bledel as Winnie, I started thinking about who looks like they could be her
parents and are good actors on<
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