What would the Oscar winning picture, Chicago be without Richard Gere and Queen Latifah? Both actors blew audiences and critics away for their performances as the legendary stage characters Billy Flynn and Matron Mama Morton.

chicago casting

Gere surprised everyone when he was cast as Billy Flynn. He exploded on the screen - singing, dancing, unexpectedly slick and perfectly suited to play Roxie's charming trial lawyer. He won a Golden Globe for his memorable performance.

Kevin Kline, Kevin Spacey and John Travolta were all approached to play Flynn and all had their own personal reasons for not taking the role. So, producers were very excited when Gere serendipitously crossed their paths. One of the producers of Chicago, Martin Richards, talked about finding Gere in the book, Movie Moguls Speak.

Casting Richard Gere as Billy Flynn was really by chance. One day, I went to a rehearsal and I heard a great voice from behind a closed door singing the song, "All I Care About is Love." I opened the door and saw it was Richard Gere and his voice teacher. I said, "Okay, I heard you sing the song. Now let me hear Richard sing it. The voice teacher said, "that was Richard." I then said to myself, "Wow. We really lucked out."

Christine Baranski played Mary Sunshine and talks about why casting Richard Gere was such a perfect choice.

Another brilliant casting decision was choosing Queen Latifah for 'Mama'. Kathy Bates was originally considered for the part but Harvey Weinstein really wanted Queen Latifah and she really wanted the role - she auditioned three times. Listen to her talk about getting cast and watch a clip of her Oscar nominated performance.

Find more special features, like these exclusive interviews, on the just released Chicago Diamond Edition Blu-ray / DVD + UltraViolet Digital Copy available now.

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• NEW! "Chicago in the Spotlight"- A retrospective documentary with cast and crew (Available on Blu-ray Only)
• Audio commentary with director Rob Marshall and screenwriter Bill Condon
• Deleted musical number "Class" performed by Catherine Zeta-Jones and Queen Latifah

• "From Stage to Screen: The History of Chicago" featurette

Chicago Diamond Edition is part of our 35 Award Winning Films - 35% off - 35 days special. All films include a Digital UltraViolet copy for the first time ever. Get shopping, this promo is only available between now and March 18, 2014. Promo code: MMX35