If you’re in the L.A. area and you haven’t seen the great documentary Casting By yet, you really should get to the Arena Cinema in Hollywood.
The film will run at this weekend there and every screening will have some big time casting directors in attendance.
Here’s a quick synopsis of the film: Casting By is a celebration of the profession, highlighting its previously unsung role in film history while also serving as an elegy to the lost era of the New Hollywood. The documentary focuses on pioneer Marion Dougherty, an iconoclast whose exquisite taste, tenacity and gut instincts brought a new kind of actor to the screen that would mark the end of the old studio system and help to usher in this revolutionary new period. A Who’s Who of Hollywood legends is featured in the film including Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, Clint Eastwood, Glenn Close, Robert Duvall, Jeff Bridges, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Diane Lane, Jon Voight, Danny Glover, Bette Midler, John Travolta and countless others.
Combining over 240 interviews, extensive archival footage, animated stills & documents with a moving original score, Director Tom Donahue has meticulously crafted the untold tale of the Hollywood casting director.
Check out the list of casting directors who will be in attendance below! Read more
Michael C. Hall has had a prolific television career with two back-to-back series, Six Feet Under and Dexter. With the Dexter series finale coming up on Sept. 22, Hall looks back on the two shows that have defined his career thus far.
In an interview with Indiewire at the Toronto Film Festival where he was promoting his upcoming film Kill Your Darlings, Hall discussed his decision to do the serial killer show so soon after Six Feet Under concluded.
He said, “I think I announced in interviews like this when Six Feet Under was ending, ‘I will never do another television series.’ I’ve learned to never say never.”
“Yeah, I moved back to New York and was hoping to pursue opportunities on stage and hopefully in film. But I was coming to appreciate that while people loved Six Feet Under, in the industry their imaginations began and ended with David Fisher when it came to me. I was very proud of the work, but I felt somewhat bound by that. When the Dexter script came along, it fell into my lap because Bob Greenblatt had been a producer on Six Feet Under and was the new head of original programming and Michael Cuesta was directing the pilot and he’d done several Six Feet Under episodes,” continued the Showtime star. Read more
The Casting Society of America (CSA) announced today that it will honor President of CBS Entertainment Nina Tassler with the organization’s Career Achievement Award at the 29th Annual Artios Awards. CSA will also present esteemed Casting Director Linda Lowy (Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, Friday Night Lights) with the Hoyt Bowers Award, and Golden Globe and Emmy Award winner Michael J. Fox with the New York Apple Award. Read more
Yo, Adrian! It was announced yesterday that the two leads of the new Broadway musical, Rocky, have been cast.
Andy Karl (Drama Desk nominee for The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Jersey Boys) will step into the ring as the man himself, Rocky Balboa and Margo Seibert will make her Broadway debut as Adrian in the new musical.
Rocky begins previews February 11th and officially opens on March 13th at Broadway’s historic Winter Garden Theatre (1634 Broadway). Read more
Casting Society of America Announces Nominees for 29th Annual Artios Awards For Outstanding Achievement in Casting
The Casting Society of America (CSA) announced today the nominees for the organization’s 29th Annual Artios Awards for outstanding achievement in casting, given in 22 categories including film, television and theater.
The CSA will celebrate their own on Monday, November 18th, with award ceremonies to be held simultaneously at the the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles (reception will commence at 6:00 p.m. PDT) and at XL Nightclub, Cabaret & Lounge (512 West 42nd Street) in New York (reception will commence at 6:00 p.m. EDT).
Honorees for this year’s Career Achievement Award, Hoyt Bowers Award and The New York Apple will be announced in the upcoming weeks. Read more
Zachary Levi: “I’ve had casting directors call my agent and say, ‘Yeah, you know—he’s a little too Jewish”
With a name like Levi, it’s a no brainer that people will assume you’re Jewish. So, it does come as a surprise when Zachary Levi admits he’s not Jewish—he just changed his name once he became an actor.
Levi was born with the last name Pugh, which agents suggested he change. “I’d made a rule that I wouldn’t change or bend for Hollywood,” Levi explained in an interview with The New York Post. “So I prayed about it long and hard.”
