At the Variety Screening Series, screen siren Juliette Binoche and director Peter Hedges talked about their latest offering, “Dan in Real Life,” which also stars Steve Carell and Dane Cook.
According to the helmer, the casting was a juggling act at first.
“My wife said it was because I didn’t date enough in high school,” quipped Hedges.
“I knew that I needed to find someone very special to go with Steve. I met a lot of wonderful actresses. Steve said, ‘find someone with a good heart,’ and then I got the call that Juliette finally read the script and that she was interested,” said Hedge. “I got on the first plane to Paris and I spent a wild evening with Juliette just driving around Paris and eating foods I couldn’t figure out what it was.”
“I don’t know where my mind was. I was somewhere else and on another plant,” said Binoche about the delay in reading the script. “So, when I finally read the script I said, ‘Yes! Why not?’ When Peter came, my heart was filled with hope and I thought we had a good connection that night.”
Once Juliette made it to L.A., the casting process took an odd turn for the Oscar winner.
“I told the studio there was no screen test. I was not going to screen test Juliette Binoche. It’s not going to happen,” said Hedges. “I wanted to see if Juliette and Steve were comfortable with each other. So I had them sing karaoke.”
“When he asked me to come to L.A. to meet with Steve Carell and Dane Cook, I had to sing with Steve. It was like, ‘Hello. How are you? Now I want you to sing a song,’ “ laughed Binoche. “In the end, Peter was happy with the connection.”
“Within ten seconds it was pretty magical,” said the director.