Paul Schnee

Casting Director at Barden/Schnee

5068 Packard St., Los Angeles, California, United States
HQ Phone:
(323) 938-1040
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Last Updated 8/9/2017

General Information

Employment History

Director  - One NYC

Casting Director  - Hopkins , Smith & Barden

Senior Editor  - Simon & Schuster , Inc.


Friends School


Web References  

Press | Lighthouse International Film Festival

Panelists include Paul Schnee of BARDEN/SCHNEE CASTING and Kate Geller from CHRYSTIE STREET CASTING.
Paul Schnee - Casting Director: 13 Reasons Why, GirlBoss, Bleed For This, Spotlight, Good Girls Revolt, Pitch Perfect 2, Love and Mercy, Dallas Buyers Club, The Help, Jessica Jones, Get On Up, The Judge, August Osage County, Winters Bone. Paul worked at ICM for agent Sam Cohn, then as assistant to director Mike Nichols. In addition to casting for film, Paul directs theatre in New York, most recently Pucker Up and Blow for FringeNYC, The Children's Hour, After the Fall and Awake and Sing! for the Atlantic Theatre Company/NYU and the world premiere of Napoleon in Exile by Daniel Reitz at 59E59 Theatres.

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Delaware native Paul Schnee has cast actors such as Jennifer Lawrence. ?
Paul Schnee recalls auditioning "about 75 actresses" for the lead in the gritty 2010 movie "Winter's Bone. "It was important to get the right person for the role," says Schnee. "I'm sure she doesn't have to audition anymore," says Schnee. The low-budget "Winter's Bone" remains Schnee's favorite movie among the scores he has worked on. "It was a very rare animal in that the money was all in place, so we could cast anyone we wanted," says Schnee. "A byproduct was that it made Jennifer famous, but it was a movie that didn't need stars." At the time of "Winter's Bone," Schnee had been a casting director for only six years and had formed Barden/Schnee Casting with Kerry Barden just two years prior. Both partners work on each picture, with one taking the lead. Schnee has cast such major movies as "The Help," "August: Osage County," "Pitch Perfect," "Prisoners," "Dallas Buyers Club," and "Love and Mercy," the recent biopic about Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. Schnee came to his profession by a rather roundabout route. He grew up in North Wilmington-Surrey Park-with an older brother and younger sister. Paul attended Friends School from eighth through 12th grades and played bass guitar in the school's jazz band. He also participated in what he calls "an informal drama club" at Friends. After graduation, he enrolled at Kenyon, a small liberal arts college in Gambier, Ohio. Majoring in English and drama, he got his first exposure to professional theater after his freshman year as a summer counselor at the Dorsett Playhouse in Vermont. He followed that with a summer at the Berkshire Theater Festival in Massachusetts. Though he had won the Paul Newman (Kenyon class of 1949) acting award, Schnee says, "I never really considered acting as a vocation, and I had no clue what I wanted to do after graduation." He wound up in New York, where he got into the agent-training program at mega-agency International Creative Management. He spent the first couple of weeks working in the mailroom before a serendipitous maternity leave opened a spot as assistant to an agent. Schnee was promoted to the position, then moved to become assistant to agency head Sam Cohn, one of the most powerful agents of the 1970s and '80s. Always a voracious reader, Schnee landed a job in publishing, spending 12 years as an editor at Random House, Simon & Schuster, and the magazine Brill's Content. Publishing, he says, "was something that was a combination of creative and a steady 'real' job." Then Brill's folded, and he found himself interning again, this time at Hopkins Smith & Barden Casting. He quickly rose to casting assistant and began working closely with Kerry Barden. When HS&B dissolved, the two men formed Barden/Schnee. With offices in New York and Los Angeles, they are among the leading casting agents in both the motion picture and television industries. Schnee, who lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two young daughters, is a special favorite of Debra Granik, who directed "Winter's Bone. The 49-year-old Schnee describes his job as "the HR department of the film. "I tell actors that you not only need to be a good actor, you need to be someone that I can comfortably recommend to the powers that be. In addition to a good or great actor, producers and directors want someone who is nice to be around," he says. In addition to casting films, Schnee has been directing New York theater productions, including Lillian Hellman's "The Children's Hour.

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But casting directors Kerry Barden and Paul Schnee of Barden/Schnee Casting challenged that original concept.
"Prisoners" marks the first time Barden and Schnee have worked with French-Canadian director Villeneuve, and Barden says when working with international directors, discussions rather than auditions dominate the casting process. One conversation was about who would play Detective Loki, the investigating officer and an outsider in the town. (Star Hugh Jackman was already on board to play father Keller Dover when Barden and Schnee joined the team.) Villeneuve had just worked with Jake Gyllenhaal on "Enemy," and when his name came up the director was eager to work with Gyllenhaal again. Casting Directors: Kerry Barden, Paul Schnee, and Rich Delia

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