When one thinks of the capital of Massachusetts, a couple of things come to mind. You might find yourself ruminating about the Boston Red Sox, the Boston Marathon or even baked beans. But the “Athens of America” is also known for its thriving film and TV industry. It has been the production home to an impressive roster of titles, such as Spotlight, The Departed, and Mystic River. And it’s currently bustling with new projects like the upcoming Apple TV+ thriller series Defending Jacob and the Twentieth Century Fox comedy feature Free Guy. Keep reading to find out about the casting teams behind these projects as well as others that film in Boston.
Angela Peri is the founder and co-owner of the casting company. Previous credits include two films from director David O. Russell for which she did the local casting: Joy and American Hustle. Both features shot in Boston, as did the upcoming mystery dramedy Knives Out, which Peri also helped cast. The film will feature an ensemble cast of A-listers like Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Chris Evans, Don Johnson, Katherine Langford, Daniel Craig, Michael Shannon, LaKeith Stanfield, and Christopher Plummer. Peri is no stranger to working with big names – she also cast the upcoming series Defending Jacob, which will star Chris Evans, Michelle Dockery, and Cherry Jones. The series films in Leominster, outside of Boston, and features a “Beantown” native with Evans. Fellow Bostonian Mark Wahlberg will star in the upcoming film Wonderland. Peri cast this crime drama from Peter Berg, which is set in Massachusetts’ capital city. And keep an eye out for another Boston-based film that Peri just cast: Altar Rock.
Lisa Lobel is Peri’s co-owner of Boston Casting, and the two hold some shared credits. They both helped cast Stronger, a biographical drama about a survivor of the Boston Marathon bombing which was shot in the city and stars Jake Gyllenhaal. The two were also on the casting team together for the second season of Showtime’s SMILF. Lobel has a number of credits under her belt that are not shared with Peri, though. She helped cast the first season of Netflix’s The Society. It’s renewed for a second season, so fans of the show should particularly take note of the Boston casting director. She recently cast the adventure drama The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot, which filmed in Massachusetts and starred Sam Elliott. And she cast Sound of Metal, the Amazon Studios drama feature that stars Riz Ahmed. As for films yet to be released, Lobel cast Free Guy, another film shot in Boston. It will feature Ryan Reynolds as a bank teller who finds out that he’s living inside a video game and is in fact a non-player character. I Care a Lot also lists Lobel as one of its casting directors. Not surprisingly, the crime drama was shot in the “Athens of America,” and it is slated to release in 2020.
Actors interested in learning more about Boston Casting can peruse its website. There they can find some impressive stats, including the company’s claim to being “the largest casting company in New England.” With 10 staff members listed on its site, Boston Casting is quite sizable. For further points of connection, actors can check out the company’s Facebook and Instagram pages.
Carolyn Pickman founded the company, and much like New Orleans casting director Meagan Lewis, her name might as well be synonymous with “Oscar.” Pickman helped cast a number of Best Picture nominees like Manchester by the Sea, Moneyball, The Social Network, Mystic River and Goodwill Hunting. And she was on the casting teams of two winners: Spotlight and The Departed. The casting director is well-lauded herself, with five Artios awards listed on IMDbPro, as well as an Emmy. Besides sharing a theme of Oscar-related projects, Pickman’s credits hold another thing in common. The Boston-based casting director frequently works on projects starring the Affleck brothers. Films she helped cast that fall into this category include Live by Night, Goodwill Hunting, The Town, Gone Baby Gone, and Manchester by the Sea. Recently, Pickman did local casting for the first season of Hulu’s Castle Rock, which films in Massachusetts. The casting director doesn’t have any upcoming projects listed on IMDb, but based on her track record, it’s likely that any of her next films might just be nominated for Oscars.
Those who want to learn more about the awarded casting director can start with the CP Casting site. It offers fun facts on the member of both CSA and SAG-AFTRA, such as her involvement in the Theatre Company of Boston. The site also shares information on other members of CP Casting, as well as links to its social media accounts. The company is active on Facebook as @cpcasting.
The casting company is headed by Julie Arvedon Knowlton, Aaron Kahl and Ashley Skomurski. They have a number of shared credits between them. Knowlton and Skomurski, for example, were both on the casting team behind the blockbuster comedy Super Troopers 2. Skomurski has another big-name casting credit under her belt with The Forger, which starred John Travolta and shot in Boston. Ghostbusters (2016) is another project that filmed in “Beantown.” Kahl was on the casting team for it, as well as for a film that also shot in Massachusetts: Chappaquiddick. He and Skomurski hold an impressive list of extras casting credits, too. They both worked in this area of casting on Daddy’s Home 2 and American Hustle. And Knowlton has a niche with casting TV movies. Credits in this genre that can be found under her name include Long Lost Daughter and The Spruces and the Pines. She also was on the casting team for the upcoming movie Christmas a la Mode, which Lifetime will premiere on November 15.
To find out more about Slate Casting, actors can visit the company’s site. Its homepage includes an introductory video with the casting trio, in which they share their goal to create a comfortable environment so that actors can do their best work. The casting company can also be found on Facebook with its Slate Casting page. Posts there include casting notices, so actors interested in the company should definitely keep a close watch on the page.
Melissa Paradice owns the company, and she has a number of features listed under her name. She cast Slip & Fall, a comedy feature about a student who goes to extraordinary lengths to pay for law school. The film was shot in Boston, as was My Best Friend’s Girl. Paradice was on the casting team for that comedy, as well, which starred Kate Hudson, Dane Cook and Jason Biggs. She also did the local casting for the thriller from Magnolia Pictures entitled Shuttle. Paradice has extensive experience in commercial casting, as well. The Paradice Casting site provides an impressive list of clients, such as Pepsi, Lay’s, Titleist, CenturyLink, CVS Pharmacy, Visa and Panera Bread. One of Paradice Casting’s projects highlighted on its site is a CBS Sports teaser for the 2018 AFC Championship Game that stars John Malkovich.
More information on Paradice can be found on the site, which provides a list of her hobbies. Actors looking to connect with the casting director should take note of any interests they share with her, which could include watching improv, hiking or crocheting. They can also check out the Paradice Casting Facebook page, where they can be alerted to jobs the company is casting.
Boston Casting, CP Casting, Slate Casting and Paradice Casting are amongst a number of need-to-know casting companies in the area. Jodi Purdy Casting, for example, is owned by Jodi Purdy-Quinlan, and she has helped cast projects like Chimera Strain, Code Name: Dynastud, and The Forger. She’s also done significant work in casting extras for films such as Sound of Metal, The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot and Patriots Day. Billy Dowd of Billy Dowd Casting is also known for his work in extras casting, and his credits in that category include Jungleland, American Woman and Manchester by the Sea.
Actors who aren’t fans of baseball, running or sweetened legumes will still find the coastal city a favorable destination thanks to its rich history of film and TV. And with numerous upcoming projects filming there, it would be prudent to keep the city and its casting hierarchies on your radar. You might even start building relationships with Boston-based casting members now so that eventually the busy production hub can be a place “where everybody knows your name.”