With the shutdown of almost all filmed entertainment during the current COVID-19 health crisis, not only are the principals that you’d think of initially out of work — actors and on-set talent — but also talent that is primarily involved in pre-production. This includes casting directors, with Sophie Holland, casting director of Netflix’s The Witcher, who spoke to Deadline about how COVID-19 has changed her workflow.
From a casting director’s perspective, a shutdown of filming of the series that one is working on is a domino effect that affects all parts of the production. She explains, “My assistant Faye Timby and I were halfway through filming season two of The Witcher and had the note from them that they were going to pause production. We had to make phone calls to people to say they’re not filming. I’m married to an actor and Faye lives with an actor, and it became clear early on that our working life was going to be put on hold. It was such a blow that we couldn’t figure out how we were going to get through it.”
So what’s the bright side of that? It has given Holland the opportunity to spend more time to audition actors virtually, which has allowed her to file away the actors she interacts with for future work. She explains, “We are literally having facetime with actors from all over the world — people that we wouldn’t normally have access to. It could just be a chat, they might want to do a piece, like a monologue, or they might just want to draw attention to some clips on their showreels. There’s been some really interesting actors that I didn’t know about before that I’m meeting now. I can definitely see that our paths will cross again in the future. I can already think of roles that might match with people I’ve spoken to. It’s also given me a sense that the industry still goes on.”