After deciding to drop Pugh, Levi became well-known for his role on the now-cancelled TV show Chuck. Ironically, Levi has actually lost roles because of his assumed Jewish heritage. Read more
The Comic-Con Casting Director Panel Featuring Randi Hiller, Lora Kennedy, Sharon Bialy, Roger Mussenden & David Rapaport
Comic-Con is always one of the best weekends of the year but for me, this Casting Director panel made the weekend.
The panel was presented by The Casting Society of America and moderated by Lora Kennedy, the Executive Vice President of Warner Brothers Casting (Man of Steel). The panelists were (in order of seating): David Rapaport (CW’s Arrow), Randi Hiller (Walt Disney Studios, VP Casting), Sharon Bialy (The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad) and Roger Mussenden (X-Men movies).
I’ve been to panels like this at various film festivals and most are good. Not great, just good. The thing about panels like this though is that most rely on the people asking the questions and well, frankly, most people are dummies.
Not this audience. Most of the them were working actors and everyone asked smart, spot-on questions. This is why this panel was honestly one of the best I’ve ever been to. It’s chock full on information and most every minute is fantastic. Read more
Actors Access Bans Casting Director Behind Prank Audition that Asked Actresses to Perform in Blackface and Spout Nazi Propaganda
Two weeks ago I did a post about a production company that asked actresses to audition in blackface, perform Nazi salutes, and other tasteless acts which were filmed for inclusion in a Sacha Baron Cohen-type reality movie titled May the Best Man Win. At the end of the post I wrote, “The actresses who were pranked were given $50 ‘for their participation and willingness to have their footage used in the film.’ As in the case of those whom were pranked in Brüno and Borat, they have little legal leg to stand on because of the agreements they signed.”
While those actresses might be out of luck, Actors Access has tried to put an end to the prank auditions. Not even a week after the initial report, The Los Angeles Times ran a follow-up story that reported that Actors Access, where the actresses discovered the audition, removed May the Best Man Win from its listings and has decided to permanently ban the film’s casting director, Paul Baker, from the service. Read more
Casting Call That Asked Actresses to Perform in Blackface and Spout Nazi Propaganda Turns Out to Be a Prank
Remember that scene in Brüno when Sacha Baron Cohen is auditioning babies for an increasingly ridiculous and degrading photoshoot and the attention-starved parents agree to feature their child in anything (“We have chosen your baby to be dressed as a Nazi Officer, pushing a wheelbarrow, with a Jewish baby, into an oven!”)? Young women who auditioned for a movie titled May the Best Man Win in South Central Los Angeles ended up doing the very same thing, and similar to the photoshoot in Brüno it was all a prank.
According to The Los Angeles Times, about thirty young women auditioning for the film were “asked to perform in blackface, others to impersonate Adolf Hitler and shout Nazi propaganda.” However, while it might have all seemed to be an elaborate prank, May the Best Man Win is a real film — the summary on IMDb gives the plot summary as, “Two lifelong best friends, obsessed with making Youtube-style prank videos, become mortal enemies when they both fall for the same girl and enter into a series of dangerous and bizarre challenges in order to win her favor.” That seems right in line with the content of the unorthodox audition — it’s just that the actresses didn’t realize their auditions were really being filmed for the movie itself. Read more
Last week, I analyzed examples of the most successful examples of star casting on Broadway in recent years. While those productions are on the top tier, other productions don’t fare as well – with some even closing early, which is usually considered a major embarrassment for the star in question in additional to the significant financial loses faced by the producers.
A recent example of a production that closed early is Orphans, which starred Alec Baldwin, which provides a microcosm of all the reasons why a production starring a famous actor can fail. Baldwin caused a minor commotion when he largely blamed the early closing of Orphans on New York Times critic Ben Brantley’s negative review. However, there are a myriad of other reasons that seem for more likely the cause of the early closure. First, it seems that the bad publicity stemming from Shia LaBeouf and Baldwin’s public feud – which both actors fed in the media – had a negative impact on potential audiences (in his rant Baldwin blamed this also, but didn’t exactly take his share of the blame). However, Baldwin’s $50,000 per week salary was more likely a major culprit considering that while Orphans sold well (an average of 82% capacity for its 64 performances), the average paid ticket price was $71.99, way below the top ticket price of $225. That indicates that few premium seats were bought at face value, which significantly hurt the amount of money the production made. Read more