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A super interesting evening upcoming at the Academy that examines a critical backstage process in film making — casting.

Acclaimed casting directors Lynn Stalmaster, Juliet Taylor and Mike Fenton will sit down with the governors of the Academy’s Casting Directors Branch to discuss the evolution of their profession and the essential role the casting director plays in the movie-making process.

Lynn Stalmaster, a pioneer in the field, was the first casting director to receive a solo main title credit on a feature film (1968’s The Thomas Crown Affair). He helped bring to light some of the greatest ensembles in film history, including Judgment at Nuremburg, West Side Story, The Graduate, Harold and Maude, Tootsie and The Right Stuff. He enjoyed long-term collaborations with many directors, including Robert Wise, Billy Wilder, Norman Jewison, Hal Ashby and Sydney Pollack.

Juliet Taylor has worked with some of the leading directors of our time, including Woody Allen, Mike Nichols, Steven Spielberg, James L. Brooks and Nora Ephron. She has cast more than 90 films, with more than 40 for Woody Allen. She has also been credited with casting Meryl Streep in her first feature film, Julia (1977).

Mike Fenton, in his work on such films as American Graffiti, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial and Chaplin, has helped launch the careers of such stars as Harrison Ford, Richard Dreyfuss, Drew Barrymore and Robert Downey Jr. One of the founders of the Casting Society of America (CSA), Fenton has worked with many of Hollywood’s biggest directors, including Steven Spielberg, Robert Zemeckis, Mel Brooks and Ridley Scott.

The evening’s program will include film clips spanning the careers of these giants in the casting field, in addition to appearances by a select group of friends and admirers.

This is historic and awesome and fascinating. That’s why we’re going.

Perfect Choice: The Art of the Casting Director | Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences | Goldwyn Theater | April 13

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