Casting director: Movies in CT will continue to boom; ‘keep your eyes out’ for roles

From a thriller movie starring Eddie Redmayne and Jessica Chastain to a parade of Christmas films, Connecticut has been a filming destination this spring and summer. And when it comes to casting for these films, one New York City agency has worked to find many of the local faces appearing in the projects. 

Angela Citrola is the owner and casting director at Citrola Casting, LLC., a casting agency that works to find both principal actors and extras for film, television and other commercial projects. While Citrola said she casts for projects all around the country, she has seen a significant rise in filming in Connecticut. 

“We started out as a New York company, and we still work in New York, but for some reason we’ve become the go-to [agency] for Connecticut,” she said. 

The agency has casted extras for such films as Netflix’s “The Good Nurse,” which filmed in Stamford, as well as the streaming platform’s “The Noel Diary” featuring Justin Hartley, which filmed up and down the Connecticut shoreline. It also casted for Hallmark movie, “Sand Dollar Cove,” a project that used Mystic, Stonington and Noank as its backdrop and gave its main character a job as a Stamford real estate developer. 

Angela Citrola is the owner and casting director of Citrola Casting, a New York City-based casting agency that has been responsible for finding actors involved in several projects filmed in Connecticut in 2021. 

Angela Citrola is the owner and casting director of Citrola Casting, a New York City-based casting agency that has been responsible for finding actors involved in several projects filmed in Connecticut in 2021. 

Ricky Gee / Contributed Photo

For Citrola, Connecticut’s increasing use in movies is twofold. 

“Connecticut has a really great tax incentive, and I think a lot of productions are taking advantage of that ability to save a couple bucks,” she said. “I also think there’s so much production in New York right now and in New Jersey that you’re seeing such an overflow — there’s not enough space…I think Connecticut is kind of getting the outliers or whatever there isn’t space for in New York at the moment.”

With this influx of filming projects comes a high volume of people to cast. In the past year, Citrola said her agency has cast around 2,000 people for Connecticut projects — that’s out of “close to 15,000 to 20,000 submissions between all of the projects.”

Citing an abundance of streaming services providing at-home entertainment — especially during the COVID-19 pandemic — for the flood of filming, Citrola said the past year has been unexpectedly active at her agency.

“This is definitely the busiest year we've ever had, which really wasn't expected, given a pandemic,” she said. “In the beginning, I thought, ‘Oh, this is going to be the end. I'll never work again.’ Thankfully, I'm very blessed — it worked out very well.”

After getting her career in casting started in Pittsburgh, Citrola opened her own agency in 2016 and over the past five years in hunting for faces for different films, she said there’s “no such thing” as a typical day in her line of work. Instead, they review the kinds of projects that they need to cast for and what kinds of actors they require; from there, they cast a wide net — literally. 

“We’ll collect as many people as we can, and we continue to collect as the show moves on,” Citrola said. “But it all depends on the needs of the show. I recently did a show [in which] we needed a lot of medical people, for example, so we were looking specifically for people who had some kind of medical background just because they would know more of what to do with the equipment and it would feel more real.”

While she said they tend to select extras more based on appearance than personality, Citrola noted she is not looking for the "pretty model."

“I want people that look like everyday, normal human beings — every shape, size, color, ethnicity, gender, we want it all,” she said. “It depends on what the scene is, so usually casting background is not really about personality because they’re not speaking. I will say that it’s really great to have people that are very energetic and go-getters — those are the people that work the most.”

According to Citrola, people seeking to participate in movie filming in Connecticut might have more work coming in the future. 

“Keep your eyes out,” she said. “I keep getting more and more emails about potential work in Connecticut. So I think if anything, it’s just going to keep booming.”

Working in the Nutmeg State has been enjoyable for Citrola, too. In fact, she said she received a certificate of special recognition from Sen. Richard Blumenthal on one of the last jobs her agency did for Connecticut “in honor of extraordinary success in the casting business,” something she found to be a touching gesture. 

“I’ve been working in New York forever, and I’ve never seen anything like that,” she said. “People are just so lovely, and I really enjoy working there, so I want to keep working there as much as I can.”