John Sayles has announced a full cast for his half-Spanish language Casa De Los Babys, which starts shooting this August at a knock-down budget of $1m - while aiming high for his next production, between $24 and $32m for the Robert Carlyle-starrer Jamie MacGillivray.
The IFC-backed Casa De Los Babys, set in an un-named South American country where six American women are waiting to pick up their adoptive babies, is to star Marcia Gay Harden, Daryl Hannah, Lili Taylor, Mary Steenburgen, Susan Lynch, Rita Moreno and Maggie Gyllenhaal. "The biggest compliment I get is that actors of this calibre are willing to work for me for chump change," said Sayles, who is also currently writing Ron Howard's Alamo project.
He needs more than chump change, however, for Jamie MacGillivray, written by Sayles from an idea by Carlyle and a Scottish-Canadian-US epic shot in English, French (both the Cannes variant and the French Canadian alternative), Gaelic and Delaware Indian. "We call it the Scottish Western," says Sayles, "but the point of it is that this guy is a linguist so you can't have people doing accents. Language is the point of the film. It's budgeted at three or four times more than we've ever had before, and Limbo was our biggest at US$8 million."
Sunshine State, screening outside official selection, marks Sayles' sixth time in Cannes over 20 years. "We heard we were in some part of the programme but it turned out not to be. I try not to think what the process for the selectors is - it's complicated. We were available and I go to Mexico in August so it was a good chance to come here and show it anyway." Which is something Sayles did before with Brother From Another Planet in 1984, which wasn't backed by any studio. "And we made a good sale here," he recalled.