The Art of Casting - Tuesdays in November
One of the ingredients of any great film is, of course, its onscreen talent - but it is sometimes forgotten that it was a casting director working behind the scenes who assembled those actors to begin with. This month, TCM honors the casting directors of a series of iconic films who mastered the art of choosing the right player for the right role.
Casting directors David Rubin and Juliet Taylor join TCM host Ben Mankiewicz in discussing the art of casting as reflected in 14 classic films.
David Rubin began his career in New York on the production staff of Saturday Night Live, then worked as a casting assistant or associate on such films as Ragtime (1981) and Amadeus (1984). Upon moving to Los Angeles, he teamed with famed casting director Lynn Stalmaster on The Best of Times (1986), Dragnet (1987) and many other movies and television series.
Through his own casting office, Rubin assembled casts for such films as The Addams Family (1991), Fried Green Tomatoes (1991), My Cousin Vinny (1992), Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), The English Patient (1996) and The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999). From 1998 to 2004, Rubin developed and produced films with Sydney Pollack and Anthony Minghella at Mirage Enterprises.
More recently, Rubin has cast such films as Hairspray (2007) and Lars and the Real Girl (2007), and such television productions as HBO's Game Change (2012) and Big Little Lies (2017), each of which brought him an Emmy award. He also has several nominations and awards from the Casting Society of America, including an honorary Career Achievement Award. He is an officer of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and serves on the Academy's Board of Governors.
Juliet Taylor also began her career in New York, working first for Broadway producer David Merrick, then for casting director Marian Dougherty. She became director of East Coast casting for Paramount Pictures in 1977, and the following year emerged as an independent casting director. By 1979, New York magazine was calling her "the most important of the casting directors."
Taylor, best known for her work with Woody Allen, has cast more than 100 films over the course of her career. Her work with Allen encompasses more than 40 movies beginning with Love and Death (1975). Other celebrated directors with whom she has worked closely include Mike Nichols, Stephen Frears and Alan Parker. Taylor also has numerous nominations and awards for her work, including a primetime Emmy Award for outstanding casting for a miniseries, HBO's Angels in America (2003).
Taylor's impressive credits include more than a dozen movies that won or were nominated for Best Picture Oscars, including: The Exorcist (1973), Taxi Driver (1976), Network (1976), Terms of Endearment (1983), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) and Schindler's List (1993). On two occasions, she was the casting director for three out of the five films nominated as Best Picture. In 1977, it was Annie Hall (the winner), The Turning Point and Julia; in 1988, Working Girl, Dangerous Liaisons and Mississippi Burning.
Here are the films that will be discussed in regards to the process of casting them: Casablanca (1942), Gaslight (1944), The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), Marty (1955), The Loved One (1965), The Graduate (1967), MASH (1970), The Last Picture Show (1971), Mean Streets (1973), Broadway Danny Rose (1984), A Soldier's Story (1984), Men Don't Leave (1990) and Secrets & Lies (1996).
by Roger Fristoe