“Where did you get all those hot girls?! Are they your friends?” I’ve been asked these questions a few times now after showing Adonis. Well, I wish they were my friends. Adonis is blessed with beautiful and talented actors because we made a concerted effort to make that happen. Thanks to our Adonis casting directors, we found the talent the old fashioned way: an audition.
Adonis takes place in a perfect world, on the outside…
The world of Adonis is basically a world of excess and appearances. It’s ridiculously colorful and cute. But, it’s also plastic and fake. The people that inhabit this world needed to be the same. They needed to be stunningly beautiful but perhaps, only on the surface. Adonis has to help Kip navigate these people and find the right match for him. Casting the actors was going to be a challenge because I didn’t just want them beautiful: they had to be REALLY beautiful and also had to make an impression. Each girl that Kip meets is his potential match and I wanted them to be likable (at first), distinctive from each other, and memorable. He meets a lot of pretty girls so the task was to fill Adonis to the brim.[vimeo]https://vimeo.com/45363904[/vimeo]
Casting Directors were the key to filling Adonis with beautiful actors
I suppose we could have put an ad on Craigslist to audition “hot girls.” Being that this is Southern California, we may have had a line around the block. But, as with every element of Adonis, I wanted to step this up. I wanted talented actors that could bring a bit more zest to these cartoon characters, especially when some of them appear for only a few seconds. Luckily, through the Lake Arrowhead Film Festival, I had met casting directors Chuck Marra and Megan Foley. Chuck and Megan run the Lake Arrowhead Repertory Theatre Company and down the mountain, they run a very influential casting agency, Foley-Marra Casting. They have done casting for some pretty famous names: Steven Spielberg, Tony Scott, Nick Cassavettes, John Frankenheimer, David Dibble…OK, I’m dreaming with that one, but theses guys are good. More important than their big name clients, they pass my number one test for working with people: they are nice! They are fun! I’ve always enjoyed visiting them in Lake Arrowhead and they have always offered to help on my projects. Adonis was the project that needed their help and they enthusiastically jumped aboard.
Step one was convincing me to make this a SAG project. I had never used the Screen Actors Guild on my personal projects. It meant requiring a ridiculous amount of paperwork. It meant having a bigger production staff to take care of the ridiculous amount of paperwork. It meant spending more money due to the ridiculous amount of paperwork. But it also meant a higher level of talent to choose from. I took the leap. Chuck and Megan set up a casting call and we had an audition for “hot girls” at the On Your Mark Studios in Sherman Oaks. 55 girls came to the audition. I definitely had a lot to choose from.
I thought the audition process was really fun. This is mostly because I just had to sit and smile while Chuck or Megan ran the actors through some ad libbing exercises. My producer, Erik Wong, brought his video camera so we could review the footage. Chuck and Megan would casually chat which each actor then have them “ooh” and “aw” to a stapler standing in as the dog. They would then ask each girl out and have them either reject or accept the invitation. I think the girls had fun playing mean “LA-types.”
You would think auditioning 55 pretty girls would be easy but it actually was quite tiring. A refreshing break came when Ray Stefanelli stepped in to audition as the Surfer. After being told his lines, he pulled out a towel and sunscreen, stripped off his shirt and poured water all over himself. He then went into a series of progressively sleazy pick up lines that had all of us laughing. Sold!
The Audition lead us to amazing people.
After going through the audition videos and head shots, I came up with a preliminary list for the casting. Megan and Chuck went over the list and helped me refine it and debate the choices. It was a tough choice and very difficult to have to pass on many of the actors. But, I think the casting was fantastic.
With the level of talent to choose from, Adonis was filled with a lot of extraordinary people. Hollie Winnard, who plays Megan, the first girl to reject Kip, comes from an impressive background modeling for high end magazines, playing Tinker Bell at Disneyworld, and multiple television appearances. Plus, she loves Star Trek and Doctor Who: the perfect girl?
Cooper Harris, who portrays Hailey, the girl who turns down low-carb ice cream, along with acting also produces, illustrates children’s books, plays fiddle and has been struck by lightning.
Murisa Harba, the girl Kip meets in the library, turned out to love playing nerds and has had training in clown school. This was a happy coincidence because the nerdy library girl gets tripped by Adonis and has to fall. She was a professional at falling!
Lisa Jay, the girl Mandy at the bar, was a regular on Days of Our Lives and even appeared with Charlie Sheen on Two and Half Men. Tess Taylor, who briefly appears as a girl rejecting Kip, was Playboy’s Cybergirl of the Year 2010 and has had her own reality TV show, Pretty Wild.
It was really thrilling having actors of this level on my little movie and I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with everyone on the set between takes and lighting setups. I felt bad that all of the roles were so small for these talented actors. But even if they just put on sunscreen lotion or only said “cute dog,” everyone added something special to Adonis and I am very thankful that they were part of this movie. I hope we can work again on bigger films in the near future.
Thanks to casting directors Megan Foley and Chuck Marra, Adonis has a brilliant cast that helps the movie sparkle.