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Casting
Cast, Rumored, and Petitioning: A List of Actors for Disney’s Live-Action ‘The Little Mermaid’

Cast, Rumored, and Petitioning: A List of Actors for Disney’s Live-Action ‘The Little Mermaid’

Since Disney announced it cast Halle Bailey as Ariel in its live-action remake of “The Little Mermaid,” the studio has received backlash from those who feel that casting a non-white actor inaccurately represents the fairy-tale character. Many have rushed to defend the choice, though, including the actress who voiced Ariel in the 1989 animated film. Social media, meanwhile, has seen an outpouring of support for the casting choice with many sharing their own racially diverse choices for the roles yet to be cast. According to IMDb, there are only two other confirmed castings: Awkwafina as Scuttle and Jacob Tremblay as Flounder. Big names are petitioning for the remaining roles, though some of these are already rumored to have stars attached. Here’s our roundup of who may next be joining the cast of Disney’s live-action undersea adventure. 

 

King Triton:

Javier Bardem is rumored to be in talks for the role, but his involvement isn’t yet official. Terry Crews is throwing his hat in the ring in the meantime, even posting on Twitter a photo of himself as King Triton, accompanied by the hashtag #ArielsGotTerry.

 

Ursula:

Melissa McCarthy is not yet confirmed for the role, leaving musician Lizzo to showcase her own take on “Poor Unfortunate Souls” in full Ursula make-up and hair on Twitter along with a caption suggesting she was the best choice. If selected, the musician will already have some acting experience under her belt, thanks to her role in the upcoming film “Hustlers” in which she’ll star opposite Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu.

 

Prince Eric:

It’s rumored that Harry Styles is in negotiations for the role. That isn’t stopping fans from coming up with their own casting ideas. Suggestions include Michael B. Jordan, an actor who’s previously shared his strategy of having his agents submit him for breakdowns that call for white actors. Jordan landing the role probably won’t please those who want the film’s cast to reflect “Mermaid” author Hans Christian Andersen’s Danish heritage, but it would further validate the actor’s approach to overcoming limited perspectives on casting.

 

Disney has stumbled with inclusion and accurate representation in the past, but its choice of Halle Bailey for Ariel could be indicative of more positive steps moving forward. And while fans wait to see how the rest of “The Little Mermaid” cast evolves, they can begin advocating for their dream casting choices for Disney’s other upcoming live-action remakes

 

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Rick Alverson Talks Casting and Climbing His “Mountain”

Rick Alverson Talks Casting and Climbing His “Mountain”

Indie filmmaker Rick Alverson has been described by Screen International as “one of the more idiosyncratic voices in American independent cinema of late, with discomforting tales involving unpleasant characters.”

The lead in his 2012 “The Comedy,” for instance, spent his days wandering around with his friends, mocking strangers, while 2015’s “Entertainment,” centered on a stand-up comic whose career is dwindling along with his own relationship to his audience. 

 

Jeff Goldblum in a scene from The Mountain, courtesy Kino Lorber

Now comes “The Mountain,” a film set in the 1950s and focused on an introverted photographer (Tye Sheridan) who travels with an eccentric lobotomist (Jeff Goldblum) from hospital to hospital, documenting the doctor as he performs and promotes his bizarre procedure. All the while, controversy over the lobotomist and his methods begin to mount as the photographer, whose mother herself was institutionalized, begins to empathize with the patients.

IndieWire calls the film “a somber and lyrical achievement.” Its review warns, however, that “fans of Goldblum’s typically exuberant, irony-laced performances will be caught off-guard by the sadder, withdrawn figure the actor plays here, but that itself is key to the movie’s unique spell, as it deconstructs the country’s psychology from the inside out.”

 

Casting Networks spoke to Alverson about how he cast the leads for “The Mountain.” 

 

The charming and charismatic Jeff Goldblum who we know from “Jurassic Park” or the “Life Aquatic” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is nowhere to be found here. What made you decide to cast him in a role like this?

