Juicy tidbits for the armchair casting agent. Readers will devour this tome for its behind-the-scenes dramas, if not...




Casting couch? What casting couch?

Hollywood star-makers Hirshenson and Jenkins debunk that myth and many others in their from-the-trenches memoir. Times have changed since the studios made casting decisions in-house and moguls bedded their wannabe starlets in exchange for plum roles. Today, according to these longtime professional partners, it’s all business in the female-dominated, mostly freelance casting profession. In fact, filling the roles of a major film takes many arduous months and poses more maddening possibilities than a Sudoku puzzle. “Casting is a complicated, delicate, and almost alchemical business,” they write. “To be a good casting director, you need instinct, patience, and the ability to remember hundreds of diverse faces, voices, and performances.” Hirshenson and Jenkins are tops among the approximately 700 casting directors and associates working in the U.S. Their filmography, which includes everything from The Outsiders to The Da Vinci Code, indicates why they are among the most sought-after in the business; they have given first star turns to unknowns like Julia Roberts, Tom Cruise and the Harry Potter kids. But even the most astute talent scouts can make missteps: The pair admits to passing on future Oscar-winners George Clooney and Kevin Spacey. Among the most riveting vignettes are those from the strange and rather perverse field of children’s casting, where Hirshenson and Jenkins first encountered such eventual above-the-marquee names as Leonardo DiCaprio, Winona Ryder and Scarlett Johansson. Though the authors’ tales are often engaging and illuminating, their prose is pedestrian, and they can be sloppy, referring to Oscar nominee Laura Dern as an Oscar-winner and misspelling Steven Spielberg’s name multiple times.

Juicy tidbits for the armchair casting agent. Readers will devour this tome for its behind-the-scenes dramas, if not literary merit.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-15-101234-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2006

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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