CASTING [SCMS Panel] 7/31/09; 3/17/10-3/21/10; Los Angeles

full name / name of organization: 
Erin Lee Mock
contact email: 

Star Studies shook up auteur-based film criticism by suggesting that actors – through the manipulation of their images by studios, directors, and the stars themselves – were both collaborators and instruments in film and media projects. Equally groundbreaking was the claim that a star's importance could stretch beyond a single film. Critical to Star Studies is, of course, the "star": a cultural icon whose image is built through the combination of his filmic catalogue with his biography and extra-filmic output, including product sponsorship, charity work, and interviews. Canonical works of Star Studies focused on figures like Charlie Chaplin, Marilyn Monroe, Paul Robeson, Humphrey Bogart, Clint Eastwood. But what about James Gandolfini or Diane Keaton? Or even David Paymer or Margaret Hamilton? That an actor – rather than an icon – could make an equally complex contribution is only now being amply theorized. This panel seeks to build upon the work of Star Studies scholars to understand the function of actors and casting in film and television.

Possible paper topics include:

cross-genre and cross-medium casting
the casting director as creative
casting with or against type
the character actor
the casting of non-actors (amateurs, musicians, models)
the ensemble
actor biographies and memoirs
the director/actor, silent-era to present
"breakout" performances
cross-gender and cross-racial casting
the impact of age and aging on casting decisions
actor training and its impact on film performance
celebrity culture in the post-stardom era
actors and their "defining" roles
actor-centered fan cultures
the long or short career
"good" or "bad" acting
the role of beauty in casting
director-actor relationships
the extra
the economics of casting
casting the nonfiction film or reality show
portrayals of acting and actors in film and television

250 word proposals due August 30 to Erin Lee Mock. Please send to