Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
What’s in a name? It turns out plenty, at least in the case of the new Wednesday night ABC comedy The Neighbors. Based on creator-exec producer Dan Fogelman’s dysfunctional New Jersey family, it stars Jami Gertz and has among its cast members a young actress named Clara Mamet. If the surname looks familiar, it should. Mamet is the daughter of famed playwright David Mamet and the sister of Zosia Mamet, a regular on the HBO comedy Girls. In the case of Zosia, there has been much grousing in the press over perceived nepotistic casting. But with regard to Clara, Fogelman maintained during a TCA panel this morning that no nepotism was involved — to an almost embarrassing degree. “We had no idea who Clara was when she came in and read for us”, he admitted. “We immediately put her on tape and sent it in to the network as our choice for that part. I didn’t find out until like a month later who she was…To be honest I just didn’t put it together, and in retrospect I should have”. Added Gertz: “She got it the old fashioned way. She auditioned for the part”. When asked if she thought it unfair for her sister to be dissed over getting cast on Girls, Mamet said, “I think my sister’s incredibly talented, I don’t think anyone should judge her based on her family. She got that job because she’s a great actress”. Fogelman followed by quipping, “I did cast Lenny because of who his father was” — speaking of costar Lenny Venito. (more…)