Casting Director Jessica Lyons Answers Five Questions with SCREEN

What do the X-Men, Pushing Daisies, and the best restaurant ever have in common? They’re all right here as Chicago-based Casting Director Jessica Lyons of O’Connor Casting stopped by for a thoroughly entertaining round of Five Questions with SCREEN. Let’s get to it!

SCREEN: If you could play any superhero in a major motion picture, who would it be?

JESSICA: Rogue. Not because she’s my favorite, but because we have the same gray streak in our hair (but mine is freakishly natural). It’s the Stacey London streak of my dreams and I will never cover it. 

All right, this Rogue mashup we tracked down is just for you, Jessica…

SCREEN: What is one piece of advice you would give to an actor coming into your office to audition? 

JESSICA: Half the battle is just being present and not in your own head. Don’t forget – if you made it on one of our audition schedules, we’re already rooting for you.  

SCREEN: Your favorite casting project ever? Why is it your favorite? 

Oh boy. So many. I’d have to go with a Hinge commercial we cast last year. Stellar directors who made it a collaborative effort, LGBTQ representation, and some really impressive improv from our Chicago actors. Such a joy to audition something like that.

Another great one we cast last year was an Aldi spot that just came out! I have the BEST time in an audition room watching so many talented comedy folks do their thing. The two that booked this spot couldn’t have been more perfect. It’s fun to see the entire progression of a spot like this – what was actually written in the script, and what the actor added. 

Click here to take a look at the funny and charming “Not a Sale” Aldi spot!

SCREEN: One meal, one restaurant, and we’re buying. What will it be?

Oh my – Risotto al Mascarpone at Il Teatro Ristorante at Le Capitol in Quebec City. I lived there for about a year doing a show and ate here 5 nights a week. Fried prosciutto on the top. Creamy al dente risotto. Seasoned with rosemary… my favorite. Omg I’m drooling now and looking up tickets to Quebec. 

Some tasty delicacies from Jessica’s fave spot, Il Teatro Ristorante in Quebec City (Photo Credit: Il Teatro)

SCREEN: If you could bring back any canceled TV show in history, what would it be?

JESSICA: Pushing Daises. I don’t think this requires an explanation…?  

And you can click here to watch the entire Pushing Daises series.


SCREEN: Your go-to karaoke song?

JESSICA: “You Don’t Own Me” by Leslie Gore. It’s such an anthem.

Yes it is, Jessica! And here is the original rendition of this 1963 classic…

SCREEN: Best advice you’ve ever been given in your own career?

JESSICA: Go out for the jobs you know you’re right for but may not feel 100% qualified for. Hard words to live by as a woman in any industry, but I’ve had good experiences leading with unabashed confidence at my hard earned skill set. Be certain of your strengths and weaknesses, and don’t be afraid to show them off (with grace and poise of course, don’t ever lead with assertive cockiness…) 

Thanks for playing, Jessica! Click here for more from Jessica and the fine folx at O’Connor Casting.

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