When speaking to Filmmaker about “Being John Malkovich,” Spike Jonze was asked about Diaz’s casting in the film. The interviewer brought up Wong Kar-wai and his penchant for dramatically altering the appearances of extremely famous actresses in his films and asked if Jonze was doing something similar. The director explained:
“No. It’s funny, because people are writing about this ‘stunt’—disguising Cameron. Cameron was the last one to come on the movie. The movie was already [green-lit]—we didn’t have to cast her to get the movie made. We cast her because of her understanding of the character, her acting, and her energy. Her character actually has two energies going on—the repressed thing and the one that discovers herself. We talked a lot about this. Do you cast someone who has this natural energy to them and then have them play more repressed as a person and then try to bring them out, or do you cast someone who has this natural energy to them and then have them play more repressed at the beginning?”
Lotte does indeed go through a pretty radical transformation in the film, so the part definitely requires someone capable of portraying who she is at the beginning, as well as who she’s become by story’s end. Lotte has so much simmering beneath the surface and Diaz manages to show all of these conflicting feelings on her face.