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About The Casting

An especially valued collaborator on "The City of Lost Children" was Casting Director Pierre-Jacques Benichou and his staff. The eclectic cast of characters dreamed up by Jeunet and Caro called for actors of all shapes, sizes, and dispositions. The players ultimately chosen fit the bill admirably, and take their rigthtful place among the unforgettable ensembles of the cinema.

Perlman Pict
Heading up the
cast is Ron Perlman, as One, the compassionate circus strongman questing for his kidnapped adopted "baby brother." Perlman was well-suited for this project, given his established track record in the fantasy genre. But, by committing to the production, Perlman was taking on a new role: an American in Paris (or, more accurately, near Paris). "I wasn't just the only American," Perlman recalls, "I was the only non-Frenchman." Perlman didn't (and doesn't) speak the language, but he learned all of his lines and delivered them flawlessly. The process was alleviated somewhat by the nature of his character, since One is "more of a gentle giant than an Einstein," notes Perlman.

Perlman won millions of fans starring as The Beast, opposite Linda Hamilton, in the CBS-TV series "Beauty and the Beast." His films include "Cronos," "Quest For Fire," and the recent "Fluke." Perlman is currently filming the Edward R. Pressman production of "The Island of Dr. Moreau" in Australia, with Marlon Brando, Val Kilmer, and David Thewlis, for director John Frankenheimer.

Emilfork Pict
Veteran actor Daniel Emilfork portrays the ghastly, scheming Krank. His many film appearances include
Peter Ustinov's "Lady L," Federico Fellini's "Casanova," and George Cukor's "Travels With My Aunt." When Jeunet and Caro conceived of "The City of Lost Children" 14 years ago, the duo were already admirers of Emilfork's work, and so "the role was written for him," notes Jeunet.

Vitter Pict
Judith Vittet was 9 years old when she was cast as Miette, out of hundreds of contenders. She had been discovered at age 5 by a casting director, but did not act in a film until age 8, in the film "
Nobody Loves Me." "The City of Lost Children" was a far more ambitious production, and one that she was eager to be a part of. Judith says that she "learned a lot during filming," watching the various craftspeople: "the make-up artists, the hairdressers, the property men...I loved it all! It's like a family that is there all day long, always in good spirits."

Judith credits Jean-Pierre Jeunet with shaping her portrayal of Miette: "He stopped me from doing little gestures, from having little tics...That's why Miette seems strong and tough. I am less strong than Miette is." The less-is-more approach brought Judith at least one fondly recalled epiphany: "Once during filming, I did a little smile. When I saw it on the screen, it was much more moving, much more beautiful than what I believed I had done."

"I will never forget having been Miette," says Judith, adding, "I do not know if I want to be an actress. I would very much like to be an archaeologist." The shooting schedule caused Judith to miss a semester of elementary school, but she has since caught up. One bonus from doing the film was that memorizing and repeating her dialogue helped Judith with her poetry studies back at school. Judith's hobbies include writing, drawing, dance, gym, hiking, and going to movies (especially if Harrison Ford, Julia Roberts, or Robin Williams is in them). Judith lives in Paris.

Pinon Pict
Some members of the cast were already well-acquainted with the imagination of
Jeunet and Caro, having appeared in "Delicatessen." Dominique Pinon starred in that film as the optimistic, if idiosyncratic, hero. In "The City of Lost Children," his acting challenges increased sevenfold -- since he plays seven different roles in the film: The (six) Clones, and The Diver. The role(s) required Pinon to work closely with the digital effects team from Pitof/Duboi, in addition to performing multiple takes, playing one Clone at a time, of many of his scenes.

Dreyfus Pict Jean-Claude Dreyfus costars as Marcello, the Flea-Tamer, a broken-down man with only a flock of loyal, lethal fleas for company. In "Delicatessen," he portrayed the cannibalistic butcher. Of his frequent directors Jeunet and Caro, Dreyfus comments, "They truly know where they want to go ...they have their film entirely in their heads." "The City of Lost Children," he adds, "is not 'Delicatessen 2.' To act in a film of this scale is a real opportunity."

Other "Delicatessen" alumni appearing include Ticky Holgado, Rufus, and, in a small role as one of the Cyclops, Marc Caro. (Jean-Pierre Jeunet explains his absence thusly: "I have well enough to do behind the camera.")

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Last modified 1-December-1995.
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