Casting Directors: Bob Lambert, Marnie Saitta
The following is a conversation with Marnie Saitta backstage in the press room
How varied is your job?
Every five minutes is varied, because every five minutes, I have a new actor in my office. So every five minutes, the energy changes, and I'm inspired to feel something.
When you found Stacy Haiduk, who won universal critical acclaim for her take on Kristen, a role that is pretty darn hard to take over, what did you see in her?
I knew Stacy from The Young and the Restless, and I had wanted to put her on this show a long time ago with Gary Tomlin in the role of a warden, and we had her, and we lost her, because she had something else to do, another commitment, so we lost her. And so, I think we were always just waiting to find the one thing to put her back in.
So, you have these names in your head, you're thinking of people, and when the role comes, you're like, "I know."
Yes, sometimes. And then sometimes I'm like, "I have no idea at all, and I cannot wait to be inspired." And then, other times, I think it's absolutely going to be this person, and I'm surprised because it ends up being somebody else that has brought something that I never even thought of.
What kind of casting is the most challenging? Is it the recasts, the kids?
Honestly, the most challenging is the Under Fives, when I bring actors on to do five lines or less, because nobody speaks like that. And you get actors who want to make so much of it, when you just want somebody to just deliver the information and deliver your main actors from Point A to Point B. Those are VERY difficult. So, when I have a week when there are five, six, 15 Under Fives, I'm like, "Oooooh, my God!" [Laughs] And you think, "Okay, I'll bring in 20 actors for that," and it ends up being 40 actors for that because you can't find it. So those end up being my most difficult roles.
What's the process of awarding the Emmy to casting? With the other reels, you actually see something on-screen...
Well, no, they see it. I have to put together a reel of all the series [regulars] and the major recurring and principals that I cast in that year. It's VERY labor intensive, I will tell you! Because it's like you're picking an Emmy scene for every single actor that you're putting on your reel, so it's a lot... and it's 30 minutes.
What is like when someone has to come in quickly?
Those are the roles I like the most, just because it's all instinct. And I like being under the gun, and I like seeing a lot of people in a short amount of time. It's definitely taxing, but the adrenaline and everything -- I love it. [...] My auditioning process has changed because the pace of our show has changed. If something is one take on set, it's going to be one take in my office. So, the script analysis skills have to be incredibly sharp, sharper than maybe I used to hold that as a priority.
Sal Stowers told a great story about how you told her to do some pushups during her audition to relax. Do you tell your actors to do any other crazy things to relax?
Listen, yes. I tell them to think about themselves when they're 80 years old, rocking in a rocking chair, when they only have themselves to be accountable to and making sure that you put a smile on your 80-year-old self and make yourself proud in it, because it is about simply them, and I want them to look back on that moment and feel joy, and that really is what trumps everything. When you start to get outside yourself and think, "I want to impress this one or this one," or, "I want to book the role," even if those start to become priorities, you're going to miss the connection and the truth and the joy, which is really what acting is.
Is there a casting coup that you're super proud of?
You know what, I always wanted to have Tyler Christopher on. I always wanted to work with him, because I think that he is brilliant. And so, for me, being able to have him come on as Stefan, that was a dream come true. But then, also casting coups like finding Thia Megia, this young girl who has unbelievable instinct and potential, and where she can go. And her trusting me enough to sort of guide her through that, I mean, that's magic to me.
Where will you keep the Emmy?
Right next to my daughter's three ballet trophies. I might have two, but she has three! [Laughs] The first time I brought home my Emmy, she looked and it and said, "Mommy, that's so nice," and then she put her three dance trophies around it.
Music Directors: Paul Antonelli, Steve Reinhardt
Composers: Ken Corday, D. Brent Nelson
Is this win for a particular episode?
Ken Corday: You were only allowed to submit one episode, and it was the episode in which Abby became Gabby became Abby became a lot of Gabby. It was a five-minute cold opening without any dialogue, with just Marci doing her thing throughout the house, morphing from one personality to another -- a composer's dream!
Do you remember the moment you were creating the music and what was going through your minds?
Ken Corday: We reacted to the scene, which was really Ron Carlivati's genius that has given us the opportunity these days to score a show that's unique again in its madness.
Music is a lot more expensive to license these days, so can you talk about how original music is so much more important now?
Ken Corday: That falls more to the songs rather than the score... but the score is not associated necessarily anymore with a character. [It's no longer] something like, "Okay, this is Marlena's theme," or this is "Hope's theme." It's just thematic to the scene. We score to story rather than a specific character.
The DAYS opening theme has modernized here and there, but it has remained consistent. Is that a staple of the show?
Ken Corday: Well, it's been shortened from 30 seconds to what is it now, twelve or thirteen seconds? But Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, who were wonderful writers for the Monkees, just happened to write this theme song 54 years ago, and the signature of the show, and we know that. You hear that theme, and you know what time it is.
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