July 12, 2013
In the near future, giant monsters identified as “Kaiju” have risen from a portal in a crevasse beneath the Pacific Ocean, resulting in a war which takes millions of lives and quickly consumes humanity’s resources. To combat the monsters, a special type of weapon is designed: massive robots, known as Jaegers, which are controlled simultaneously by two pilots whose minds are locked in a neural bridge. But as the war continues, even the Jaegers struggle to win the war against a relentless enemy. Against all odds, the remaining forces of mankind make a final stand.
- Charlie Hunnam as Raleigh Becket:
- A washed-up former Jaeger pilot called out of retirement by the Pan Pacific Defense Corps. On casting Hunnam, del Toro stated: “I saw him and I thought he had an earnest, really honest nature. And he was the kind of guy that I can relate, as a male audience member I go, ‘I like that guy. I would like to have a few beers with that guy’ … he has an earthy quality. Describing the character, Hunnam stated: “When you meet me, in the beginning of the story, I’ve suffered a giant loss. Not only has it killed my sense of self-worth, but also my will to fight and keep on going. And then, Rinko Kikuchi and Idris Elba, and a couple other people, bring me out of retirement to try to help with this grand push. I think that journey is a very relatable one. Everybody, at some point in their life, has fallen down and not felt like getting back up, but you have to, no matter how difficult it is.”
- Idris Elba as Stacker Pentecost: Becket’s commanding officer. On selecting Elba, del Toro stated: “This is a movie where I have had to deal with more dialogue than ever, and the way I cast the movie was – who do I want to hear say these things? Who do I want Charlie Hunnam to go against? Who can really tell Charlie Hunnam ‘sit down and listen’?”] In another interview, the director said: “I wanted to have Idris not be the blonde, square-jawed, anglo, super hip marine that knows [everything]. I wanted somebody that could bring a lot of authority, but that you could feel the weight of the world on his shoulders. When I watched Luther, that’s the essence of the character… Luther is carrying literally the evils of the world on his shoulders. He’s doing penance for all humanity… Idris is one of those actors that is capable of embodying humanity, in almost like a Rodin sculpture-type, larger than life, almost like a Russian realism statue, you know, big hands, all the turmoil of humanity in his eyes. I wanted somebody that you could have doubts internally, and very few guys can do that.” Tom Cruise was also considered for the part.
- Rinko Kikuchi as Mako Mori:
- Becket’s co-pilot who lost her family in a Kaiju attack. Del Toro stated: “What was great is the character of Rinko is [the] same as Charlie’s and had a big fall. They both lost a lot in the past and when they meet, one of the ideas in the script is that two people who are really, really hurt can become one, both in the realm of metaphorically or in life. They meet with their two empty pieces and connect almost like a puzzle.”
- Charlie Day as Dr. Newton Geizler: A scientist studying the Kaiju. Day stated: “Certainly myself and Burn Gorman provide a little bit of much needed levity, it’s a break from the monsters and the guys fighting. But then the character gets thrust into the story in a way that his life is seriously at risk and it becomes a little more action oriented and a little more horror movie-esque. So, he kinda bounces back between being humorous and also being real… the rest of these guys, they look really good in their suits and they’ve got abs, they can kick and fight and punch. Newt is sort of the ‘everyman’ and he’s flawed and he’s arrogant.” According to del Toro, Day was cast based on his performance in an episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: “He comes out with a stick, and he has a monologue about what it is to hunt the rats in the basement. It was very funny, but he was coming from character. He was not doing big stuff, he was, like, really mourning and lamenting his job, you know, how inhuman it is. And I thought, ‘This guy is great at shading and comedy.’ There are moments in the movie where he delivers them both.”
- Ron Perlman as Hannibal Chau: A black marketeer who makes a living dealing Kaiju organs. Perlman stated, “I actually think this character was designed to be played by another ethnicity other than myself. And somewhere along the way, [del Toro] had the notion, ‘Wouldn’t it be interesting to turn this guy into more of an invention.’ So, in other words, somebody takes on a persona that completely sounds like he’s someone else and acts like he’s someone else but he’s really, you know, as you see me. That added a dimension to the larger-than-life aspect of the character… I’m playing somebody very close to my own origins. But a completely made-up persona… which makes him even more full of shit. And I think that’s the charm of the guy – that he’s kind of elusive, hard to pin down. Pacific Rim marks Perlman’s fifth appearance in a del Toro film. The director stated: “I think the moment you have a guy that is called Hannibal Chau and Ron shows up, and he’s from Brooklyn and he’s been selling black market organs, you know the whole story… That’s all I need to know. If it’s any other actor, there’s a lot more explaining to do. But when Ron comes in with that look, you can make your own story and it’ll be as compelling as anything I can invent. You do a little weightlifting with the audience.”
- Heather Doerksen as Lt. Aleksis Kaidanovsky: A Russian Jaeger pilot. Doerksen stated: “Interestingly enough, she’s a woman of little words… It’s almost like she lives her life with nothing to lose… It’s why she’s survived this long in battle.” Del Toro allowed Doerksen and Maillet to choose the relationship between their characters; the actors decided to keep their decision secret.
- Ellen McLain as Jaeger AI: The voice of the Jaegers’ artificial intelligence system.Del Toro secured permission from Valve Corporation to cast McLain in homage to GLaDOS, her homicidal AI character in the Portal video games.
- Robert Maillet as Lt. Sasha Kaidanovsky: Aleksis’s co-pilot.
- Robert Kazinsky as Chuck Hansen: An Australian Jaeger pilot.
- Max Martini as Herc Hansen: Chuck’s father and co-pilot.
- Clifton Collins Jr. as Tendo Choi: A Cantonese American Jaeger technician.
- Burn Gorman as Dr. Hermann Gottlieb: A scientist, along with Dr. Newton Geizler, studying the Kaiju.
- Diego Klattenhoff as Yancy Becket: Raleigh’s original co-pilot and brother, who was presumably killed during a battle with the Kaiju.
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