"Great acting is an essential part of great films. It is often said that a director's job is almost done in the casting room. Acting is a tough career filled with casting calls and rejection. Who wants to not be picked? So this Close-Up was fascinating.
On the panel that night were Rodrigo García (In Treatment, Nine Lives), casting directors Libby Goldstein, Junie Lowry-Johnson (In Treatment, Big Love), and actors Michelle Forbes (In Treatment, True Blood), and David Norona (In Treatment, Lipstick Jungle). This panel represented different perspectives on what's behind a great performance and discussed the ways in which they collaborate.
"A casting director falls in love with you ...feels you..." says Rodrigo. He knows in seconds if you are his vision for the part. Everyone said that looking "right" for the part was the single most important factor in their casting selections. Sometimes he is just not into you, like in dating.
That they "fall in love with the actor when they walk in" is not the greatest news for the acting community. The panel did say that being prepared was important, but they were also clear that preparation alone would not get you the job.
Michelle Forbes and David Norona shared from an actor's point of view that some directors don't direct. They sit and look at a monitor. Rodrigo said he never looks at a monitor, because he wants to be part of the moment. David responded that that's why Rodrigo is so great- he wants to be close as we work. Michelle and David broke it down to two types of directors: some are techie sorts ie: walk, move, talk faster and the others work on feelings.
The good news is that they said a good person is always remembered. Both casting directors emphasized that while they might not hire you now, they may later when the part is right. So think of each call as just another opportunity to shine, suck it up and give it your best."
Rodrigo Garcia, some years ago, I believe it was related to Nine Lives:
"I’ve often been asked why I make movies about women and I’ve given my standard reply: I don’t make movies about women, I make movies about things that interest me, using female characters. Jason Isaacs, who plays Damian in Nine Lives, went further than I had dared to go. “You write about women,” he said to me the day we met, “because it enables you to write about emotional subjects emotionally.” He’s right. I’m a wimp, like most men, and I don’t want to be naked on stage if I don’t have to be. Hidden behind these women I can explore the stuff that scares me: relationships we can’t escape; the dependence on loved ones; the caretaking of loved ones; the expectations of loved ones; the loss of loved ones. Can we share our innermost self with a loved one? And if we can’t—what is left for us?"