If you’ve watched Canadian television over the past two decades, you’ve likely seen Shasta Lutz’s work without knowing it.
Her Toronto-based casting house, Jigsaw Casting, has worked on the iconic “Evolution” for Dove’s Real Beauty campaign and the Hospital For Sick Children’s spectacular “Undeniable” spot, among many others.
This month, the company is celebrating 20 years in the business.
Founded in 1996 by Lutz, Jigsaw has grown from a one-woman operation to become the top casting house working in Canadian advertising. It employs 8 people, a multitude of freelancers, has won numerous awards and sources talent for hundreds of jobs a year.
“As a casting director my job is to look outside the box,” Lutz says. “I’m looking for the undiscovered. I’m looking in dark corners. I’m looking for the next best thing.”
Lutz began her career casting models for print campaigns and segued into broadcast after a Molson Canadian beer ad she worked on became a TV spot. Her specialty was “real people” casting, a trend that has come back around two decades later as agencies have shifted the emphasis back to realism as opposed from aspirational model-types.
As a woman-owned casting firm, Lutz has worked over the years to push scripts away from 1950s nuclear family stereotypes. If a script comes looking for actors to play male boss or eight construction workers, she often suggests more diverse casting options and agencies often listen.