In my Freshman year of high school, we learned about Freud's theories in English class. Of all his theories, it was that of the Id, Ego, and Superego that hit me the most. Basically, Freud believed that every person was a balance of their base instincts (Id), their own personal thoughts (Ego), and what society demands of them (Superego). Why am I mentioning any of this? Because, this was also when I realized how and why sets of three characters can work so well together.
Consider Brody, Hooper, and Quint in Jaws (1975). Quint and Hooper have vastly different opinions and methods and Brody is stuck between them. In Star Trek, Kirk relies on the emotion of McCoy and the logic of Spock to make decisions. I could go on and on.
Moving further away from Raiders of the Lost Ark, I took the main character's helper (John Rhys-Davies' character) and made him a more prominent role and I took the main character's love interest (Karen Allen's character) and made her a more prominent role. The result is that you have interactions among these three strong characters instead of one character reacting to others.
For Slim's companion Tubba, I went back to Kindergarten. Not literally. My friend Mike and I have known each other since Kindergarten. He did a fabulous job in Star Wreck balancing comic enthusiasm with keeping a straight face. He also looks convincingly Hispanic, despite the fact that he is not at all Latino. I asked Mike if he would play the role and he agreed. Mike did a phenomenal job and also served as Director of Photography for Slim. Today, he is a police officer in Southern Maine and probably keeps an eye out for bad filmmakers exploiting their friends.
For Slim's female companion Snarion (see earlier posts for an explanation of the character names), I wanted someone that would physically contrast with Slim and with Tubba. My friend Alissa has dirty blonde hair and blue eyes--bingo. I had met her in middle school. When I began planning for this movie, she was very enthusiastic about it. In the winter of 2005 as I was developing the characters, I asked for her input for the character of Snarion. It was then that she volunteered for the role. She had actually appeared in another local production a couple years earlier called The Mushing Mill. Check it out: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0397550/
Alissa was very patient in the course of filming. By about take 5, she would be done, so I learned to get what I needed by then. Today, she lives and works in Washington, D.C.
With selecting these two performers, I had the power of three strong characters to lead the film. Remember that--three characters may be better than one. In later posts, I will share about finding performers for additional roles.
To Be Continued...