I’m handing over to Phil Marley, the photographer who shot the cover for Acting Brave for the second part of the casting story: Harry May as Ryan.
Finding a Ryan was a very different experience to finding a Jasmine. With Jasmine (Devon Mayson) I started with a big shortlist and ended up throwing it away when I found Devon. With Ryan, there were only a few male models who were ever serious contenders.
Ryan is big. Helena describes him like this:
The first word was big. No other word could apply. He was tall enough that I had to tilt my head back to look him in the eye, even in the outrageous heels I was wearing. But he was broad-shouldered, too, his whole body heavy and solid with muscle, narrowing to a tight waist and then thickening to muscled hips. Built big, not gym-big, as if he came from some far-off land where the men still swung broadswords and wore furry boots and carried their wenches off over their shoulders. There wasn’t an ounce of fat on him, just thick slabs of hardness that made me instinctively want to wrap my body around him. And his hands! His hands were huge, with powerful, thick fingers. If he put his palm on my cheek, to warm it, his hand would cover most of my head. I’m not some tiny, slender thing like Nat or Clarissa. Not many men can make me feel small. But this guy did.
Harry is big, while still being believable as a New Adult character (I wanted someone who looked “real”). And he has the requisite big hands:
But more than that, he has the physical presence you need to be a cover model – or, like Ryan, a cop. I needed someone who could pick Devon up and basically throw her around and Harry was perfect. He didn’t miss a beat all day, whether it was cover poses or acting. He even suffered wearing an NYPD uniform (and those things are thick!) in the height of summer. The screen chemistry he had with Devon was fantastic and it’s a testament to both of their skills that they could pull this off having only met an hour before.