Behind the Big Screen: URI Grad in Hollywood shares favorites

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KINGSTON, R.I. – July 6, 2010 – As a casting associate with the powerful Los Angeles-based Burrows/Boland Casting, University of Rhode Island alumnus Toby Guidry (’01) gets a behind-the-scenes look at what Hollywood has to offer. We spoke with Guidry this spring to get a sense of what summer films piqed his own interest. Guidry points to films in three different genres that he was definitely going to take in on the big screen.

The summer blockbuster season kicked off with Disney’s Toy Story 3, which opened June 18, followed by the Adam Sandler comedy vehicle Grown Ups on June 25 and the vampire phenomenon The Twilight Saga: Eclipse last weekend. The cinematic sizzle continues with Despicable Me (Steve Carell), Inception (Leonardo DiCaprio) and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (Nicolas Cage) among the films coming out this month.

Guidry’s summer cinema experience started with Iron Man 2, the second film in the Robert Downey, Jr. comic book hero franchise. Next up will be the Sandler-driven Grown Ups, which boasts a whose who lineup of comic heavyweights.

“I’m an Adam Sandler fan, so I’m looking forward to seeing Grown Ups,” Guidry said. “Adam certainly put a fun cast together – Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade and Rob Schneider also star in the film. And I can’t wait to catch Inception starring Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by Christopher Nolan. Nolan, who also wrote the screenplay, directed the latest Batman films, and I am a big fan of his.” Nolan has reeled off a string of hits this decade with Memento (2000), Batman Begins (2005), The Prestige (2006) and The Dark Knight (2008).

Guidry knows about working on blockbuster films. He is currently working on casting for The Hobbit franchise which is helmed by three-time Academy Award-winner Peter Jackson of Lord of the Rings fame. Similar to how Lord of the Rings was done, the plan is to shoot The Hobbit and it’s sequel simultaneously, with the first of the films targeting a 2012 release.

Before The Hobbit, Guidry worked with Robert Zemeckis in the fall of 2009 to cast the upcoming remake of the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine. The film will be made in with 3D performance capture technology through a deal between Walt Disney Studio’s ImageMovers Digital and Apple Corps.

Though both Yellow Submarine and The Hobbit are two years away from release, both films are getting significant buzz. For those working on the films, Guidry says there certainly is a different feel to being involved with an anticipated blockbuster.

“These two projects are known not only in the U.S., but throughout the world as well. With the enormous success of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and with the Beatles being so iconic for multiple generations, people seem to be following these projects a bit more closely than films that don’t have that built-in fan base. They provide a lot of buzz, that’s for sure,” Guidry said.

Buzz plays a key role in Hollywood. The combined budgets for three of this summer’s anticipated releases, Iron Man 2, Inception and The Twlight Saga: Eclipse approach the $400 million mark. Needless to say, the summer movie season is watched closely by those in the industry.

“The summer’s great because it’s the time where the studios release most of their tent pole films,” Guidry said. “There are multiple movies opening almost every weekend and they’ve provided some of the most memorable movie-watching experiences for me. If you’re into movies, this certainly is the best time to watch them.”