In just a few days, HBO’s Summer Documentary Series continues with CASTING BY, a fast-paced journey through the last half-century of Hollywood history from a new perspective, airing on HBO MONDAY, AUG. 5 (9:00-10:30 p.m. ET/PT).
Perhaps the foremost casting director, Marion Dougherty plucked several now-iconic actors out of obscurity, among them James Dean, Warren Beatty, Robert Redford, Christopher Walken and Glenn Close, giving them their first break in front of the camera. With strong, original opinions about authenticity and a knack for discovering unique talent, she turned the old Hollywood system on its head by using actors with a nuanced sense of character and individuality, rather than depending on typecasting, and broke racial barriers by pairing Mel Gibson and Danny Glover in the “Lethal Weapon” series.
Armed with a Rolodex boasting the names of up-and-coming actors she spotted in Broadway and Off-Broadway productions, Dougherty headed west to Hollywood in the 1970s after becoming head of casting at Paramount Pictures. Drawing on her experiences in New York, she had a strong hand in reshaping the way Hollywood cast films as it distanced itself from the old studio system. Dougherty was later hired by Warner Brothers, where she spent more than two decades in a professional career of more than 50 years.
Says director Tom Donahue, “It’s easy to forget that every character begins life as just words on a page. It takes the collaboration of a great casting director to make that character magnificent and the film unforgettable.”
CASTING BY premieres MONDAY, AUGUST 5 (9:00-10:30 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.