Marion Dougherty, casts hundreds of film and television projects from the 50’s well into the new millennium. Her eye of what was unique about the talent she cast before they did was truly one of her gifts as a casting director having worked with such directing greats as Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorsese, Robert DeNiro, Robert Redford and the list goes on and on… The associates that she trained are all women, paving the way for a whole new generation like famed Woody Allen CD Juliet Taylor, who has worked with him on more than 40 films.
CASTING BY…is a basically a digital love letter to Marion Dougherty delivered from a select few of the hundreds of actors, directors and colleagues that loved her. This inspiring documentary also gives its insight into the chauvinism that exists inside the stressful world of casting and how very important this role has become over the decades since the demise of the studio system.
Of the many, including Marion herself that spoke on this subject, the most inspiring story was from Academy Award winner Jon Voight. He spoke of how Marion had been his champion to get him a very important audition early on in his career. He booked the job, but when his episode of ‘Naked City” aired he was dreadful. Feeling he had let Marion and his generation of actors down and equally appalled at his own mediocrity, he sat down to write an apology letter to Marion that he never finished or mailed. Years later, he gets wind through the grapevine that casting is happening for “Midnight Cowboy” and he desperately wanted to read for the role of “Joe Buck”. He had a slight hesitation when he found out Marion was casting, but quickly got over it and headed on the first flight smoking from LA to NYC to beg her forgiveness and read for Joe. When he arrives at her infamous casting brownstone in New York, he bumps into her in a hallway and profusely begins to apologize. Marion cuts him off and ask him if he would like to meet John Slessinger…the director of “Midnight Cowboy”. Voight goes on to win the Oscar for his portrayal of “Joe Buck” and the rest is history.
The film also addressed how although CD’s are recognized with Emmys by the television academy, the AMPAS has yet to recognize them for their exemplary work in film. Although in July 2013, AMPAS has created a new branch for casting directors, which gives them voting rights when Oscar time rolls around. Marion Dougherty passed away in 2011 and it’s a shame she was not here to witness this small victory for her colleagues.
Any actor who has ever complained about his/her feelings concerning a casting director should make watching this documentary a requirement!!!! CASTING BY can currently be seen on HBO.