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THE OMEN

Casting
THE OMEN presented Moore, Williamson and their team many creative challenges, as well as a host of logistical hurdles. Casting the lead characters wasn't one of them.

In his search for ‘Robert and Katherine Thorn,' Moore used a surprisingly simple process. "I cast THE OMEN the way I always cast a picture, which is to put all the characters names on a big board and then put up actors' head-shots,” says the director. "I stuck Julia Stiles's picture up on the board, and for weeks there was only one picture there. In fact, hers was the only photo on the board for the role of Katherine Thorn.”

Stiles, well known to audiences by her work in hits such as "The Bourne Identity,” "Save the Last Dance” and "10 Things I Hate About You,” is a newcomer to the horror-thriller genre. She was surprised – and then some – by Moore's offer for her to play Katherine. "Actually, I was terrified,” she recalls. "The idea of THE OMEN really frightened me. But I knew there was something in John's vision for the film and character that I could really sink my teeth into.”

Stiles's Katherine Thorn is the story's lone innocent because she's unaware of the circumstances surrounding the birth of her child. Of all the characters, Katherine required the most updating from her incarnation in the original film. "We couldn't translate the Katherine character from the original ‘The Omen' because she was not really that layered,” says producer Glenn Williamson. Adds John Moore: "Social, personal and political perspectives on motherhood have changed a lot in the past thirty years. In our story, Katherine struggles with the fact that she's a young woman, a stay-at-home mother, living in a foreign country where she doesn't have many friends. Her personal conflict is agitated as Damien's true nature is revealed.”

Katherine evolves from a happy, confident young woman to a distraught mother full of doubt and suspicion. "Katherine begins to feel a kind of detachment from Damien, which she and Robert cannot understand,” says Stiles. "Over time, she realizes there's some validity to her fear of her son. Adding to her escalating troubles is the feeling that nobody's listening to her. She turns her anxiety inwards. It eats away at her until she eventually breaks down.”

Liev Schreiber was also at the top of Moore's casting list. The actor had recently made his directorial debut on the well-received independent film "Everything is Illuminated,” when Moore approached him to play Robert Thorn. The actor embraced the idea of doing an update to a popular film. "There's a certain kind of story that stands retelling,” says Schreiber. "THE OMEN has an element that's in all of Shakespeare's plays: It finds a way of reinventing itself every twenty or thirty years, because it's culturally tapped into something to which many people can relate.”

While Moore sees much of THE OMEN as an exploration of evil, Schreiber approached the film as a story of faith. "The movie can mean many different things on many different levels,” he admits. "But I was intrigued by THE OMEN's elements of trust and faith. Those are the two things by which Thorn is challenged.”

The casting of Mrs. Baylock, Damien's second nanny, ties THE OMEN to one of the great works of modern horror, "Rosemary's Baby.” THE OMEN returns to the screen Mia Farrow, who will forever be remembered by movie fans as the unwitting mother of the devil's spawn in the classic Roman Polanski chiller, in the role that launched her film career.

Farrow's Mrs. Baylock is introduced as a kindly, soft-spoken woman, a career nanny who quickly wins over Katherine and Robert with her gentle demeanor, impeccable credentials, and professed love for children. To the parents' initial concern and mounting terror, Mrs. Baylock is revealed as Damien's facilitator and protector – an apostate from Hell who will die before she allows harm to come to the Anti-Christ.

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