Rebecca Hall has appeared in a number of award winning movies, including Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Frost/Nixon, The Town and The Prestige. While those credits are impressive enough for the twenty-nine year old actress, Hall had not starred in any comedies.
So while Hall desperately wanted to star as Las Vegas stripper Beth Raymer in an adaptation of her book Lay The Favorite, a humorous memoir of her past in sports gambling, alongside Bruce Willis and Vince Vaughn, which debuted at Sundance. Though Hall eventually got the role, she admits to Reuters that it was a challenge just to convince the director that she could pull it off.
Vaughn is well-known for his comedy roles and Willis has done a number of comedies before, but Hall realized that without any experience in comedy being cast in the film would be difficult. She says, “I had not shown that kind of range. I thought, I love this part, I would kill to do it. But I don’t believe that anyone is going to cast me in it.”
In fact, the film’s director, Stephen Frears, told her how wrong she was for the part during their initial meeting. Hall recalls, “He said, ‘You are everything I am not looking for and I will never cast you.’ And then I was like a dog with a bone after that. That was it.”
Ultimately a year later Frears ended up casting her, but Hall admitted that didn’t make the role any easier for her. She explains, “It was a big stretch for me. I knew I had to have a different physical life and a different vocal life and a different energy that operates on a different frequency to my own. It was very liberating.”