Cast of Camisado begins to take shape
Updated: Jun 9, 2019
Nearly 50 actors have signed on for the six-episode webseries, which aims to debut on-demand in the summer of 2020.
One of the most time-consuming and daunting tasks for any independent filmmaker is casting. When it comes to a six-episode series aimed to launch a franchise, that process becomes even more laboring.
Skyphire Entertainment, the fledgling film company behind "Camisado: The Event Series", has signed 48 actors into roles since the casting process began six months ago (on January 3rd to be precise). To date, the company has received north of 2,500 emails related to casting from around 700 individual actors.
"It's a labor of love," said Thomas Gidlow, founder and lead producer at Skyphire Entertainment. "It's taken time but we knew it would before we got started. We've aimed to respond to every email, every actor or crew submission, and we have. We want to set a different tone with this project, and it all starts with your first interactions with people."
As already announced on their Facebook page, "Camisado" will star Janae Palmer as the embattled Emily Kent, who suffers a gripping loss and must cope with facing the monsters responsible without resorting to becoming one herself. Jeff Briggs, Jennifer Suter, and Brandon deSpain also star, with Guy Mayfield, the debuting Aaliyah Cotten, Rusty Cage, Allison Grady, Michelle Lewis, Diezel Ramos, and Martha Anger also signed on.
The additions of Lewis, who is also an Associate Producer on the project, and Anger were announced on skyphire.biz/news several months ago.
"Daunting to accomplish"
Palmer, who already has 28 credits to her name in less than a decade in the entertainment industry, will make her debut as a lead actor in a TV/web-based series.
"When I first saw the casting call for this series I was immediately drawn in," said Palmer. "As an actress I apply to hundreds of casting calls, but this one stood out to me. They were more concerned about the actor's talent and work ethic than they were about a 'type'."
"The casting notice was honest, bold, and personal. It wasn’t about needing this type or that type or a certain 'look' or 'body figure'. It was about the heart of the actor. That’s why I didn’t hesitate to apply."
With a need for a strong leading actor, Gidlow knew it would be a tough process wading through dozens of candidates. Once the field was narrowed and auditions were held, he and his wife Samantha, who is also the Executive Producer of "Camisado", were struck with how genuine Palmer was in her approach to the 'Emily' character.
"She didn't act - she was Emily Kent," said Gidlow. "She found the character inside her and displayed what she found. It was the most impressive audition we received out of hundreds, to the point where it wasn't long before we were comparing every audition to hers. She really just knocked it out of the park."
Palmer believed through reading the extensive materials provided to her prior to her audition that Skyphire understood why it was so important for the performance to embody who Emily Kent was on the inside, not the outside.
"When I first read the character description of Emily Kent, I wanted to meet this person," said Palmer. "I knew her transformation throughout the series would be daunting to accomplish, which is the very reason I wanted to play this role. Not only does she go through physical changes, she goes through an emotional transformation. She goes through every range of emotion throughout the script."
"From an acting standpoint, I knew it would take a lot of hard work and studying to journey through all of those emotions with her. I was and am absolutely thrilled for the challenge."
A firm moral compass, a challenging role, and an impressive man
Jennifer Suter, who is also a writer and director, found the character of Avery Kent exciting due to her strong inner drive to succeed. A former military service member tasked with infiltration and combat operations, Avery is driven by her desire to accomplish while maintaining a passion for her wife, Emily.
"I love this project's focus on strong, independent, and confident characters, especially with a powerful female-driven narrative," said Suter, who graduated Summa Cum Laude from Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas. "I was attracted to the character of Avery Kent specifically because of our many similarities. We both have a firm moral compass, as I was born into a military family and traveled extensively as a result, just like Avery."
Jeff Briggs will portray Duncan Neeley, a hardened associate of main antagonist Jamar Aragon who's life experiences become key to the overall plot. Briggs feels a sense of accomplishment for having gone through such a rigorous casting process - but also feels ready to tackle such a diverse role.
"Being a part of this project means a lot to me," said Briggs, who has done over 40 film projects in his 10-plus year career in film. "To go through the audition process, going head to head with all the other talent, and come out on top feels great."
"I was immediately drawn to the character of Neeley. Something about him seemed sad, but hopeful. It will certainly be a very challenging role and I am looking forward to embracing that challenge."
Brandon deSpain, a nearly 20-year veteran of film and television, has nearly 100 acting credits to his name. He is tasked with taking on the character of Jamar, the aforementioned antagonist who thinks five steps ahead and never feels like he's wrong in his actions.
"Jamar is an impressive man who has a reason for everything he does," said deSpain. "He's extremely smart and well ahead of his peers in mental capacity - nothing happens by mistake with Jamar. I love the idea of showing characters like this who are strong, independent, and confident in who they are. They are judged by the content of their character and their moral convictions instead of their gender, skin color, or sexual orientation."
"I always loved watching and playing strong characters myself and, sadly, I don't see that as often in modern entertainment."
A diverse group of amazing talent
The casting process continues with several roles still being available, which would put the total number of principle actors on the project close to 60. Shooting for "Camisado" is scheduled to begin in January 2020.
"It's incredible the number of amazingly talented actors who have expressed interest in this series," stated Gidlow.
The complete cast is still in the process of being added to the Camisado IMDb page. You can check out the full list as of this article's posting below.
Aaliyah Cotton - Tula Kent
Alessandra Cervantes - Young Man's Entourage
Allison Grady - Rose
Amber Dawn Fox - Untitled character
Andrew Gordon - Tortured Man
Brandon deSpain - Jamar Aragon
Brendan Bowers - Young Man's Entourage
Caroline Lawless - Untitled character
Chuck Chapman - Doctor
David Carrozzo - Young Man
Devone Jones - Soldier
Diezel Ramos - Vance
Dina B. Huffman - Minister
Funmi Sodipo - Secretary
Guy Mayfield - Kal Denton
James Tilley - Soldier
Janae Palmer - Emily Kent
Jason Cook - Police Officer
Jeff Briggs - Duncan Neeley
Jeff May - FBI Agent
Jennifer Suter - Avery Kent
Jinna Kim - AGS Presenter (Voiceover)
Justin Cole - Young Neeley
Justin Oakley - Soldier
Keith Dooley - Military Presenter
Kelsey Graham - Jan Duncan
Kendra Jones - Marketer
Kimberly Gosnell - Young Man's Wife
Leonard Lynce, Jr. - Masked Man
Lerron Rose - Young Neeley's Partner
Lorayn DeLuca - Untitled character
Martha Anger - Jona
Martyn Hale - Young Cop
Melissa Rattray - Warehouse Doctor
Michelle Lewis - Kaplan
Myron Sinju - Secret Service Man
Raina Meginley - Untitled character
Raymond York - Lead Soldier
Rick Bucy - Chief Stearns
Ronald Blake - FBI Agent
Rusty Cage - Senator Rolston
Taylor Timmons - Young Neeley's Child
Teon Kelley - Marketer
Tyler Wood - Mission Commander (Voiceover)
Vanessa Soredjo - Medic
Victoria Kelley - Vance's Wife
Voltaire Alexander - Young Man's Entourage
Yuliya Kraftchick - Zemora