How Richie Mehta’s I’ll Follow You Down landed big-name cast

Producer Lee Kim talks to Playback about how things fell into place casting Haley Joel Osment, Victor Garber (pictured), Gillian Anderson and Rufus Sewell for the indie feature.
VictorGarber-1

As anyone in the industry will tell you, a key part of getting any project to be taken seriously–to attract financing and business partners–is landing notables names for the marquee.

Resolute Films and Entertainment’s Lee Kim says the stars seemed to have aligned when it came to getting major talent on board for I’ll Follow You Down.

“Having an unknown director and a Canadian producer going out to American-based talent is a little difficult, because they don’t know who we are and whether we can make projects happen,” Kim tells Playback.

The film, currently in production in Toronto, has attracted Haley Joel Osment, Gillian Anderson, Rufus Sewell and Victor Garber as its lead cast members.

I’ll Follow You Down is director Richie Mehta’s follow up to his acclaimed feature Amal, and follows a scientist (Sewell) who mysteriously disappears during a business trip. Years later, his son (Osment) and his father (Garber) make a discovery about his whereabouts that could affect their lives in both the past and present.

Kim says that the strength of the script and Mehta’s industry cred from Amal were really the keys to attracting the sci-fi mystery film’s lead cast members.

Working with L.A.-based casting team Johanna Rey and Jenny Jue, Mehta met Osment, who had just graduated from NYU last spring, in New York. They hit it off, with Osment expressing interest in the project.

“[Osment] was kind of the anchor that we needed to go out and start attracting some of the other cast,” says Kim.

Garber came next, incidentally also fulfilling the film’s Cancon talent requirement.

“It wasn’t necessarily that we were banking on Victor’s involvement just to get our Canadian content, but creatively, he seemed exactly like the right person,” says Kim.

He adds that Anderson and Mehta “immediately connected on a creative level,” with Anderson providing feedback for both her character and the story, while Sewell has been “very complimentary about the script and about his role.”

“At the end of the day, people think approaching some of these Hollywood actors is tough, [getting] access to them, but on a project like this, [the actors] know what they’re getting themselves into. They’ve all worked on indie projects and they get it, and it’s just a question of how much do they believe in the script and the character, and I think it speaks volumes of the story Richie’s crafted,” says Kim.

Kim says they’ll stay the indie course in promoting the film, focusing on the festival circuit, specifically Berlin or Cannes.

The film was developed with support from Telefilm Canada and The Harold Greenberg Fund, and is produced with participation from eOne, Telefim, The Harold Greenberg Fund and tax credits.

eOne is distributing the film in Canada.

I’ll Follow You Down shoots through June 17 in Toronto.