I’m fascinated by the energy that can be created by subverting audience’s expectations. I’m also very interested in the constructive nature of discomfort in cinema. There is an awareness of a flirtation with the audiences’ expectations of what Jeff Goldblum would deliver. But his performance in this film is unique in his career insofar that his charm is more muted. I was interested in the audiences’ expectation of him and weaponizing his natural charisma to some degree.

 

Why so?

The entire project for both me and Jeff was a process of de-romanticizing not just an era but cinematic representations of that era. It’s a place in history that the “Making America Great Again” slogan points to. And we now know that the cinematic representations of the ’50s and this supposed artificial utopia of that time was a very different experience for the majority of the populace in real life.

 

Who was cast first, Tye or Jeff?

Tye was in my previous film, “Entertainment,” where he played a very different character—an animated, hyperbolic obscene clown. He was incredible to work with, and we got along really well. We’re friends so we jumped into this together. I had been developing this with Tye on board for several years.

Tye Sheridan and Jeff Goldblum in a scene from The Mountain, courtesy Kino Lorber

 

Tye hardly says a word in this film. What this casting choice also about subverting audiences’ expectations of him?

Tye first surprised me on “Entertainment” because the films he’d done previously were films like “Mud” and “Tree of Life” and “Joe,” where his talents as an empathic, vulnerable, fragile young man were on full display. He was known for that. In “Entertainment,” he came out of that shell so dramatically, and I saw this dynamic. So, he and I purposely and mischievously didn’t use any of that dynamic of his as performer in “The Mountain.” We wanted him to be this unknown quantity.

Protagonists are traditionally very welcoming and sympathetic, but we wanted him to be kind of an obstruction, and the one thing we could never really know.

 

Did you have a chemistry test between Jeff and Tye before teaming them together on screen?

For this film, I was much more interested in the struggle for connection. Jeff and Tye got along very well, but I like actors to discover (a connection) and flail a little bit. To me, there is a kind of vitality in that.

 

Who helped you in the casting process?

Some of the casting came from people I knew and had connections to. Avy Kaufman came on pretty early and was instrumental in ironing out the major roles. We had locals casting in upstate New York.

 

You employ a lot of non-actors in your movies. Is that important to you?

My first two films were largely non-actors. I’ve always been interested in that approach. To be crude about it, you want to cut through some of the artifice that the industry has developed around representing actors. There’s a lot of augmentation and obfuscation in the hiding of their personalities that the industry does. It’s an obstruction. It’s bad for actors. It’s bad for directors. I want to cut through that.

 

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This Year’s Emmy Nominations: Trends, Surprises, and Casting Commentaries

This Year’s Emmy Nominations: Trends, Surprises, and Casting Commentaries

The buzz following the announcement of this year’s Emmy nominations focused on continued trends from last year as well as on one astonishing surprise. We break down the top trend and biggest surprise below along with two top L.A. casting directors weighing in on which nominations are making waves and which inclusions and omissions really stood out.

 

Trend: “Game of Thrones” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” Dominating

With 22 nominations last year, “Game of Thrones” had already set the bar high for itself. But the final season of the popular HBO show reaped a record-breaking 32 nominations this year, surpassing “NYPD Blue” for the most nominations of any program in one season. 

“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” scored 20 nominations this year. Last year, the Amazon series won eight of the 14 categories for which it was nominated, including Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. Rachel Brosnahan is up for the award again, but she’s facing Julia Louis-Dreyfus this time. The “Veep” actress has won the category eight times, and if she does it again this year, she’ll set a new record for most Emmy wins by a performer

 

Surprise: HBO’s Record-Breaking Number of Nominations

It’s no understatement that HBO crushed it this year. The network was on a 17-year streak of garnering the most nominations year in and year out … until last year when Netflix received four more total nominations: 112 to HBO’s 108. It left Emmy watchers to wonder whether the era of HBO’s dominance might have come to an end. But the comeback HBO made this year was unprecedented, sweeping up 137 total nominations, 20 more than Netflix. 

