Casting By, a new documentary directed by Tom Donahue and produced by Tom Donahue, Ilan Arboleda, Kate Lacey, and our very own Joanna Colbert, promises to be essential viewing for our membership.
The film pays tribute to the legacy of the late, legendary casting director Marion Dougherty and shines a light on our often overlooked and misunderstood craft. Packed with interviews with a "who's who" of top stars and filmmakers, Casting By recently premiered to its first audience at 2012’s Toronto International Film Festival, and was bought for distribution by HBO and broadcast this summer.
aul Newman and Robert Redford as ‘Butch Cassidy’ and the ‘Sundance Kid’; Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman as ‘Joe Buck’ and ‘Ratso Rizzo’; Carroll O'Connor and Jean Stapleton as ‘Archie’ and ‘Edith Bunker’ -- Marion Dougherty was responsible for casting each of them. Marion was a pioneer in the field of casting before the job even received any significant credit. She established herself in the early 1960s with two groundbreaking television series — Naked City and Route 66 — giving early breaks to a whole generation of New York actors. To quote Al Pacino: “She owned that position of casting. She was it.”
Marion Dougherty is credited with giving Warren Beatty, Robert Duvall and Jon Voight their first roles. When she got into the casting profession, one of the very first actors she cast was James Dean. Marion then went on to become the casting director for big-screen sensations as diverse as Midnight Cowboy, The World According to Garp, Lethal Weapon and Batman. She was the first casting director in history to receive
single-card screen credit. She was eventually recruited to move to the West Coast to become the first female vice-president at Paramount. She died in December 2011, while this filmed tribute to her and her profession was being completed.
Dougherty's legacy finally receives the public recognition it deserves here, as does the groundbreaking work of Lynn Stalmaster on the west coast. Stalmaster’s inventive and intuitive casting of films like “The Graduate”, “Harold & Maude”, “West Side Story” and “Tootsie” shares a spotlight alongside Dougherty’s in this revealing snapshot of the emergence of the casting profession. Interviewees include Glenn Close, Robert Duvall, Clint Eastwood, John Lithgow, Bette Midler, John Travolta and Robert Redford — to name only a few from a long list. We hear story after story of how Dougherty and Stalmaster played a pivotal role in their careers.
We also hear from directors Woody Allen, Norman Jewison and Martin Scorsese on the importance of the casting process, as well as scores of interviews from working casting directors today. The film follows the casting profession as it developed from an uncredited production job to one of the most important roles in the business, with Dougherty leading the way.
Beyond Dougherty's own story, the film examines how casting offered a rare opportunity for women to gain entry to the film business. Yet, despite its paramount importance, the craft has long struggled for recognition. Casting By celebrates the work of a film pioneer, and eloquently makes the case for all of us working in casting today. We’re honored to follow in her footsteps.