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New York Casting Odds and Ends

To this point these posts have been directed to L.A. actors, and pertaining to projects casting and occasionally shooting in Los Angeles. So I thought I’d throw New York actors a bone, for once. Don’t expect this too often, as I consider you fairly compensated for lack of casting news by the fact that you live in New York City, which is way awesomer than Los Angeles in every awesomeness-related metric but weather and Korean barbecue.

Anyhow, first, a few pilots. Shooting in December, an untitled pilot from Douglas McGrath (formerly titled “On We Go”) for USA Network that centers on a luckless New York actor who has to return to his Texas hometown to care for his ailing father, putting his Broadway dreams on hold. You see, said actor has had trouble landing roles because of his unfortunate resemblance to Broadway titan Nathan Lane. And get this: The lead will be played by … Nathan Lane! Now that’s a premise! Bonnie Finnegan and Steven Jacobs are casting.

Meanwhile, Jodi Collins is casting Showtime pickup “Gurland on Gurland,” described as a “docu-comedy,” which in this case means a fictionalized account of real-life filmmaker Andrew Gurland’s career and family life (as opposed to a nonfiction show that happens to be funny, like “The Real Housewives of New Jersey”). So like “Curb Your Enthusiasm” except with some dude no one has ever heard of? I’m confused. It shoots in November, in case you’re not and want to submit.

Next: an A&E telefilm. “Coma,” from Scott Free Productions, about a doctor who uncovers an organ-harvesting ring when she looks into cases of seemingly healthy patients going into comas in her hospital. What they had in common: None were smokers, all had type-O blood, and their in-room televisions were tuned in to the premiere of “Charlie’s Angels” on ABC. Zing! Anyhow, Mark Saks is casting ahead of a November shoot in Atlanta.

Finally, some movies. Avy Kaufman is casting “The East,” about an FBI agent who infiltrates an eco-terrorist organization. It’s shooting in November in Atlanta. I wanted to get that one out of the way quickly because next is the project that Will Smith chose over “Django Unchained.” Before I tell you what it is, I want you to remove all sharp objects and corrosive liquids from your immediate vicinity. I’ll wait. Safety first. Okay, it’s called “After Earth” (aka “1000 A.E.”), and he plays a father who crash-lands on a desolate planet, where he and his estranged son must co-operate to survive. That’s not so bad, right?  Here’s the thing: His son is played by Jaden Smith, and it’s directed by M. Night Shyamalan. So, yeah, let’s see: Star in a Tarantino movie with Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz, and Samuel L. Jackson or put your son’s “career” in the hands of the guy who just managed to offend the artistic sensibilities of 11-year-old boys the world over? Do you know how hard that is? Kids who consider Youtube crotch-shot montages fine cinema were like, “ ‘Avatar’? No, thanks. Billy saw it and told me ‘Don’t bother.’ ”  Anyhow, Douglas Aibel is casting whatever non-Smith roles there are in this movie, which shoots in February in New Orleans.


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