Nghi was always doubtful: finding a fat Asian actor willing to shoot a gay film would be hard. I was always my optimistic self, and said, it’s got no dialogue anyway, worst of all, we can always get a foreign student. I was ready for everything, use Joy as interpreter, hand-language, anything.
Things went better than we could hope for. We had waited until everything else was sorted before calling for actors, we didn't want them to lose impetus or feel the production was lagging, but send them right from the audition to the rehearsal and then on to the shooting. Joy had been in charge of sending a casting call on the net, using the website Starnow. We advertised for 'one Asian actor, aged 25 to 35, medium-heavy build or chubby. All skin colours and ethnic types welcome to apply, but must have recognisable Asian/South Asian features'. Three guys answered, and they were good!
One was a really handsome and skinny Chinese guy – very professional, but not at all the type of body we wanted, he was not short-listed.
Two candidates remained. We asked them to come for an audition in my St Kilda place, which I’d only just vacated. A large rectangular living room was a perfect setting for trying out a few dance movements.
The first actor was a bit young, but he sounded like a good dancer. I wasn't sure from the photo what he would actually look like. I was disappointed - weirdly, because he was way too handsome for the role, a young South Asian guy with bollywood features. If we casted him, the public would not understand, how was he ever supposed to feel insecure about his ability to seduce?
The second actor, Nick, was rightaway perfect. He’s not exactly fat, but he’s got a strong body, so that when he slouches a bit, he looks exactly the part. His features are also very interesting – he’s got one of these admirable acting faces that can vary from the handsome to the plain or even the slightly ugly.
We didn't give them an answer rightaway, though. We want to do a screen-test first, with the Cow Boy - after all, both actors have to match. But the decision is already very clear.