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Heather Basten | Casting Director

Heather Basten | Casting Director

Heather always knew she wanted to work with actors, but she wasn’t sure what kind of job she was looking for, or how to get there. She started by enrolling on the academic theatre course at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, where she was offered a prestigious placement at the BFI, which turned into a job. One day, while organising casting masterclasses for a festival there, she got chatting to casting director Jeremy Zimmerman and later went to work with him.

Learning on the job, she quickly picked up the skills she needed and set up by herself in 2018. For Heather, the most important part of the job is understanding the tone of a project, before unearthing the right talent for the roles - she loves discovering new actors and giving people their breakthrough roles. Recently, she has really enjoyed casting Andrew Cumming’s new film The Origin, for which she used a mix of traditional and open casting and searched across Europe for the right actors and non-actors. She also loved working on upcoming Amazon musical series, Jungle, casting young artists opposite actors, and she would like to be involved with more TV projects.

Heather is delighted that the art of casting is now being recognised by BAFTA, given the creativity, strategy and skill that goes into the job, and she’s thrilled to be a Breakthrough, saying that the honour has been really reassuring at this point in her career. She reveals the part of the job that surprised her most is how much maths is involved in casting, but she has brushed up her skills, and now enjoys the number crunching!

Heathers’s Breakthrough credit is feature film The Origin

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