A blast with the cast

Emmy-nommed casting directors of frosh hits

Robert Ulrich, Eric Dawson, Jim Carnahan
Casting up to the 25th hour for “Glee” didn’t shake Ulrich’s confidence in the show’s potential. “The moment Lea (Michele) first opened her mouth, I think we all knew what we had, and I think those moments began to repeat themselves,” says Ulrich. “Dianna Agron was the final (audition) the final night before the show began shooting, and that’s when it ultimately came together.”

“The Good Wife”
Mark Saks
When audition requests for “The Good Wife” started pouring in, Saks guessed he was onto something big. “I thought, ‘We are really getting the best of the best,’ ” he recalls, adding that after the first few readings, everyone was eager to see the ensemble on screen. “There were some auditions at the outset and we thought, ‘My God, if this is playing so well in an audition, how well will this play out on camera?’ ”

“Nurse Jackie”
Julie Tucker, Ross Meyerson
With a vehicle like “Jackie,” Tucker and Meyerson’s casting had to focus on how the actors would work in concert with star Edie Falco. “Everyone brings their own rhythm,” Tucker says. “They’re all incredibly grounded, good actors.” However, while the duo acknowledge each role was unique, they fondly recall the screen test for the part of Dr. Fitch Cooper, which had actors reaching for Falco’s breast as part of the character’s Tourette syndrome impulse. Some actors asked for Falco’s permission or apologized to her in advance, which was fun for the casting directors present. Ultimately, Meyerson says that the talent “surrounding Edie is what makes it work.”

“Modern Family”
Jeff Greenberg
For Greenberg, both the cast and the show came together with Ty Burrell’s screen test. Burrell’s Phil was one of the last roles cast for the show, and he auditioned with a scene of Phil shooting his son with a BB gun to teach him a lesson about actions and consequences. “When we showed Ty’s test to (ABC Entertainment prexy) Steve McPherson, so many of the elements came together,” Greenberg says. “All of us saw that it was the (right) actor with the writing (and) the style of the show. It was thrilling. It was really thrilling … to see it gel in that way.”

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