Saturday, May 24, 2008

The casting of Meredith Ostrom (CALLAS)

Meredith Ostrom, South Bank, CALLAS 2005-07

Meredith is the second actress to play CALLAS in the film.
We shot with the fantastic Rosalind Blessed in 2004, but when we did the major rewrite in 2005 we thought it would be better for the part to be played by someone substantially older and with a more vampish/camp quality, so did another two casting sessions for the part.

Rosalind Blessed, CALLAS 2004

2004 CALLAS (Rosalind Blessed) in action

Again Thea MacLeod did a great job of finding us great actresses, and we were pretty certain we were going to cast an older UK soap actress, known for villainous (and sexy) roles. Then as a 'throw in' we included a blonde American who was also auditioning for something else in the casting studios the same day.
Her interpretation of the role was completely different to anything we had seen that day.

I mean, COMPLETELY different.

Everyone else had read the part as it was written - icy, straightforward and a bit vampy. Meredith's version was psychotic and over the top sexual. She completely destroyed the line readings of the script, and spent most of the audition on the floor. We were baffled but very intrigued.
I was very excited by Meredith, but still wasn't sure, so had our top three choices come back to do it again. We had really already decided to give the part to the other older actress, but I was still keen to canvas wider opinions on Meredith.
So a week later we were back in the same studio. The first two were fantastic, (the other girl is appearing in the next Bond movie), and again everyone was thumbs up about the older UK actress.
I'd organised Meredith to audition last, and this time she was even more different. But the mood in the room changed completely. She had won everyone else over. And boom, she was in.
Since that day she has been one of the most powerful forces involved in the film, happy to reshoot if needed and just a great energy to have involved.
She took CALLAS places we absolutely weren't expecting, and for me that's a good thing.

- MT


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