Casting By – The surprising, never-before-told tale of the indispensable yet unsung Casting Director – Iconoclasts whose keen eye, exquisite taste and gut instincts redefined Hollywood.

Casting By (2012)
Director: Tom Donahue
Stars: Deborah Aquila, Risa Bramon Garcia, Ellen Chenoweth
Genre: Documentary, Biography
Country: United States
Language: English
Also Known As:
Release Date: September 10, 2012 (Toronto International Film Festival, premiere)
Filming Location: Connecticut, USA

‘Casting By’ puts the spotlight on filmmaking’s unsung heroes – the casting director – and takes us on a fast-paced journey through the last half century of Hollywood history from an entirely new perspective. Pioneers like Marion Dougherty and Lynn Stalmaster were iconoclasts whose exquisite taste and gut instincts helped to put the final nail in the coffin of the old studio system and usher in the New Hollywood with movies like ‘Midnight Cowboy’, ‘The Graduate’, ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’ and ‘Bonnie and Clyde’. Afforded the unprecedented freedom and power of the new medium of television, they broke away from the traditional typecasting of Hollywood and brought a new kind of leading man and leading lady to the screen (Actors like James Dean, Dustin Hoffman, Bette Midler, Robert Duvall, Gene Hackman, et al).

Tom Donahue combines personal narratives from countless actors and directors (including Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, Clint Eastwood, Glenn Close, Robert Duvall, Jeff Bridges, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Diane Lane, Jon Voight, Bette Midler and John Travolta) with extensive archival material to reconstruct the untold tale of Hollywood’s most invisible and unheralded profession. Through an investigation of the Hollywood power dynamics that continue to belittle their work, this film seeks to grant casting directors the credit they have long been denied.

„This is an excellent documentary for any movie buff. This is because although we love directors, actors and perhaps even producers, folks almost never stop to think about the casting director–the person whose job it is to find talent, appropriate talent, for all the film roles. The story primarily focuses on Marion Dougherty and how she created the position while working for Kraft Theater on television and follows her through her brilliant career. It also focus to a lesser extend on Lynn Stahlmaster who created this sort of role in Hollywood. It’s all very, very informative and it was very touching hearing folks talking so fondly of Marion and crediting so much of their success to her. The only thing you DON’T learn is anything about her personal life or those of the other casting directors. And, when you look them up on IMDb, there really isn’t much more than their names. Interesting…as if IMDb hasn’t noticed or appreciated these folks as well…so perhaps they should see „Casting By”.

It’s nice to see this film, as often the perception is that Hollywood is so selfish and narcissistic, yet here so many ‘heavy hitters’ make themselves available for interviews and attribute so much of their success to the casting directors and in particular, Marion.

Superb and well worth seeing.”
– written by „planktonrules” on

Also Known As (AKA):
(original title) Casting By
Finland Casting by…
Greece Κάστινγκ
Japan キャスティング・ディレクター ハリウッドの顔を変えた女性(Japanese)
Russia Кастинг
Sweden Filmvärldens okända stjärna(TV Title)
United Kingdom Casting By
United States Casting By: Revolution in Hollywood(Working Title)


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