Black Swan

The upcoming BLACK SWAN, starring Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel and Mila Kunis, directed by Darren Aronofsky is a psychological thriller set in the New York City ballet. Variety has already called it “wicked, sexy and ultimately devastating”. The Washington Post called Natalie Portman an “apparent soon-to-be Oscar winner.” So we decided to talk to the casting associate on the film, Lindsay Graham, to get more info on what it was like forming this cast.
What was the biggest challenge casting this movie?

I think one of the primary challenges was casting an array of roles that each required extremely specific physical qualities as well as various abilities (professional dancers, piano players, etc) in addition to being a solid actor. In addition, we basically cast the entire film (minus Natalie, Mila, and Vincent and a couple of small supporting roles) in 10 days out of New York so that was a challenge in itself! There are a few themes in the film that we had to pay close attention to and that greatly affected our choices. Unfortunately, I have to keep those themes a secret until the movie is released!

How did you go about facing that challenge?

We tried to be as specific as possible when we released our breakdowns since we were moving so quickly. When you are doing a film with an acclaimed director like Darren Aronofsky you receive so many submissions because everyone wants to work with him and be a part of his vision. In this case, we were extremely selective based off various things (physical requirements, specific skills, etc) before we even brought the actors in to the room – in hopes of finding what we were looking for in a short amount of time.

What was the most fun part about the casting process for Black Swan?

Working so closely with Darren was probably the most exciting thing for me. He is such an intelligent and ingenious man, and it was an amazing experience being part of his creative process. I also really enjoyed auditioning all of the actors in New York because I was able to read with so many talented people that I had never had the chance to meet before. It was an educational experience for me.

Do you have any advice for actors who come in to audition for your office?

The only advice I have is to be true to yourself as an actor and the choices you make prior to coming in the room. You never know what the casting director, producers, etc are looking for. I think if you are secure in your personal choices about the character with what information you have been given then that is the best thing you can do in the room in my opinion.

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Taylor Reid

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