Audition advice from casting director Lee Mountjoy

By grant

Lee Mountjoy runs one of the most imaginative casting houses in the UK, casting award-winning television, theatre and film. Lee's casting credits include: ‘TopDog' (Universal Pictures), 'Closets' (BAFTA recognised short film), 'The Johnny and Inel Show' (BBC) and 'Woody Sez' (Award Nominated West End show). 

@leemountjoy | www.leemountjoy.com

What makes a great audition for you?

I love intelligent actors. Someone who has thought about who is saying the lines and not just what they are saying. I know what’s going to come out of your mouth as I’ve read it 1000 times already. For me it’s all about the imagery you create. Back in the day we would fall in love with characters from silent black and white films. That’s because of the imagery. Acting is reacting.

Do you have any pet hates in auditions?

I have never understood actors who insist on telling me that they only got the script 48 hours ago, or their printer broke so they don’t have a hard copy. I see this as an excuse because they’re about to give me a performance they are not happy with.

What advice do you have for students who have just left drama school?

Obviously network and do your research, but most importantly focus on your own journey. Don’t get caught up on which agent your peers signed with, or what audition they just got. Focus on yourself.

You’ve worked across TV, film and theatre; what do you look for when casting for the different mediums?

While the performance styles demand something different with all of these mediums, the performance should always be based on truth. Acting is always the most honest and truthful lie you will ever tell.

How often do you use the same actors for different productions?

I always aim to give producers and directors fresh new talent who they have never seen before. Of course when I am pulling my list together I think of actors I have met in previous auditions. I remember them especially because they always deliver a great natural performance.

What is your top tip for someone auditioning for you?

It is not a memory test so don’t stress about being off book. I would rather you have the script in your hand if you are going to give a more natural performance.
Also don’t talk yourself out of a job by being negative about your performance. Remember confidence and arrogance are two different things.

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Quick fire questions about yourself

How did you become a casting director?

I worked as a freelance casting assistant for many years and it was a natural progression from there.

What was the first production you cast?

The first major production I worked on was a national tour of The Jungle Book for The Birmingham Stage Company.

What production are you proudest to have been a part of?

I recently cast ‘Closets’ which was an award-winning LGBT short film. I received some lovely emails from people who had watched the film saying how it helped them to be more open about their sexuality. It’s fantastic to think the power of film has helped changed someone’s life.

What production would you love to cast?

I would love to do a period drama!

What have you got coming up in the future?

We have some fantastic film scripts on our desk at the moment. Watch this space!


Follow Lee on Twitter at @LeeMountjoy, or visit www.leemountjoy.com

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