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Casting The Film
Tom Tykwer and the producers had Clive Owen in mind for the role of Salinger from the very beginning, but it was seeing Owen's praised performance in Children of Men that cemented the idea in the director's mind. "When I saw Children of Men, I knew I'd found our leading man,” says Tykwer. "He was good-looking, but carried a world-weariness. He infused that character with a loneliness and roughness combined with a sensitivity that I also wanted to see in Salinger.” 

"The contrast between Salinger's values and those of the criminal network he opposes had to be clearly drawn,” says Tykwer. "Salinger struggles to stay within the limits of the law when the law seems like a useless weapon or an impediment to justice. So his tactics may sometimes exceed his authority but at the end of the day he is an agent of the law, operating on a razor's edge between his conscience and his professional limitations. This struggle adds a realism and complexity to his character.”

Owen met with Tykwer over coffee during the film's development. Together they shared a similar vision of the character and also found they were compatible colleagues. "Clive is extremely focused but very funny. Our meeting showed me what the production would be like. It was great. With him you can be extremely focused, but never lose the fun and joy of the work – a rare pleasure.”

"Salinger is a very unconventional lead character,” says Owen. "He's not slick; he's not the cool cop, tracking the bank down. He's a volatile, passionate, committed, even hot-headed and obsessed Interpol agent, trying to make others see what he sees the bank doing.”

Equally resolute, but more level in her investigative approach, Eleanor Whitman watches Salinger's back and keeps him in line when necessary. She leads the investigation and there's a resilience and power to her character. "She is the balancing second protagonist in the film,” says the director. "Although there is friction between Salinger and Whitman, her energy and emotional power calms and steadies him and she gives him more clarity.” 

Salinger and Whitman subscribe to the same value system and each chose to join the legal profession to effect positive change. But if Salinger walks the line between what is legal and what is not, Whitman is determined to prove that the good guys play by the rules. 

"She's not an icy career woman, but a real woman handling a chaotic life of family and career,” says Watts. "My character's in control and has a lot of integrity. She's operating in a man's world so she's on her game.”

Though she found the role intriguing, Watts was not eager to work so soon after giving birth to her first child. The director had to use all his powers of persuasion to lure her into accepting the role.

"I really had to talk her into it,” admits Tykwer. "Not because she didn't want to do the movie, but because her baby was due just before our shoot. I had to convince her because I thought she was perfect for this character.” 

The filmmakers arranged for Watts' scenes to be backed up at the end of the schedule to allow the actress time at home. Joining the production in Berlin, two months after principal photography began, Watts adeptly juggled the needs of an infant with the rigorous demands of a movie. As a real-life example of a woman balancing career and family, Watts offered the director insight and first-hand knowledge into Whitman's character. 

The chemistry between Owen and Watts was palpable from the beginning. "It wasn't surprising to me they were so immediately perfect. They're a very easy and energetic match,” says Tykwer. "It was a perfect dream come true: Clive and Naomi, whom I consider two of the most interesting contemporary actors of their generation, working together for the first time in a film and both wanting to be involved in

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