UPDATE: NEW AUDITION DEADLINE: October 2010
This is an Open Casting Call for MAJOR Motion Picture for 20th Century Fox, “WE BOUGHT A ZOO,” directed by Cameron Crowe the Oscar-winning director of Jerry Maguire & Almost Famous. “We Bought A Zoo” is based on the true life story of Benjamin Mee and his family and how he and his family used their life savings to buy a dilapidated zoo and restored it to its former glory.
Casting for the roles of:
- Rosie: Enthusiastic and positive, wise beyond her years… loves animals. A girl, 6 – 8 years old – a lead role. Benjamin’s 6-year-old and extremely lively daughter (submit 6-8 to play 6). Rosie is a loving and disarmingly adorable child, even with the death of her mother, which she seems to handle better than her father and brother. She’s an old soul and is able to share her love for just about everything, especially the animals at the zoo. One might forget that she is only 6 years old, as Rosie seems to be the glue keeping her family together, but she needs her family as much as any other child.
- Dylan: Shy, creative, awkward but soulful. He’s an artist, loves to draw. A boy, 14- 16 years old – a lead role. Benjamin’s 14-year-old son (submit 13-18 to play 14). Dylan took his mother’s death very hard and retreated into his world of drawing but took it to an oddly dark place. He is a creative & talented young artist but outside observers worry about what he is actually drawing… and what it’s missing. Constantly in trouble at school, he gets suspended and expelled often – not a bad kid, just a misunderstood misfit. Dylan isn’t much of a big brother or a son until the journey of the zoo sheds new light on his dark world. He has deep feelings behind his eyes with an edgy style, not unlike what a young Tim Burton must have been like.
- Lily: A 14-16 year old girl who is smart and appealing, a horse lover who has grown up living a country life. Curious and open, the opposite of Dylan. A great supporting role! 15-years-old and a rural beauty (submit 14-19 to play 15). She works at the zoo’s restaurant but she’s too young to work legally so she’s paid under the table and she, too, lives on the property. Her only parental figure seems to be Kelly from whom she learns to be at great ease with the animals. When Dylan arrives at the zoo, she finds him immediately fascinating. Her little world is rocked by his city boy looks and she doesn’t hold back in her quirky flirtatiousness and daily sandwich deliveries.
Please visit http://www.weboughtazoocasting.com/ for details on how to audition.
This website submission is not intended for children who have agents and managers, and those who are represented should submit through their representation only. If you get stuck with the filming of your audition, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
ABOUT BENJAMIN MEE (Courtesy HarperCollins):
“Chuck it all in and buy a zoo? Why not?” thought Benjamin Mee, unaware of the grim living conditions, creditors and escaped big cat that lay in wait…
In 2006 Benjamin Mee left an idyllic life in France to run a dilapidated zoo on the edge of Dartmoor complete with 200 wild animals. He had no previous experience of managing staff, running a visitor attraction, or looking after animals. Nor had his wife, Katherine, his 76-year-old mother or his brother, all of whom he persuaded to join him in pursuing his dream. What they lacked in experience they made up for with enthusiasm and in July 2007, the Dartmoor Zoological Park, as it had become, was reopened to the public. The amazing story of how Ben and his family turned a dream into reality is told in We Bought a Zoo.
When Ben arrived at the zoo he found his extended family included African lions, Siberian tigers and European brown bears not to mention wolves, monkeys, ostriches and snakes. Within days he was coping with a major ‘Code Red’ situation as the jaguar, Sovereign, executed a cunning escape plan. Luckily, his escape route led him straight into the tiger enclosure where he was recaptured some hours later but Ben knew that the dream could have ended there had the jaguar run off.
Escaped jaguars, big cats with toothache (the vet’s bill for dentistry was £8000!), warring vervet monkeys, fighting off creditors and securing loans from banks, were just some of the problems that Ben had to deal with during the first few months. However, none of them compared with the tragedy that struck the family soon after arriving in Devon.
Ben’s wife Katherine, having already survived and recovered from the removal of a brain tumour, became ill once more. Looking after her in her final days became another task to add to the day-to-day complexities of running the zoo an preparing for the opening. In March 2007 Katherine died leaving Ben alone to bring up their two small children, Milo and Ella, as well as the ever growing menagerie of animals.
We Bought a Zoo charts the family’s attempts to rebuild the park, and their lives following Katherine’s death. It’s an amazing true story of following a dream and coping with personal tragedy which is both inspiring and at times deeply moving. The reopening of the park was chronicled in the four-part BBC2 series, Ben’s Zoo. A former bricklayer, decorator and Guardian columnist on DIY, Benjamin Mee also studied and wrote about animal behaviour. It was while living in France and writing a book on the Evolution of Humour in Man and Animals that the zoo came up for sale.
Thank you to Casting Workbook for making us aware of this open call.
Im 12 years old but look like 14 is that ok?
Yes! That’s perfect!
My daughter is 11 however is very small and looks 7-8 , think its okay for her to audition?
Yes. Absolutely you should submit her video audition if she’s that tiny. Can’t hurt. =)
Great! thank-you .. Just set her audition 🙂
I’m 20 but people often think im 16, and nail salons even go down to 15. Is it okay if I submit?
also whats your opinion on signing up for casting workbook?
I’m just starting to actively pursue acting and am signed up with cntral casting and backstage, is casting workbook worth it?
