12:12 p.m. — Simon Casting

Flowers in the lobby of Simon Casting

Flowers in the lobby of Simon Casting

Simon Casting founder Claire Simon is joking about how often she eats lunch at her desk. “In 21 years,” she says, “I think I’ve gone out twice.”

Today will be no different. The hit show Empire called this morning and requested help in filling several roles for tomorrow.

“Usually, when we have our concept call, I’ll have, like, two or three days to prepare,” she explains. “But our director is also directing something else, so she has zero time, so they scheduled it for tomorrow morning at ten, which doesn’t even give me 24 hours, so, I’m like, wait, what?”

Although Simon has to prepare and deliver a breakdown of the job, review submissions, prep talent, and schedule actors to read in less than a day, she is gracious, polite, and totally unfazed.

Simon Casting is nationally recognized for the actors it represents. Past projects include Divergent, High Fidelity, and School of Rock. Current clients include Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, and Empire.

No doubt, the success results from years of hard work. But occupying a space above the stages where Chicago Fire, Chicago PD and Empire are filmed doesn’t hurt, either.

Claire Simon
Claire Simon

“Before I moved (to Cinespace), I emailed all my clients and I was like, ‘would it make a difference if I was a couple cartwheels away from where you are?’” she recalls. “They were, like, ‘oh, hell yes’.”

Simon Casting’s office resembles the lobby of a chic hotel. Film posters surround colorful furniture in a streamlined arrangement that maintains a cozy feel. The design reflects her passion for the people she represents.

“It’s really important to me that my clients feel like they’re king in my castle,” she says, “but also the actors feel really safe and comfortable and relaxed here so they can do their best.”

This dedication to the actors is a company wide virtue. Simon’s staff of five boasts experience from nationally recognized repertoires, university film programs, and artist management.

“It’s nice to have people who understand actors, who love them and care about them,” says Simon. “I think it’s really hard to have empathy for what somebody’s going through if you have no understanding of the process, or what they’ve been through to get where they are, or what it feels like to stand on that freaking X in front of the camera.”

Scouting new talent is another group effort.

“The staff is an integral part of throwing ideas out there and making sure I meet new people,” Simon explains. “We go to Chicago Theater every week, the comedy clubs, the Improv shows … we’re all out all the time.”

So even though the third real lunch of her career will not happen today, she’ll most likely find a way to make up for it later.

To read more “Day in the Life of Cinespace,” click here.