It is with great sadness that we have learned of the passing of long-standing German ICDA member and first ever ICDA President Simone Bär.
We have lost one of the truly great amongst us, but are very proud to have called her our own. There was something so reassuring in Simone’s smile and her warm presence. Her kindness lives on in our hearts and she will forever be admired for her exceptional work in casting.
Our thoughts and condolences are with her family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time.
Timka Grin, Anja Dihrberg-Siebler and Lana Veenker
ICDA Executive Board
Simone Bär remembered by Antje Schlag:
Casting a film is akin to constructing a family constellation, and Simone Bär was a congenial architect.
The 57-year-old casting director died on 16 January 2023 in Berlin. Over the course of a career spanning decades, she brought many actors and directors together – making us realize that perfect pairing of the two can reshape a film entirely.
Simone Bär elevated casting to an art form unfathomable for most people, characterized by her unique intuition and curiosity about people, about life. She was one of the profession’s finest judges of character, always on the lookout for a new face, a new inspiration, always ready to confound predictions and go overboard in order to create the perfect ensemble or cast a leading actress or actor she believed in.
We will very soon feel the tension between Bachmann and Frischin Ingeborg Bachmann – Reise in die Wüste by Margarethe von Trotta and perhaps bear witness to the presentation of an Academy Award to Edward Berger’s All Quiet on the Western Front, with its dazzling new cast or to TÁR by Todd Field. We look forward to whatever journey the new film from Christian Petzold, Roter Himmel, will sweep us away on, and to how much Sissi und ich by Frauke Finsterwalder will capture our hearts. Simone Bär cast the hit series Babylon Berlin by Tom Tykwer, Hendryk Handloegten and Achim von Borries; she also worked repeatedly with Christian Petzold, Matti Geschonnek, Florian Gallenberger, Robert Thalheim, Baran Bo Odar and with Sherry Hormann on Nur eine Frau.
As an authority on international arthouse cinema, she worked with Stephen Daldry (The Reader), Quentin Tarantino (Inglorious Bastards), Steven Spielberg (War Horse), Jonathan Glazer (The Zone of Interest), Francoise Ozon (Frantz), Martin Zandvliet (Land of Mine) and Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel). Yet she also supported emerging filmmakers with great enthusiasm, guiding directors like Ilker Catak, Barbara Ott and Philip Koch through their debut films, always working hand-and-hand with the artists. She was deeply invested in long-term collaborations, shaped by deep trust in her creative partners.
When asked what casting means to her, she once answered: “authenticity, coherency… in the roles, so that the characters captivate and enchant me. You cannot make generalizations; you must cast a comedy quite differently from a drama, but the actors always have to advance the script to the extent possible.” She searched out actors and found them in the most ingenious way: finely nuanced acting was key to the casting of the Netflix series Dark and worked tirelessly to perfectly align the dialects of the actors playing younger and older versions.
Advancing the careers of actors like Nina Hoss, Sandra Hüller, Paula Beer, Vicky Krieps, Peter Kurth and Christoph Waltz, Simone Bär’s skills and expertise brought her international recognition. As the result of her shrewd decisions and deep knowledge, a number of films have gone on to receive awards, including multiple Academy Award wins and nominations, Golden Globes, German Film Awards, European Film Awards and the Grimme-Preis.
Photo: Sophia Balmes