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Central Casting calls foul play in name game

Central Casting, the well-known casting company for extras, has sued Central Los Angeles Casting Intl. (CLACI), alleging unfair competition and trademark infringement.

The lawsuit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles claims that CLACI intentionally confused and misled the public, press, employers and extras into believing that they are Central Casting, the preeminent supplier of film extras that was formed in the 1920s. According to the complaint, CLACI has been operating for an un-known period of time and first came to Central Casting’s attention in 1996, when it was informed by a Screen Ac-tors Guild member that another company was using the same name.

Among the example of confusion referred to in the complaint and supporting documents are CLACI’s registration with directory assistance as “Central Casting”; an Associated Press interview in which the reporter was led to be-lieve by casting director John Mancuso that CLACI and Central Casting were one and the same; and instances where extras registered with CLACI in the belief that it was Central Casting. The documents also point out that CLACI, unlike Central Casting, charges extras an $80 registration fee.

Attorney Henry Ben-Zvi of Proskauer Rose Goetz & Mendelsohn told Daily Variety that the lawsuit seeks to pro-tect Central Casting’s name and reputation.

A CLACI representative could not be reached for comment.

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