Whether you're an actor looking to get your first background acting credit or you're just looking for a fun way to make a little money and a lasting memory of your trip to Montreal, there are a number of casting agencies in the city looking for movie extras.
According to a Hollywood acting veteran Noelle Hannibal, who relocated to Montreal and obtained background performer roles in the Star Trek franchise, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Ellen, there are at least five agencies operating in eastern Canada for all sorts of major and minor roles in independent as well as mainstream motion pictures.
For those wanting to break into the movie business, landing a role as a background character on a movie or television set provides a number of great benefits to your career. Not only can you familiarize yourself with what you should expect if you become a full-time actor, but you can also meet some industry insiders, network with other professionals, and accumulate screentime for your acting reel.
ACTRA is the labor union in charge of English language performers in Canada, which means this agency is in-the-loop on most productions shooting in Montreal. However, this doesn't mean they have exclusive rights to casting for all of these films and television series.
ACTRA has a convenient "What's Shooting" website, which features a bird's-eye view of which company is filming, who is responsible for casting, and when the shoot will take place. Additionally, ACTRA serves the acting community with member support, information, and exclusives. If you're ever confused by what an extra casting agency is requiring from you or are worried that something shifty is afoot, don't be shy to contact ACTRA and ask for a second opinion.
One of Montreal's best-known casting agencies, Elite Casting has been around since 1983 and casts principal roles as well as extras. Elite Casting also offers audition workshops for actors serious about succeeding in the business.
Highlights from Elite Casting's credits include casting for films such as Whole Nine Yards, The Score, The Heist, and Journey to the Center of the Earth and working with production companies like Warner Brothers, New Line Cinema, IStar, Lakeshore Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, and MGM Home Entertainment.
Established in Montreal in 1999, Figuration Julie Breton, Inc. (FjB) is a major player in the city specializing in casting extras for Canadian and international films and television series. For a small registration fee ($15), you can become a member of this background performer ("figurant" in French) agency.
Casting credits for FjB include Arrival with Xenolinguistics, X-Men Apocalypse with 20th Century Fox, Brooklyn with Wildgaze Films, Death Wish with MGM and Paramount, RED 2 with Summit Entertainment, and Smurfs 2 with Sony Pictures.
Kenyon Wells Casting doesn't specialize in movie extra casting per se, focusing more on principal roles for independent as well as big-budget productions, but its team certainly has the pulse on filming opportunities in Montreal and might be able to steer a background performer in the right direction.
Established in 1990, Kenyon Wells Casting has been responsible for landing some of Canada's biggest talent their first major roles, but also routinely posts casting calls for small and big-screen films. In 2016, for instance, Kenyon Wells Casting was partially responsible for casting Race for Focus Features.
Offering casting services for both union and non-union actors, Casting Quarters may be one of the best places to find extra and background performer work, regardless of your primary language or ethnicity. The agency hires extras for both Hollywood big budget and local productions.
Casting Quarters has provided talent for the ABC series Quantico, the 2016 film Bad Santa 2, and the mini-series Béliveau directed by François Gingras as well as a number of commercials, short films, and independent projects since it was founded in 1998.
Hélène Rousse Total Casting Agency, also known as Total Casting, is a one-stop shop for all things casting related in Canada. Total Casting provides services for everything from video games and music videos to reality television and feature films, serving as a liaison between producers and clients and agents and managers.
Film credits include the short film The Spirit of Niagara, the feature films Death Race, The Incredible Hulk, and Enter the Void, and Lifetime television movie I Me Wed. Television credits include The Quest, Wanted, My Beloved Home (reality TV), and extras for Sweet Salt.