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PRACTICAL MAGIC

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 with her."

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 into place.

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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