Although it’s only been on release for five months, the Russo brothers’ Avengers: Endgame has already been anointed the highest grossing movie of all time worldwide, nudging James Cameron’s Avatar into second place. For casting director Sarah Halley Finn, it’s “almost hard to comprehend.” “It was very, very emotional for me,” she told Deadline’s Jake Kanter. “I’ve worked on these films for over a decade and I was involved in casting everybody on that film. So it’s hard to describe how emotional it was to see them all come together.”
Finn recalled the early years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and reflected on the casting of Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark, an idea that once seemed so very surprising. “Jon Favreau, the director, had had a very rigorous wish-list for this character, for who should bring him to life,” she said. “We discussed a lot of different actors, and we considered a lot of people, and when we started coming around to the idea of Robert as really the best person to play this arrogant, brilliant, charming, intensely funny, witty man, it was a bit left-field, because as much as he was known for being a brilliant, Oscar-nominated actor, he wasn’t known as an action hero. So how were we going to convey all the different aspects of the character? Well, he was willing to screen test, and really left no doubt. I think the second he walked off camera, we knew we’d found Iron Man.”
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“I think (casting Robert) set the tone for everything that was to follow,” she added. “I think that the level of acting talent that he brought, combined with the humor and the wit and the mischief that he viewed the character with, really gave rise to the tone and informed the storytelling going forward.”
And Finn was certainly emphatic about going forward. “We’re just finishing production on Black Widow – Cate Shortland directing Scarlet Johansson and a phenomenal cast — Eternals is underway and we’re currently working on Shang Chi,” she revealed. The secret, it seems, is definitely in the casting. “What we’re looking for,” said Finn, “is (actors with) a kind of openness and a genuinely passionate approach to their characters — a willingness to play.”
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