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A Closer Look at the Career of Casting Director Susan Shopmaker
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Susan Shopmaker
Casting Director

For over two decades, Susan has been a recognized name in the world of independent film for her work as a casting director on numerous award-winning films. From large ensembles to small-scale intimate dramas, here are a few of the key titles from the new Casting Directors branch member that show off her ability to perfectly match an actor and role.

This article was originally published on July 16, 2021.

1
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
2001
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John Cameron Mitchell’s big-screen adaptation of his smash hit stage musical charts the wig-heavy, titular East Berlin rock singer on an odyssey through low-rent music gigs that lead to a very unique kind of love story.

2
Martha Marcy May Marlene
2011
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Elizabeth Olsen’s breakthrough indie performance anchors this unnerving look at a young woman’s attempts to put her life back together after being brainwashed by a cult. Each carefully chosen actor fills out a significant piece of this chilling psychological puzzle—from its searing lead performance down to the tiniest bit parts.

3
Beach Rats
2017
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A gritty slice of life, Eliza Hittman’s visually stunning second feature looks at the subculture of drugs, hookups, and the challenges of growing up around Coney Island. The film calls for a wide array of ages and body types to create this convincing world, which almost feels at times like a documentary.

4
First Reformed
2017
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Before working with director Paul Schrader on this year’s The Card Counter, Susan first teamed up with him for this powerful, Oscar-nominated character study featuring Ethan Hawke as a tormented minister considering an act of extremism. Razor-sharp casting choices across the board help bring this story of internal conflict to life, including successful casting against type for Amanda Seyfried and Cedric the Entertainer.

5
Sound of Metal
2019
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Nominated for six Oscars and a winner of two, this unforgettable character study received nods for two of its players, Riz Ahmed and Paul Raci. However, the whole cast—including a group of unforgettable children—make an impression in this haunting look at a rock drummer’s attempts to cope with his sudden and rapidly escalating hearing loss.

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