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Rainn Wilson was almost cast as GOB
June 10, 2007 10:53 AM   Subscribe

Between the resounding reception of Knocked Up and the anticipation of Superbad (NSFW), this is looking to be the summer of Judd Apatow. So in celebration, I present to you Ms. Allison Jones, the casting genius behind not just those two movies, but Arrested Development, Freaks and Geeks, and The Office as well. (Also, Family Ties, the Golden Girls...) We thank you, Allison, for Pam-and-Jim (Spoiler alert), for George-Michael Bluth, and for Bill Haverchuck. Oh yeah, and she cast Borat, too.
posted by Navelgazer (37 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
What? Surely not THAT Superbad?!
posted by JHarris at 10:57 AM on June 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


I always wondered why the people in charge of casting always seem to come very early in the order of the opening credits, usually immediately following the names of the primary stars. I'm aware that casting is a vital and essental component, but is it more important than cinematography and direction? I know it's tradition for the director credit to be the last of the opening credits, but why does the casting director always get the first spot after the big name stars? How is this order decided anyway?
posted by Rhomboid at 11:00 AM on June 10, 2007


Well, she is a genius then, because Apatow's cast is always phenomenal and Arrested Development was pitch perfect in its casting. It is rare that I think, wow, what great casting, but I seem to have had those thoughts in almost everything Ms. Jones has cast. Thanks for the post, I didn't know she was behind all this.
posted by Falconetti at 11:01 AM on June 10, 2007


I've been hearing a lot of hype about superbad, but I must say I wasn't wowed by that trailer.
posted by ORthey at 11:04 AM on June 10, 2007


Thanks for the post. She's done several Curb episodes as well (and was nominated for an Emmy for them), and maybe more that iMDB doesn't list.

And thanks to Allison Jones for so many great casts!
posted by supercres at 11:05 AM on June 10, 2007


After the names of the stars, credits go in reverse order of importance. The closer you are to the body of work, the more important you are (which is why the director is the last opening credit).
posted by notmydesk at 11:16 AM on June 10, 2007


OTOH, it's not like casting for Apatow is that difficult. You just go down the cast list of Freaks & Geeks and check who's available.
posted by smackfu at 11:20 AM on June 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh man, the "redband" trailer for superbad had me laughing so hard I had to cover my mouth to keep from spilling coffee on my keyboard, excellent
posted by oddman at 11:22 AM on June 10, 2007


Whether Superbad is superbad or not, I want to write Ms. Jones a letter of thanks.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 11:40 AM on June 10, 2007


Is she available to do casting for people's personal lives? I for one could always use more antics.
posted by tepidmonkey at 11:59 AM on June 10, 2007


After the names of the stars, credits go in reverse order of importance.

That's kind of what I'd figured, but it never made sense that you would transition from the biggest names attached to the movie right into those of least importance -- or at least smallest significance of those in the front credits, which tend to be pretty important people nevertheless. But still it's like counting to ten as: 10, 1, 2, 3 ... 9. But I certainly can understand where the alternatives don't make much sense either: If you put the stars' names last, it would feel like an insult, as would starting with the least significant names before anything else. On the other hand what would make perfect sense to me would be to go in strictly descending order: stars, director, DP, ... But then there's this "being close to the work" idea that doesn't personally seem to have any relevance but I've seen it come up before so it must be important to someone.
posted by Rhomboid at 12:18 PM on June 10, 2007


Here is a quick answer from Salon about movie credit order, Rhomboid. It's one of those questions with an uninteresting set of answers having to do with tradition within the industry and with people's egos.
posted by cgc373 at 12:23 PM on June 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


That Slate review of Knocked Up is pretty great.
posted by mediareport at 12:41 PM on June 10, 2007


OTOH, it's not like casting for Apatow is that difficult. You just go down the cast list of Freaks & Geeks and check who's available.
posted by smackfu


True enough, but remember that she also cast F&G originally, so you still have to give her some credit for that.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:44 PM on June 10, 2007


God, that clip of Bill from Freaks and Geeks is great.

"You cut me off mid-funk!"
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:49 PM on June 10, 2007


Knocked Up was great. I'll go see Superbad.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 1:13 PM on June 10, 2007


That Slate review of Knocked Up is pretty great.

What was great about it? In particular I don't get the part where she criticizes the movie for not mentioning abortion -- there's a whole scene (albeit a relatively brief one) where Allison has lunch with her mother who implores her to have one.
posted by ludwig_van at 1:14 PM on June 10, 2007


I guess if you've never seen a TV sitcom or a comedy film, Knocked-Up would be a great film.

Otherwise... it's just a re-tread of every joke, gag, bit, situation, etc on that subject matter.

Completely unoriginal and therefore unfunny.
posted by wfc123 at 1:34 PM on June 10, 2007


What was great about it? In particular I don't get the part where she criticizes the movie for not mentioning abortion -- there's a whole scene (albeit a relatively brief one) where Allison has lunch with her mother who implores her to have one.

Maybe she got up to take a piss, because the movie I saw had about 5 minutes of abortion talk.

Although she was dead-on about the crowning shots.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 1:35 PM on June 10, 2007


cgc373, that is an awesome article!
posted by JHarris at 1:45 PM on June 10, 2007


I managed to see an early screening of Superbad -- it wasn't as spectacular as any of the other projects mentioned here, and indeed had the feeling of a project that got made largely because of the prior success and connections of the creators, as opposed to its inherent worth.

Which isn't to say it wasn't good -- I laughed my ass off through much of it, and you really can't go wrong with Seth Rogen or Michael Cera. It just sort of seemed like a vanity project that happened to be entertaining.

(Oh, and also, with the exception of everything I like, all entertainment and creative endeavor -- be it music, film, art, what have you -- lies on a scale somewhere between "totally sucks" and "totally unremarkable.")
posted by hifiparasol at 2:15 PM on June 10, 2007


::Bill Haverchuck, not to be confused with Dale Hawerchuck wp From the !?? 'documentary,' Death by Popcorn ~
posted by acro at 2:23 PM on June 10, 2007


Full documentary [here.]
posted by acro at 2:44 PM on June 10, 2007


There's a lot of discussion of Apatow in this recent Onion A.V. club feature: Is Improvisation Ruining Film Comedy?
posted by teleskiving at 3:10 PM on June 10, 2007


All of the shows mentioned have fantastic casts. I'm tempted to start following her career more than a director or actor.
posted by graventy at 3:28 PM on June 10, 2007


Let's also give a tip of the casting hat to Deborah Barylski,* who cast the pilot and first season of Development (in all, 31 of 53 episodes), helping set the warped tone for the entire run. Indeed, Deb and Geraldine Leder (yup, Mimi's sister), who co-cast some of the season 1 eps, shared the 2004 casting Emmy. Deb specializes in junior thesps, and so is in great demand to cast kid-heavy sitcoms (War at Home, Life with Bonnie, Home Improvement, etc.).

*Disclaimer: Deb's a friend, and a lovely person.
posted by rob511 at 3:48 PM on June 10, 2007


Some credit order placement is decided by unions. For instance, writer credit immediately precedes director credit or the Writers' Guild freaks.
posted by dobbs at 4:16 PM on June 10, 2007


"My back is located on my cock."

OK, I have to see this now.
posted by bardic at 4:27 PM on June 10, 2007


Jones is one of the names I always notice in credits--it nearly always means excellence. She seems to have an unerring instinct for picking the right actor.

She also apparently really appreciates solid character work, which makes me happy. Some critics are snobbish about character actors, but I'll take a Tony Hale or a Rainn Wilson any day.
posted by EarBucket at 4:30 PM on June 10, 2007


Metafilter: !??
posted by JHarris at 5:07 PM on June 10, 2007


I started to read the Slate review, but I was totally put off by how goddamn pretentious the writer sounds. I consider myself to have a decent-sized vocabulary, and yet twice in the first 5 paragraphs I was forced to go look up words.
"uxorious"? "divagate"? Who the hell uses words like this in regular speech? I'm all for not dumbing things down, but it seems like the writer intentionally went to the dictionary seeking uncommon words for common concepts.
posted by nightchrome at 7:56 PM on June 10, 2007


Everyone in here okay with a bit of a tangent? Because I wanted to share this magnificent thing, but it didn't seem worthy of a post all by itself or anything. Okay?

Okay: so Canada's most vapid journalist, Rebecca Eckler, is suing Apatow for stealing her material, and the essay in which she explains why is one of the most magnificent bits of accidental humour ever written.

Even better was the piece in our local paper- she lives here in Calgary - in which she explained to the reporter that she had no interest in publicity, it was just such an egregious affront to her art that it had to be redressed, see? In the print version, this appeared beneath an artful quarter-page studio portrait of her and her daughter, which was tagged with the photo credit "Courtesy Rebecca Eckler."

I'm working on a comedy about a talentless Canadian journalist who sues successful Hollywood directors in a desparate last-ditch attempt to salvage a joke of a career. I'm willing to let the cast improve - I mean improv - the script if they'd like.

Allison Jones, please hope me.
posted by gompa at 8:34 PM on June 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


I guess if you've never seen a TV sitcom or a comedy film, Knocked-Up would be a great film.

zing. just chiming in as well to say that nothing Judd's done since The Real World has been funny at all.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:09 AM on June 11, 2007


zing. just chiming in as well to say that nothing Judd's done since The Real World has been funny at all.

Umm, pretty sure Judd Apatow has never had anything to do with MTV's "The Real World." Perhaps you're thinking of Judd Winick, who is now a major comics writer?
posted by Bluecoat93 at 4:53 PM on June 11, 2007


Whooosh.
posted by smackfu at 5:41 PM on June 11, 2007


All you 'Freaks & Geeks' fans out there should check out the short film 'American Storage', available on Wholphin #2. It stars Martin Starr ("Bill" from Freaks & Geeks) and was directed by Andew Jay Cohen.

Andrew Jay Cohen studied film at Yale University, worked at Creative Artists Agency, then on the basis of a spec commercial he directed while working at CAA, went on to work for director Adrian Lyne on Unfaithful. He has worked the past three years with Judd Apatow, producing the DVDs for Apatow's critically-acclaimed television shows "Freaks and Geeks" and "Undeclared." Most recently, he served as Associate Producer on The 40-Year-Old Virgin, starring Steve Carell, and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, starring Will Ferrell. "American Storage" was an official selection at this year's HBO Aspen Comedy Arts Festival.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 9:21 AM on June 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm definitely going to check out that short film with Martin Starr! Thanks, Fuzzy Monster.

Oh, and gompa, good call re: Rebecca Eckler's ridiculous column in Maclean's about how Judd Apatow plagiarized from her book: that is an idiotic piece of writing. I have no love lost for Eckler anyway--she annoys the hell out of me--but truly, how many times could she mention her weight in that essay? It has no relevance to anything!

"I'm Rebecca Eckler and I think Judd Apatow plagiarized the book I wrote because I'm the only person who's ever written about an unplanned pregnancy! And by the way I only weigh 98 pounds! Apatow's movie features a TV host who has a one-night stand with a stranger and gets pregnant, and my book features a newspaper reporter who gets pregnant by her fiance! The stories are identical! Oh, and by the way, I've been so upset that I've actually lost ten pounds since this whole thing started. I'm so thin."

BAH.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 4:25 PM on June 13, 2007


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