Wednesday 24 July 2019

Casting director Lucy Bevan determined to make colour-blind choices

Naomie Harris was cast in Our Kind Of Traitor
Naomie Harris was cast in Our Kind Of Traitor

One of Britain's leading casting directors has told how she still faces "obstacles" when it comes to colour-blind casting.

Lucy Bevan's movie credits include Cinderella and Pirates Of The Caribbean and she also gave Eddie Redmayne and Tom Hiddleston their first big-screen breaks.

Bevan, who is one of the judges of this year's EE Rising Star Award, selecting the best up and coming actors to be shortlisted for a Bafta, cast Ewan McGregor and black actress Naomie Harris in this year's movie thriller, Our Kind Of Traitor.

But she admitted that the glut of period dramas on TV can pose a problem and that she can face obstacles casting colour-blind.

"I always like to cast colour-blind. We worked on Our Kind Of Traitor this year. Ewan McGregor and Naomie Harris are the lead couple and there is nothing about their ethnicity in the film," Bevan said.

"I look at every role that I've got and say 'it could be every ethnicity'."

She told the Press Association: "I would say 'yes', there can be obstacles.

"But that's our job as casting directors to fight for what you believe in and who you think is right and who you think is talented and that's got nothing to do with the colour of somebody's skin."

Selma star David Oyelowo recently admitted he had to leave the UK to find roles as it was revealed almost 60% of British films over the last 10 years failed to cast any black actors.

But Bevan insisted that, overall, it was a good time to be an actor from an ethnic minority.

"Everything that happened at the Oscars last year lit the fire for change and I think it really is changing," she said.

"I think If you're a young actor from any background right now it's a good time because we are all actively looking for people."

And she dismissed complaints that acting is becoming an "elitist sport" with the likes of Benedict Cumberbatch, Eddie Redmayne and Tom Hiddleston rising to the top.

"Obviously, if you've been to public school you've got certain advantages," she said.

"But now with the internet, being able to make films and make short films and post stuff I think there's a lot more opportunity for people who don't have the money to put themselves through drama school to find a platform in their own way."

She said she agreed with Hollywood star Michael Fassbender - who recently suggested a female play a "Jane Bond" if Daniel Craig steps down from the 007 role.

"I think that's a great idea. When the producers asked Angelina Jolie whether she wanted to be a Bond girl she said 'no thank you, but I'd like to be Bond' and that's why Salt happened," Bevan said.

"A Jane Bond everyone would like to see."

PA Media

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