 

Casting Director Commentary

Casting directors Jessica Sherman, known for “Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens” and “Bates Motel,” and Kim Williams, known for “Diary of a Mad Black Woman” and “Under Suspicion,” weighed in on this year’s list.

 

What do you think was this year’s biggest snub?

Sherman: Andrew Scott in “Fleabag.” I was shocked that he didn’t get a nomination. Generally speaking, he’s such a chameleon. His [performance] brought layers, nuance, quirk, and charisma to a character that could’ve been very straightforward. I found myself feeling all of the conflicting feelings that Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s character was experiencing. You were totally in it with her. Total snub! 

Williams: Susan Kelechi Watson for “This Is Us” is a huge snub. Her performance this year was achingly beautiful, subtle and powerful.

 

What’s one nominee that you’re glad made the cut?

Williams: I am beyond thrilled that Jharrel Jerome was nominated for “When They See Us.” He has such depth and emotional range for such a young man. Very exciting.

Sherman: I’m a big fan of many of the shows that received nominations, but I have to say that I’m super excited to see “Pose” and Billy Porter represented. Such a great show! As well as the incomparable Anthony Carrigan from “Barry.” He’s such a talented actor, a kind human being and really just someone who decided to make lemonade out of the lemons he was given. And I love, love, love Rachel Brosnahan (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”) and Sandra Oh (“Killing Eve”)!

 

What’s your overall opinion of this year’s nominations?

Sherman: I feel like most of the shows that I loved this year made it on the nomination list in some fashion. I would love to congratulate all of the amazing casting directors and their staff who worked tirelessly to assemble these incredible actors. Special shout out to Sibby Kirchgessner and Dorian Frankel for their second Emmy nomination for “Veep!”

Williams: This year’s nominations amplify the incredible mix of talent, diverse and inclusive voices and wonderfully creative projects that highlight the ever-exciting and expansive television landscape.

 

The complete list of this year’s nominations can be viewed here. The 2019 Primetime Emmy Awards will air on September 22 on Fox. Whether this will be a record-breaking year for wins—as well as for nominations—remains to be seen.

 

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Casting in LA This Week!

Casting in LA This Week!

Every day great roles are added to Casting Billboard. Below are highlighted projects from this week!

 

Grey’s Anatomy

Rate: $250/8 | Female/Male, Caucasian | Television

ROLES  Background   GENDER/AGE/ETHNICITIES  Female & Male / 1-2 / Caucasian

DESCRIPTION  *** NEWBORNS ONLY (no more than 9 lbs) *** A popular Network TV series is seeking newborn babies, possibly as early as next week (week of 7/22/19), with a possibility of working throughout the season. Preferably twins, but we want to see individual babies, as well. Submit ASAP, In the notes section, put the date of birth and current weight.

Collagen Drink Commercial

Rate:  $500/day x2 | Female, All Ethnicities | Commercial

ROLES  Principal  GENDER/AGE/ETHNICITIES  Female  / 25-30 / All Ethnicities

DESCRIPTION  This commercial is for a collagen beauty drink and will be shot over two days. We’re looking for an upper 20s female model who will represent the refined luxury of the brand.

OMG Social Media Etiquette

Rate:  $1,000 | Female/Male, All Ethnicities | Industrial

ROLES  Principal  GENDER/AGE/ETHNICITIES  Female & Male  / 28-35 / All Ethnicities

DESCRIPTION   This is a training video to be used internally by a large advertising corporation. It’s a Weekend Update/ Last Week Tonight style informative video on social media use and etiquette by employees. The tone is overall very comedic with several genuine moments. We are looking for STRONG comedic timing and delivery as well as reading fluidly from a TELEPROMPTER. We will be casting from the self-tapes, NO callbacks.

