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THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU

Fate: Cast of the Thriller
The role of Elise was a far less obvious casting choice than that of the film's male lead. Nolfi wanted the character to be a dancer so she could provide a balance to David's structured, political world. "For many reasons, a dancer has a different life than a politician, far less calculating,” the writer/director elaborates. "You can argue that dance is about the purest expression of free will. Although alternately, you could say if you're following a routine or a choreographed piece, then you don't have any free will at all. There's a complexity in this character that I like.”

Because Elise is a world-class contemporary ballerina, it was integral to her character, as well as the plot of the film, that she be an experienced professional. "I had envisioned the role to be played by somebody who was a professional dancer or an actress who had many years of ballet training,” offers Nolfi. But as it turns out, finding the right actress with the appropriate training, as well as the right chemistry with Damon, was a trickier feat than originally considered.

The production auditioned hundreds of dancers from around the world, with Nolfi being present for dozens of the auditions. "We put on tape eight or nine hundred women, and we found a few good possibilities who were professional dancers,” he remembers. "But at the end of that process, I went to established actresses to see how they played the scenes.”

When acclaimed performer Emily Blunt read the script, she instinctively knew a professional actress was needed for the part. "I called my agent and said this is tricky stuff and an actor should do it,” says Blunt. "If that love and that relationship doesn't work, you don't have a movie. That's what I said to George, rather boldly, and he agreed.”

"In one meeting, Emily com - pletely derailed my plans for casting the role,” admits Nolfi. "She came in and read with Matt. We filmed the whole thing, and you could just tell.”

After she won the role, Blunt dedicated several months to vigorous dance training for the part. She knew portraying Elise Sellas would be immensely tough. Once her training brought her character's physicality up to snuff, Blunt found that bringing the romance to the role of Elise was the fun part. "I thought, ‘Thank God. Nolfi has written a feisty, strong, layered, complicated girl who can hold her own. She's tough, but she's vulnerable,” Blunt says. "There was a lot to play with; the dialogue was witty, and the connection they have and how they fell in love didn't seem contrived.”

"David and Elise's first encounter is unusual. The romance and the spark of the scene is fought against the backdrop of sinks and toilets,” the performer laughs. "It sets us up with the situation that you can't help whom you're attracted to, and you certainly can't help the situations or environments in which you find yourself attracted to this person.”

David informs Elise that he has just lost the election, and she unexpectedly inspires him with genuine words of encouragement. "David's just about to go make his concession speech and he's at a point where he feels like he's lost it all,” says Blunt. "My character pumps him up and reinvigorates this passion for what he does. She encourages a frankness in him, because that's what she has.”

Damon adds his take on the encounter: "He's basically in love with her after a five-minute conversation. She gives him the idea to be himself in this concession speech, which he does. And the speech is so popular that he immediately becomes the odds-on favorite to be the next senator from New York.”

Unbeknownst to Elise or David, it was not chance that caused their rendezvous that night. It was a planned meeting, orchestrated by the agents of The Adjustment Bureau in a cunning, structured move. But they were only intended to meet once. Producer Moore elaborates on who these men are: "Fate has agents in the world, and Fate is this force. The idea behind The Bureau is that humans need a little bit of guidance throughout life to not self-destruct or blow ourselves up.”

For every human, there is an Adjustment Bureau case officer. David's case officer, Harry, has been with David since he was born, helping him reach his potential. Elise was only needed to come into David's life at the precise moment when he was at his lowest to bolster him up to greatness. After that, they were never meant to meet again. However, when Harry misses a crucial "adjustment” for David, this sets off a course of events that pits David at odds with his own Fate.

After watching his performance opposite Jeremy Renner in The Hurt Locker, Nolfi pursued actor Anthony Mackie to take the part of David's guardian angel. Recounts Moore: "Anthony is a great story because we were having trouble casting the part of Harry. George went to the movies one day to see The Hurt Locker. I got a text from him that night in the theater that read, ‘We've got to cast Anthony.'”

The feeling was mutual. "My manager sent the script to me, and he said, ‘I have something; you're never going to believe it,'” remem - bers Mackie. "I was surprised by the depth and clarity of the characters and the way they were written. I said, ‘If I have to fly to L.A. and meet with George…I don't care. Whatever I have to do, I have to play this role.'” Of the character, he adds: "Harry is a consummate professional, but he has a conscience. That gives you a great opportunity when it comes to a character.”

John Slattery was brought onto the production to play Richardson, Harry's supervisor at The Adjustment Bureau, who tries to right the chaos that Harry has inadvertently allowed David to create. "Richardson has been doing this job for a long time, and this is his red-letter case,” explains Slattery. "A person in his position wants to establish himself and then move up the line. But then it starts going badly for Richardson.”

Slattery, best known for his portrayal of Roger Sterling in AMC's Mad Men, was cast after a chance encounter with Nolfi in Los Angeles. Nolfi, whom Slattery knew through a mutual friend, asked him to come in and read a few scenes on film as a favor. A few months later, Nolfi had edited them together and showed Slattery, who thought it looked fantastic. Once he read the script, he wanted to join the project.

When David arrives at his office to share the happy news of reconnecting with Elise with his former campaign manager (and current business partner), Charlie Traynor, he stumbles upon Adjustment Bureau agents who are in the middle of "adjusting” Charlie and fiddling with his memories.

David has now become one of the very few people who have ever seen the way these men operate. Damon recounts the pivotal moment: "The Adjustment Bureau is forced to abduct me and pull me into this bizarre place. Richardson tells me: ‘You're seeing behind the curtain right now. You were never supposed to see this, but you have and we're going to have to ask you to not ever tell anybody about this…or we're going to erase your brain.'”

Once Richardson discovers that David wasn't delayed, but actually ran into Elise again on his way into work, he warns David that if he divulges their secret to anyone, or pursues Elise any further, David will invite the wrath of The Bureau. And Richardson gives David no more answers, despite David's protestations that he's fallen for Elise.

To play the part of David's childhood best friend, Charlie, Nolfi tasked actor Michael Kelly, whose pivotal turn in Dawn of the Dead launched his film career. "After I read the script, I called my manager and said, ‘I've got to do this movie,'” says Kelly. "At the audition, I told George, ‘I want to be a part of this film. I don't care what part I play.'” For Kelly, the appeal of the story was its originality. "The fact that you can take a true, beautiful, romantic story and com

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