How to Get Cast on a Show Like ‘Palm Royale’

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Photo Source: Courtesy Apple TV+

Abe Sylvia’s “Palm Royale” is garnering buzz ahead of its March 20 premiere on Apple TV+. Its retro-glam aesthetic comes only second to the new series’ star-studded ensemble. Inspired by Juliet McDaniel’s hit novel, “Mr. And Mrs. American Pie,” the series is led by “Saturday Night Live” alum Kristin Wiig and includes big-name actors such as Laura Dern and Allison Janney. Legends Carol Burnett and Bruce Dern (Laura Dern’s father) even guest star! For anyone who’s interested in how a project like this gets cast, we’ve got the inside scoop.  

In this guide, we’ll break down what it takes to get cast on a show like “Palm Royale,” including insight into the casting process from the series’ veteran casting directors and audition advice from its top talent.


What is “Palm Royale” about?

The new series takes place within Palm Beach’s elite club, Palm Royale. As Maxine Simmons (Kristen Wiig) works her way into the upper echelon of high society in 1969, our underdog must rebuild her identity after both her husband and social circle toss her aside. However, as she climbs this metaphorical ladder, Maxine has to grapple with how much she’s willing to sacrifice personally in order to achieve the life and status she desires socially.

Who is in the cast of “Palm Royale”?

“Palm Royale” boasts an all-star ensemble, featuring:

  • Kristen Wiig as Maxine Simmons
  • Ricky Martin as Robert
  • Josh Lucas as Douglas D’ellacourt Simmons
  • Leslie Bibb as Dinah Donahue
  • Laura Dern as Linda Shaw
  • Allison Janney as Evelyn Rollins
  • Julia Duffy as Mary Jones Davidsoul
  • Kaia Gerber as Mitzi
  • Claudia Ferri as Raquel
  • Jordan Bridges as Perry Donahue
  • Dominic Burgess as Grayman
  • Jason Canela as Eddie
  • Mindy Cohn as Ann Holiday
  • Bellina Logan as Rita
  • Rick Cosnett as Tom Sanka 
  • Wesley Mann as Benny Barnhill 
  • Carol Burnett as Norma D’ellacourt
  • Bruce Dern as Skeet

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Who is the casting director for “Palm Royale”?

Kerry Barden and Paul Schnee of Barden/Schnee Casting, Inc. serve as CDs on “Palm Royale.”

Since the pandemic, Barden and Schnee have seen an influx of self-tapes, but Barden said his expectations are the same: If you want to excel, you must be willing to listen.

“Be able to incorporate whatever notes you’re getting, process them, and then change whatever you did in the first take,” Barden told us. “Actors get in their heads—we all know that. If they’ve got an idea of what they want to do and they do it, and then if they don’t listen and hear what’s given to them to transform the character, sometimes they’ll do the exact same thing. Just take those moments after your first take and relax back into the discovery of the character; that’s an important transition for [your] second take.

“They also are dealing with a reader, usually, so listening to the reader and listening to what the reader is throwing at them is going to make a little bit of [a] transition in their approach to the scene as well,” he continued. “I think the most important [skill] for an actor is to be able to listen and then incorporate what they’re experiencing, what they’re hearing, [and] what they’re being given.”

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How does the casting process work for “Palm Royale”?

When you’re a comedic legend like Burnett, auditions are unnecessary. And knowing the plot? Well, that’s secondary to knowing the cast for her. Burnett told Deadline, “All I had to do was hear who was going to be in it: Kristen [Wiig], Laura [Dern], Ricky [Martin]—it’s just an incredible cast. I didn’t even read the script. I wanted to work with these people and get to know them. We had dinner and a lot of fun. Of course, in the first few episodes, I’m in a coma and I still got paid. So it was a slam dunk.”

Of course, she’s not without her jokes. “I did read the script; I was kidding before. To read that [script] and to know that I could have fun with the directors and the way it was written… And they let me do what I do. Well, playing doctor [with Ricky] was in the script, which I know sounds kind of lascivious, but they really did play doctor,” she added. “Ricky in some of those scenes was just heaven.”