 

To see all the roles available on Casting Billboard, LOG IN OR SIGN UP HERE.

 

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Performance Review: ‘Summer Night’

Performance Review: ‘Summer Night’

The coming-of-age dramedy “Summer Night” is the feature directing debut of actor Joseph Cross. The ensemble piece follows a group of friends over a span of roughly 24 hours, focusing on their night out at a local watering hole and on the twists and turns in their relationships. Cross’s film features four actors in particular who grab viewers’ attention, some of whom stand out in more positive ways than others. 

 

Callan McAuliffe – Taylor

McAuliffe’s performance is among the most effective in the film. The young actor gives off subtle James Dean vibes as he plays Taylor, one of many band members in the film. But Taylor is the only one to arrive at the bar where they’re performing in a cop car. His face shows signs of an altercation, but he brushes off comments about it, grabbing a drink on his way to the stage. Taylor may be a little rough around the edges, but McAuliffe plays that quality with subtlety and blends it nicely with the sweeter side that emerges when he romances Dana (played by Ella Hunt). There’s a certain effortlessness in his acting, and the consistency of his work throughout the film suggests a well-developed technique. His nuanced performance points to a promising future for the Aussie.  

 

Analeigh Tipton – Mel

Tipton’s on-camera work began when she was a contestant on “America’s Next Top Model,” but her performance in “Summer Night” shows that the model-turned-actress has come a long way from reality TV. She’s acquired solid film and TV credits leading up to “Summer Night,” and her portrayal of Mel proves Tipton’s considerable acting chops. Viewers are introduced to Mel as she’s processing some serious news. Given the limitations of the film’s timeline, however, the stakes of what she’s just discovered doesn’t provide Tipton with much opportunity for an emotional arc. Even so, Tipton might have inserted a bit more range into Mel’s emotional landscape, but overall, she delivers. The actress’s voice quality and large, expressive eyes make for a unique on-camera presence that make Tipton—and her performance—stand out.

 

Victoria Justice – Harmony

Thanks to her years on Nickelodeon, Justice’s name may have more mainstream recognition than most of her co-stars, but hers is a relatively small role. Justice plays Harmony, the town’s “bad girl,” a reputation she reinforces with her wardrobe choices and reckless driving. Viewers meet Harmony as her date arrives at her house. She greets him in sky-high heels and with a baby on her hip. She lets on that it’s her child for a couple of beats before announcing, “I’m just f—ing with you,” and explaining that the baby is actually her niece. It’s a great introduction to her character, and Justice nails the “tough girl” persona. After this scene, though, Justice loses that quality and the sweetness of a former Nickelodeon star emerges from the leather-clad Harmony. While Justice’s character work doesn’t overcome the challenges of an against-type role, her actual acting stays connected and grounded during her scenes.

 

Ellar Coltrane – Jameson 

There are no acting schools listed on Coltrane’s IMDb page, a noticeable difference when compared to the amount of training that tops McAuliffe’s page. This doesn’t mean that Coltrane has had no training as an actor, but based on his performance in “Summer Night,” he might benefit from additional study. Between his flat line delivery and an awkward on-camera presence, Coltrane’s overall believability remains a tough sell throughout the film. His character’s dialogue suggests a character possessing a certain confidence, but Coltrane’s performance belies that quality. For someone who literally grew up on camera, Coltrane seems uncomfortable in front of the lens.

 

McAuliffe and Tipton deliver engaging performances that help carry “Summer Night” while their co-stars’ work leave something to be desired. Viewers looking for a slice-of-life about youthful relationships will enjoy “Summer Night,” thanks to the effective character work and technique on display by some of its cast. Actors in the audience can learn from these performances while celebrating a fellow thespian’s jump into the director’s chair.

