“It was just very important to put together an ensemble of actors who could speak the truth and bring these characters to life,” says casting director Kim Coleman about assembling the team of performers for HBO’s supernatural drama series “Lovecraft Country.” Watch our exclusive video interview with her and fellow casting director Meagan Lewis above.
“Lovecraft Country” is set in 1950s Chicago, where a Black Korean War veteran (Jonathan Majors) is at the center of a mystery involving a generational legacy of magic. But the story covers an even wider range than that, spanning Tulsa, Paris, Korea, and even outer space. No matter where the show went, though, the goal of the casting directors was to be true to showrunner Misha Green‘s vision for the series. “You want to make sure that you’re finding exactly what Misha sees in the character,” Lewis explains. “Sometimes it’s a really long process. Sometimes that miracle comes in that first audition.”
Jurnee Smollett, whom Green had worked with before on the series “Underground,” was the only cast member “who was already attached” when the casting directors came onboard, “so we had to build everyone else around her,” Coleman remembers. Of course, finding the show’s leading man — and Smollett’s love interest — was crucial, and Majors “just has a great period face,” “was believable as a soldier” and had the right combination of “strength” and “vulnerability.”
Earlier this year the cast of the series earned a SAG Award nomination for their ensemble performance, and for Lewis, “I’m always proud of the shows that I work on when they do well … It’s special because you believe in these actors from jump and you’re so happy for them that they have gotten this moment.” Lewis and Coleman are no strangers to accolades either. Coleman earned an Emmy nomination for casting “American Crime,” and Lewis won twice for “True Detective” and “Watchmen.” Now “Lovecraft” could get both of them back into the competition.
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