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IMDb Launches New Casting Service: EXCLUSIVE

by Anne Thompson
March 11, 2014 6:00 AM
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Every day movie fans all over the world turn to the free Internet Movie Database (IMDb) to look up details of who, what and where on movies. No more need to fight over trivia at dinner parties.

But Hollywood insiders pay to dig deeper into IMDb's premium subscriber service IMDbPRO, launched a decade ago, which offers up inside intel on contact listings, in-production information and what's in development. And while many casting directors already use the service to find actors for their movies--Rob Pattinson was famously discovered for "Twilight" via such a search for the right actor in the right age range--they should be happy with a nifty new set of Pro Casting tools that goes along with a speedy consumer-friendly revamp of the site. "Our goal is always to help get people informed and connected," said IMDb CEO Col Needham at SXSW. "We come from Amazon's customer-centric culture."

Gone are the days when casting directors must carry around thick binders full of casting intel. “IMDbPro is probably the single most helpful tool in the tool box when I’m casting one of the leads in a movie,” said casting director Richard Hicks ("Gravity," "Zero Dark Thirty"). “There’s nothing better. It’s the encyclopedia of actors.”

IMDb, always vigilant about finding ways to serve their global readers, has created a set of new tools for casting directors that launches March 11. In my SXSW demonstration, consumer products exec Jack Bernstein showed me how he could cast his own biopic. He went to the IMDb Pro Casting tools page and fed information into My Casting Breakdown for a tall dark handsome man between 25 and 35, slim build, speaking English, with basic baseball skills, brown hair color and eyes for a movie shooting the next day in Los Angeles. The top choice on the STARmeter top 100 list to play Bernstein?  Channing Tatum. 

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More: IMDB, casting


  • Remember Me | March 12, 2014 9:44 PMReply

    It wasn't Twilight that they used IMDB for, it was Remember Me. The director talked about it at a press conference for the film. Summit producers had been after Pattinson for several months before he finally went to LA for the audition. They wanted him because of Harry Potter, not IMDB. And they wanted his best friend, Tom Sturridge, as well. Sturridge turned down the audition, but he shares the same agent with Pattinson, and Rob finally agreed to audition because he felt he owed his agents that much, they had never given up on him.

  • Col Needham | March 13, 2014 8:51 AM

    The following is from the December 2009 issue of Vanity Fair (available online via a search for "Vanity Fair Byronic" but the indieWire blogging software will not let me post a direct link):

    "An executive at the studio, Summit Entertainment president of worldwide production Erik Feig, recalls saying to a colleague before going to lunch one day, “‘I know we’ve looked. I just feel there are a couple of rocks that we haven’t checked under.’ I said, ‘There have to be British actors that we don’t know about that are this guy, who can do a great American accent.’ I said, ‘Do me a favor. Go to IMDb and look at every young actor, from age 15 to 25, who was in Harry Potter or anything, even a tiny role, print out their headshots.’ I came back from lunch. She had all these pictures, and she said, as we were going through the pictures, ‘What about this guy?’ And I saw a picture of Cedric Diggory [the character Pattinson played in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire]. I said, ‘He’s great!’ … And the look that jumped out to me at that point, and I know it’s a silly adjective to use, he was Byronic.”"

  • Landon | March 12, 2014 3:55 PMReply

    They found Rob Pattison for Twilight via the imdb search? are you stupid? He was already in harry potter when he got twilight.. stop this horrible excuse for reporting.

  • Edward Hong | March 11, 2014 11:56 PMReply


  • Aaron Wedgewood | March 11, 2014 7:39 PMReply

    It's a numbers game--getting auditions. Once I get in the room it's up to ME to get that role! I'll role the dice on this!

  • Sean | March 11, 2014 7:35 PMReply

    And the new casting system on IMDB is crap. As an actor you want to be able to order castings by location but this can't be done. Did IMDB even consult any actors when they put this together?

    Arrogant & parochial. That about sums up IMDB now.

    And now I shall cancel my subscription.

  • McGill | March 11, 2014 1:22 PMReply

    Services like that are a dime a dozen here in town. IMDB doesn't make a bit of a difference here, they just want to cash in too, hoping to lure actors into a monthly pay scheme to 'get seen' by casting directors. What nonsense.

  • JH | March 11, 2014 4:05 PM

    Bingo. They use Robert Pattinson as an example. He already had established himself through the Harry Potter film, its not like he was some virtual unknown. Good grief!

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