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Production Notes
Do you believe in Life imitating Art?

On 7th February 2014, renowned author and creator of the Game of Thrones series, George R. R. Martin, welcomes to the stage lead actress Amy-Joyce Hastings for an interview following The Callback Queen's US Premiere at his Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe. This brought full circle a chain of events which began with a humble self tape for HBO's Game of Thrones.

Martin, who is also an executive producer on the TV show, explains the series of events that led to him presenting the North American premiere of The Callback Queen. “Hundreds of actors auditioned for roles both large and small in HBO’s Game of Thrones”, he says, “Only a handful were cast. Thousands more tried to get auditions, but were never given the chance to read. In the old days, aspiring stars sent off resumes and 8x10 glossies to directors, producers, and casting directors.

They still do that, but these days some also upload their own auditions on Youtube, Vimeo, and similar sites on the internet. Amy-Joyce Hastings was one of those, as I discovered one day when dozens of my fans and readers began to send me emails with links to a reading by a lovely young red-haired Irish actress.”

“I’ve been a big reader of fantasy novels since I was a little girl”, says Hastings, “and when I found out that a fantasy TV series based on A Song of Ice and Fire was going to be made by HBO I got very excited!” Hastings, who began her career as a child actress playing Julie Christie’s daughter in Working Title's Fools of Fortune, got hold of the script and recorded an audition tape, which she posted online.
Within two days the tape had thousands of views and comments on forums and fansites such as “It caught me completely unawares. I had recorded this self tape as a speculative thing, never intending it to be seen by anyone except hopefully the casting director, but it got an incredible amount of interest online, and I had some very encouraging feedback from people who'd seen it, which was a lovely surprise”, says Amy-Joyce.
Fans of the books were impressed enough to send the link to Martin. “They liked what she’d done”, he says, “and so did I, when curiosity drove me to click on one of those links and take a look. So I dropped her a note, told her the name of our casting director, wished her luck... and thought no more of it, until I heard about The Callback Queen.”

“Unfortunately the casting industry in London has a kind of heirarchy to it”, says Amy-Joyce, “and the agent I was with in Ireland at that time wasn't in a position to capitalise on the momentum, so I missed out on being seen.” 

While she was disappointed not to have had the chance to audition, the experience did have a silver lining, as Martin explains, “Amy-Joyce never got to audition for Game of Thrones. That’s something she has in common with thousands of other actors from all over the world. Unlike all the others, however, Amy-Joyce took life’s lemons and made lemonade; she shared her experiences with her friend Graham Cantwell, an Irish filmmaker, who took her tale about a young actress attempting to land a role in an epic fantasy, and turned it into a movie… a romantic comedy about moviemakers and aspiring actors that pokes fun at the whole casting carousel… starring Amy-Joyce Hastings.”

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