Casting Chronicles


Director Larry Clark discovered Rosario Dawson at age 15 on her front porch in New York and cast her in the 1995 film "Kids." That film also marked the debut of Chloe Sevigny, who was brought on by co-writer Harmony Korine after meeting her in Tompkins Square Park in the East Village.

Michelle Rodriguez responded to an open call in Back Stage and beat 350 other actors for her debut role in "Girlfight."

Josh Brolin in "No Country for Old Men"
Heath Ledger was attached for the role Josh Brolin eventually played in "No Country for Old Men." After Ledger dropped out the role was offered to Joaquin Phoenix and Viggo Mortensen, but both had scheduling conflicts. Brolin's agent begged casting director Ellen Chenoweth to let his client audition, but it wasn't until close to production that Joel and Ethan Coen agreed to see him. By that time, Brolin had already gotten Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez to shoot an audition tape for him while making "Grindhouse."

Contrary to Tinseltown mythology, Lana Turner was not discovered at Schwab's Drug Store. As a teenager, she was spotted by Hollywood Reporter publisher Billy Wilkerson at the Top Hat Cafe on Sunset Boulevard and referred to Zeppo Marx, whose agency signed her immediately.

Rex Lee worked as a casting assistant before nabbing the role of Jeremy Piven's whipping boy, Lloyd, on "Entourage."

Phyllis Smith in "The Office"
Phyllis Smith was a casting associate for "The Office" before being offered the role of amiable sales representative Phyllis Vance.

David Boreanaz was walking his dog when a manager spotted him. The chance encounter eventually led to his breakthrough role on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

Eric Stoltz was originally cast as Marty McFly in "Back to the Future." He shot several scenes before being replaced by Michael J. Fox, who was the first choice of director Robert Zemeckis and co-writer Bob Gale but was not initially available because of scheduling conflicts.

Harrison Ford and George Lucas (Getty Images photo)
Working as a carpenter, Harrison Ford landed his role in "American Graffiti" after being hired to build cabinets in George Lucas' home.

Shelley Duvall was working at a cosmetics counter in Houston when Robert Altman's production scouts found her for the lead in "Brewster McCloud."

Charlize Theron was referred to casting agents by manager John Crosby, who saw her shouting at a bank teller that refused to cash a check from her mother.
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