Who Makes The Final Casting Decision In Independent Film?

The producer hires the director on most film projects. A director makes
many decisions throughout the production process, but as an employee of the producer, these decisions can almost always be overruled.

How much authority a director wields on a project is subject to many variables: past experience, celebrity status, involvement in writing the script, contribution of investors to the project, the social status and relationship dynamic between the producer and the director, and lastly how much the producer chooses to micromanage each aspect of the film.

When it comes to casting, a collaborative discussion usually occurs
between the CD, the director, and the producer regarding which actor fits
best for each role and how various actors would fit with others in the project.

For independent films, the director usually makes the final decision
on which actors are cast. Most producers will give the director freedom
in this area but can at any point dispute or simply overrule the director’s
casting decision.

Often, casting decisions can be a case of bargaining between a producer
and director, for example if the director and producer have strong opinions on two different actors for each of two roles, they may say “I’ll let you have actor x for role a if we hire actor y for role b”.

Occasionally, investors will interject on casting decisions and if their financial contribution is substantial enough, the producer and director might do what they say. If celebrity attachments are required, sales agents, distributors, and investors may need to approve bankable name cast attachments.

Extract From: The Hollywood Survival Guide - For Actors