Advertisement

Movie Mom

Movie Mom

“Casting By” — HBO Documentary About Casting Directors

posted by Nell Minow

Anyone who cares about movies should see “Casting By,” a new documentary on HBO about casting directors.  It is a rare opportunity to see early glimpses of some of the greatest actors live in their first roles and even never-seen before audition tapes.  But more important, it is a chance to understand the influence of casting directors like the pioneering Marion Dougherty, who championed actors like Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, and John Travolta and literally changed the face of movies.

In the early studio days, actors were primarily chosen for their looks, including the indefinable “screen presence.”  They were under contract, and when it came time to make a movie they would often pick whoever was available from their list of in-house talent.  They would train them in-house as well.  “They used what people looked like physically to define the character…Can we fix the nose, can we fix the teeth?  Last on the list was ‘can they act?'”

Advertisement

The end of the studio era coincided with a change in story-telling on film that opened the door for New York stage-trained actors who looked less like leading men and more like real people, actors who understood a new kind of acting based on “inner being, emotional truth.”  The movies were ready for “great actors as opposed to the Hollywood star-making system.”  That was where Dougherty came in.  She began casting for live television, a trial by fire that was the perfect foundation for getting to know the actors and the business.  It is touching to hear the gratitude of the actors she helped.  “She can see what other people can’t see,” we learn.  “Even before you see it in yourself,” adds Danny Glover.

 

Previous Posts

Tomorrowland's Inspirations
Brad Bird's gorgeously imagined "Tomorrowland" is not just inspired by an area in the original Disneyland, celebrating its 60th anniversary this week, it is a tribute to the sensationally imaginative work of the "imagineers" and artists who ...

posted 8:03:49am May. 22, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer: Unexpected with Cobie Smulders
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzq7dfZn31k Samantha Abbott ("How I Met Your Mother's" Cobie Smulders) is a dedicated and passionate teacher at an inner-city Chicago high school. Just as she is coming to terms with her school closing, ...

posted 8:00:48am May. 22, 2015 | read full post »

Tomorrowland
It begins with an argument. Frank (George Clooney) is trying to tell us the story. But he is repeatedly interrupted by someone we will learn is ...

posted 7:10:31am May. 22, 2015 | read full post »

I'll See You in My Dreams
Blythe Danner gives a performance of exquisite sensitivity in "I'll See You in My Dreams," the story of a lonely widow. She plays Carol, a ...

posted 5:55:53pm May. 21, 2015 | read full post »

Interview: Brett Haley, Writer/Director of "I'll See You in My Dreams"
Brett Haley wrote and directed "I'll See You in My Dreams," a bittersweet romance starring the luminous Blythe Danner as Carol, a widow ...

posted 3:12:21pm May. 21, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.