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USA, 2012, 89 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Art/Filmmaking, Documentary
Program: DocumentaryLanguage: English
DIRECTOR: Tom Donahue
Producer: Kate Lacey, Ilan Arboleda, Tom Donahue, Joanna ColbertEditor: Jill SchweitzerCinematographer: Peter BoltePrincipal Cast: Al Pacino, Clint Eastwood, Jeff Bridges, Robert Redford, Woody Allen, Glenn Close, Robert DeNiro
When we watch a movie, we most often focus on the direction, the actors, the music, and the scenery. But just where do these actors come from? This beautifully directed documentary from Tom Donahue (Guest of Cindy Sherman, SDFF 31) focuses on one of the unsung heroes of film and television—the casting director. Like film editors, casting directors are often left out of acceptance speeches, and they’re not included in any Oscar category. But without a solid, creative, and intuitive casting director, most films and TV programs would look very different.
Under the studio system, casting for films was basically done by looks and categories—the dashing leading man, the pinup girl, the swashbuckler, the secretary. But after the system ended, casting was done by individuals who sought actors they thought would bring the most to the role—whether the studio “suits” thought it was a good decision or not.
And there lies the story of Marion Dougherty, whose 50-year career as a casting director is legendary. She was responsible for the early careers of James Dean, Robert Redford, Warren Beatty, Al Pacino, Jon Voight, and countless others. After starting out as an actress, she became a TV casting director in New York before moving to Los
Angeles to head up casting at major film studios. Casting By presents her work through interviews with Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Robert Redford, Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, Robert Duvall, Diane Lane, Bette Midler, Dustin Hoffman, and many more. The film is filled with great clips from such modern classics as Midnight Cowboy, The Graduate, and The Last Picture Show. It’s a treat for anybody who loves movies.
- STEVE BELGARD
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