Casting Couch - Allegations From "casting Couch" Candidates

Allegations From "casting Couch" Candidates

United States
  • The legend of the Hollywood casting couch coincided with the rise of the studio system in the 1910s. Moguls such as Darryl F. Zanuck, Howard Hughes, Jack Warner, Sam Goldwyn, Louis B. Mayer, Harry Cohn and Joseph Schenck were all rumoured to have been enthusiastic practitioners and actresses such as Joan Crawford, Jean Harlow, Judy Garland, Lana Turner, Ava Gardner and Marilyn Monroe to have attained stardom via this route.
  • In her memoir Past Imperfect: An Autobiography (1978), actress Joan Collins described her experience of the casting-couch behaviour of Buddy Adler and Spyros Skouras at 20th Century Fox in the 1950s.
  • In her memoir Child Star (1988), actress Shirley Temple claimed that producer Arthur Freed exposed himself to her in 1940 when she was 12.
  • In her book You'll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again (1991), Oscar-winning producer Julia Phillips attempted to expose many of the underground Hollywood institutions, and confirmed that a "casting couch" mentality was alive and well in Hollywood.
  • In a 1995 article, journalist Peter Keough described Hollywood as "a town where everyone is selling body and soul for fame and fortune, and all – especially women – are considered commodities".
  • In a 1996 interview, actor Woody Harrelson declared "every business I ever entered into in New York seemed to have a casting couch ... I've seen so many people sleep with people they loathe in order to further their ambition."
  • In a 1997 interview, actress Jenny McCarthy stated, "I was the only girl in my clique who wasn't sleeping with someone to get a job". In 1998, McCarthy accused action star Steven Seagal of having told her to strip during a casting call for Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995).
  • In a 2000 interview, Susan Tyrrell revealed how 66-year old director John Huston had prepared her for her role in Fat City (1972) by taking her on a drink-fuelled tour of northern California, during which he took full advantage of the opportunities offered by the casting couch: “I can’t describe to you how horrible it was. Goddamn bastard. I still hate him.” In spite of this, Tyrrell was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for the part.
  • In 2003, Italian actress Asia Argento stated that Hollywood producers expect oral sex from young starlets in exchange for roles. Her semi-autobiographical film Scarlet Diva (2000) features a scene along these lines with painter Joe Coleman playing a lecherous producer.
  • Robert Hofler's book The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson (2005) alleged that Hollywood agent Henry Willson was a gay casting-couch predator.
  • In a 2005 interview with critic Roger Ebert, actress Theresa Russell claimed that veteran Oscar-winning producer Sam Spiegel made improper advances to her when she was 16 during the preproduction of The Last Tycoon (1976). Similar allegations about Spiegel's inappropriate behaviour during the audition process of this film have been made by two actresses who do not appear in the final film: Kim Cattrall on the Howard Stern Show in April 2011 and Elizabeth Kemp in an article published by CNN in February 2012. According to his biographer, Spiegel had previously made liberal use of the casting couch during the making of The Chase (1966).
  • At a 2005 class reunion, producer Chris Hanley told his former classmates that "almost every leading actress in all of 24 films has slept with a director or producer or a leading actor to get the part that launched her career".
  • In 2009, Megan Fox stated that leading film directors made sexual propositions while casting for film roles. Fox's audition for Transformers (2007) had consisted of director Michael Bay filming her washing his Ferrari.
  • In a 2009 interview with OK! Magazine, actress Charlize Theron claimed that when she was 18 she was propositioned at an audition by a pajama-clad Hollywood director.
  • In a 2009 interview, actor Mickey Rourke declared: "There's definitely something called a casting couch... if you take a girl from the Midwest with a pretty face, and instead of inviting them in for an audition in the morning, the directors invite them for dinner at night? ... I can recall with certain women, we'd go out, I'd park the car on Sunset, and by the time I'd got to the kerb there'd be three or four producers handing them cards... There's ways you get a job, and ways you get a job."
  • In a 2010 interview with Elle magazine, Gwyneth Paltrow revealed that early in her career a film executive suggested that a business meeting should finish "in the bedroom".
  • In April 2010, actor Ryan Phillippe admitted on the Howard Stern Show that he had had to flee a “creepy” casting-couch session when he was 18 or 19.
  • In a 2010 interview with Access Hollywood, actress Lisa Rinna said a producer had asked her for "a quickie" when she was a 24-year old candidate for a role on a prominent television series. At the same interview, Rinna's husband Harry Hamlin claimed that a female casting director attempted to seduce him in the late 1970s when he was 27.
  • In 2011, Corey Feldman alleged that children were also victims of the casting couch.
  • In the November 2012 issue of Elle magazine, Susan Sarandon spoke of a "really disgusting" casting-couch experience in New York in the late 1960s or early 1970s.
  • In 2005, French film director Jean-Claude Brisseau was found guilty of sexually harassing two actresses between 1999 and 2001 during auditions for Choses Secrètes (2002).
  • In 2007, actress Helen Mirren claimed director Michael Winner had treated her "like a piece of meat" at a casting session in 1964.
  • In August 2012, actress Julie Delpy spoke out about casting-couch paedophiles in France in the 1980s.
  • In October 2012, filmmaker Ben Fellows published claims that the casting couch was rife in the worlds of British television, theatre and modeling when he worked as a child actor and model in the 1980s.
  • A typical “casting couch” case occurred in India in 2004, when a female actress Preeti Jain filed a police complaint alleging that film director Madhur Bhandarkar had sexually exploited her for many years and made false promises of casting her in a lead role in his next film. She stated that she was never given any role in any of his films. According to her, Bhandarkar repeatedly had sex with Jain from 1999 to 2004 at Natraj Apartment at Yari Road, Hotel Seaside at Juhu and at Bhandarkar's friend's (Akbar) flat at Mount Mary road, Bandra.
  • In 2005, India TV's India's Most Wanted, an investigative TV show, caught Indian Idol host Aman Verma and longtime Bollywood actor Shakti Kapoor in a "sting" operation, and accused them of abusing their positions to force women to have sex with them. They even produced video evidence of Kapoor making advances on a planted girl, in which Kapoor tells the girl that superstars Aishwarya Rai, Rani Mukerji and Preity Zinta slept with people such as Subhash Ghai, Yash Chopra and Yash Johar to get where they were. Verma, Kapoor and most of the Bollywood industry have defended themselves, calling India TV's claims unfounded and sensational, and claim that the video footage of Kapoor is misleading.
  • In 2006, Chinese actress Zhang Yu released 20 graphic sex videos that she made herself to document her allegations that she won many of her roles through the casting couch. The videos were released on YouTube but have been subsequently removed.
  • In 2009, Indian actress Suchitra Krishnamoorthi reported an incident in her blog where she narrowly escaped sexual advances from a producer while casting for a film role.
  • In 2009, Korean actress Jang Ja-yeon, star of Boys Over Flowers, committed suicide and left a suicide note claiming to have been beaten by her agent and to have been forced to have sex with media executives, directors, program directors, and CEOs.

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