Amid gripes from American actors about the lack of diversity in TV and film, as well as the industry’s penchant for selecting British and Australian thespians for prolific roles, the casting directors at FX’s “Casting 101” TCA panel assert they’re just looking for the best person for the part – and often it doesn’t matter how famous the person is.
Cami Patton, the casting director for Justified said, “Producers, showrunners and studio executives are used to looking at tape from other actors in other parts of the world. You don’t need an actor with an entire history (of credits).” One candidate, as pointed out by the group, was Matthew Rhys who plays the lead Soviet undercover spy Philip Jennings on FX’s The Americans. Largely known to U.S. audiences through his turn on Brothers & Sisters, Rhys bowled casting directors over with his Broadway performance in Look Back in Anger. Patton added that when she cast a fresh-faced British actor by the name of Damian Lewis in the role of U.S. Army Lt. Richard Winters in 2001’s Band of Brothers, “We were trying to match actors with the photos that we had of these real people. At the time he was doing Hamlet on stage with Ralph Fiennes. That’s how he got on our radar.” (more…)