Following an award-winning premiere season, The Bear returned to Hulu with a star-studded roster of guest stars. The sophomore season of the critically acclaimed series welcomed back its core cast, led by Jeremy Allen White as Chef Carmy Berzatto, and welcomed in Jamie Lee Curtis, Bob Odenkirk, Sarah Paulson, John Mulaney, and Gillian Jacobs in guest roles, with Molly Gordon joining the cast in a recurring role and Jon Bernthal reprising the role of Carmy's brother Michael.

In a recent conversation with IndieWire, The Bear casting director Jeanie Bacharach discussed the process of identifying and adding the notable season two actors. The sixth episode, titled Fishes, saw the acclaimed guest stars, along with White and Bernthal, all together for a tumultuous family dinner where Curtis appears as Donna Berzatto, the family matriarch; Odenkirk is "uncle" Lee Lane; Paulson and Mulaney portray cousin Michelle and her boyfriend Stevie; and Jacobs appears Tiffany, cousin Richie's ex-wife. Bacharach explained:

"We’ve heard about these characters, especially Donna (Curtis), a little bit about Uncle Lee (Odenkirk). So it wasn’t about 'let’s go and get a lot of famous people,' it just sort of fell into place that way because we just needed these characters to loom so large and to get understanding about who Carmy is, why Carmy is, why Michael is (Bernthal). Jamie Lee was someone again on our initial list, but there were lots of people that we talked about and yeah she’d be incredible, but the woman is about to win an Oscar. We explored some other people, but it ended up coming back around to her, and then when we spoke to her agent she’s just an enormous, enormous fan of the show — circling back to when a show is successful. The heart of this show is really the people in these characters, and the ideas about love and family and healing and forgiveness and grief have touched people so, so deeply."

Related: The Bear's Jon Bernthal Discussed Coming Back for Season 2 and the "Tense" Dinner Scene With Bob Odenkirk

Jamie Lee Curtis Calls Donna Berzatto 'The Role of a Lifetime'

the bear season 2 episode 6

Bacharach says while they explored other options for the role of Donna, they ultimately landed with Curtis. In an Instagram post, Curtis shared the news of her casting, saying that she knew from the first episode of the series, that she would end up playing Donna, adding: "Don't ask me how. I just knew. A year later, after the wild success of the brilliant 1st season, Chris Storer offered me the role of a lifetime."

As for Odenkirk, Bacharach says she shot the idea of the Better Call Saul actor to series creator and co-director Christopher Storer, as Odenkirk is from Chicago, and she knew that Storer placed importance on "having people who really encapsulate that world."

What's perhaps most incredible about the episode, which is already being heralded one of the season's best, is that none of the guest stars read together prior to being cast. According to Bacharach, this is a credit to Storer and co-director Joanna Calo's understanding of "who fits" and those who were looking to do the series for "the right reasons." She said:

"This was not a big paycheck for anybody, it was not about money for anybody. It was really about wanting to be a part of this show. So I think you’re just taking a leap of faith knowing what you know about these actors and how they will come and land in this world. Chris and Joanna were both talking about how on just even the first couple of days of filming on that episode, like, it was just magical. They were there to serve the piece, they were excited to be there and ready to work. It was not about 'I need my moment. I need to shine. I need the scene to be about me.' I think it’s just about people with heart coming to tell the story."