Big extras casting call for “Contagion”

AN OPEN EXTRAS CASTING CALLS for Steven Soderbergh’s big budget, big cast “Contagion” will be held by Rich King Casting of L.A. Sept. 25 at the Lincoln Park Cultural Center, 2045 Lincoln Park West, 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and Sept. 26 at the Annoyance Theatre, 4830 N. Broadway, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

King says he’s looking for adult men and women, 18 and older, all sizes, shapes, types and ethnicities. It’s a paid gig and meals are included.

“Contagion,” will spend two months shooting in and around Chicago, starting Oct. 19, arriving here from filming in Hong Kong. The company will headquarter at Bradley Center, the big industrial space near Lane Tech and WGN studios. Scouting, schedules and set building are already underway.

“Contagion” stars Matt Damon, Marion Cotillard (here in 2008 for “Public Enemies”) Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Laurence Fishburne.

FATHOM, OMNICOM’S B2B AGENCY, recently hired two senior creatives in newly created positions: ACDs Bob Raczka and Mark Wiegard as writer and art director, respectively, who started freelancing with Fathom last December. They report to CD Cory Kammer.

Fathom’s Chicago office opened in 2006, has a staff of 25 in the Aon building and is led here by president Mark Leger.

“We feel like we found a good place here, with good work and strong clients and that’s hard to come by these days,” says Raczka. He and Weigard had been CDs at O&M for many years.

NEWLY ELECTED SAG OFFICERS are headed by actor/voiceover Ilyssa Fradin who was elected president for a two-year term. She is the chair of AFTRA/SAG Chicago’s Community Organizing Outreach Committee, a council member since 2000 and vice president since 2004.

Also elected to a two-year term serving with Fradin are Regan Rohde , 1st vice president, Craig J. Harris, (2nd vice president and Michael Joseph Thomas Ward, recording secretary.

Todd Hissong was re-elected to the National Board, a three-year term. Bob Baron, William Dick, JayDisney, Martin Halacy and Alma Washington were elected to three-year terms on the Branch Council.

They will assume office Sept. 25 at SAG’s annual meeting at the Kauffher Center, at 6 p.m.

THE GREAT AMERICAN PITCHFEST CREATORS, president/CEO Signe Olynyk and executive director Bob Schultz will hold a very special Pitching Workshop, Saturday, Oct. 2. They will show screenwriters how to hone their film and TV script pitches for best results ? and also take their pitches.

On Sunday, Oct. 3, Olynyk and Schultz’ Independent Film Seminar will inform indie filmmakers how to produce their own features, based on their own experience producing “Below Zero.”

Both events are presented by Linda Frothingham’s at Columbia College. Call her at 847/251-2073. the exciting new tech incubator is postponing its Grand Opening party planned for Wednesday because the guest of honor had to cancel. Mayor Daley, a major influence in making Chicago an international tech center, is traveling to Asia this week.

Daley told Syncubator founder/president Mike Rhodes he definitely wants to attend the event. When he returns, a new party date will be scheduled at Syncubator’s 18,000-sq. ft. loft floor in a West Loop building.

DRAFTFCB CHAIRMAN HOWARD DRAFT, a 33-years and counting industry veteran, will receive the 2010 Silver Medal Lifetime Achievement from the Chicago Ad Federation at a dinner Nov. 11 at the Drake Hotel

“Howard is a pioneer in the advertising industry and admired for consistently fine-tuning the agency model to provide clients with offerings that are right for the current times and for the future as well,” said Anne Rago, CAF president in announcing the award.

KARTEMQUIN FILMS will be in a fun mode when it holds an Oct. 14 “Rock the Doc” fall benefit party at Angels and Kings, featuring a DJ set by Pretty Good Dance Moves, a sneak preview of an upcoming Kartemquin doc and will provide feedback for winners of its Doc Demo Raffle.

