Paul Newman and Robert Redford as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid; Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman as Joe Buck and Ratso Rizzo; Carroll O’Connor and Jean Stapleton as Archie and Edith Bunker. . . One woman had a hand in these great castings (and many others) but odds are you probably have never heard her name. Marion Dougherty was a pioneer in the field of casting before the job even received a significant credit. She established herself in the early 1960s with two groundbreaking television series — Naked City and Route 66 — that gave early breaks to a whole generation of New York actors. She went on to become the go-to casting director for big-screen sensations as diverse as Midnight Cowboy, The World According to Garp, Lethal Weapon and Batman. She was eventually recruited to move to the West Coast to become the first female vice-president at Paramount.
Dougherty’s legacy finally receives the public recognition it deserves in Casting By, an essential new documentary that tells Dougherty’s story and shines a light on the unheralded importance of her field. Watching this film is to get an education on one of the most overlooked and least understood crafts in movie making. Interviewees include Glenn Close, Robert Duvall, Clint Eastwood, John Lithgow, Bette Midler and Robert Redford — to name only a few from a long list. We hear story after story of how Dougherty played a pivotal role in their careers. We also hear from directors such as Woody Allen, Norman Jewison and Martin Scorsese on what the casting process means. Beyond Dougherty’s own story, the film examines how casting offered a rare opportunity for women to gain entry to the film business. Yet despite its paramount importance to the industry, the craft has long struggled for recognition.
In this Mavericks event, we present the world premiere of Casting By, followed by a live conversation with people who were deeply affected by Dougherty, including casting director Ellen Lewis (Hugo, Hyde Park on Hudson) and Danny Glover, who was Dougherty’s bold casting choice for Lethal Weapon.