 

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Why I Became a Casting Director: An Interview with Zora DeHorter

Why I Became a Casting Director: An Interview with Zora DeHorter

If you’ve ever felt intimidated by casting, chances are you’re not alone. Many actors can attest to feeling nervous around casting directors. Considering the extent to which a casting decision can impact an actor’s career, having a case of the nerves isn’t unreasonable. But the people sitting behind the table in the audition room have their own “backstories” that explain what got them there. And if actors learn more about a casting director, they can better understand him or her as a person, which helps alleviate audition nerves.

Casting director Zora DeHorter is known for projects such as “Ali G Indahouse” and “She Spies,” and she recently appeared as an expert on CBS’ new global talent competition show “The World’s Best.” The busy casting director took the time, though, to speak with Casting Networks and share with actors her own personal backstory on how she got into casting. 

DeHorter began her career in the industry by training as an actor in London at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. But once she made the move to Los Angeles, she found the roles available to her were limited. “It was a long time ago when a lot of the ethnic roles were still very ‘ghetto-fied,’” DeHorter recalls. “Or, you know, the black female [characters] were either abused or drug-users.” She notes that her accent further limited her acting opportunities. “The casting directors could not compute an African American person with a proper British accent because at that time, it was very, very rare.” DeHorter explains. “He [Aaron Spelling] would put me in his shows, but I was always the exotic foreigner. And there were only so many exotic foreigners you could play.” 

DeHorter says she was not getting enough work as an actor, and she eventually found herself seeking more stability in her career. “I said, ‘If I’m going to give up acting, I want to be around actors,’” DeHorter recollects. “And the most obvious place for me at the time was casting.” Once she made the decision, DeHorter set out in her new career by contacting offices that cast her favorite shows and offering to work for them for free in order to gain experience. DeHorter shares that she spent a year working at multiple casting offices, which led to her first solo casting job on Percy Adlon’s 2001 feature film “Hawaiian Gardens.” “I loved [casting] it,” DeHorter relates. “I loved the energy, the connection, working with the director and how collaborative it is.”

DeHorter says that her passion and love for the work has kept her in casting ever since. She shares that her own experience auditioning as an actor plays a big role in how she runs her sessions now. “I would get feedback like, ‘Oh that was nice,’” DeHorter remembers. She explains that that type of note wasn’t actionable and didn’t help her grow as an actor. DeHorter shares that when she auditions actors now, she starts with a positive note and then, “I’ll tell them what needs to be worked on and how we get there together.” The casting director also wants to help actors by reminding them to stay motivated in a very competitive industry. “Do not sit back and get comfortable,” DeHorter advises. “You’ve got to keep pushing.” 

DeHorter gives actors another key to audition success: being in the moment. “The thing about reading a script is that you always know what’s coming,” she notes. “But you can’t play that; you’ve just got to deal with this present moment.” “The World’s Best” expert adds that while filming the show, she saw a unique act that served as the perfect example. “A ventriloquist puppeteer did that [stayed present in the moment],” DeHorter recalls. “That’s exactly what I try to teach actors.” 

DeHorter’s words can help de-stress actors who find themselves sweating around casting directors. She is an example of a casting person who can relate to actors because she’s experienced the “actor’s life,” and her passion for helping actors grow in the craft informs the way she runs her sessions. So for those of you worrying about your next auditions, take DeHorter’s story to heart. It’s a reminder that many casting people have a passion for helping actors succeed.  

 

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How to Impress a Casting Director

How to Impress a Casting Director

The casting director is hired to bring in a select number of actors to audition for specific roles so that an agency or production company’s creative team can later decide which actor or actors will be booked. Impressing the casting director, therefore, becomes every actor’s number one focus going into an audition.

Besides being a talented performer, there are qualities that will really set you apart. The following checklist will ensure that you leave a favorable impression with your casting director:

 

Be consistently acting. One of the ways an actor can keep acting between bookings is to keep honing their skills and continue with acting classes on an ongoing basis. Working out in acting class should feel fulfilling, a way to keep feeding the creative beast in you.

