Strike Times: Our Guide to a Casting Director


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Jun 19, 2023

Strike Times: Our Guide to a Casting Director

Amid our current strike times, should you need a break from the heat of the picket lines, we’ve got you covered with a watchlist inspired by casting directors that is chock full of noteworthy

Amid our current strike times, should you need a break from the heat of the picket lines, we’ve got you covered with a watchlist inspired by casting directors that is chock full of noteworthy performances to take in. We pulled from the archives of our Get to Know the Casting Director series to share some watchlist recommendations from top casting directors. From Max’s The Gilded Age to Showtime’s Billions, we’re sharing some of the series that made the cut, as well as top talent to watch for in each.

It’s hard to cover the breadth and depth of Tiffany Little Canfield’s casting résumé. From this year’s live-action The Little Mermaid to Only Murders in the Building to This Is Us, she’s cast huge titles in film, as well as in streaming and network TV. And that doesn’t even touch on her extensive theater credits.

But when we sat down with Little Canfield, the casting director’s watchlist was also on the table. The majority of titles she shared at the time — of both the stage and the screen — weren’t connected to The Telsey Office. The Gilded Age, however, was handled by the New York branch of the casting company to which Little Canfield belongs. She didn’t work on the project, though, and got to experience the series like any other person screening it for the first time. “I was really anticipating its release, and I was not disappointed,” Little Canfield told us. “I’m a fan of everyone in the cast, and Carrie Coon is just incredible. It’s definitely one of those series that I’ll go back and watch again.”

We couldn’t agree more, considering the master class in acting offered by Coon and other stars of the 1880s New York City period drama, such as Cynthia Nixon, Christine Baranski, Denée Benton and Morgan Spector. So, whether you’re like Little Canfield and going in for a rewatch or you’ll be watching the inaugural season of the latest series from Julian Fellowes for the first time, The Gilded Age might just be what your watchlist needs. And should you fall into the latter category, be sure to catch up before the second season arrives this year, as promised by Max.

It’s hard to pick just a few titles from the casting career of Leah Daniels-Butler. You could go with hit series, such as All American and Empire, or mention recent features like The Perfect Find and The United States vs. Billie Holiday. And you definitely couldn’t leave off Lee Daniels’ The Butler or Precious. But outside of the casting director’s extensive work, the question of what she watches when off the clock also came up during our chat with Daniels-Butler. Along with a varied list of series she’d just screened at the time, the casting director mentioned Schitt’s Creek as one example of how she loves all genres.

The show is certainly a strong representation of the comedy genre, considering how in a record-breaking move, it swept up the 2020 Emmy Awards with its final season. That included comedy category wins for Catherine O’Hara as lead actress, Eugene Levy as lead actor, Daniel Levy as supporting actor and Annie Murphy as supporting actress. Should you be looking for a smart and feel-good show with 21-minute episodes that have all fully aired across the series’ six seasons, Schitt’s Creek is the pick for your watchlist. And if you’re interested in what went into casting the critically-acclaimed series, you can check out our chat with one of the show’s Emmy-winning casting directors.

Beverly Holloway’s storied casting career includes feature titles like A Week Away and I Can Only Imagine, as well as series such as The Chosen. When we spoke with the casting director, though, we also wanted to hear about what she was watching outside of work. Amongst other series Holloway was enjoying at the time, she was also eagerly awaiting the next seasons of Showtime’s Billions and Max’s Succession. “I think the casting for the latter is interesting, out-of-the-box, and unexpected in so many ways,” she explained. “But it all works, and the performances are amazing.”

Succession has had a moment this year. The show — and its hotly-debated series finale — was already the talk of the town before it swept up a breathtaking 27 Emmy nominations for its last season. So with all the recent buzz around Succession, if you haven’t already considered the show for your watchlist, there may not be much more we can do for you.

But then there’s Billions, a series Succession has been steadily compared to over the years, with many a Reddit thread dedicated to determining which show is superior. The final season of Billions starts streaming on August 11, so if the end of Succession has left a Roy-family-sized hole in your life, do not despair. You can anticipate the upcoming seventh installment of another long-running show all about money and power. That includes taking in the performances from a stacked cast of Billions series regulars like Paul Giamatti, Corey Stoll, Maggie Siff, Damian Lewis, David Costabile, Asia Kate Dillon, Dola Rashad, Jeffrey DeMunn, Sakina Jaffrey, Daniel Breaker and Toney Goins.

Thanks to the watchlist items shared here, you can consider some titles enjoyed by top casting directors for your viewing pleasure — and perhaps, respite — during these strike times. And if you want to learn more about the people behind the TV picks — as well as their full responses to our “what-are-you-watching” query — you can find all three Get to Know the Casting Director interviews with Little Canfield, Daniels-Butler and Holloway on Casting Networks News.

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