Tag Archives: casting

Jump to it

With all the movie remakes that are out there, I am surprised that someone hasn’t decided to give Jumping Jack Flash a second go.

jumpingjackI’ve always liked it a lot, even though I think Whoopi Goldberg was miscast as the lead.

The film was made the year after Goldberg was nominated for an Oscar for The Color Purple, and directors were putting her in everything.

I’m not sure this was the appropriate vehicle.

But I think the movie’s spy plot centered on bank computer transactions could be updated for today, and cast with an eye for chemistry as well as comedy.

Emma Stone would be great as the lead. (Of course, I say that about most films.)

Men of action

Since I had a late night celebrating New Year’s Eve — thank you, Skype — I decided to ease into 2015 reading on the couch.

Today’s tome?

Cary Elwes Photo and Book 09262014








No, Cary Elwes wasn’t here with me, darn the luck — but his memoir of the casting, preparation and filming of The Princess Bride reads like a candid conversation.

Elwes reminisces about every step and misstep (literally) in his journey as the sword-wielding Westley, true love of Buttercup and (SPOILER ALERT) secret identity of the Dread Pirate Roberts.  Every word telegraphs his enduring love for the role and for the cast and crew, as do sidebars from co-stars Mandy Patinkin, Robin Wright, Wallace Shawn, Billy Crystal and director Rob Reiner.

But it is Elwes’ gratitude and humility some 25 years later that are most endearing.  He has enjoyed a successful career in film, but acknowledges that he owes an enormous debt to…

The Man in Black.



Family business

The broadcast and online media outlets have all gone gooey-eyed over the way NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams announced his own daughter Allison’s casting in the plum role of Peter Pan in the network’s upcoming live action production —

No tears here.

I demand that the full investigative reporting resources at NBC News be hurled at this story, which reeks of nepotism, entitlement and…dare I say, piracy.

J.M. Barrie said it best:

“Dreams do come true, if only we wish hard enough. You can have anything in life if you your daddy will sacrifice everything else for it.”

Battle of the sexes

I auditioned for a web video today.
cashierThe role was “angry cashier.”

It was a real character part…and lots of fun to do.

The casting director was also seeing men for another role. But they didn’t get a script to review like me. Instead, they were simply told as they entered the waiting area:

Remove your shirt.

I have never been so happy to be a woman!

Rush out and see this

I’ve never watched Formula One Grand Prix racing, so I wondered if I could love the film RUSH as much as the critics.

Never doubt Ron Howard.

RUSHHis retelling of the 1976 rivalry between racers James Hunt and Niki Lauda simultaneously celebrates the sport and rises about it.

Yes, there is amazing driving footage, and Howard chronicles the races and locations of their real-life points race.  But the differences between these two men — in looks, personality and approach to the sport — and their very complex relationship is the most compelling part of this movie.

And when you see photos of the actual Hunter and Lauda —

Real RUSHYou realize what a tremendous job casting director Nina Gold has done.

Wave the checkered flag, people.

An eye for talent

I cast a major network sitcom.

No — not cast in.  I helped cast one of the guest stars in last night’s episode of Up All Night.

Let me explain.

Earlier this year, Christina Applegate took to Twitter and asked her followers to suggest comedic actors for a project.  Knowing most people would go with the obvious choices, I put forth a recent find:

Steven Pasquale

I happened upon the actor a month or two before in the USA mini-series Marry Me, co-starring Lucy Liu.  The movie wasn’t anything to write home about, but Pasquale was.

He took your typical made-for-TV romantic lead and turned it into something uniquely appealing.  His timing was unique.  I stuck with the mini-series — we’re talking four hours, people — because he made the expected and predictable extremely entertaining.

Christina later tweeted a thank you for our suggestions, saying she had received a couple of names that she didn’t recognize and planned to research.

And look who pops up on Up All Night??

It’s pretty gratifying, I admit.  (Would be even more so with a finder’s fee.)

When I’m wrong

Back in March of last year, I spanked Ron Howard’s new family drama Parenthood.

It had suffered the double misfortune of being forced to miscast its lead actress (Maura Tierney, who had become seriously ill) and enter the television year at mid-season, following the hugely popular breakout comedy Modern Family.

Thanks for playing, guys, but the family show and hit of the year had already been crowned.

I was also disappointed in what I found to be stereotypical characters and storylines.  But I had already set the DVR — the cast, including Lauren Graham, Peter Krause and T. Craig Nelson, was really good, after all — so I hung around to see what developed.

Two years later, I’m still here. 

And last night, when Alex broke up with Haddie — and told Kristina that she was the mother he had never had and that he loved their family — it was gut-wrenching.  I literally blubbered.  As I struggled to see the TV screen through my tears, the memory of that blog entry floated in my memory’s eye.

Mea culpa.

The hardest job

With coverage of the upcoming  Oscars seemingly everywhere, it may appear that winning awards is the most difficult job in show biz.

But for anyone who has tried to work on stage, TV or movies, you know that auditioning is the real work.  It is the only thing the actor can control, and they must be performance-level, regardless of the room, audience or questions still rolling around in their head.   Of course, it is at the same time totally outside of their control because of all the unknown factors that go into the final casting decision.

I was reminded of this yesterday while watching the documentary “Every Little Step” on Starz OnDemand.  It tells the story of the casting of the 2006 revival of “A Chorus Line” on Broadway, while giving insights into the original cast, workshop and production some 30 years earlier.

You sweat right along side the dancers as they go through the initial cattle call and months of callbacks after callbacks.  Most nervewrecking is the final callback — where the roles are down to two people — and seeing that final cut made.

Maybe they should give an award for Best Audition.  Goodness knows a lot of good actors — and performances — never get past that claustrophic little room.

Look up!

A big shout out to the team behind Halls cough drops on this chilly winter day.

I spied your new ad campaign lining the subway cars here in New York City as I rode back and forth to Penn Station yesterday — inspired!

If you’re in Manhattan, you can’t miss it.  It’s as plain as the nose on your face.  In fact, you could say they’ve taken a real hard nose approach.  Might get a few noses out of joint, too.  Hey — no skin off my nose…I’m just saying.

Guessed the focal point of the campaign yet???

(I’m so subtle.)

Halls has taken photos of people whose noses are — shall we say — fairly prominent, and through a combination of clever angles, shading and an entertaining smirk or two from the models, have somehow elevated the red, miserable, snotty nose to a thing of glory!

These photos, which have been colorized to the point of graphic art, treat these sufferers as proud soldiers in the fight against the winter cold.  It really is a fun, eye-catching display.  And since Hall bought an entire wall of each subway car, you are treated to literally five or six different winter soldiers, male and female, red noses at the ready.

I couldn’t help but be excited…not only by the clever idea behind the campaign, but for the actors in the photos.  Up to this point, their bulbous noses must have been a negative in their careers.  But this time?

Their big bulbs got them the gig.