A Hollywood director opened up in a new interview about the stars he helped to get their career-starting roles, as well as the A-listers he initially rejected! Jeff Greenberg is the Emmy Award-winning casting director behind classics like Modern Family, Ugly Betty, Frasier, and Cheers.
In a chat with People Magazine about his new book, Callback, the director revealed some of the Hollywood stars he played a part in discovering.
Who was the biggest celebrity he rejected? You won’t believe it, but it was Brad Pitt, who at the time, was an unknown actor looking to get a small guest role in Cheers.
Greenberg gave him a short and harsh critique. He told the performer he was just “not funny.”
Jeff had to throw the Fury actor a bone though; Brad has managed to be funny since then.
Pitt wasn’t the only one shut out from his television productions. Greenberg denied Keri Russel for the ‘prestigious’ role of “Model Number One” on the TV series, My So-Called Life.
Despite her harsh letdown, she went on to star in her own show, Felicity.
Greenberg could tell she had special charisma. He wrote in his notebook Keri was a “star to be,” and sure enough, she went on to become super famous and to him, it was “inevitable.”
Jeff doesn’t just deny people from getting roles. He gives them parts in popular television shows but only when they work for it, of course.
The actor he is most proud of casting is Eric Stonestreet in the role of Cam on Modern Family.
The casting director said Eric “had been auditioning for me for ten years. I remained a fan, and he was always good.”
Not only did he play a crucial role in the discovery of Eric, but he also gave Meg Ryan a big break in the 1986 film, Top Gun, starring Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer. Jeff said he brought her up to their casting director for the role of Goose’s wife, Carole, and he was blown away by her portrayal of the character.