Schenectady County

Aspiring actresses will get chance in new casting call

Scottish Director Kevin MacDonald could pull his lead actress from a casting call being hosted in Sc

Scottish Director Kevin MacDonald could pull his lead actress from a casting call being hosted in Schenectady this weekend, even though he does not expect to shoot any of “How I Live Now” in the Capital Region.

The production is hosting a casting call Ellis Medicine’s School of Nursing on Erie Boulevard at noon Sunday with the hope of finding a white teenage girl or young woman to star in the film, expected to begin outside London next spring.

Schenectady Film Commission Co-Chairman Don Rittner acknowledged the call is going out nationwide. But he said the New York City-based casting company will travel to Schenectady to review candidates.

“The fact that they want to come to Schenectady and do it in person is cool,” he said Wednesday.

The film is based on Meg Rosoff’s award-wining novel of the same title published in 2004. The American-born author living in London received acclaim for the book, including a Guardian Award and a Michael L. Printz Award, both of which are given to young adult literature.

Rosoff’s book follows the life of a Manhattan girl named Daisy, who is sent to live on a remote farm in England shortly before the outbreak of World War III. The plot tracks Daisy’s coming-of-age during wartime and how she puts the pieces of her life back together afterward.

MacDonald, who won an Academy Award for the documentary “One Day in September,” was announced as the director in January. Rosoff said she was thrilled about the choice.

“Let’s put it this way, if you mention his name to people in the film business, their jaded, haunted eyes shoot open and they look at you with new respect and want to be your friend. Which is nice,” she wrote on her website.

Rittner said Schenectady was chosen for the casting call largely because of the success Derek Cianfrance’s “The Place Beyond the Pines” had in finding local people for the production.

He said the Cindy Tolan Agency out of New York was impressed by the June casting and wanted to return.

“They see this area as an important place to do casting, and that’s a major statement,” he said. “Now they’re looking at this area for a potential place to find actors.”

And finding actors could be just the beginning, Rittner said. Earlier this month, the New York State Film Commission approved the former Bruno Machinery warehouse in Troy as a qualified production facility.

Rittner said the sprawling building owned by former Hollywood Film producer and developer Sandy Horwitz can now be used by productions interested in seeking state tax credits for filming in New York. He’s hoping the new designation offers further incentive for companies to film in the Capital Region, rather than more costly areas of the state.

“It’s a place where they can build sets for less money,” he said.

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