THE SUPPORTING CAST
Surrounding the triangle of Rachel, Heck
and Luce in IMAGINE ME & YOU are an assortment of family and friends
for whom love is also in the air - in various high and low forms, from
the caddish pursuits of Heck's best man, "Coop," to the jaded
but not entirely faded romance of Rachel's parents.
Cooper, Heck's determinedly single friend,
is played with a light comic touch by Darren Boyd, who made his debut
in the 2001 British comedy HIGH HEELS & LOW LIFES. Ol Parker was delighted
with the rising young actor's performance. "He manages the remarkable
and baffling task of making Cooper charming. I'm not sure Coop has a line
in the film that isn't sexist or self-centered but somehow Darren makes
him utterly winning and likeable."
Boyd saw Cooper as the flip side of the
far more traditionally romantic but problem-saddled Heck. "Cooper
is very unapologetic about who he is and what he believes in. He's very
much about being a free agent, about being in it for himself - and yet
he's also about living life to its absolute fullest," the actor observes.
Another of love's many different sides is
portrayed in the long-lived but worn-thin marriage of Rachel's parents,
Tessa and Ned, played by leading British lady of stage and screen Celia
Imrie and Anthony Head (BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER). Parker wrote the role
of the tough-minded Tessa with Imrie in mind. "I knew exactly how
brilliant she'd be," he says, "and then I sat back and watched
her be twice as good."
Imrie liked how the story of IMAGINE ME
& YOU ventured into original territory, breaking away from the typical
British romantic comedy. "I liked that it's not like anything else
out there," she states. "And the character of Tessa made me
laugh -- Ol really seems to know what it's like to be a woman. On the
set, his love of these characters, his passion and his sense of humour
spilled over to the rest of us."
Most of all, Imrie loved the resounding
romantic theme of IMAGINE ME & YOU. "Love can happen to anyone,
anywhere, anytime," she observes. "I believe that's why we're
all romantics deep at heart."
Meanwhile, to play Tessa's shell-shocked
husband - poor passive Ned whose fire for romance appears to have all
but gone out -- Parker searched for an actor with just the right qualities.
"The minute I saw Tony, I knew I had to cast him," Parker says.
"He's so preposterously handsome - and I wanted the audience to have
that same sense of disappointment that he really should be someone amazing."
Head describes his character as "a
bit like a worn-out shoe." He continues: "Ned's a bit lived-in
and not entirely comfortable in his skin. You get the feeling that he's
retired further and further inside himself as life has gone on in part
because it was simply easier. Yet in the course of the story, he also
gains new confidence and self-respect."
Like Rachel and Luce, Tessa and Ned have
an unexpected awakening during the course of the film. Says Head: "What's
wonderful about this story is that, through all the characters, the nature
of love is questioned in different ways."
Finally, there's little "H," Rachel's
8 year-old yet worldly-wise sister, who also finds herself bumping not
only into love at first sight but her very first love. To play the perpetually
inquisitive and entirely too smart H, Parker carried out auditions, ultimately
casting Boo Jackson, who, though she had never acted on screen before,
immediately impressed the filmmakers.
"Boo was extraordinary and added something
wonderful to the production," says Parker. "She arrived on set
not only knowing her own lines but everyone else's, without a trace of
fear and revealing a breathtaking talent. She held her own with this thrilling