Casting I, Daniel Blake

Inside Criterion / Sneak Peeks — Jan 22, 2018

Starting with his hot-button television docudramas of the sixties, and continuing on through his no less politically engaged films of the twenty-first century, Ken Loach has charted an extraordinary career as a fiercely committed social realist. The director’s latest narrative film, the Palme d’Or–winning I, Daniel Blake, is a moving drama about an infirm carpenter’s cruel neglect by an indifferent welfare bureaucracy. Following a method he has used throughout his career, the authenticity-focused Loach filled the cast of the Newcastle-set movie with film-acting novices originally from the area—including the remarkable Dave Johns, the bricklayer-turned–stand-up comedian who plays the title character. In the above clip, taken from a documentary on our brand-new release of the film, casting director Kahleen Crawford and screenwriter Paul Laverty, both of them regular collaborators of Loach’s, outline the unique casting process they’ve developed in lockstep with the director.