Bay Ridge

‘La La Land’ casting director graduated from Bishop Kearney High

Deborah Aquila Won Artios Award For Her Contributions

March 7, 2017 By John Alexander Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Deborah Aquila. Photo courtesy of Deborah Aquila
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Bishop Kearney, a private, all-girls Roman Catholic high school at 2202 60th St. in Bensonhurst, can proudly boast that one of its alumni has worked on the Academy Award-winning film “La La Land.”

Deborah Aquila, from the graduating class of 1976, has received the Artios Award for Outstanding Casting for her work as casting director on “La La Land.” The movie received a record-breaking 14 Oscar nominations including Best Picture and Best Actor. Emma Stone took home the Award for Best Actress for her role.

After graduating from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and the Stella Adler Conservatory, Aquila worked on the first two seasons of “Miami Vice” and on films including Michael Mann’s “Man Hunter” and “The Pope of Greenwich Village.”

Her career as a casting director began with Steven Soderbergh’s “Sex, Lies, and Videotape,” and Uli Edel’s “The Last Exit to Brooklyn.” Before moving to Los Angeles in 1993 to cast Frank Darabont’s “The Shawshank Redemption,” she had completed more than 18 independent films in New York

In 1993, she was named senior vice president of Features Casting for Paramount Pictures. Among the notable films she cast at Paramount are “Primal Fear,” “Mission Impossible II,” “Double Jeopardy,” “Varsity Blues,” “The Brady Bunch” and “What Women Want.”

After leaving Paramount in 1999, Aquila returned to independent casting with Sam Raimi’s “The Gift.” Her most recent credits include “La La Land,” “Now You See Me 2,” “Age of Adaline,” and “Deepwater Horizon.”

She has been nominated 15 times by the Casting Society of America for their Artios Award and previously won for her work on the films “Red” and “My Week with Marilyn,” for which Michelle Williams received an Oscar nomination. She has also worked in TV, casting roles for series including “The Shield,” “Dexter” and the 1991 reboot of “Dark Shadows.”

Other notable Bishop Kearney alumni have excelled in various fields, including medicine, politics, business management, education and sports. They include: Lisa Sclafani Sorrento, director of surgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering; Donna Corrado, commissioner for the NYC Department of Aging; Donna Pantaleo Murphy, CEO of Havas Health global network; and middle-distance runner Kerri Gallagher.

Bishop Kearney was established in 1961 and prides itself on helping to empower young women to shape the future through intellectual, social, spiritual, cultural and athletic pursuits.


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