OSCARS: The Role Of Casting Director

By | Thursday December 6, 2012 @ 10:53pm PST

Monica Corcoran Harel is an AwardsLine contributor.

A great film can feel a lot like a fantastic dinner party. Actors mingle and clash in the best possible lighting, and conversation is fraught with wit and emotion. The director usually gets the bulk of the credit. But before he or she can play the consummate host, someone must carefully select the right guests, send out the invites, and keep track of the RSVPs.

That would be the casting director, of course. It’s a job that can’t garner an Oscar, but its mighty importance is always felt behind the scenes. In his wildly amusing book If the Other Guy Isn’t Jack Nicholson, I’ve Got the Part, Ron Base writes of the near-casting decisions that would have changed film history. Imagine The Graduate starring wry Charles Grodin, for instance. Or a gum-cracking, mustachioed Burt Reynolds playing the paunchy, debauched astronaut in Terms of Endearment.

Related: SAG Cast Award As Predictor

This season, a bounty of films showcases the brilliance of casting directors who hit their marks. Case in point: Jamie Foxx as a freed slave seeking revenge in Quentin Tarantino’s socially controversial Django Unchained, Hugo Weaving playing roles outside of his gender and ethnicity — also a controversial turn — in Cloud Atlas and an assemblage of Academy Award nominees and victors in Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master.

Putting together a roster of stars is just a fraction of the work, though. In the case of Lawless, the project languished in uncertainty for almost three years and various actors were forced to jettison the film for other roles during the limbo. Originally, in 2009, the Prohibition era-Goodfellas had Shia LaBeouf, Ryan Gosling, James Franco, Amy Adams, and Scarlett Johansson in the cast. Three years later, when the film premiered in Cannes, Guy Pearce, Gary Oldman, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hardy, and Mia Wasikowska sauntered down the red carpet. Incidentally, LaBeouf never abandoned the cast and fought to attract talent.
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John Karna In Talks For ‘Premature’

By | Friday May 18, 2012 @ 12:44pm PDT

John Karna is in negotiations to play the lead in Premature. The University of Oklahoma freshman would play a high school student in the movie, which occurs on Groundhog Day. Dan Beers will direct Premature from the script … Read More »

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ABC Splits Network And Studio Casting Into Separate Departments

By | Thursday January 12, 2012 @ 1:36pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: ABC Entertainment Group’s consolidated casting department, which handled casting for the network and ABC Studios, has been split into two teams under Keli Lee, EVP casting, ABC Entertainment Television Group. She will oversee both with emphasis on ABC. VP … Read More »

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Casting Directors Under Scrutiny After Investigation Finds Convicted Molestor Hired Child Actors

Jason James Murphy served a five-year prison term for kidnapping and abusing an 8-year-old boy near Seattle, but has been working for a decade as Jason James hiring kids as a casting assistant for productions including Super 8, Bad Read More »

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Tobey Maguire Cast In ‘Life Of Pi’

Tobey Maguire has been cast in Ang Lee’s novel adaptation Life of Pi, the Fox movie that is shooting in India ahead of a December 2012 bow. Yann Martel’s bestseller centers on an Indian boy who escapes a shipwreck but is stranded on a life raft with a zebra, an … Read More »

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Showtime Head Of Casting Beth Klein Exits

By | Tuesday April 5, 2011 @ 5:02pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Showtime’s SVP of talent and casting Beth Klein, a well-respected TV casting executive, is leaving the pay cable network after 23 years to pursue other casting opportunities. “I’m incredibly proud of my body of work here at Showtime and have been fortunate to have worked with such talented and … Read More »

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Several More Actors Join Broadcast Pilots

Nellie Andreeva

Danneel Ackles (formerly Harris) and Jamie Lee Kirchner have landed the last 2 leads in NBC’s comedy pilot I Hate That I Love You. The single-camera project, from writer/exec … Read More »

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Young Hollywood Lining Up For Indie Films

By | Wednesday March 23, 2011 @ 6:41pm PDT

Young Hollywood loves indie films, and this time the beneficiary is Adult World, the coming-of-age drama being produced by Michael Ohoven at Infinity Entertainment (Capote, Saved) and Kevin Turen (Arbitrage) from a script by Andrew Cochran. Meeting for the female main character with director Scott Coffey (whose Ellie Parker was in the main competition at Sundance) Read More »

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Denzel Washington Back In Bad Guy Mode

