You can see the basic organization from the cuts. We've included info on whether they are available, other projects they've worked on, and possible negatives to their involvement. Our longer commentary is at the end.
Also, just because book!Tess is described as "tall and lean with dark straight hair" and her eyes "light as lime on the outer edges, rich as emerald toward the center," doesn't mean movie!Tess has to look exactly like that.
This movie is not Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter or even the Babysitter's Club. These characters are not iconic. There is no directive from God telling us we must heed the source material OR ELSE! To me, with this type of story, surface details are flexible except what is dictated by the plot and character. So what that means is Tess needs to be appropriately fit, beautiful and not too far in age from Charlie. Those are the characteristics we most need to find... hair color, less important.
So anyway, enough talking... picture time!
|Scarlett Johansson||Michelle Williams|
|Iron Man 2 (filming, start date April 2009)||Shutter Island, Brokeback Mountain|
|Possibly would play too old next to Zac.||Possibly plays too old.|
|Emily Blunt||Gemma Arterton|
|Gulliver’s Travels (filming, start date March 2009)
Jane Austen Book Club, Devil Wears Prada
|Wuthering Heights (unclear start date)
Prince of Persia, Clash of the Titans, Quantum of Solace
|Possibly would play too old next to Zac.||Possibly too tall.|
|Mila Kunis||Romola Garai|
|Date Night (filming, start date April 2009)
Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Max Payne, That 70s Show
|Emma (BBC miniseries, filming as of April 2009)
Atonement, Scoop, Vanity Fair
|Possibly plays too old, still too Vanessa (imo)||Possibly too tall.|
Somewhat established but not huge:
|Anna Kendrick||Allison Miller|
|Twilight, Scott Pilgrim, Camp||17 Again, Blood: The Last Vampire, Kings (TV)
|Only Twilight exception due to her background.||Her role in 17 Again was fairly small,
so I wouldn't mind her costarring again.
|Teresa Palmer||Olivia Thirlby|
|Sorcerer’s Apprentice (filming, start date March 2009)
Bedtime Stores, December Boys
|Juno, The Wackness, What Goes Up|
|Olivia Wilde||Mary Elizabeth Winstead|
|Tron 2.0 (filming, start date April 2009)
Year One, House MD (TV), Black Donnellys (TV)
|Scott Pilgrim, Live Free Die Hard, Grindhouse|
|Possibly plays too old.||Possibly too tall.|
|Alicja Bachleda-Curus||Laura Ramsey|
|Ondine (with Colin Farrell), Friendship||The Irishman (filming, start date April 2009)
Shrink, The Covenant, She’s the Man, The Ruins
|The Absinthe Drinkers (start date Sept 2009, not firm).||In development project in limbo, also possibly too old.|
Lesser known but possibly interesting:
|Jessica Chastain||Amanda Fairbank-Hynes|
|The Tree of Life, The Debt, more TV||An Education, The Boat That Rocked|
|Lyndsy Fonseca||Kate French|
|Hot Tub Time Machine (filming, start date April 2009)
Kick-Ass, quite a bit of TV
|The L Word, other TV, a few small film roles|
|Masiela Lusha||Kimberly Nixon|
|Blood: The Last Vampire, George Lopez (TV)||Black Death (filming, start date April 2009)
Cherrybomb, Easy Virtue, Wild Child
|Emily VanCamp||Annabelle Walis|
|The Ring Two, Brothers and Sisters, Everwood||The Tudors (Jane Seymour), Body of Lies|
|Possibly too tall.||Possibly too tall.|
Even more with few credits but possibly interesting:
|Chelsea Brummet||Alexandra Chando|
|Lure, youth TV early on (All That mostly)||Mostly TV|
|Briana Evigan||Alice Greczyn|
|Sorority Row, Step Up 2, S. Darko||Sex Drive, some TV|
|Meredith Hagner||Lucy Hale|
|As the World Turns||Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants 2, Privileged (TV)|
|Anne Hathaway||Keira Knightley|
|Valentine's Day||London Boulevard/The Beautiful and the Damned|
|Natalie Portman||Carey Mulligan|
|Your Highness||Brighton Rock|
|Kristen Bell||Amanda Seyfried|
|You Again||Letters to Juliet/Big Love|
|Amber Heard||Ellen Page|
|90210, The Informers, Homecoming, Prom Night|
Rachel Bilson (just no)
Alexis Bledel (too old at this point)
Kat Dennings (not the right look)
Danielle Panabaker (too young, busy)
Emmy Rossum (ugh no no no)
Evan Rachel Wood
Odette Yustman (too tall, plus is shooting "You Again")
Anyone notable from "Gossip Girl", "Twilight" (except Anna Kendrick), "Harry Potter", Disney or any CW show
No former co-stars
"CStC" is a new genre for Zac - it's his first straight out drama/romance in his adult career. Plus, this is his first movie which is not targeted at his t(w)een demographic but more young adults/women (yes, teen girls will clearly watch it and help driving the box office but it's not soley targeted at them) and with that he and his co-stars will have to appeal to this audience. His character was 28-years-old in the book and will likely be mid twenties in the movie. The most important casting in my opinion is Tess - the female lead and the love interest for Zac's character.
