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Filming in New York: Getting Cast in Gotham

New York is the location to beat for numerous film and TV series. This all-casting directors panel offers inside knowledge and advice on getting seen and getting cast. Moderated by Simi Horwitz.

Speakers include:

* Anson Mount, actor
* Geoffrey Soffer, Geoffrey Soffer Casting, "Ugly Betty," "Legend of the Seeker"
* Jonathan Strauss, Jonathan Strauss Casting, "Law & Order: SVU"
* Todd Thaler, Todd Thaler Casting, "The Caller," "Queens Supreme," "Pollock"


Anson Mount, actor
Anson Mount was most recently seen in the feature film "Cook County," on which he also served as producer. He recently wrapped production on the upcoming feature film "Straw Dogs" opposite James Woods. He is widely known for his starring role as Deputy District Attorney Jim Steele on the new NBC drama "Conviction," from producer Dick Wolfe. Mount made his feature film debut in the independent film "Tully." Following his debut, Mount was next seen starring opposite Britney Spears in Paramount Pictures' "Crossroads," directed by Tamara Davis. He also played opposite Robert DeNiro in the Warner Bros. film "City by the Sea," directed by Michael Caton-Jones.

His other film credits include "Poolhall Junkies," "Urban Legends: Final Cut," "In Her Shoes," "Warrior Class," "Walk the Talk," and "All the Boys Love Mandy Lane." He also co-starred in the Miramax film "Battle of Shaker Heights," as seen on the HBO series "Project Greenlight." TV credits include "Line of Fire," "Third Watch," "Sex and the City," "CSI: Miami," "Dollhouse," "Ally McBeal" and "Smallville." Onstage, he has been seen in Eugene O'Neill's "Mourning Becomes Electra" (The New Group), Jean Genet's "Elle," "Corpus Christi" (Drama League Award), "Cymbeline" (Public Theater) and "The Caucasian Chalk Circle" (La Mama/ETC).

Geoffrey Soffer, casting director
Geoffrey Soffer is the casting director of the hit ABC TV series "Ugly Betty" and "The Beautiful Life," a scripted series produced by Ashton Kutcher on The CW. From 2003-2008, he was a casting executive at ABC where his credits include the New York casting of "Ugly Betty"; "Dirty Sexy Money"; "Miss/Guided" (produced by Ashton Kutcher); "Army Wives" (Lifetime); "Legend of the Seeker"; as well as many pilots, movies of the week, and miniseries. Prior to joining ABC, Geoff served as casting associate for the Tony Award-winning Roundabout Theater Company.

Since 2003, he has been an instructor at Brown University/Trinity Rep's MFA Acting program, at which he teaches a TV audition class. He has lectured or taught throughout the country, including at the University of California at Irvine, Carnegie Mellon, Rutgers University, American University, Shenandoah University, Temple University, University of the Arts, and Howard University. He is a member of Casting Society of America.

Jonathan Strauss, Jonathan Strauss Casting
In just over a decade Jonathan Strauss has compiled quite an extensive film and television casting resume. Along with being the casting director for the NBC hit "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" for the past seven seasons, Jonathan has cast projects including Wayne Wang's "Maid in Manhattan" (with Jennifer Lopez and Ralph Fiennes) and the hit NBC series "Ed," for which he garnered an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Casting of a Comedy Series.

Most recently he cast the features "See You in September" (Justin Kirk, Estella Warren, Whoopi Goldberg); "Stateside" (Rachael Leigh Cook, Val Kilmer); the New York casting for "Prayers for Bobby," starring Sigourney Weaver; and "Because of Winn-Dixie" (Jeff Daniels, Cicely Tyson and Eva Marie Saint). Over the years Strauss has collaborated on dozens of projects with various casting directors, including "Wicker Park" (Josh Hartnett); Ed Harris' directorial debut "Pollock" (Ed Harris, Marcia Gay Harden); Gavin O'Connor's Sundance favorite "Tumbleweeds" (starring Janet McTeer, winner of the Golden Globe Award for best actress); Luc Besson's "Joan of Arc" (Milla Jovovich, Dustin Hoffman); and John Turturro's "Illuminata" (Turturro, Christopher Walken, Susan Sarandon).

In 2009, The Hollywood Reporter and Back Stage placed him as one of the Top 25 Power Casting Directors in Film and Television. In 2004, Ross Reports named Jonathan one of Television's Top 20 Casting Directors. Jonathan currently resides in New York City and is a member of the Casting Society of America and Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

Todd Thaler, casting director, Todd Thaler Casting
Todd Thaler's casting credits date back to 1986, but he started as a "go-fer" for Woody Allen's manager/producers. They soon promoted him to oversee background casting, a position he held on the next 14 of Mr. Allen's films, starting with "The Purple Rose of Cairo."

His principal casting credits include Luc Besson's "The Professional"; Todd Field's "Little Children"; Sidney Lumet's "Running on Empty"; Ed Harris' directorial debut "Pollock"; Barbra Streisand's "The Mirror Has Two Faces"; James Foley's "Perfect Stranger"; Stacy Cochran's "My New Gun" and "Boys"; Irwin Winkler's "Night and the City"; John McNaughton's "Mad Dog and Glory"; Gavin O'Connor's "Tumbleweeds"; John Turturro's "Mac," "Illuminata," and "Romance & Cigarettes"; James Mangold's "Heavy" and "Copland"; and Wayne Wang's "Because of Winn-Dixie," "Maid in Manhattan," and "A Thousand Years of Good Prayers."

He has also cast many projects for television, including Peter Berg's short-lived drama series "Wonderland" and the NBC comedy "Ed," for which he was nominated for an Emmy Award. For the past decade, he has been teaching at the Atlantic Theatre Company Acting School.


Simi Horwitz, features writer, Back Stage
Simi Horwitz has been at Back Stage for 12 years. Her beat is theater, film, and television. She regularly writes profiles of newsworthy personalities in the arts and covers behind-the-scenes trends, in addition to reviewing movies and conducting video interviews for the Back Stage website.

Horwitz won "The William H. Donaldson Editorial Achievement Award," a corporate prize for her Back Stage piece, "Ambivalence, Ambiguity, and Culture Shock—The Immigrant's Experience in Theatre." The story looks at how immigrant theater artists have to reinvent themselves—their expectations and career tactics—in order to make it in American theater. Prior to joining Back Stage, Ms. Horwitz was a feature writer for Theater Week for eight years and a frequent contributor to the Washington Post's TV Week.

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