“Ultimately, you can only cast one person, and there are so many good people out there who could get the part. And they don’t get the part not because they’re not good, but because they weren’t exactly the right fit. It’s quite hard.” – Nina Gold
Casting Director Nina Gold has received five Emmy Awards for casting, and while three of those awards have come from just one series (Game of Thrones), Gold’s career has spanned four decades, including film and television, ranging from small-budget projects to blockbusters like the Star Wars sequel trilogy. In an interview with Refinery29 about her Emmy Award-winning work on The Crown, Gold spoke about how she discovers talent and what she sees as the role casting directors have in promoting diversity.
Gold remarks that pre-pandemic, she discovered new talent by simply going to the source and seeking new faces out. She says, “In normal life, I go to the theater a lot, and go to the drama school and the drama student showcases. I watch a lot of TV. It’s a sort of constant, rolling thing.”
Gold has been working in casting since the early 1990s, and points to one huge advantage that she has access to now that she didn’t at the beginning of her career: the Internet. She explains, “You have a lot more information about people at your fingertips, and can look stuff up. Like, who’s that person in that thing and what was their name?”
While the Internet has made searching for talent easier, there is one challenge to the casting profession that seems that it never gets any easier — letting talent know that they have not been selected for a role. Gold remarks, “We have to disappoint. Ultimately, you can only cast one person, and there are so many good people out there who could get the part. And they don’t get the part not because they’re not good, but because they weren’t exactly the right fit. It’s quite hard.”
Finally, Gold is also asked about what responsibilities a casting director should have with promoting on-camera diversity throughout the entertainment industry. In her answer, Gold points to the blockbuster success of one of her discoveries, an actor of color who ended up starring in the Star Wars sequel trilogy:
“Helping to create a pipeline of future stars is an area in which a casting director can play a role in helping to correct exclusion. Understanding that for someone to be prepared for major leading roles involves having gotten experience with smaller roles along the way, CDs can play an active role in helping to build BIPOC actors’ careers by identifying and supporting them from the start of their careers and ushering them into the biggest roles once they are ready. For example, I met John Boyega when he was a teenager and cast him in a smaller film, Attack the Block, in which he was brilliant and that started to pave the way for him taking on a starring role in a huge franchise, and the rest is history. I do believe, however, that the way to correct inclusion starts with the voices and stories that are being heard and told, and commissioned to do so. We need to address this in the industry as a whole.”