If we like it or not and weather it's true or not, Zac is still fighting for credibility in regards to his acting. He started getting some credits with "17 Again" but he's still far from accepted, so it's essential that his leading lady brings this credibility to the project - for the critics and also for the adult audience. Her skills are important but just as important is the public perception about her acting skills. And as hypocritical as it might be, that means no former or current Disney (Channel) stars or any actresses with a low acting profile. He can't distance himself from his Disney image if his co-star bring that into the project.
Another note on starpower, there is still a significant difference between movie actors and TV actors. I'm not saying that TV actors are worse actors (skillwise) but they are valued differently by the movie audience. If they can see the actor every week on TV for free, they are way less willing to spend money on a movie starring this actor. Of course there are TV actors who also do successful movies but in the eyes of the general public there is still a significant difference. In regards to "CStC" this means a movie actress would be way better than a TV actress. It's ok if she has done TV in the past or is doing it now and in between but she needs to be predominantely a movie star (meaning that today she's known for her movies and not for her TV roles and she has good feature film credits).
Tess was described as being a few years younger in the book but given her background she should probably be around 23/24 - otherwise it's a bit hard to believe that she runs that sail making business and is experienced enough to go on that world sailing trip. The actress shouldn't be too young for that - they are already "faking" Zac's age and I think it's beneficial if the actress has a certain maturity (obviously not too old but I think having someone 18-21ish would be mostly too young) - an actress between 22-26 would be perfect in my personal opinion but of course dependent on the individual case she might be younger or older.
Out of the current options, my preferences would be Michelle Williams, Emily Blunt, Gemma Arterton or Anna Kendrick.
All four actresses are movie actresses with significant drama experience and talent imo. Gemma and Anna are still fairly new in that business but both have recently scored very high-profile movies and are certainly amongst the up-and-coming actresses while Michelle's and Emily's track record are unquestioned. All of them are taken serious as actress and would lend the movie the credibility it needs. I also can see them working well with Zac (I do have a few concerns with Emily appearing a bit too mature but due to talent I'm willing to overlook it).
Obviously in many ways The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud is another vehicle for Zac. And like 17 Again, it is pushing him into a new genre with a slightly different audience to conquer. Also as in 17 Again, Zac needs costars/crew that not only help him grow but also help the project gain legitimacy in the eyes of doubters.
Consequently, that is why we ruled out most actresses tied to Disney/Harry Potter/CW, etc. Most of those people have credibility issues to deal with on their own. That doesn't mean they aren't good, but it just wouldn't be best if the project has to fight naysayers on both main leads.
An established big name would be an awesome addition to the cast and bring some positive attention, but at this point is highly unlikely. Most big name actresses are already scheduled. Many also may play too old against Zac and some probably think themselves above him and this film. There is also a worry that they might overpower Zac. It is one thing for Christian McKay as Orson Welles to overpower Zac and his character in MAOW, it is rather fitting there... but that is not called for here.
At any rate, if they cannot get a big name, they need someone who is extremely talented, beautiful, and relatively unknown. An unknown wouldn't bring negative attention just curiosity. I'm okay with TV credits tbh... I mean, even some soap stars turn out to be big. As long as tv is a starting off place and not an ending place. As Zac has shown, you can do good work in a lesser project... that's the kind of actor they probably need to find.
To be honest, some of the women jeezbee or I added could be really shitty actresses. But we liked the look of them and the potential might be worth an audition, at least, in our fictitious casting office.
I don't even think I could pick a few favorites... I tried to because I made jeezbee do it, but for me it would be so hard to choose without seeing their ability and their chemistry with Zac.
Of all the big names, I'd most like to see him work with Anne Hathaway at some point in the future, even if it isn't this project. But any of them bring a lot to the table.
And everyone else, well based on looks, they are all beautiful and seem pretty fit. So it comes down to talent and feeling and if there isn't enough of that then pass. But if I had to say, I guess I like the look of Anna Kendrick, Allison Miller, Teresa Palmer, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and Kate French the best.
Now discuss amongst yourselves, I'm going to sleep!
eta: this is the comment thread where our original discussion of tess actresses happened, just for reference.