Before entering the casting profession, Ellen enjoyed a 15 yr. acting career in NY and regional theater and in the UK. Her acting training included Meisner, Stanislavsky, Grotowski, Shakespeare (RSC), musical theater, experimental theater, Linklater and Alexander techniques, dance, yoga, tai chi, mime and mask work.
Founding Ellen Parks Casting in 1982, she’s cast and consulted for decades on theater, TV and film, ranging from independent film to network, cable and studio fare. She’s worked with Martin Scorsese, Alexander Payne, David O. Russell, Joel and Ethan Coen, David Letterman, George Romero, as well as emerging filmmakers and indie mavericks like Bette Gordon, Debra Granik and Chloe Zhao.
Ellen has assembled high profile casts, supported re-emerging artists, discovered unknown talent, and championed the early careers of Philip Seymour Hoffman, Sam Rockwell, Scarlett Johansson, Naomie Harris, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Vera Farmiga, Julianne Nicholson, Emmy Rossum, Ty Burrell, Adam Scott, Ashton Kutcher and Julia Garner, awarding many their first important film roles. Ellen’s received a Sundance Special Jury Ensemble Cast Award, three Artios Casting Awards and an Emmy nom.
Ellen’s been an adjunct professor for the NYU Tisch BFA program and Teen Summer sessions, taught at Rutgers, SUNY Purchase, NYU and Columbia’s MFA Directing programs, Smith College, Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center and the Ghetto Film School. Internationally, she’s on the faculty of Beijing’s Center for Western Acting Art and the Dome Studio.