For this installment of Get to Know the Casting Director, we’re featuring someone known for films like I Can Only Imagine and The Ultimate Gift, as well as series such as The Chosen. Beverly Holloway also cast Netflix’s recent film A Week Away, which made it onto the streamer’s “Top 10 in the U.S. Today” list. With a number of projects in the works, Holloway still found time to virtually sit down with Casting Networks and provide a window into the person behind the credits.
It’s great to virtually meet you, Beverly, and I’d love to start at the beginning. When was the moment you knew that casting was for you?
It’s interesting because when I first started out in the industry, I was casting but I was also working in several other production positions. At different times I’d be an assistant director (AD), a second AD, a production coordinator, etc. In the beginning, I really wasn’t sure which was the right fit for me, but I always ended up coming back to the casting work. So there wasn’t necessarily a specific moment when I knew, but eventually, everything else fell to the side because my heart was in casting. And casting is a great marriage of what I feel are two sides of me. I’m both creative and business-minded, which makes sense because my mom was an interior designer and my dad was an engineer. Casting unites the two predominant skillsets that I have, and the production experience has been invaluable to my career. It’s an asset to really understand how all the pieces fit together and how the actors fit into the bigger picture, as well.
I love hearing about that journey to where you are today. Speaking of which, congrats on the success of A Week Away on Netflix! What can you tell us about the casting process for it?
Thank you, and I’m so glad it’s resonating with people. As far as the casting process, I’ll say first off that I felt very connected to the material. I grew up going to summer camp and then became a camp counselor. Plus, I’ve been involved with music my whole life so it was just great to be a part of this project. I loved that we were looking for actors who could also sing and dance and that we weren’t necessarily looking for names. I worked with Regina Moore, a Casting Society of America member based in Nashville, and we did a casting search in multiple cities throughout the country and found these unmined gems of talent all over the place. That’s always fun as a casting director; to find actors who haven’t had their chance to shine yet, especially when they step up to the challenge in such wonderful ways. As for the lead actors, it was great to work with Bailee Madison because she’d been on my radar for a very long time. I didn’t realize she could sing or dance before casting the film, though. That was such a wonderful surprise. And I’d known Kevin Quinn from the Disney series Bunk’d, but I didn’t know he had such elevated musical abilities either. So it was just a joy getting to see the depth of all the talent and watching everything unfold. I’m in awe of all their creativity.
That’s great to hear how it all came together. Now here comes one of my favorite questions to ask casting professionals. If someone were to make a film about your life story, which actor would you cast to play the role of Beverly Holloway?
[Laughs] This is a weird thing to think about because it flips the table on me as a casting director. But I guess if in this hypothetical situation it was a comedy film, Melissa McCarthy would be amazing to have because of her personality and comedic timing. She’s just brilliant. And then for drama, I’d actually go with Dame Judi Dench because who doesn’t want to be played by one of the greatest actors out there? She just classes up whatever she does and definitely elevates the story of each project she’s in.
Those are two fantastic choices. Speaking of inspirational work, can you share a casting director or two who inspire you?
Deborah Aquila has always been someone whose work I’ve aspired to since I first started casting. I have great respect for her and the work she does. Jessica Sherman also comes to mind. She uses her platform to do good and to put out positivity into the world and into our business. Her casting work inspires me, as well as the way she goes about it, which includes actively encouraging actors with her social media.
Yes! Between the Coffee with Casting conversations she hosts on her Instagram page and the nonprofit she founded that raises awareness and funds to support the fight against breast cancer, it’s awesome to see how Jessica Sherman gives back. And as we wrap, can you share what is on your watchlist at the moment?
I am eagerly and not-so-patiently waiting for the new seasons of two of my favorite shows: Billions and Succession. I think the casting for the latter is interesting, out-of-the-box, and unexpected in so many ways. But it all works, and the performances are amazing. I also love shows like Young Sheldon, which is a fun family comedy that kind of harkens back to an era gone by. I enjoy the writing on that and appreciate what an impressive job it was to cast because of the icon that Sheldon was on The Big Bang Theory. As a night owl, you can also find me watching reruns of The Golden Girls and Frasier that run at one in the morning. They’re timeless since the basics of comedy don’t change. Shows like that can still keep viewers engaged because they’re that good, and there’s a lot to still be learned from them. I will say, though, that The Golden Girls theme song is impossible to get out of your head once it’s there.
Holloway shared during the interview her take on the casting profession as a whole, which many actors may find reassuring. “In order to do this job, you have to genuinely love people and you have to genuinely love actors,” she asserted. “I think you’ll find that most casting directors feel that way.” Those interested in learning more about Holloway can find additional information on the Beverly Holloway Casting site.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.