In the world of television, there are certain shows that push the boundaries of creativity and deliver a fresh, innovative viewing experience. “Jury Duty” series is a mockumentary gem that combines comedy and courtroom drama in a way that leaves audiences laughing out loud and eagerly awaiting the next episode.
There are moments when a project comes along that allows casting directors to showcase their true artistry. Such was the case for the talented casting director, Susie Farris.
Casting Challenges For Freevee’s “Jury Duty” Mockumentary
When casting director Susie Farris was approached by executive VP David Bernad for Freevee’s mockumentary series “Jury Duty,” he recognized her talent in assembling ensemble comedies. Farris was intrigued, but was caught off guard when she learned there was no script.
“Jury Duty” follows an entirely improvised fake civil case, with all courtroom participants, including actors portraying the judge, bailiff, attorneys, jurors, plaintiff, and defendant. Only one person, Ronald Gladden, believed the proceedings were real.
Farris didn’t cast Gladden or the A-list star James Marsden, who played a heightened version of himself as a reluctant juror.
With a generic breakdown and the need for authentic actors who didn’t appear recognizable to Gladden, Farris sought individuals who could stay grounded while being inventive and embraced their characters for three weeks. The final cast consisted of a blend of familiar and new faces to Farris.
“The great thing was that people I’ve hired [in small parts] who I know can do bigger stuff, who were not getting lead roles on shows. It was so refreshing, and it reminded me of when I first started casting when it wasn’t all about the name game — you cast the best actor because they were right for the part. That doesn’t happen so much [anymore], so this was really, really fun.”Susie Farris
Building The Courtroom: Casting The Legal Professionals For “Jury Duty”
Assembling the jury was just the beginning for casting director Susie Farris. She also sought out courtroom professionals like Trisha LaFache and Evan Williams, who brought real-life legal experience to their roles as the plaintiff’s lawyer and opposing counsel.
Alan Barinholtz, a former lawyer and the father of Ike and Jon Barinholtz, was selected as the trial judge. Their expertise was crucial for the improvised dialogues in the series, laying a solid foundation for compelling performances.
Surely with “Jury Duty,” Farris demonstrated that exceptional casting is not just about big names, but about finding the perfect actors who bring depth, authenticity, and laughter to the screen!