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

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

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Latest Videos

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/wondercon-bill-paxton-talks-edge.jpg
WonderCon: Bill Paxton Talks ‘Edge of Tomorrow’, Working with Tom Cruise and More! (video)
Bill Paxton came to WonderCon to talk-up his new film, Edge of Tomorrow. They showed some clips from the Doug Liman directed film and the more I see, the more I think I”m going to like it. The film, which stars Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt and Paxton, is about a soldier fighting in a war [...]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/tatiana-maslany-jordan-gavaris-t.jpg
Tatiana Maslany & Jordan Gavaris Talk ‘Orphan Black’ with the SAG Foundation
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhHMcuQhjGE] BBC America’s Orphan Black returned for its second season this weekend and from what I’ve heard, the show comes back in fine form. The series is about Sarah (Tatiana Maslany), who’s in a desperate race to find her missing daughter Kira (Skyler Wexler). She becomes involved in a wild pursuit that brings her [...]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/director-david-gordon-greene-nar.jpg
Director David Gordon Green Narrates a Scene From ‘Joe’
Director David Gordon Green narrates a sequence from his new film, Joe, featuring Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan. In the video, he mentions his reasons why he likes to hire non-traditional actors. He likes people who have real skill-sets and not actors who have the skills on their resume. He also talked about this in [...]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/david-gordon-green-joe.jpg
Director David Gordon Green: “I find actors in unusual places”
I keep missing screenings of director David Gordon Greene‘s new film, Joe. I hear it’s really good so I’m looking forward to catching it at some point. Joe stars Nicholas Cage as ex-con Joe Ransom, who isn’t the greatest of role models until he meets a 15-year-old boy (Mud‘s Tye Sheridan). In this featurette, Green [...]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/judy-greer-i-dont-know-why-you-know-me-from.jpg
Please Don’t Say These Things To Judy Greer (video)
Judy Greer - who we love here at Daily Actor – has a new book called, I Don’t Know What You Know Me From (Confessions of a Co-Star), a series of essays about her life as an actress, friend and someone who everyone thinks they might know. Here’s a blurb about the book: “Want to [...]