Mike Fleming

oscars-actor-training-day-05-ssDenzel Washington is looking to join producer Scott Stuber on Safe House, a David Guggenheim-scripted Universal Pictures drama that will be directed by Daniel Espinosa (Snabba Cash) about a young CIA agent who must transport a dangerous criminal to safety after … Read More »

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Alice Eve, Tommy Lee Jones Take Marvel Superhero Turns

Mike Fleming

Alice Eve262px-Emma_Frost_in_current_costumeAlice Eve is now in negotiations to play Emma Frost in X-Men: First Class, the 20th Century Fox prequel that Matthew Vaughn will direct. Her power in the mutant universe … Read More »

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Kevin Spacey: Another Horrible Boss Turn

Mike Fleming

spacey-headshot2Now here is perfect casting. Kevin Spacey has joined the roster of Horrible Bosses, the Seth Gordon-directed New Line comedy that stars Jennifer Aniston, Jamie Foxx, Colin Farrell, Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis. Donald Sutherland has also joined the cast–playing a nice … Read More »

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10 Set To Star In The Disney Movie ‘Prom’

By | Monday June 21, 2010 @ 6:37am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

aimee-teegarden-photobeneslerDisney has assembled the cast of Prom, its high-school comedy feature revolving around a group of teens and the emotional ups and downs they go through prepping for the big dance. The … Read More »

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Johnny English 2 Recruits New Agent

By | Friday June 18, 2010 @ 7:57am PDT

EXCLUSIVE: Working Title has signed Daniel Kaluuya to be Rowan Atkinson’s fellow secret agent in its spy sequel, due to begin filming in September. Apart from Atkinson, Kaluuya is the first actor to sign up for this latest mission. Oliver Parker will direct from a script by Hamish McColl. This … Read More »

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Spielberg Goes To ‘War’ With Newcomer

By | Thursday June 17, 2010 @ 12:39pm PDT
Mike Fleming

warhorse1xWhen Steven Spielberg weighed choices for the first live action film to kick off the DreamWorks/ Reliance/ Disney relationship, word was the bigger the better. From the cast he’s announced for his adaptation of the Michael Morpugo novel War Horse, the … Read More »

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Casts Firm Up For Following Pics: ‘LOL,’ ‘Abduction,’ ‘Tom’s Dad’ And ‘Ghost Rider’

By | Wednesday June 16, 2010 @ 3:30am PDT
Mike Fleming

get-attachment.aspxLot of pieces were falling into place on movies yesterday. Here are some of the highlights: Miley Cyrus got a leading man for her Mandate film LOL in Douglas Booth. The British actor who makes his American feature debut after starring … Read More »

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Neal McDonough In ‘Captain America’ Chatter

By | Thursday June 3, 2010 @ 5:40pm PDT
Mike Fleming

NicholasAdd Neal McDonough to the list of cast for Captain America: The First Avenger, the Joe Johnston-directed film that will star Chris Evans. McDonough is in talks to play Dum Dum Dugan. Marvel Studios was playing dum on it. Production starts … Read More »

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Trio Joins Bill Condon’s HBO Pilot ‘Tilda’

By | Friday May 28, 2010 @ 4:26pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

wes_bentley--randEXCLUSIVE: Wes Bentley, David Harbour and Leland Orser have joined the cast of HBO’s comedy pilot Tilda, from Bill Condon. The project stars Diane Keaton as Tilda, a powerful female online Hollywood journalist with a no-holds-barred style. And no, her last … Read More »

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CANNES: Bruce Willis Plays Mature Joseph Gordon-Levitt In Time Travel Pic ‘Looper’

By | Friday May 14, 2010 @ 2:38pm PDT
Mike Fleming

bruce-willisEXCLUSIVE: Bruce Willis is joining the cast of Looper, a science fiction time travel tale that reunites the Brick team of Joseph Gordon-Levitt and writer/director Rian Johnson. The Terminator-esque action film has a clever premise. Loopers are hit men whose victims … Read More »

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More Casting Set For ‘Cowboys & Aliens’

By | Friday May 14, 2010 @ 11:28am PDT
Mike Fleming

41a_07_Paul-Dano_243x413Last time we saw Paul Dano on the rough frontier, his whiny preacher character was being clubbed to death with a bowling pin in There Will Be Blood. Dano is back in period mode, this time armed, playing a cowboy  who … Read More »

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