Magazine article Variety

Casting Directors Unsung Heroes of Ensemble Prize

Magazine article Variety

Casting Directors Unsung Heroes of Ensemble Prize

Article excerpt

The highest honor at the SAG Awards is for ensemble, meaning every actor was top-notch and worked well together. It's harder than it looks, and it starts with the casting director.

Jeanne McCarthy, for example, had five weeks to fill 50 speaking roles for Bleecker Street's "Captain Fantastic," including six young actors who needed to handle tricky dialogue and to all look like Viggo Mortensen's offspring.

The search for those kids embodies the challenges of the casting process, McCarthy says. "You can easily see 50 or 60 people for each role, and you have to keep going until you have real contenders. Once you find them, you mix and match to see how they work together."

The kids did improvs and worked with Mortensen, to see if they really understood the characters and the dialogue about such topics as the Bill of Rights and Noam Chomsky.

For CBS Films' "Hell or High Water," Albuquerque- based casting director Jo Edna Boldin, working with L.A.-based Richard Hicks, needed to fill the David Mackenzie-directed film with multiple characters. One of the many vivid performances, with limited screen time, is given by actress Margaret Bowman. People ask Boldin, "Where did you find that waitress?" She says, "Most people assume she was a 'real person,' which is a compliment to Margaret. But a 'real person' could not have done what she did."

Boldin was convinced Bowman was perfect, but wanted alternatives. Sometimes there are special challenges: New Mexico has doubled for Africa and Afghanistan, "and I look high and low for people here who speak Farsi," says Boldin, whose film credits this year also include "Gold," "Magnificent Seven," and "Independence Day: Resurgence. …

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