Central Casting New York Casting Directors Nicole and Aaron talk about their experience casting the Academy Award nominated film The Big Sick.
The Big Sick chronicles the relationship between Kumail and Emily as they fall in love, break up, and are thrown back together after Emily is hospitalized. The film was written by Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon and is based on real events during their relationship.
"[The script] is really interesting because it starts out as a comedy, it's really funny, then it takes a turn and becomes really serious," said Casting Director Nicole H. "I thought it was really cool to go on the journey with Kumail and Emily throughout their relationship."
Since the film is based on real events, the Casting Directors wanted to have the Background Actors look and feel as authentic as possible. They talked with Nanjiani, director Michael Showalter, and other members of production to select the right look for the film.
"It was interesting to work with Kumail because this is the true story of what he went through," Casting Director Aaron S. said. "He walked us through the story, talked about wanting to make the extras look real with no Hollywood glam to it."
Many of the scenes in the movie take place in four locations: a comedy club, the hospital, and Kumail and Emily's apartments. For Aaron, getting the Background look right for the hospital scenes were critical to making the film feel authentic.
"I think [the most critical scene] is the first scene when [Kumail] comes into the hospital," Aaron said. "Up until that point it's kind of just a romantic comedy, that's the scene where it takes a turn, it feels really real. He rushes in and it's a crazy ER. You can see little vignettes of different hospital beds with family members. The EMTs are rushing people in and the whole thing felt very organic and everyone looked very scared and sick."
The comedy club was another important location in the film. Kumail is a stand-up comedian and spends much of his time at the club. It's where he meets Emily and is the setting of some important emotional scenes.
"My favorite scene was the comedy club," Nicole said. "We actually got to bring back a lot of the Background Actors because they were in the club so much and you really got to see their faces. It was really fun to cast a lot of interesting looks like hipsters and comedians."
The film has received multiple nominations, including an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay.
"We loved working on The Big Sick and if you've seen it, we hoped you loved it as well," Aaron said. "Fingers crossed for Kumail and the team at the Oscars. We hope you take it home!"
Want to know more about Central Casting's Academy Award nominated films? Read our article about casting Background Actors for I, Tonya.