I got an extraordinary opportunity when I was cast in the movie 'Fur'. The movie concerns five years in the life of the famous and controversial photographer Diane Arbus. The Director,Stephen Shainberg, was committed to casting real disabled people in the movie, and needed a woman without arms with performance experience.
My friend the actor Mat Fraser
, told me about the casting notice. Being assured of the sincerity of the film's director and wanting to encourage film makers to cast more disabled actors, I decided to throw my hat in the ring. There wasn't much time left... about ten days... and I quickly got my application together.
I really didn't think I would be selected as I was not American and a work visa would be extra difficult. However, I wanted to reward and encourage the Director Stephen Shainberg (Secretary 2002)
and also the Casting Director, Ellen Parks and her assistant, Amelia Raische. I decided to send a"show reel"
in addition to the requested headshot and resume. This short video clip, recorded on a Sunday afternoon in November when the sun was low in the crisp blue sky, literally blew them away…The following is an extract from the production notes….
"The filmmakers held several open casting calls to assemble Lionel’s circle of friends and fellow travelers in the world of the unusual and extraordinary people. Shainberg sought to cast people who would not be familiar from other films or television programs, and he ruled out resorting to special effects. Perhaps the most challenging role to cast was that of Althea, Lionel’s armless friend. She is portrayed by an armless Irish woman named Mary Duffy. “She’d never been in a film, but she sent us a tape of herself that was just mind-blowing,” Shainberg recalls. “We brought her over and I met her and we talked about what it means to be in a movie. It was important that these people be real, that we not cast an actress and digitally remove her arms. I wanted Nicole and her character and the audience to know that those people in the movie are real, that there’s no fakery.”
See my showreel here