The Big Picture
- Casting a young actor to play the killer in Mare of Easttown was a difficult challenge due to the disturbing nature of the role.
- The limited series explored Kate Winslet’s character deeply, delving into her strained relationship with her daughter and her struggle with grief.
- Avy Kaufman’s methodical approach to casting shows in the successes of the projects she has worked on.
When Mare of Easttown was released by HBO, audiences were captivated by the grueling story of a town suffering due to the crimes of a merciless killer. The titular character, played by Kate Winslet, must make the best use of her detective skills to find the monster before it’s too late. However, one of the toughest challenges from the production of the limited series was casting a young actor to portray the killer in the story, as it turns out that Ryan Ross (Cameron Mann) was the one who committed the crime. During a recent interview with Collider, the show’s casting director, Avy Kaufman, talked about finding a young performer to fill out the role:
What I’m going to say, and it may not answer your question so I apologize, casting this show called Mare of Easttown, we had to cast a young boy to be the killer. This young boy was not even, maybe, 10 years old, and that’s very tricky. There’s a disturbance in the head. How do you cast somebody as a killer when they’re a child, you know? That show, there were so many elements in casting that kept bringing light to light. We ended up flying the boy to Pennsylvania and having the director, and the parents, and everybody. It was a beautiful way to open up a character. Because, what? You’re gonna cast a kid who looks like a killer? No!
The limited series tried to explore Winslet’s character deeply, as Mare had to get to the bottom of the mystery while trying to keep her life from falling apart. Her relationship with her daughter, Shioban (Angourie Rice) was less than ideal, with the both of them not being able to accept their part in the problems that surrounded their broken bond. In the meantime, the town was beginning to question Mare’s abilities as a detective, with the main character not being able to find a girl who had gone missing a year before the events of the show took place.
And if Mare’s problems weren’t complicated enough, she was also grieving the loss of his son, who took his life at some point before the show began telling her story. Catching a young man who threw his life away by killing someone else made Mare struggle with her feelings, as Winslet’s character was beginning to lose her faith in humanity, and in herself. Evan Peters portrayed one of the main characters as Detective Colin Zabel, Mare’s partner and a promising addition to the town’s force. Unfortunately, things wouldn’t turn out well for the young detective, with the character going through a fateful confrontation in one of the final episodes of the story.
Throughout her career, Kaufman had worked in many successful productions, including another one of HBO’s biggest hits, Succession. By methodically reading the scripts for every project she’s attached to, Kaufman begins forming the image in her head that allows her to know which performer could be the perfect fit for a character.
Kate Winslet’s Headed Back to Pandora
After appearing in last year’s Avatar: The Way of Water, Winslet is set to reprise her role of Ronal, one of the leaders of the Metkayina clan. While the fearless warrior didn’t trust Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and his family at first, she came to understand the real enemy was the army led by the new version of Coronel Miles Quaritch (Stepehen Lang). Thanks to the devastating trail of destruction the villain left across Pandora and nearby territories, Ronal realized she had to ally herself with Sully to get rid of the biggest threat to her people. The next Avatar sequel is currently scheduled to hit theaters on December 19, 2025.
You can check out Collider’s interview with Avy Kaufman below: