Veteran UK casting director Priscilla John Logan has launched Casting Pictures Limited with fellow casting executive Orla Maxwell Red Joan.
The duo have worked together for more than 20 years as casting director and co-casting director/associate and the new firm will mark the beginning of their casting director partnership. They will be supported by associates Francesca Bradley and Andreya Lynham.
Emmy-nominee John’s dozens of major credits include Logan, Mamma Mia! and Captain America: The First Avenger. Recent productions include British feature Red Joan; Red Production's eight-part Harlan Coben thriller Safe for Netflix; and Krypton seasons one & two for Warner Horizon/SyFy.
John commented, “Orla and I have been keen to form a company together for some time and Casting Pictures Limited can only reap the benefit of this efficient, fluent and dynamic team of casting directors and associates. We look forward to continuing and strengthening the working relationship we've built up over the years with our friends and colleagues in America, across Europe and of course UK.”
Maxwell added, “I feel lucky to have had one of the best trainings in the industry under Priscilla, one of the most prestigious and dynamic casting directors in the UK as her list of credits testify. Alongside Francesca and Andreya, Priscilla and I eagerly anticipate Casting Pictures Limited challenging us to explore the ever-changing global landscape that casting film or television now demands.”
For nine seasons, much of the reason that The Walking Dead has been so effective has been its series of menacing villains, from The Governor to the Terminus cannibals to The Wolves, Negan, and currently, Alpha, Beta, and the Whisperers. Meanwhile, over on Fear the Walking Dead, the villains have been weak and forgettable. This is not completely endemic to the Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg eras, either. Remember Shawn Hatosy's Andy, the soldier who shot Ofelia in the first season? Neither does anyone else. What about Celia in the second season? Or Alejandro, the pharmacist who claimed to have survived a zombie bite? Jeremiah Otto was a decent villain in the third season, and it appeared that Proctor John could have been a great villain, but his arc ended abruptly when Nick blew up the dam. The fourth season had The Vultures, who weren't particularly impressive — they didn't kill people so much as they just waited them out — followed by the Trash Lady, who may have been one of the saddest, most pathetic villains we have ever encountered in a drama of this nature. Her entire motivation was to kill people who tried to help other people because no one helped her husband when he was hurt in a traffic accident.
Somehow, the fifth season villain, Logan Matt Frewer, may actually be worse. He began the season as a promising villain, taking over Morgan's compound in the season premiere with what seemed to be a sinister agenda. We didn't find out until the midseason finale, however, that all he wanted was to know the location of Clayton's gas fields. Logan didn't even care about the compound and quickly gave it up.
In the midseason premiere, this so-called villain was easily duped when Sarah drove him out into the middle of nowhere and ditched him, forcing him to walk many, many miles to get back to the vicinity of Morgan. In last week's episode, one of Logan's henchmen was given a second chance and presumably transformed into a nice guy over the course of half an episode. Up until this week's episode, in fact, the worst thing that Logan has done so far was to have his people ... shoot up Wesley's motorcycle. He doesn't exactly strike a lot of fear in people.
In this week's episode, Morgan and Althea were forced to confront Logan and his people again after he created a roadblock with is 18-wheeler, preventing Morgan and Althea from helping out a character who had been shot. Did Logan and his people — all armed with weapons — pose a threat to Morgan and Althea? No, not really. He could have threatened to kill Althea if Morgan wouldn't tell him where the oil fields were. He could've tortured either one of them in an effort to gain information from them. Instead, all he did was to force Althea and Morgan to ... find an alternate route. In fact, though Logan's people had all the weapons, it was actually Morgan who assaulted Logan after Logan mentioned Morgan's wife and kid.
We still don't have a good idea of what Logan's motivations are, either, beyond needing gas. Why does he need gas? We still don't know, either. We only know, according to Logan, that his plan is “bigger than [Morgan]. It's bigger than [the] caravan. But it is gonna help people, just not in a way that [Morgan] is going to like. It's big boy and big girl stuff.”
That's it. That's all we know about Logan's plan, eleven episodes into the season. That his need for gas is “big boy and big girl” stuff. By the end of the episode, Logan also thinks he's found a way to locate the gas fields so that he can execute his “big boy” plan. Is he going to kill someone? Torture someone? Trick someone? Kidnap someone?
Nope. He's gonna watch Althea's videos. That's his evil, insidious plan to locate the gas: He's going to watch a bunch of videotapes. Terrifying.
[Editor’s note: The following post contains spoilers for the Netflix original movie “The Perfection.”]
Netflix has landed another word-of-mouth hit thanks to writer-director Richard Shepard’s horror-thriller “The Perfection,” starring Allison Williams opposite “Dear White People” breakout Logan Browning. Williams stars as a troubled music prodigy who befriends Browning’s rising cellist for mysterious reasons. “The Perfection” ends with the two women teaming up to take down Steven Weber’s Anton, a world-renowned music teacher who is revealed to be a rapist. Anton sexually assaults his most gifted students, including Williams and Browning’s characters. The duo decide not to kill Anton but get revenge by amputating his legs and arms, sowing his mouth shut, and forcing him to listen to his students’ music for the rest of his life.
“Given how powerless they felt on that stage for so many years, to be back up there and take that power back while taking all of Anton's away was the most poetic thing they could imagine,” Williams recently told Entertainment Weekly about the film’s graphic final twist. “By rendering Anton senseless — with the exception of his mind and ability to hear — they imprison him in a way that they felt silenced for so long — and he must listen. He has no choice. They have full control.”
Browning admitted that she originally pushed back on the idea to let Anton survive, even if he was going to now live in a mutilated state. As the actress explained, “I remember discussing and debating with Richard about whether or not Anton lives. I was adamant about the fact that I didn't want him to live. After filming that, I wanted the satisfaction and catharsis of his life ending. Not that I agree with that in real life, but for the movie's sake and that character's trauma, I wanted him gone.”
“Richard thought it was important to have all of Anton's access removed from him: We took all limbs — including what a man thinks is his most powerful limb — and only left his ears, forcing him to listen to women,” Browning continued. “He can hear their cello no matter how good or bad it is. It was very emotional for me because I know so many people in my life who have been abused in a variety of ways, specifically sexually, mentally, and physically. I felt like a superhero for everyone who's ever experienced that.”
Williams agreed that leaving Anton alive was the most “fitting” ending because “it's more torturous to put him through this” than to simply kill the character off. The “Girls” actress said it spoke to both characters’ “power, control, dominance, and urgency” that they would decide not to kill Anton but force him to have to listen to women for the rest of his life.
“He's probably not long for the world,” Williams said of Anton. “In many ways, it's more torturous to put him through this. It just makes it so that they can send him off totally on their own terms with having had a final say.”
Everybody loves ABBA — and that includes every race, gender, religion and every kind of person under the sun. That said, it’s no wonder that Mamma Mia!, a Broadway show that turned into Universal movie musical and a sequel that garnered box office success and acclaim among the masses. As the nation’s longest-running professional theater of color producing Asian American artistic work., the Los Angeles-based theater group East West Players EWP saw an opportunity to not only put on a production of the popular jukebox musical for their 53rd anniversary season but to switch things up with a majority Asian cast.
In a time when Hollywood sees a craving and demand for inclusive casting, East West Players answered the call to action by doing something that many would be considered bold: cast a musical that traditionally stars white actors with non-white actors. In other words, East West Players Hamilton‘d Mamma Mia!
EWP’s season reflects on the theme of “culture shock” and Producing Artistic Director Snehal Desai said he was excited to bring this production to the stage adding that the Asian American-led cast challenges the perception of who is perceived as an American abroad and “exploring the culture shock we often feel in our own families generationally.”
Grace Yoo as Sophie in EWP’s production of “Mamma Mia!” Steven Lam
For those who haven’t seen the celebratory musical event that sculpts the iconic, disco-infused music and lyrics from ABBA’s Benny Andersson & Björn Ulvaeus into a narrative, Mamma Mia! follows a woman named Sophie played with the crystalline-voiced Grace Yoo who, on the day before her wedding, is on a quest to discover the identity of her real father. In order to do that, she invites three men from her mother’s past back to the Greek island they last visited 20 years ago. Her mom, Donna played with phenomenal diva heft by Joan Almedilla has since put them out of her mind as she runs her fabulous villa and lives her best life in Greece. When her daughter comes back with her friends, husband-to-be and a trio of maybe-fathers, her world is thrown for a loop and the best way to cope with all those feelings is to randomly break out into ABBA songs, obviously.
L-R Elvira Barjau, Joan Almedilla and Anthea Neri in EWP’s production of “Mamma Mia!” Steven Lam
Directed by Desai and based on the book by Catherine Johnson, EWP’s production of Mamma Mia! debuted right in time for Asian Pacifica American Month and is an inclusive story in its own way in that it tells the story of two female leads — but it is often told with a majority white cast. With EWP’s production, it doesn’t take anything away from musical or its message but adds to it by broadening its horizons. With its Asian-led cast, it allows new and existing audiences to see themselves in this story of the intergenerational family relationships and happily-ever-after love set to the tune of ABBA jams.
As Desai points out, creating space for marginalized voices in entertainment can be an arduous task that makes us feel heavy and forlorn. Mamma Mia! tells the story of a foreigner in another country, the loneliness that comes with that and the customs and traditions that we bring with us. With its inclusive casting, EWP showcases this by spotlighting Asian culture — specifically Filipino culture. With the mother and daughter being of Filipino heritage in this iteration musical, there are shades of the culture in the production including mannerisms, language, the folk dance the “tinikling” as well as fashion seen in the during the wedding scene with the traditional B arong Tagalog as well as a disco-fied Maria Clara gown during the show’s encore. All add cultural nuance in a story that is ultimately universal, moving the needle of representation and proving that it’s not necessarily about colorblind casting but more about inclusive casting. EWP’s Mamma Mia! challenges the status quo and proves that widening the field to include marginalized communities in roles in plays, films, and television typically played by white actors will not take away anything from the source material, but add depth and culture .
The production of Mamma Mia! is supported by S. Mark Taper Foundation Endowment for East West Players and features musical direction by Marc Macalintal, and choreography by Preston Mui. The musical has extended its run at the David Henry Hwang Theater in downtown Los Angeles through June 16.