Why We're Loving: Phillippe Elkoubi, casting director, OHM Studio, Paris

WHAT HE DID Elkoubi cast Grey London's "the kiss" for Vodafone Red. Dramatising the idea that good things should last forever, it has been shared around the world more than 250,000 times.

Tell us about this ad’s challenges. The director, Frédéric Planchon, was clear that he didn’t want to use make-up or tricks to tell the story of one couple’s love for each other from adolescence to old age. But this wasn’t about finding people who looked similar. "The kiss" is powerful because it is so believable. It conveys real emotion, not through words but through the energy of the actors and the chemistry between them. There is language and there is body language. Casting them together, we looked for actors and couples who had the same essence; who, in the passing of time, could credibly be the same people, without pretending that they actually were. This was hardest when looking for the actors in their eighties. Naturally, there are fewer of them and the distances between them greater. Advertising moves fast and old people don’t, but getting the last couple right was crucial to making the film work.

How did you get into casting? I attended a John Strasberg workshop when I was 17 and was so inspired by his analysis of what it is to be human that I went straight home and told my mother I was leaving school to get into casting. She slapped me, I went out to buy bread and never returned. Of course, she’s very proud of me now!

What other big projects have you worked on? Whether it’s Jonathan Glazer on Sony, David Fincher and Romain Gavras on Dior, Patrick Daughters on Stella Artois, Adam Hashemi on Coca-Cola’s 2011 Super Bowl ad or Darren Aronofsky on Yves Saint Laurent, I have been extremely spoilt, working with great directors who are inspiring, precise and demanding. In terms of features, last year’s Confession D’un Enfant Du Siècle was interesting. It featured Charlotte Gainsbourg, Pete Doherty, August Diehl and Lily Cole, was selected at Cannes and involved casting all over Europe.

My biggest project is the OHM Studio database. I’ve travelled the world for the past five years, building this collection of actor, model and dancer portraits. From A-listers to new talents, I seek to capture their essence on film and get them to meet themselves in all their fragility, unpredictability and beauty. I try to connect with their inner magic and space. We’ve filmed about 12,000 so far.

What inspires you? Beauty, truth and incarnation.

What’s next? I’m working on commercials for Lufthansa and Diesel perfume. My next features are Grand Central, directed by Rebecca Zlotowski, and the Philippe Grandrieux film Fièvre.

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