Tuscaloosa director Philip Harder explains in this essay the importance of casting in his Alabama-set, Vietnam War-era drama, which stars Devon Bostick, Natalia Dyer and YG. Tuscaloosa is now available on-demand.
Once we had the script green-lit, casting was the first big undertaking of the production. With our budget it was about getting as much star power into the film as we could without breaking the bank, while still making sure each actor was a good fit. I think we did a great job with that.
Both of our leads, Natalia Dyer (Stranger Things) and Devon Bostick (The 100) are major up and comers from the worlds of TV and streaming, and have continued to grow since production wrapped. They blew me away with how much chemistry they created. They brought the romance to life while also totally understanding their individual characters.
With our compressed production schedule, finding actors who could help make my job as director easier was key, and was something we were really happy to have. I’ve mentioned this already, but YG (White Boy Rick) was literally helping me write his character as we filmed, expanding that role and taking advantage of this incredible charisma.
Marchánt Davis (The Day Shall Come) was central in some of our most technical shots, including a four minute long “one-er,” and he nailed it. We used a lot of extra-long takes because of our tight production schedule, and we couldn’t have done that without him.
Tate Donovan (Rocketman, Argo) knew exactly how to portray a villain backed by Tuscaloosa‘s white power elite – showing a deeply sinister side to the authority figures our culture is constantly telling us to trust. It’s a villain that a lot of people in this country deal with in real life, and Tate nailed it.