An interesting article in Backstage.com has casting director Avy Kaufman talking about how The Counselor ended up with the stunning A-list cast it did. She discusses how the actors were thought of and signed for the film, including Cameron Diaz as Malkina. Here’s what she said about Cami:
Although the film stars Fassbender, Javier Bardem, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, and Brad Pitt, casting director Avy Kaufman came on to the project before anyone was attached and started the casting process from scratch. “[It] was not easy, but [it was] fun looking for these ‘character types,’ ” Kaufman says of the very specific, criminally minded types being cast. Wechsler says they ended up with a cast of actors a lot more famous than anticipated. “The one concern we might have had as producers is we didn’t want to overwhelm the movie with so many recognizable names,” he says. But Wechsler says Scott blended the high-caliber cast and “restrained the effect of the stardom and made them just actually be actors as opposed to celebrities in these roles.”
Perhaps the most challenging role to cast was Malkina, Reiner’s sexy and predatory, sociopathic girlfriend. “At first we thought we’d want to surprise an audience with somebody that they didn’t know that well,” says Wechsler. When the studio suggested Diaz, Scott met with her and was impressed. “Everybody knows that [Diaz is] completely great at what she does, but she hadn’t done this,” says Wechsler. The casting of Malkina took the most discussion before Diaz won the role.