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The Cast And The Crew
When it came to casting, it was a conscious decision not to cast well known actors as the leads. "We thought that it was more appropriate for the film that it should be not a star vehicle, rather it should be a community of people we cast as equals,” says Boyle. 

In the role of Jim, Boyle cast Cillian Murphy. Boyle had seen Murphy in DISCO PIGS and thought he had a kind of innocence that he wanted for Jim. "The movement of his character from someone who is easy going, can just about be bothered to get up in the morning and clearly umbilically connected to his parents – the feeling of a child who is forced to become a man and by the end of the film be almost primal. I thought Cillian had that,” says Boyle. Apart from the attraction of working with the creative team of Boyle, Macdonald and Garland, Murphy was very excited about the project. "The script was very different from anything I had read before and the character, Jim, is very physical. It's a big journey for the character, going from absolute bewilderment at the beginning and then this terrible vengeance at the end.” 

Naomie Harris was cast as Selena. "When I read the script I really loved it. I thought it was brilliant and it stood out for me. Selena's character has survived the rage virus by being resourceful and independent. She has shut down emotionally in order to survive so it was quite a challenge,” says Harris. "Naomie clearly had phenomenal ability and she is very able. She is rather elegant but very tough and clearly outstandingly capable for the part,” says Boyle. 

Boyle was very clear in his mind when he read the script that he wanted Brendan Gleeson to be Frank, the widowed father of Hannah. "Having seen THE GENERAL and all his other films I wanted this big, warm, beautiful man, this true father figure. You can feel the change in the film when Brendan comes on. His warmth and generosity comes out both on film and off. He is one of those guys you would have on every film if you could,” says Boyle. For Gleeson, the script was a real page-turner but not the kind of material he usually goes for. "I am not a great man for heading into the future really, or the past, but the fact that Danny was involved and the vibrancy of the script was a real pull. The part had a real warmth in this sandwich of horror and I just loved the part,” says Gleeson. "Danny has this fantastic sensibility. It's a beautiful sensibility really and it's just been great working with him.” 

Christopher Eccleston had already worked with Boyle twice before in SHALLOW GRAVE and most recently in STRUMPET. Eccleston was cast as Major Henry West. "I had such a great time working with Chris on STRUMPET,” says Boyle. "He is developing constantly as an actor and I thought it would be very dynamic to get Chris to play Henry. He always brings humanity to the stuff that he does and the idea of setting him that challenge for his character was very interesting, particularly as we kept him as a public school officer. He makes you understand this man and what this man's take is on it.” Eccleston himself thought the script was terrifying and a real page-turner and particularly liked the narrative. "My interest in playing one of the authorities was exploring the gray areas where authority figures are actually very necessary to us or even more humane than we are, rather than playing somebody who's just a forbidding, one-dimensional bully,” says Eccleston. "Danny is very even-tempered and has a sort of ferocious personal energy of his own that tends to come out in his films. He creates a positive atmosphere where everyone is comfortable, and there is this tremendous verve with the way he uses his cameras and moves them. It's good to work with him again.” 

Fifteen-year-old Megan Burns never thought she would get the part of Hannah, the quiet but confident daughter of Frank. "I tried to be myself in the audition but thought I didn't ge

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