When we have tough choices when interviewing people for leadership roles. It’s easy to play armchair quarterback, especially after the fact. You have to wonder if a blockbuster, experienced predator killer like Dutch would have been better in Aliens than Ripley, thrust into the role by corporate circumstances. She transforms from a woman just doing a job to jousting with the a species determined to use every other species (specifically humans) as a means to procreate.
Alien benefited from Sigourney Weaver’s vulnerability and inner strength in the Alien movies. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Already a blockbuster, “Kick-Ass” movie star, would have done a good job, but we already expect him to be a “super-tough bad-ass” alien killer.
Sigourney Weaver has a feminine sensitivity that Arnold just Muscles through. He is a Juggernaut of pure horsepower, while Ripley is more emotive. Both are effective in their roles, and accomplished actors. In my humble opinion Arnold would be obviously miscast in Alien, or the picture would have to be re-structured for his acting persona. Likewise, Sigourney would not have the comic presence of Arnold in “True Lies“. Think about it.
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Big budgets attract Agents, Studios, Wannabees, and gets you known, regardless of your level of talent or experience in movie production. It may be smarter to find some unknowns and cast them. You will save millions (not to mention the drama associated with big stars). Sometimes you need big stars to make a movie that has a bad script – just to get people to see it. I hope that is not your situation.
Before I would start any casting, I would need a script and a budget. If the initial reads were good, I would have my publicist start letting all of Hollywood know that the project is funded and will be casting soon. “Did you hear that Alan Chenkin’s new film just got funded, and I heard the location scouts were lining up locations for the production? It’s all very hush-hush.” Or something along those lines. A good publicist knows what to do, and the Buzz will be growing as you ramp up. Take a look at Reaching for the Stars: How to Get a “Name” Actor in Your Film – MovieMaker Magazine.
Of course, if you have very deep pockets, you can make a movie that highlights the talents of a group of actors that have a known draw – but keep in mind they know you need them, and will barter their participation for creative control; concessions, more money, and more residuals. Be prepared to fight to keep any profit you make – big stars command upwards of $20 million a film.
Of course you can hire me and my production team to map out a timeline for your project and start lining up scripts and talent – that way you can focus on the “Big Picture”. Have your people call my people. Break a leg!