Thank you 🙂
It’s entirely up to you – if you look very young, maybe it would work. There are always multiple factors that go into casting and I would never discourage you from pursuing any audition. If they don’t want someone your age for the part, they’ll let you know that as well. As for your second question, I particularly like LA Casting, Hollywood OS and Actors Access. Good luck!
So excited to send in my audition tape for Lily i wuz just wonderin do u have to be a certain race to play lily?
I wondered the same thing, but no, nothing in the casting information refers to race. Go for it and good luck!
Should I submit my nearly 12 yr-old boy who is as tall as 14 for a 14?
Interesting – they have already been auditions for this…they must have not found what they are looking for…I know a few young ladies that have auditioned about 1 month ago….Break a Leg!
can i still audition for the role of dylan iam 17 but look younger though and how long would they start telling people who got the part thanks
Hi, I was wondering about the race/ethnicity of the characters.
The book and the author are both European/Caucasian-ish but no where on the site do they ask for a specific race. I even emailed them and there hasn’t been a response.
I’m auditioning for the role of Dylan Mee and I am Filipino, but was wondering if I should still continue even if I know I’m not exactly what they’re looking for race-wise?
Thank you! You’ve been such a great help with my acting career so far with all these postings, I can’t thank you enough!
It may be late for this one, but always submit. Even if the kids in the family turn out to be Caucasian there could be other roles for children in the film that you will fit. Good luck and unless it states otherwise, always submit. I’m so glad the blog has made a positive difference in your acting career and ambitions!
hi im 10 and i really haven acting um do you think i should try?
HI MY NAME IS KAILEYANN MAHRIE IM 6YR OLD IM A PROFETIONAL MODEL……….
Hi, i am a 14 year old girl and wanted to audition for Lily and i was wondering if there were still auditions?
Give it a shot. Casting notices went up a month ago, but you won’t know unless you try!
When I went on the website it said that we could submit video admissions all the way until october so everybody keep sending in those submissions!
Good work @dramaqueen! It’s always best to act and move forward than to assume the worst or be inactive. Your perseverance will pay off in this business!
I plan on auditioning for the part of Lily, I was just wondering does anyone know when the auditionees recieve callbacks?
Oh, and by the way, Lily is described as a ‘rural beauty’ does that mean she has to be of non-caucasian ethnicity?
I believe that means that she is more of a natural, country beauty as opposed to a made-up, city style beauty. No ethnicity preference is stated.
Im 13 ..Jamaican..And I Think I Can Past For A 14 Year Old .Im About 4’11 .Is That Ok
Hi Kimanie – 13 could possibly work for the age range. Just submit and do your best!
Do you know if they are looking for any younger boys like 5-8?
So is it to late to send a audition type in?
I was wondering if anyone has recieved a callback for any roles. I would love to know if they are persuing someone yet for the role?
@Bobbie The only cast member credited so far is Matt Damon in the part of the father and that’s not sealed in stone. There will probably be no final word until physical production starts, and I do not know when that will be. As soon as cast members are credited, we’ll post it on Hollywood Mom Blog.
Do you think that its a good idea to send more than one video of urself or wud that be kinda pushy?
Where Will This Take Place
@Kimanie Please visit http://www.weboughtazoocasting.com/ for details on how to audition.
I’m 15 and from England, would it be okay to audition or are they looking for a specific nationality and accent?
I was wondering the same thing, I an also from England
@Jessica and @Muirenn I would think being from England may be a very good thing in this case as Datmoor is the city where Benjamin Mee, the author of the book, had his zoo. You can read the above description of the author’s story and visit the zoo online here: http://www.dartmoorzoo.org/
Wow i didnt know it was set in Devon I live there! 🙂 also it says that the maximum age for playing Rosie is 8 and my sister is going to try out for her but she turns nine the day after the deadline to submit, is that ok?
Will we need any accents, as i am from devon, however I have a normal british accent? thanks. can’t wait to submit.
Hello, my name is alaysha, I am 15 years old from British Columbia. I am very interested in playing the role of Lily and have had acting experience before. As well as musical theater and voice lessons from the age of 6. The deadline for the online auditions are October. 11th correct?
can’t wait to audition.
Yes Alaysha – hurry and get that audition in. Good Luck!
Any word on callback dates. I noticed people auditioned for ceratin roles months ago. Has anyone received a callback yet?
Is it ok if i submited my audition on 0ct 11.
Im worried that because its late the casting directors wont look at it. also i havent gotten an email that verifys they got my video.
Hi Sergio. I’m sure the call has ended by now but in the future be aware that you will most likely never receive confirmation that any “casting via email” has received your submission. If that is of great importance to you, perhaps you could send your submissions with an email system that let’s you know when an item you’ve emailed has been opened. Good luck! Hollywood Mom
If Matt Damon is to star in this does that mean the children will have to be caucasian and anyone who isn’t won’t get a callback.
I sent my tape for Dylan Mee.
Why have I not received my email yet! Did they not get it.
Has anyone recieved a callback yet.
I’m still waiting for the email
Hi, Hollywood Mom Blog! Thanks for this great service you provide.
I read that the role of Dylan was cast last week, and it went to an experienced young actor. Have you heard any buzz about progress they might be making for the Lily and Rosie roles? Any thoughts about whether they are considering unknowns from the open call?
Hi Amy – Thanks for the heads up on Colin Ford! We just posted on the casting per your info, and as soon as we hear more we’ll post that too. Best wishes – Tracy Bobbitt, Hollywood Mom Blog
I am 13 years old but I can do anything. Where will the audition be? I live in houston Texas.
How do I submit my audition tape?