The Die Is Cast
Sandra Bullock was the first of the actors to be cast in the movie
Sandra Bullock was the first of the actors to be cast in the movie.
"When I looked at 'While You Were Sleeping' and 'Hope Floats,"'
says Di Novi, "I saw that she was able to make the characters
very accessible. No matter what Sandra does on screen, you identify
Bullock was very excited about the script. "I loved the idea
that the integral part of this story is about two sisters who
are essentially torn apart. They are just so opposite, but they
really need each other. It's like a gene was split in half and,
without each other, they can't function."
For Sally's sister, the filmmakers wanted Nicole Kidman. "Nicole
is someone who can play extreme, complex characters and bring
them to life in a way that they seem totally real and not fabrication,"
says Di Novi. "She is also very magnetic and compelling,
which Gillian has to be."
"Gillian is the wild one," says Kidman. "She chooses
to leave home because the people there ridicule her and her sister
for being different. I think that is one of the more important
themes that Alice looks at in her book-that you should embrace
your eccentricity and individuality rather than attempt to conform
to what people expect you to be."
"Sally is, in a way, schizophrenic," elaborates Bullock.
"She would like to be normal, but she's not. In fact, she's
spent her entire life trying to be 'normal.' Her problems arise
from her denial of what makes her special."
"Sandra and Nicole complement each other very well,"
says Dunne. "They play off each other even though they have
very different energies. They want to get across, as I do, not
just the tender warm aspects of families, but the stuff we are
more familiar with-the fighting, the backbiting, the conflicts,
the insecurities and the frailties. They are both fearless actresses
who are willing to try anything."
"Griffin has a weird and wonderful sense of humor,"
says Kidman. "It's such fun working with a director who has
a sense of the ridiculous and a sense of the macabre."
"Nicole always seemed like the perfect person to play Gillian,"
comments Sandra. "I think it's because we are so opposite,
our energies are so opposite, that we needed what the other person
had. We have a really strong affection for one another and I don't
know where that came from. There's a connection and it produced
the chemistry we needed to play sisters."
"It's hard to analyze," concludes Kidman. "I think
it's because we have the same sense of humor. As long as I have
that with someone then ultimately, everything else just falls
In casting the two aunts, the filmmakers were looking for actresses
who could play the sometimes gentle, sometimes screwball humor
while still possessing the stature to play strong, dignified women-qualities
found in abundance in both Dianne Wiest and Stockard Channing.
The director comments, "I have known both Dianne and Stockard
for years and I have always admired their work. I wanted the aunts
to be funny and I knew that with actresses like this, you give
them the part, they come up with their own stuff and you never
have to worry about them again."
Channing remarks, "Dianne and I have known each other for
a really long time, because we both came to New York at the start
of our careers. But we've never actually gotten to work together.
I must say we make a very funny pair. We're good friends and it
all came together very ea
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