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The blog was a series of video interviews with Peggy Kennedy.
This week, we’re talking with Peggy Kennedy, who helps to keep the show populated with a diverse array of faces as the Casting Director, working alongside Debi Manwiller. Peggy is one of the few crew members who can say she was here since the beginning. And her knowledge of the Hollywood actors pool is vast and extensive.
The character of Dana Walsh changed over the casting process.
- Peggy Kennedy: With Dana Walsh, originally part of the back story was that maybe she came from a trailer park and pulled herself up, and there's some damage going on. Clearly there's damage but not from the reason we initially thought from.
- Peggy Kennedy: You have to satisfy several masters when dealing with that kind of a role. You're dealing with someone where there's got to be some sort of vulnerability, yet they are an agent so you have to believe both parts of those. It's easy to get a person for one or the other, but not necessarily two.
Casting the Bazhaev role had its own set of difficulties but allowed her to hire someone she’d always wanted to work with.
- Peggy Kennedy: That was an interesting process because it went from - do we go to Ben Kingsley? Do we entertain this person? Do we do that? It was also, who was available, who would be willing to give a certain amount of time. Actors of that calibre are usual busy and not available. It was also a challenge in that we couldn't say in how many it was - it could have been 10, 12 episodes. It could have been 7. In trying to figure out the storyline it was hard to determine how many episodes he was going to be in, so I couldn't say "they're in for three episodes then they're out". I know that Jurgen Prochnow is someone I've been trying to get on the show for several years now and he's a big fan of the show, so that ended up working very well to our advantage. And to his, I'm sure, too.
- Peggy Kennedy: Marcos is a character that is half and half. Your choices were limited in that sense. Unfortunately, because of the age group - being younger as opposed to older - it was not a group we had tapped into all that much. So, there were only about five or six actors that I would have really felt comfortable doing that role.
Agent Owen is younger than they were used to looking for, but it turned out to be fun to cast because the character is so “pure.”
- Peggy Kennedy: When you ask about the character Owen, that was someone that was a little younger than what we normally cast. That was a fun role for me to do because he's very sympathetic and yet he's green, but he's good. Here's an agent that's afraid but yet, he knows that he's got to do it. He doesn't have experience to fall back on and think, "how do I engineer this particular manoeuvre? What do I do here?" He doesn't have that. This is one character that is "pure". There was never any, "Oh this character's going to turn", whereas other characters its like, "Do they have an alterer motive?"
An actor may be talented, but to be on 24 they also need to be edgy.
- Peggy Kennedy: One of the things why the casting of 24 has always worked is because it is a little edgy. To that end, when I'm looking for someone for a role that's what I'm looking for. Someone can be the best actor in the world, but they are not right for what we look for. I don't know that there's anything an actor can do, because its just the essence of who they are. There's a specific kind of edginess that works for this show. Whereas somebody can play a general on another show, they may not have that kind of persona that we need on 24.