Sally Forcier, a director’s friend

PHOTO © marc kallweit

Before lights, camera, action, the first thing Sacramento directors call for is Sally Forcier. For the last 19 years, Forcier has been an active casting director, helping to find talent for local commercials, game shows and feature-length films. SN&R sat down with Forcier to discuss Sacramento’s unique theater and cinema culture, her recent casting projects with films Notorious Nick and Ballbuster, and she even lends some sound advice for aspiring talent.

What does the casting process typically look like from beginning to end?

Typically? That’s the key word right there! The production company or ad agency knows what their needs are for principle actors or extras and provide me with the list. So I’ll put a casting call out, and that is first and foremost for our registered talent. Those who register with us get first dibs because then we have our database with their profile and headshot. And then when needed, we go to social media. Sometimes I’ll even have coverage from news stations when it’s a bigger project.

At that point, the actors come in for speaking parts and audition for that. The director and producers get the final cut of our chosen talent, whoever fits the role, and they tell us who they want to call back or, more often, [it’s] a direct booking. For the extras, we cast directly off of the breakdown that they provide [for] age, gender and ethnicity.

Do you work with actors and actresses from all over or mostly local talent?

All over, especially in the last year-and-a-half because I’ve been co-producing and just wrapped my third feature film and one [Screen Actors Guild] short. So those projects I would cast some from [Los Angeles]. But my passion is local talent, so I always try to fill that role first. For a local casting, like mom-and-pop local commercials, they’re 100 percent from the Sacramento area.

Tell me a little bit about your recent projects Notorious Nick and Ballbuster.

Notorious Nick was such a great experience because it’s a beautiful story about a boy against all obstacles overcoming being a left-hand amputee, pursuing his dream in [mixed martial arts] and becoming a champion. We went from an inspirational, dramatic movie to an over-the-top, raunchy, hard-R comedy. Being the first movie to film at the Golden 1 Center, having legends like Grant Napear and Jerry Reynolds be cast members in our movie, a stunt that pulled a stunt guy all the way up to the ceiling—there were so many moments that stand out from Ballbuster. It was supper funny and silly, and it was fun making a comedy because you were laughing every single day.

When Scarlett Johansson was cast as the transgender lead in the upcoming film Rub & Tug, it sparked a discussion about how appropriate it is for actors and actresses to be cast in roles where they haven’t experienced the plights of the character. What are your thoughts?

You know, they’re professional actors. I don’t know the story, but the lead has to carry the entire film. So much is riding on the lead actors. My opinion is that it’s about putting somebody super talented in there. And, of course, it’s about marketing and how many butts she’s going to get in seats because of her name, but when you look at the quality of the acting, that’s what carries the film. You can have the best director, cinematographers, amazing location and have $26 million in this film, yet have a real transgender person who isn’t a good actor, but yet has lived this experience, then you’re going to fail.

What is unique about theater and film in Sacramento?

Sacramento film and theater have grown so much in the last four or five years because it is a tight industry. The community here is very passionate about their craft, and that helps me in my job when a production shoots here because I have viable options instead of hiring everybody from San Francisco.

The release of Lady Bird in December of last year seemed to have sparked a lot of pride in Sacramento’s theater and cinema culture. What are your thoughts on the film and the effect it had here?

I’m very proud of Greta Gerwig and what she did with that. She put Sacramento on the map because she gave Sacramento a lot of love, as if it’s the hero, and she did not have to do that to make that film. It had a huge impact on the film community. It’s not like we didn’t have a community before then, but what it’s done is made everybody so much more aware. They just passed a vote for getting a full-time film commissioner in Sacramento, which has been needed for 20 years. It’s epic for our film community.

What advice do you have for aspiring actors and actresses?

Never stop learning. People have to remember what comes first. When people stop training, they stop growing. Even your most seasoned actors still work with a coach. I worked with Elizabeth Röhm on both Notorious Nick and Ballbuster and it was great watching her take the script and call her coach. And this woman has done Joy. She was in American Hustle, NCIS, Law & Order. She’s incredibly talented, but she always calls her coach and they go through scene by scene.