O'Connor Casts Winona Ryder Super Bowl Spot
February 3, 2020 by Screenmag
Sunday's Super Bowl wasn't just a landmark victory for the Kansas City Chiefs. Sunday's big game also tallied a win for Chicago's O'Connor Casting, who tracked down the key talent starring alongside Winona Ryder in Squarespace's unique "Welcome to Winona" campaign, which aired between the first and second quarters on Fox during Sunday’s game. The campaign, which features spots ranging from 30 seconds to three minutes, filmed right after New Year's in Winona, Minnesota, with director Tim Godsall and production company Anonymous Content at the helm.
The commercial features Ryder sitting in the snow beside a Winona welcome sign with a computer. She’s confronted by a police officer who asks her what she’s doing. She says she’s creating a website... the Welcome to Winona website, which is said to be created by Ryder through Squarespace.
As for O'Connor's approach to finding the key talent for this project, "This casting was unique in that they wanted the actors to feel as authentic to Winona, Minnesota," casting director David O'Connor told SCREEN. "We had to make sure performances where on point and as believable as possible to actually be a resident of the town. The actors cast had to blend in with the other local real people they would be sourcing locally to Winona."
The primary supporting roles alongside Ryder went to veteran Chicago actors Joe Dempsey and Oksana Fedunyszyn. As for what put their auditions over the top, "Besides being seasoned professionals, their common thread is their ability to make a character grounded in reality while bringing themselves into the role," O'Connor added. "Both have the ability to improvise if needed, deliver copy very naturally and adapt to direction changes very quickly."
You can enjoy two of the Squarespace "Welcome to Winona" spots below. "The Squarespace project was just a blast," O'Connor concluded. "I don't think the actors even knew completely what was going on until they got to set. We couldn't even give away where it was shooting as that would pretty much give away the big celebrity secret."
And here is the three-minute extended piece...
When visiting the "Welcome to Winona" Squarespace site, people will find the commercial, a behind-the-scenes video and a three-minute video and more about Ryder's namesake city, so they can learn about Winona, too.