A two-term former Casting Society of America (CSA) president, Matthew Lessall was born in London and raised in New York. After graduating from DePauw University, with a degree in Communications, Lessall moved to London to study acting at LAMDA, instead finding his niche in Casting. This path took him to Los Angeles where he was hired as an in-house Casting Consultant for the Fox Searchlight Pictures’ Searchlab Writer/Director Program (while also working with storied casting director Eve Brandstein).
Lessall’s career reflects his dual USA/UK citizenship, having cast important international, award-winning features, series, pilots, and new media projects across a multitude of genres ranging from YA to comedy to horror and everything in between. Although he is mostly known for his visionary work casting independent features, Matthew has also held executive positions at major networks and studios, first as Director of Feature Film Casting at 20th Century Fox, then years later, as an in-house consultant to Paramount Pictures Television Studios, where he worked on their first TV projects, including: 'Urban Cowboy' (FOX), 'Shooter' (USA) and 'Berlin Station' (EPIX).
With his prophetic eye for talented fellow storytellers, Lessall cast Anna Kendrick in her first major film role, having done the same for many other now-celebrated actors. His resume includes visionary casts for productions and co-productions for Australia, Canada, Dominican Republic, Germany, Greece, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, and the UK. A great portion of his canon has garnered Official Selection laurels – and numerous wins - at Cannes, TIFF, Venice, Sundance, San Sebastian, Tribeca, Outfest, SXSW, and a host of other significant festivals, oftentimes securing immediate distribution deals.
Lessall’s resume includes Independent Spirit Award Best Picture Nominee and coveted Cannes Palme d'Or winner, “Chronic” (for acclaimed Mexican director/producer Michel Franco and starring Tim Roth). His 'Miss Stevens' garnered a Best Actress statue for Lily Rabe at SXSW. He also cast the venerable Michael Shannon-led (and Imogen Poots as his co-lead) in Sundance selection ‘Frank & Lola’. He most enjoys assembling diverse casts that accurately reflect life during the period in which the piece is set.
On the new media front, Lessall cast two seasons of Warner Premiere’s record-breaking web-series ‘Mortal Kombat: Legacy’ (Machinima), and season 2 of Warner Digital’s ‘Aim High’ (Crackle). His producing credits include the festival circuit darling, ‘Reparation’, which he also cast.
His personal Award history includes six Artios nominations, two of which currently sit on his mantle, receiving a nomination again this year. February 22, 2023, brought Lessall’s highest recognition to date, a nomination for Achievement in Casting by the Canadian Screen and Television Academy for his work on “The Swearing Jar.” He shares credit on the film with the Canadian casting director, Nicole Hilliard-Forde, and is the only American to be nominated this year.
Lessall continues to be a member of the Casting Society (its rebranded name), and the ICDA and remains a longtime member of BAFTA. He currently lives in Los Angeles with his husband, who works in finance.
Me with Michel Franco & Tim Roth 'Chronic'