#MissMUFF: Allison Jones
#MissMUFF is our new monthly feature. Think of it sort of like one of those wall calendars but instead of a different cute kitten for each month, we're highlighting a badass woman in film. Way better than kittens! We're kicking off January with the Allison Jones, casting director extraordinaire.
Freaks and Geeks, Superbad, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
A few summers ago, I was at a Brooklyn Nine-Nine panel as part of Just For Laughs in Montréal. One of the things that really stuck out to me was the answer to the moderator’s question about the casting of the show. The creators’ answer? “Beg Allison Jones to do your casting.” All the credit and all the praise—they gave it to her. They cemented her as the unseen cornerstone of the show that she’s always been.
I, admittedly, had never considered the fact that a show’s creator or a film’s director would not be the one responsible for the main character casting. It had never dawned on me that a casting director may have been the force that moulded so many of my favourite things.
Inarguably, one of the best things about Brooklyn Nine-Nine is the cast, many of whom I had not known from previous work. Andre Braugher? Genius. Stephanie Beatriz? Perfect. Melissa Fumero? Spot on. Chelsea Peretti? I can’t imagine a choice that would have made me happier. Joe Lo Truglio?! BE STILL MY HEART. That was all Allison Jones.
She cast Freaks and Geeks. She cast Undeclared. She cast The 40-Year-Old Virgin. She cast Talladega Nights. She cast Knocked Up. She cast Superbad. She cast Step Brothers. She cast Funny People. She cast The Other Guys. She cast Bridesmaids. She cast This Is 40. She cast The Heat. She cast Other Space. She cast the upcoming Ghostbusters remake (squeeee!). She basically single-handedly built all of Judd Apatow, Adam McKay, and Paul Feig’s comedic powerhouse armies.
And I'm not done yet because:
She cast The Way, Way Back. She cast I Love You, Man. She cast ParaNorman. She cast The Goods, She’s Out Of My League, and Yogi Bear (Hello, T.J. Miller?!). She cast Borat, Brüno, and The Dictator. She cast Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. SHE CAST FUCKING HOT ROD.
She is responsible for the entirety of the Freaks and Geeks original cast. She won an Emmy for it—(unjustly) the only Emmy the show ever received. I am literally tearing up in this moment thinking about the talent of this woman and the many talented people I may never have known were it not for her.
LOOK AT THESE LITTLE BABIES.
SHE FOUND SETH ROGEN. SHE FOUND JONAH HILL. SHE FOUND CHRIS MINTZ-PLASSE. SHE FOUND MARTIN STARR. Just stop, for a second. MARTIN. STARR. How could I not have realized how important this woman was to my life before now?
Not pictured: my internal dissolution into happiness. Allison Jones did this.
She did all the original casting on the American version of The Office. She fought for Chris Pratt and Nick Offerman to be cast in Parks and Recreation. She cast knew that Timothy Simons and Matt Walsh were made to be on Veep (she won an Emmy for that too!). She cast all the guest stars on Season 2 and 3 of Arrested Development (she only missed Season 1 because she was working on The Office at the time). She did casting work on Family Ties, The Golden Girls, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Boy Meets World, Spin City, Curb Your Enthusiasm, United States of Tara, and fucking Aziz Ansari’s recent masterpiece, Master of None.
Basically, Allison Jones is the idol I never knew I had.
Do you know who our next #MissMUFF should be? Get at us! firstname.lastname@example.org.