‘Gilded Age’ Casting Call

Wanted: Bearded men with professional kitchen experience. That describes half the men living in the west end. They need women with long hair as well. A call for background talent has gone out from Grant Wilfley Casting for Julian Fellowes’ new HBO project, The Gilded Age. The action of this Downton Abbey prequel will take place in Newport as well as New York City. Newport filming starts in early 2021.

. . . the story begins in 1882 — introducing young Marian Brook, the orphaned daughter of a Union general, who moves into the New York City home of her thoroughly old money aunts Agnes van Rhijn and Ada Brook. Accompanied by Peggy Scott, an accomplished African-American woman, Marian inadvertently becomes enmeshed in a social war between one of her aunts, a scion of the old money set, and her stupendously rich neighbors, a ruthless railroad tycoon and his ambitious wife, George and Bertha Russell.

A young Violet will make her appearance. According to the Newport Daily News:

According to the casting agency, applicants must be OK working around smoke and have natural-colored hair. The agency [Grant Wilfley Casting] said they are particularly looking for women with long hair and men with facial hair are a plus, but not required. No experience is necessary.

Here’s what you need to know:

Anyone interested is asked to email their name, union status (SAG-AFTRA or NonUnion), phone number, height, weight, clothing sizes, and current photos to gildedage@gwcnyc.com. The casting is for paid background/extra work and anyone interested can visit www.gwciol.com or call 212-685-3168 for more information.

Seen here is an image of Rosecliff from the R.I. Film Office. This Newport “cottage,” like the R.I. State House on Smith Street, was designed by the talented but skeevy architect, Stanford White. I don’t mean to tell Julian Fellowes his business, but I am assuming that any story of New York City during the Gilded Age will include the murder of Stanford White in the original Madison Square Garden, a building he also designed. This event, witnessed by hundreds, inspired the novel Ragtime and 1955 film “The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing.”

And this bears repeating: “This casting is for paid background/extra work.” Welcome HBO!

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