Everwondered how movie stars come to be offered the roles that they play? Thought so. Just the man to answerthe question is Mike Fenton, currently Hollywood's top casting director and responsible for, amongst others, American Graffiti, Marathon Man, and every Steven Spielberg production since Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Talking to The List late lastyear, he explained that the start of the process is consultation with the director at the script stage; ‘You sit down and figure out general physical characteristics. Obviously, itthe script calls for someone tall and slim, you don't go for Sylvester Stallone. Next, you go away and make out a list of people you would ideally like for each role, and this list might include both established stars and lesser-known but talented actors or actresses. A starwill automatically guarantee you high exposure, and an audience- if people really want to see Dustin Hoffman, then they’ll go to his

movie even if the reviews have been

telling them it’s awful. You go back to the director and if he likes your ideas

about casting then you see who’s

available. It's never quite that simple, and it can be a drawn-out process, but

24 The List 10— 23 January



that’s the general idea.‘

The route to Mike Fenton's current success has been a circuitous one. Leaving USC Film School in 1960 as a cinematographer but prevented by Hollywood nepotism from obtaining work, he drifted through theatrical agency and TV production work before

forming a casting company in 1971. His

connection with Steven Spielberg stems back to 1973 and location casting on The Sugarland Express. Spielberg was pleased with Fenton’s work, but apoligised that he had decided never to take on a professional casting director again.

Seven years later the phone rang in Fenton's office. ‘Are you still mad at me?’ asked Spielberg, ‘Because if you’re not, be in George Lucas's office tomorrow monring. ‘The film was Raiders of The Lost Ark, and the subsequent collaboration on every Spellberg production has become part of Fenton;s continuing success. Yet it has not been plain sailing all the way. ET brought the challenge of finding a very capable child actor; “Henry Thomas lived in Texas, we flew him to LA and tested him with the script, but he wasn't very good, lifeless. Then

Steven took the script off him and asked him to imagine that they had taken ET away. Henry broke down in tears and we were nearly all in tears, but we knew we’d found ourstar.‘

Recently, Back to the Future illustrated the problem of an actor‘s non-availability. ‘We all knew from the startthat we wanted Mike Fox, but he was under contract to Family Ties. Howeverthe studio needed a summer release, so we went ahead with Eric StoItz, who was Cher’s deformed son in Mask. Eric’s a fine actor, but he wasn;t quite right forthe role, a bittoo internal. Anyway, after a couple of months shooting Bob Zemeckis realised it just wasn‘t going to work. The head of the studio agreed; we negotiated with the TV company and got Mike Fox nights, while Family Ties had him during the day; then, we started shooting from scratch again. Luckily enough, it's turned out great.‘

finally, the time-honoured question; any desire to direct? ‘No, not really. To me, what I'm doing now isn’t really work, and I still can't believe I'm getting paid to do it,’ he smiles. As well he might. (TrevorJohnston)

literally be translated as ‘a little bit of heart’. this is an affecting. wistful study ofemotional and cultural conflict. handled with a restraint that refuses to over-dramatise the pathos of the everyday. (ilasgow; (iF'l‘

o The Emerald Forest ( 15) (John Boorman. US. 1985) Powers Boothe, Charley Boorman. 113

mins. The son of an American engineer working in the Amazon Jungle is kidnapped by an indian i tribe while still a young boy. Ten years later, after a desperate search. his father manages to track him down. but he has been brought up by ' the tribe as one of their own and a great gulf has grown between them. Inspired by actual events. John Boorman's latest film concerns itself with the gap between ‘natural' and ‘civilised‘ man. and the destructive effect of modern technology upon

the unspoilt environment. The stunning grandeur of the visuals take precedence over the slightly ropey narrative pace in a serious action movie typical of the director. (ilasgow; x\l3(‘((‘larkston). Rio. Strathclyde; Kelburne. ()deon (Hamilton)

0 Heat and Dust( 15) (James Ivory. liK. l‘)fs’2)Julie('hristie. (ireta Scacchi. Shashi Kapoor. 130 mins. 1n; 1920s lndia an independent spirited woman shocks the Iinglish establishment by falling madly in

love with an Indian prince but spends her days in disgrace and solitude. Sixty years on a relative retraces her footsteps. [ilcgantly mesmerising cross—generational drama featuring some captivating performances. (ilasgow: (irosvenor

O The Hustler( 18) (Robert Rossen. US. 1961) Paul Newman. Piper Laurie. Jackie (ileason. (ieorge (‘. Scott. 135 mins. \"ivid. gritty. ()scar-winning drama with Newman giving one of his finest performances as a disenchanted drifter who makes his way in the world as a pool-hall shark. tricking opponents into underestimatinghisskillwithacue. ; However. he is desperately driven by" a self-destructive urge to prove himself the best in the country and beat (ileason’s legendary Minnesota Fats. Memorable and atmospheric with top-notch characterisations. Newman returns to the role in '86 in

a sequel directed by Martin

Scorsese. Edinburgh; Filmhousc

o lnsignificance( 15) (Nicholas Roeg. L'K. I‘lb'Si'l‘heresa Russell. 'l‘ony curtis. Michael Emil. 108 mins. New York. 1954. A quartet of mid-century icons congregate in a hotel. the fictionalised interconnection oftheir lives allowing for speculation on the private concerns of some very public figures. 'l'erry Johnson‘s stage play presents ideal material for Roeg's characteristically dense but unusually accessible explosion of ideas in this exploration of personal identity. (ilasgovv; (il’l'

0 Ivan the Terrible ( PU) (Sergei Eisenstein. USSR. 1943-6) Nikolai (‘herkasov. Ludmila 'l‘selikovskaya. Serafina Birman. 187 mins. Lavish. detailed chronicle of(‘zar lvan [V‘s life from coronation to defeat and reinstatement. Shown as a point of