‘Causeway’ director Lila Neugebauer knew Jennifer Lawrence and Brian Tyree Henry would immediately bond with each other.
The filmmaker admitted that it was vital Jennifer’s returning soldier Lynsey and Brian’s mechanic character James have great chemistry on screen and she had a feeling that the two actors would work well together.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, she said: “I had an inkling, having met Jen and spent time with her, meaningful time with her. And having known Brian for almost 20 years, I had a suspicion that they would connect easily and deeply and fortuitously, that suspicion proved accurate.”
Neugebauer met Henry when they were students at Yale, and said he was “the first and only person” she wanted for the role of James.
Explaining why he was perfect for the role of the grief stricken and physically injured James, who lost part of his leg in a car crash, she said: “That aspect of the character’s story was intrinsic to the story, and we thought meaningfully about the ethics of casting in this film.
“[I knew he would] put in the meaningful work to prepare to take on this role thoughtfully, in good conscience, and from a place of integrity and care.”
And, writer Elizabeth Sanders said James’ physical injury was vital for his bonding with Lynsey after she suffered a brain injury in Afghanistan.
She said: “I think that in order to show that it was human empathy that would allow them to move through their grief and trauma together, that that sort of visual representation allowed them to begin a friendship that might not have otherwise started.”