A clip from the documentary BONNIE just dropped — in anticipation of the premiere at LA BIENNALE DI VENEZIA. The film was co-edited by director Simon Wallon and our own Michael Vollmann.
Some of the world’s most acclaimed actors owe their careers in no small measure to a single woman: Bonnie Timmermann. Without her, Liam Neeson, Kate Winslet, Steve Buscemi, Viggo Mortensen, Brian Cox, Mark Ruffalo, Melissa Leo, Benicio del Toro and so many others might have lingered in the shadows of Hollywood, their talents never fully recognized.
Timmermann, one of the industry’s most respected casting directors, has been turning unknowns into stars for decades now. After a lifetime spent behind the scenes, she emerges as the subject of the documentary Bonnie, which makes its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival on Thursday.
“She saw something in me that maybe other people didn’t see… maybe that I didn’t even see in myself” Buscemi says in the film directed by Simon Wallon. Actor Giancarlo Esposito echoes that sentiment, saying, “Bonnie believed in me.” Cox tells Timmermann, “It was a major, major thing for me, meeting you.”
Among the films she has cast are Trading Places (1983), The Karate Kid (1984), Dirty Dancing (1987), Bull Durham (1988), Glengarry Glen Ross (1992), Carlito’s Way (1993), Dave (1993), Quiz Show (1994), Armageddon (1998), Pearl Harbor (2001), Man on Fire (2004), and many of director Michael Mann’s projects including Manhunter in the 1980s, Heat and The Insider in the 1990s, Public Enemies in the 2000s and Blackhat in the 2010s. She also cast Mann’s seminal TV series Miami Vice, changing television by forcefully advocating for diverse actors and then-unknowns like Esposito, del Toro, Ving Rhames, Jimmy Smits, Buscemi, Neeson, Bruce Willis, Julia Roberts, and Helena Bonham Carter, among others.
An eye for young talent, unexpected choices, as well as persistence with directors who make the final casting decisions, are qualities that have made Timmermann such a standout in her field.
“I just go back again and again until they want to hit me over the head with a fry pan,” Timmermann admits. “I keep going back ‘til either [the director] agrees or I give up.”