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ACROSS THE UNIVERSE

About The Cast And The Cameo Performances
With the characters created from the raw material of the songs, the filmmakers placed an imperative on choosing the best actors and singers they could find for the roles. As a result, the only cast member with major film experience is Evan Rachel Wood. Taymor notes, "She's so young and nobody really has seen her grow into a woman – in this movie, she grows into a full-fledged adult, serious woman. She's going to be a major discovery for people. Plus, no one even knew she could sing.”

Among all the songs she sings in Across the Universe, the one she looked forward to most as the greatest challenge was "If I Fell.” "I've never had any training in singing, and that song goes very, very high. It's also the most emotional song I sing. So I had to prepare myself emotionally for the character at that moment and also put it into song – while also remembering what my voice had to do,” says Wood. "As I was learning the song and trying to figure out how to sing it, they brought Jim Sturgess into the room so I could sing it to him. It was the very best I ever sang it – it took my mind off what I was doing and freed me up.”

Wood notes that she shared not only a connection with Sturgess, but with the entire cast – and that it was reciprocal. "Julie knows how to cast a movie,” she says, "and she knew that we would work well together because we're all very similar. During production, I'd felt like I'd gained brothers and sisters; they're all such interesting people and they all have great life stories.”

Open casting calls were held in England for the role of Jude. Taymor said she could tell from a tape of Jim Sturgess that he was the one, even before she met him in person. Taymor and her longtime collaborator, composer Elliot Goldenthal, were very particular about what kind of voices they wanted, she explains. "We did not want musical theater voices, and we didn't want pop-y voices. Jim just fit in right away. Jim's been in a rock band and he's an actor. He just sings with such an incredible ease that you feel that the character is talking just to you. He has a beautiful voice – and there's no disconnect between when his speaking voice and his singing voice. Jim can go right from talking to singing.”

Sturgess says that he is fortunate to be making his major-studio debut in Across the Universe and to be working with no less a talent than Julie Taymor. "She's brilliant,” he says. "She's an endless head of ideas. She has a definite idea of what she wants to see, but also allows her actors the room to bring their own ideas – she just takes it all in.”

Working with the stars playing the cameo roles in the film was also an eye-opening experience. "One day, I was sitting around, watching Bono sing ‘I am the Walrus' – so I was already having a good afternoon – and then he comes over and asks me if I'd like to come to his show at the end of the week. What was I going to say? ‘Sorry, I have other plans?' No, I stood there and said, ‘I'd love to, thank you… Mr. Bono.” Another highlight for Sturgess was the day Bono came to set and told the young actor that he liked Sturgess's voice.

Max is an American, but Taymor did not find an American actor that had the qualities she wanted for the part. When she met Joe Anderson, another Brit, she found it interesting that he did not even want to audition for the role of Jude: "When I went to London he auditioned for me, but he said, you know, "I'm not that character – I am Max,” so even he knew that his own personality would be better suited to that. And he looked like Evan, so he was really the right mix to play her brother.”

For Sadie, says Taymor, "I knew Dana Fuchs and I created the part for her. Dana had done a demo for Elliot for another project, and she has that voice that you haven't heard since Janis.”

Fuchs says, "I felt like I was in a m

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