This week’s release, The Least Of These: The Graham Staines Story, actor Stephen Baldwin plays the role of Staines, the missionary who was murdered by fundamentalists in Odisha in 1999. The film has been lapped up by the audience in the United States and Baldwin’s performance has been greatly appreciated. Besides Baldwin, the film also stars Sharman Joshi and Shari Rigby and is a Skypass Entertainment production.
Director Aneesh Daniel says that the casting of the film was quite a tricky process. “The most tough part for me, after the script, was casting. My schooling from the TV show Udaan helped. I had learnt a lot working with Kavita Choudhury in Udaan. Kavita ji selected actors who represented a very close to real life look of their characters,” he says, adding, “I was making a film which had more of a tribal feel and that’s why we decided to have those actors who have a native look. In fact, we have used Misayel Hansda as Graham’s driver, who was his driver in real life as well.”
Talking about the thought process behind the casting of the film, director Aneesh Daniel says, “Sharman read the script and in four days and said yes without asking any questions because we worked hard on the script. Stephen again said yes after reading the script,” he says, adding, “Stephen has given fantastic performance and as per US critics this is his best performance till date. It was not easy for Stephen to adapt to the Indian shoot system but he actually adjusted himself and performed. We did not rehearse with Stephen earlier. In fact, he came with some very good suggestions on the set. Both Stephen and Sharman have maintained consistency in their performance. Shari Rigby acted as Gladys and she maintained the strength and poise of the real-life Gladys.”
Baldwin made his acting debut with the film, The Beast in 1988 and has essayed varied roles on the screen. He has been seen in films, such as The Usual Suspects, Posse, Born on the Fourth of July, Threesome and Bio-Dome. He played the role of Barney Rubble in The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas. Baldwin has also been seen in the television series, The Young Riders.
Produced by Skypass Entertainment and distributed in India by PVR Pictures, The Least of These is a gripping film that releases on March 29.