Casting Director Allison Jones: “Being funny is everything to me. Being funny and original”

  • Pin It

alison-jones-casting-directorIf you’ve noticed lately, geeks are hot in Hollywood. Many of those geeks have one woman to thank, casting director Allison Jones, who has helped comedians and actors with a nerdy edge take over the big and small screen.

Jones has discovered talents like Superbad‘s Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Veep‘s Timothy Simons. She talked to Fast Company about her work in the industry and how she finds those hidden gems.

The talent-maker indicated that her discovery process isn’t that simple. She does look for that “It” quality, but also confirmed that “it’s just all instinct, who I like and who I think is funny. I don’t know.”

While it might be safe to assume that the audition process would be the easiest way to find fresh faces, the casting director learned from Judd Apatow that for comedians, it isn’t that simple.

“A lot of comics can’t audition–at all,” she revealed. “I have stories that go back to the ’80s.”

She’s more apt to look for raw talent and then nurture that talent for camera. That was exactly the case when she found Mintz-Plass. Jones shared that “the lights didn’t go off. He was good, but it was a long audition process for him. It wasn’t immediate. He certainly had the right look and the right purity of nerdness, the right level of nerdness–God bless him, he still does–but he wasn’t fully formed when he came in.”

One other anti-Hollywood rule of thumb she follows is that looks aren’t everything. Jones explained, “Being funny is everything to me. Being funny and original.”

While she likes to follow the funny rule, the studios often still want a pretty face.

“There’s still pushback, especially with women–when they’re not that attractive but they’re hilarious, it still doesn’t matter to many people. They don’t get it,” she said.

Even with the success of a female-centric comedic film like Bridesmaids, it only helped the situation “moderately.” Jones said, “It mostly just helped those actresses. It’s still tough.”

If the casting director really believes in a talent, she continues to bring them in until they do catch on with an executive or director who understands her vision. Even though she doesn’t always get her way, she understands it’s a business.

Jones concluded, “I always know when I just have to (cave). I always know when, okay, that’s who they want, that’s fine. It always breaks my heart, though.”

Leave a Reply

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/watch-andy-serkis-talks-motion-c.jpg
Watch: Andy Serkis Talks Motion Capture, His Career and More
This week saw the release of the final film in The Lord of the Rings saga, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Out of the dozens of actors who appeared in the series, the one whose career was most defined by the six-film franchise is Andy Serkis, who portrayed Gollum in the series […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/dan-stevens-summer-in-february.jpg
Dan Stevens Recalls When Shia LaBeouf Disrupted One of His Broadway Performances: “I wish I’d had a broadsword then”
Though Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb is billed as the final movie in the fantasy series, it still incorporates some new blood into the mix alongside franchise favorites like Ben Stiller and Robin Williams. The most significant new addition is Dan Stevens of Downton Abbey, who plays Lancelot. Lancelot doesn’t realize that […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/bradley-cooper-the-elephant-man.jpg
Bradley Cooper Takes A Grad School Dream To The Broadway Stage With, ‘The Elephant Man’
Bradley Cooper is proving to be an actor who wants a career defined by strong work. Instead of solely relying upon franchises like The Hangover, the Oscar nominee is mixing it up again between the big screen and the stage. Cooper is starring in The Elephant Man on Broadway this theatre season. It’s a role […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/bob-balaban-a-delicate-balance.jpg
Bob Balaban on Being a Character Actor: “It’s what I do and who I am and I really enjoy it”
With Glenn Close and John Lithgow in the cast of Broadway’s A Delicate Balance, it’s okay if you didn’t notice that veteran actor Bob Balaban is also in the cast. Balaban, who is probably best known for his roles in Christopher Guest‘s mockumentaries and for his supporting roles in dozens of other films, has returned […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/michael-c-hall-hedwig.jpg
Michael C. Hall on His Broadway Life After ‘Dexter': “There was a desire to perform an exorcism”
When it was announced that Michael C. Hall was replacing Andrew Rannells in Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Broadway, it was a bit of a surprise. It wasn’t that people thought Hall couldn’t pull off the role of a transgender rock star — he was previously on Broadway as the Master of Ceremonies in […]