CHICAGO’S LOSS is Madison’s gain, as script guru Laurie Scheer is now officially hanging her hat at U of W/Madison. She had been on the faculty at Tribeca Flashpoint.

In her new post, Scheer will work with screenwriters and writers of all disciplines there with the aim of bringing talent to the Midwest, she says. She is a former VP/programming for Women’s Entertainment, a professor at universities, seminar leader, author and in-demand speaker.

ANHEUSER-BUSCH ADDED ANOMALY to its roster of U.S. agencies to help bolster falling Budweiser sales. Anomaly, with offices in New York and London means new competition for DDB/Chicago, which has been the lead agency for the Budweiser brand in the U.S. since the mid-199s and global agency of record for the brand since late 2009.

PEOPLE AND PLACES. The Oct. 9 Black Perspectives division of the Chicago International Film Festival honors Oscar winning actor/producer/director Forest Whittaker with a Career Achievement award at the Chase Auditorium.

*Resolution Digital Studios hired media pro Sherrey Roberts as business development director, replacing Meghan Ross who is now an Avid Field Marketing Specialist/Demand Generation, Central Region.

Ross is a former Kansas City news anchor and reporter and also was a PR specialist for the appropriations chairman of the Kansas House of Representatives.

*The Emmy Nominating Party takes place at Rockit Bar and Grill Sept. 28. Meteorologists Amy Freeze of Fox News and Ginger Zee of NBC 5 will announce the many, many nominees. Admission is $10 for members, $15 for non-members.

*Mr. Hollywood — Sun-Times’ columnist Bill Zwecker — will present the Women in Film career achievement award to actress Raquel Welch at the WIF Focus Awards Oct. 14.

Renowned celeb photographer Victor Skrebneski will be a special guest. One of the silent auction items is a portrait he took of the honoree on her 40th birthday.

“THE HOLLYWOOD CELEBRITIES SHOW” returns to the Hilton Rosemont/Chicago O’Hare Hotel this weekend, Sept. 25-26, with more than 30 memorable stars.

They include Frank Vincent (star of “Chicago Overcoat”), Meredith Baxter, Edd “Kookie” Byrnes, Britt Ekland, Tim Kazurinsky, Shirley Knight, Larry Manetti, Marcia Wallace, Barbara Parkins, David Hedison, Michael Gross, Lana Wood, Ruth Buzzi, Taina Elg, Maud Adams and so many more favorites from classic movies and TV shows.

The celebrities will sign autographs and sell memorabilia and, of course, chat with their fans.

Patty Duke, who was scheduled to appear, had to cancel, due to a scheduling conflict with her new movie.

MILESTONES: Gray Talent Group starts its third year of business this month and entrepreneur Dawn Gray says business is going strong. “We were in the black the first year and we’re growing across many levels.”

Gray Talent Group, a SAG, AFTRA, Actors Equity and non-union agency. represents exclusive talent roster of 300, who keep busy appearing in movies, commercials, corporate, theatre, web and print. Before starting her own company, Gray had worked for another talent agency for 10 years. Agent Brooke Shoemaker worked at Claire Simon Casting as a casting assistant.

Some recent Gray Talent Group placements include: Bret Tuomi-He who co-stars in the Broadway tour of “Rock of Ages, Connor Del Rio stars in a film/pilot “Lords of Bad Axe” for Cartoon Network and Ethan Cutkosky co-stars as series regular in Showtime’s new “Shameless” series, that’s set in Chicago but is being shot in L.A.

Media Process Group hosted a 25th anniversary party at its West Town offices for 130 clients, friends and suppliers last week.

Ten years ago Sept. 21 I took a three-story tumble down an elevator shaft. I landed on top of the elevator cage, body bruised and lacerated. It took 2 ? hours huddled in the dark shaft before my cell phone worked and I was able to hit 911. I heard the ambulance sirens almost as soon as I hung up. Like the song says, “I’m still here!” and I never leave home without my cell.