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JC Cantu and Jen Levy Are Rising Phoenix, New CD at “Y&R”

This week in casting news, something a little different. There’s been some shiftin’ and a-shufflin’ happening in the L.A. casting world; we’re going to talk about that.

First: Two big names—JC Cantu and Jen Levy—have split from their respective offices to join forces under the moniker Rising Phoenix. To be clear, yes, this is a casting company, not a shadowy criminal syndicate or a yoga studio (I already made the yoga studio mistake with Automatic Sweat…. That was pretty awkward). Cantu was formerly with Mary Vernieu and Venus Kanani at Betty Mae, and I’m not even going to bother listing his credits since Betty Mae casts, like, 37 projects a week, so take your pick, I guess. Despite his departure, he will continue to share casting duties with Vernieu on the Jason Bateman–Olivia Wilde comedy “The Longest Week,” which I reported as a Betty Mae project last week. Levy had been with Emily Schweber since 2000, first as an associate, then as a CD, working on several low- to mid-budget films.

The new office already has several projects on its slate, including “Man With a Gun,” a project from Crime Scene Pictures and Nick Wechsler that was announced at Toronto. It’s about a vigilante who infiltrates two warring drug gangs that are wreaking havoc on a small border town. Rising Phoenix is also casting “Jesus Hates Zombies,” which I wasn’t able to find much on in the way of plot details, but judging from the title I’m thinking prequel to “The Notebook”? Anyhow, good luck to Cantu and Levy in their new endeavor.

In other news, Judy Blye Wilson has taken over casting duties on CBS’s long-running soap “The Young and the Restless.” She replaces Camille St. Cyr, who—I never watched the show, so I can’t vouch for her casting chops, but what a name! Fun to say, fun to write. Sounds like someone who still uses a cigarette holder, and has lots of embarrassing stories about the Gabor sisters. So congrats to Blye Wilson as well.


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