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Casting The Film
”I had an extraordinary company of actors to work with,” enthuses Michael. "Christopher Plummer brings a great warmth, intelligence, and sophistication to the role of Tolstoy. He has a tremendous sense of poetry and a tireless curiousity. A lot of actors of his age feel as though they've done it all, but Christopher is still so hungry to create.”

Casting the role of Tolstoy seemed like a scary prospect, admitted producer Jens Meuer. "But Christopher is just so right for the role – he combines tremendous gravitas with a wonderful lightness. He doesn't declare, ‘this is a great thespian playing a great writer'. He simply makes it very real. It is never an imitation or a parody.”

He has great presence on screen, which is ideal because Tolstoy dominated the room,” says Chris. "But the most incredible thing is that when you're watching The Last Station, you forget it's Christopher Plummer. As an actor, he never draws attention to himself – he simply embodies the character. He's a real film actor - he does it all with the most subtle looks. It's all in his face. He just draws you in.”

”Helen Mirren is magnetic in this role – she takes no prisoners as Sofya,” says Michael. "She has such subtlety as an actress and audiences are immediately drawn to her integrity. She's moving and funny, but she's also very brave. She never shirks from anything. That inspires everyone else. If she isn't backing off, then no one else can afford to, either. That's a great quality. She's never ingratiating, never self-pitying, and always maintains her dignity as Sofya.”

"James McAvoy offers many remarkable qualities as Valentin,” Michael observes. "He has great purity, and audiences willingly give themselves over to him as an everyman. In The Last King of Scotland, they were quite happy to be led by him, and it's the same here. Audiences completely trust him. Not many actors have that characteristic. James also listens so well – he's always absolutely present and in the moment.”

"I'd worked with James before on Penelope, and I knew he'd be ideal for this role,” adds Chris Curling. "He's a consummate professional – he's so focused and disciplined. We see the action through Valentin's eyes – he provides the emotional centre of the film.”

Michael continues, "Paul Giamatti is so charismatic. He can play a kind of villain, and yet you still love him. He is also able to find comedy in the midst of the most serious situations.”

"Paul is such an effortless actor,” says Chris Curling. "Chertkov is committed, idealistic and at the same time, a devious narcissist. You can see all those qualities in Paul's performance.”


Chris Curling is just as keen to underscore Michael's gifts as a director. "He used to act himself, and his greatest skill lies in working with actors. He prioritizes that above all else and gets great performances out of his cast. That's why we go to the cinema – to see great performances like these.”

"Mike is the most European American director I've ever come across,” Jens believes. "He brings great understanding, passion and respect for what we have here in Europe. He has brought together an international cast and crew to create a film that crosses all borders.” "It's impossible to show genius in a movie – you'd need a six-part mini-series for that,” says Christopher Plummer. "So what Mike does so cleverly is concentrate on just one aspect of the writer. He shows us the emotional canvas of Tolstoy's life by focusing on his marriage. That reveals so much to us about Tolstoy the man.”

"Mike and I first talked about this movie several years ago, even before I went to Uganda to shoot The Last King of Scotland,” recalled James McAvoy. "I remained attached to The Last Stationfor all these years because it was a<


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