Adri’s twenty-ninth question: Mickie tells us about the casting for this film…

When Threes first came to Razor Sharp Films with this movie, and the casting thereof, I think a lot of casting directors thought she was mad. Basically we had a movie, with a whole cast who can all speak neutral English, all in South Africa, with the time we had available, and the budget which was available. My goodness! The casting to find the right ‘River’ was a long one, and a difficult one. We explored each and every possible avenue and we found this boy whom had just the right combination of features to suit the character. It was also great that Threes wanted to be so involved with everything. No director has ever done that. We did street casting, and she wanted to walk the streets with me, hand out flyers and posters with me, and talk to the kids and parents about the castings. Street casting for kids must be done so subtly, it’s actually quite funny. First you follow from a distance, then go closer to have a better look, then back off again so they don’t get nervous, then of course, go for the full approach. We spotted Yusuf from a mile away, he was the perfect ‘River’. He was walking around with a bunch of other kids and we didn’t want the other kids to feel any lesser so we opened the casting to all of them. We gave them the details and took their numbers, Yusuf however didn’t have a phone at home, so we relied purely on faith that he would pitch, and he did. Casting for the rest of the actors went relatively quickly. The casting was open, and not colour specific or roll specific. We invited everyone to play the different rolls and took it from there. We had the advantage of having the writer/director there, so she could give her input in finding a just the right ‘Charm’, the right ‘Pretty’, ‘Grace’, ‘Scoop’ and so on. What happened was, as people came to the castings, they were their roll. The one to land the part was always Threes’ first choice, and we really have a magnificent cast.

(Picture: Mickie Birkett, Casting Director)