Be sure your package is well put-together and your submission process is honest and well-organized. Your photos should look like you and your resume should be clean, organized and up-to-date. Your resume should be honest with regard to your special skills, including which languages you speak fluently, which accents you can do flawlessly and which sports or other unique abilities you excel in.

There are many breakdowns out for actors that have actual knowledge or ability in this or that skill. When you sign with your agent or manager, or you have a meeting to go over how to gain more auditions, be sure to review your special skills with your reps to make sure you have everything covered.

Don’t take your skill and knowledge base for granted. There might be items on a breakdown list that you’re proficient at, though it may not occur to you. For instance, if you have culinary skills, have training as a photographer or you really were a paramedic in the past, keep these valuable abilities in your toolkit of special skills.

Keep your photos up-to-date. Don’t confuse a casting director. Don’t have old photos in your package in which you’re sporting hair of a different length or color. Only have current looks for viewing. Also, don’t portray a character you can’t play. For instance, your photographer might have taken a great photo of you as a tough guy or an edgy girl, but if you can’t truthfully play that type, it won’t do you any good to promote that look.

Keep in touch with the casting director. Get to know how a casting director likes you to keep in touch and follow through every couple of months. Personally, I like postcards with your professional updates on it. It’s a quick read for me and seeing a postcard every three or four months helps me get to know you and keep you in mind in the long run.

Have active social media accounts. Keep in touch through social media. Find out which social media platforms the casting director uses. Use your social media platforms to post scenes that you’re shooting if your production can release anything for the public. Don’t take photos on a shoot on your own. Your focus should remain on your job as an actor.

Use social media to talk about jobs you’ve booked (if you’re allowed to) and theater productions you’ve been in. Even if you’re under an NDA and not allowed to mention a product, there are ways you can communicate that you’ve just booked.

Post all things acting. Every once in a while, post something personal. Be aware, though, that we won’t be impressed if all we see are photos of your dog. In fact, you can expect to be deleted.

Have a great reel. If you don’t have actual scenes from film or television that you’ve booked, go to a reel-production service and have a few scenes produced. Do the kind of scene that you love and are right for. Caution: The final outcome must look highly professional.

Leave a good impression at auditions. Try to make the audition time we give you. If you can’t make it for a very important reason, ask to change or cancel your appointment in as promptly as possible to give us enough time to give your slot to another actor.

Be in a good mood when you show up. Be happy to be at the audition and friendly to everyone.

Be prepared at the audition. Know your technique and give a great audition.

Be busy with acting outside of your auditions and classes. One way is to create your own film and web series projects. Another way is to do theater. LA is packed with theater companies, and the local theater scene is thriving. Take advantage of the Hollywood Fringe Festival, which features short plays performed on theater row. I went to several shows during this year’s festival, and the place was buzzing with theatergoers. All these shows had to be cast with hundreds of actors. So, whereever you live in LA, find your local theater and get involved.

Be aware of breakdowns. An agent is crucial for the lion’s share of better projects and for your own protection and professional career. Nevertheless, go after your own work in addition to what your agents submit you for. Iron out a system and an understanding with your agent for a smooth working relationship between you. It is important to have an honest relationship with your agent.

 

Terry Berland is an award-winning casting director for commercials, voiceover, film, television, and theatre.  Her casting awards include Clio, The Houston International Film Festival, Art Director’s Club, Addy, and the International Film and TelevisionFestival. Her former Head Of Casting staff position for Madison Avenue giant BBDO/NY has contributed to her deep understanding and involvement in the advertising industry. She is known throughout the country for her talent development, and is the author of the how-to industry book,”Breaking Into Commercials.”
For more information about Terry Berland Commercial Acting workshops click here.
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Reproduction or usage of this article on other websites must be credited to Terry Berland, Casting Director.

 

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