For those without decades of experience, don’t feel discouraged if you don’t land a role right away with Barden and Schnee. As Schnee told us, “I'll keep bringing someone in forever; I don't care how long it takes.” So if you make an impression but don’t land the role, the opportunity might not end there.

“If there’s someone whose work I like, I will keep calling them in no matter what,” Schnee explained. “There’s no real time limit for me. I realize that all directors and casting directors have different tastes, so it’s subjective. The things that stop me from calling people in repeatedly are behavior—not being prepared, always being late or less than polite or pleasant. As long as the work is good, it doesn’t matter to me how long someone goes without booking something.”

It also doesn’t hurt to be weird. “It’s really just a gut feeling. I’m drawn to what I like,” Schnee added. “Someone to whom I just respond personally. I tend to like actors who are somewhat offbeat, I guess—actors who don’t look like they just stepped out of an Abercrombie & Fitch catalog. I like actors who don’t look or behave like actors—like if I saw them at Fairway, I’d have to think for a second about where I know them from. I like actors and comics who come off as smart, who seem like thinkers, and maybe just a little weird. I like weird.”

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Where can you find similar casting calls and auditions?

As of now, “Palm Royale” hasn't been renewed for a second season. However, AppleTV+ is not without its opportunities as the streamer continues to produce top-tier content. 

If you’re interested in learning how to audition for an AppleTV+ series or film, check out our guide here. You can also bookmark our main casting page and this roundup of streaming gigs for the latest open casting calls and auditions.

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What are the best audition tips for landing a role on “Palm Royale”?

Love what you do and do what you love: Barden spends his days meeting actors at every stage of their careers, but no matter your experience level, he has one essential piece of advice: Love what you do. “It’s a difficult journey, and there are just so many people out there who want to do it,” he said. “One of the important things for actors to do is to act. They’re in a community of other artists; they should do readings or take classes or find an acting coach that they love and get together with other actors. It can be very competitive, but it’s mostly supportive. I think actors are hoping that their friends get work.

“Also, look at people’s work; it’s so easy to access a director’s work when you’re up for an audition. You not only should have a script, but also know the director’s work and what kind of tone they usually work in, if that’s something they do,” Barden added. “You can Google anything nowadays. I was doing a film called ‘Shot,’ and one of the small but very important roles was a paramedic, and this guy came in and he nailed it. I said, ‘How did you make this so specific?’ And he said, ‘I Googled it. I had no idea what a paramedic does.’ It’s not just saying lines. My mother can say lines, but she’s not an actor.”

Don’t take yourself too seriously: As Lucas told us, loosening up and letting go just might be the key to landing an amazing opportunity. “The idea [is to] take the work super seriously and take yourself less seriously,” the actor explained. “I really think I found myself struggling as a young actor, like, ‘I’m serious, I’m serious.’ And it’s like, ‘Eh, that didn’t help me at all.’ But what did help me was taking the work seriously.

“I’ve done two movies with Christian Bale, who I think is easily one of the greatest actors on earth, and that guy—he’s a wonderful guy. He’s humble, and he’s incredibly serious about what he does as work and his process, but he doesn’t take himself too seriously,” he continued. “And I’ve found the greatest actors I’ve worked with in my life can be a lot of fun and can be really good, gentle people.”

Surround yourself with like-minded people: As Bibb said, “We always need to be talking to people about acting. I just think we never have it figured out. We can always be better. Get together with your friends and read a play. You know, watch lots of movies…go sit in theaters and watch a movie.”

Janney has echoed Bibb’s sentiment, explaining that actively engaging with your peers supports both your development and theirs—and you never know where that can lead. “Keep studying improv or scene study classes, or keep yourself involved with a group of people who are doing the same thing that you’re doing,” Janney said. “Get involved in a theater company and always be in a community of people who are doing the same. You never know who you’re going to meet and who’s going to introduce you to someone who’s going to take you in the right direction.”