July 22, 2020

Matthew Barry on Acting, Casting, and Loyalty in Hollywood

Episode 58: Matthew Barry on Acting, Casting, and Loyalty in Hollywood

Matthew Barry is a Los Angeles-based actor, casting director, and acting teacher. His early career involved landing roles on television shows such as Family Ties and Cagney and Lacey. He then appeared alongside Robert Redford, Demi Moore, and Woody Harrelson in Indecent Proposal, as well as Johnny Depp and Bill Murray in the Tim Burton film Ed Wood. In the 90s he became one of Hollywood’s most esteemed casting directors, working on films such as Unhook the Stars, She’s So Lovely, The Notebook, Alpha Dog, Con Air, Rush Hour 1 & 2, and the soon-to-be-released film All Star Weekend, directed by Jamie Fox and starring Robert Downey, Jr

What you will learn:

  • How Matthew’s involvement in the New York punk scene, and growing up around famous people, influenced his decision to act. [02:51-09:33]
  • How his father influenced his interest in acting, and how he got his big break at a young age on a Bernardo Bertolucci film dealing with mature storylines. [09:33-18:13]
  • How the success he found in film acting at a young age was a negative influence during his adolescence; What made him realize he was on the wrong path, and how he relaunched his career after a “wakeup call.” [18:13-23:46]
  • The rarity of loyalty in Hollywood and how he got lucky in that regard with a close-knit group of friends he met on set in the 80s who continue to work together to this day. [23:46-27:54]
  • How his decades-long friendship with A-list film director Nick Cassavetes has resulted in their collaboration on all of Nick’s films.
  • How and why he transitioned from acting to casting, and how his blunt honesty and candor have served him well in the industry. [27:54-36:44]
  • What it was like casting The Notebook, what the casting process is like generally, and why the casting business has become more difficult in recent years. [36:44-48:56]
  • What Matthew saw in young and relatively unknown actors like Amanda Seyfried and Ben Foster that made him want to cast them in Alpha Dog; his thoughts on the impressive number of well-known actors whose careers he’s helped launch over the years. [48:56-55:33]
  • Matthew’s experience working on Alpha Dog; remembering Anton Yelchin. [55:33-1:01:29]
  • How he found James Gandolfini for a role in Crimson Tide with Denzel Washington and how Gandolfini almost got fired from the film on the first day of shooting. [1:01:29-1:06:24]
  • How Matthew found a new passion in teaching acting classes, and why being a successful actor with experience in the industry helps set him apart from other acting coaches. [1:06:24-1:11:26]
  • Why actors shouldn’t take rejection personally. [1:11:26-1:15:20]

Resources:


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