How to Get Cast on ‘Poker Face’

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Photo Source: Sarah Shatz/Peacock

Don’t lie; you’re hooked on Peacock’s “Poker Face,” and it’s no mystery why. With two-time Oscar nominee Rian Johnson (“Knives Out”) at the helm, Natasha Lyonne (“Russian Doll”) starring, and a compelling murder-of-the-week format, this crime comedy has everything you could want from a TV show. The only thing that’s missing? You.

This guide will teach you everything you need to know about how to get cast on the next season of “Poker Face,” including audition advice from the show’s biggest names.


What is “Poker Face” about?

Like its classic predecessors, “Murder, She Wrote” and “Columbo,” “Poker Face” follows the case-of-the-week format that made Angela Lansbury and Peter Falk household names. 

The Peacock series stars Lyonne as Charlie Cale, a Nevada casino worker who is essentially a human lie detector. After getting wrapped up in the death of the casino’s owner (Adrien Brody), Charlie goes on the run to escape the clutches of hired assassin Cliff Legrand (Benjamin Bratt). As she road trips across America, she uses her gifts to solve murders at pit stops along the way. 

The series features tons of A-list guest stars, including the likes of Ellen Barkin, Hong Chau, Ron Perlman, Chloë Sevigny, Lil Rel Howery, Stephanie Hsu, Nick Nolte, and Judith Light. “Poker Face” is up for four statuettes at this year’s Emmys, including nominations for Lyonne and Light—so there’s plenty of buzz for Season 2.

Who’s in the cast of “Poker Face”?

Season 1 of “Poker Face” featured:

  • Natasha Lyonne as Charlie Cale
  • Benjamin Bratt as Cliff Legrand
  • Simon Helberg as Luca
  • Pedro Hollywood as Mike
  • Adrien Brody as Sterling Frost Jr.
  • Hong Chau as Marge
  • Ellen Barkin as Kathleen Townsend
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Trey Mendez
  • Ron Perlman as Sterling Frost, Sr.
  • Chloë Sevigny as Ruby Ruin
  • Nick Nolte as Arthur Liptin
  • Judith Light as Irene Smothers
  • Lil Rel Howery as Taffy Boyle
  • Cherry Jones as Laura
  • Tim Meadows as Michael Graves
  • Dascha Polanco as Natalie Hill
  • S. Epatha Merkerson as Joyce Harris
  • Stephanie Hsu as Morty
  • Clea DuVall as Emily Cale
  • Rhea Perlman as Beatrix Hasp

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Who are the casting directors for “Poker Face”?

Mary Vernieu and Bret Howe (of Betty Mae Casting) and Christine Kromer (of Kromer Casting) are the CDs for the series. Here’s what you can expect in their audition room:

“I’m big about giving people another shot. I’ll always see someone again,” Vernieu told us. “People are growing every day as actors; they’re learning every day. It’s all about seeing the potential in someone, and they’re maybe not going to be exactly right for the part. But if they’re a good actor and they’re working hard, I try to recognize and reward that by continuing to bring them back until we can find something that they’re right for.”

She also values a positive attitude and a willingness to put in the hard work. “I always say to leave the work in the room, because there are a million reasons why someone doesn’t get a part, and a lot of times it doesn’t have anything to do with them,” she explained. “I think it’s important to maintain a positive attitude. It’s rough out there, and you just have to keep at it. The right thing will come along if you’re working hard and trying.”

When Kromer’s involved, actors can expect “a good time.” She told us, “I really like actors to know that the time they’re in my room is theirs. I’m very open to answering questions; I’m very open to working on it a couple of times if they’re having a moment. A lot of people get so nervous, and I really want to make sure they know that coming in for me is going to be fun and warm, and I’m on their side. Auditioning is very difficult and very stressful, and I’ve heard audition horror stories from many people that I would never, ever imagine doing to someone. I just want people to come in a little nervous but leave happy.”

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Where can you find “Poker Face” casting calls and auditions?

“Poker Face” Season 2 is currently casting with us. Per our notice, the series is looking for Tri-State talent, aged 9–99, to portray bikers, go-go dancers, beachgoers, and more. Filming will take place between July 1 and 15 in New York City. Pay is $176–$226. You can apply directly to this gig here

The series also turned to Backstage to fill multiple background roles on Season 1, including people attending a movie event and casino patrons.

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What are the best audition tips for landing a role on “Poker Face”?

Know your worth. “Our specificity ultimately makes us ourselves. That’s enough. We get to self-dictate that we have an underlying worthiness just by virtue of existing. Once I can kind of understand that you don’t get to tell me who I am or what I’m worth…that ultimately frees me up to do even better work, be less afraid, and be a greater collaborator,” Lyonne told us

Come in with confidence. “I don’t have to do much anymore, but what really used to work for me was walking into the room with the mindset that the job was already mine,” Bratt told us

“I used to imagine the producers, the director, anyone in the room—they want me to be the guy, because then, their job is over. And I would walk in—not with cockiness, but with an assuredness that indicated to them that, yes, I am the right actor for the role. And sometimes it would work and sometimes it wouldn’t.

“Having been on the other side of the process: Be prepared,” he added. “I would memorize my lines and hold the pages in my hand to indicate that it’s not the final performance. But if the audition is being taped, they want your eyes. And the last thing I always think about is: Don’t be a chatty Charlie. I promise you, no one in the room wants to know about or understand your process. They just don’t care. If they engage you, be engaging back; but be about the work. [If you] come in and get it done, that usually makes the biggest impression.”

Be open to direction, and always be respectful of the CDs’ time. “I have had people get really defensive about their choices, and I’m there to try to help them get a job. Any direction or type of feedback you’re getting in the room is because we like you; it’s not because you’ve done something wrong,” Kromer told us

“The other thing I’ve seen that is a no-no is being hours late with a lame excuse,” she added. “My favorite line was: ‘But I thought it was a suggested time’—when they were three hours late for an audition. Be a real human beyond being an actor. It’s the same way you’d treat any other appointment: Be on time, have your stuff ready, and once you’re in the room, have fun.”

Say yes, and let your experience do the rest. “I think what I learned over time was that a career cannot be the career that you have in your head. It has to be the career that you have in your experience,” Judith Light told us. “When I started, I said, ‘I’m only going to do theater and…feature films.’ I was blind to the differences and the challenges of what path my career would actually take. That was when I realized that I wasn’t in control of this—that I had to learn to say yes to things that I didn’t necessarily want to say yes to. But those were the things that actually changed my life and…my career.”

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