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Casting event scam?

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What was billed as an opportunity for local actors to meet some of Hollywood’s most successful casting directors has been abruptly canceled amid claims that the event was a scam. “Due to the confusion over the intention and purpose of this event, I have decided to cancel,” Natalie Caruso, who describes herself as an actress and film producer, announced Wednesday on Facebook. “Unfortunately w/ social media today it is easy to distort information and create misunderstandings and distrust.” The event, which was breathlessly hyped this week in the Boston Herald, was to be held Sunday at the Bell in Hand Tavern. For a fee of $25, organizers — Caruso and local Coldwell Banker realtor Anthony Menounos — promised to put participants in front of established Hollywood casting directors whom they declined to identify. Also scheduled to attend was George Constantine, described in the event’s promotional material as the producer of an upcoming film, “Windfalls,” allegedly starring Zach Galifianakis. (Try as we might, we couldn’t find any information about Constantine or “Windfalls” or a connection to Galifianakis.) After the Herald story, a mass e-mail went out to local actors encouraging them to contact the state attorney general’s office. “This was a money-making scheme,” says veteran local actor Kevin Fennessy, who was in the Huntington Theatre Co.'s recent production of “Our Town.” “It smelled like an attempt to cash in on the boom of production activity here.” Likewise, Chuck Slavin, a local assistant production coordinator, said he was skeptical of the organizer’s motives. “I’ve never heard of Natalie Caruso,” he said. We couldn’t reach her Wednesday, but Menounos did talk to us. “All I can say is, people should judge the event after the event,” he told us before it was canceled. Asked why the casting directors could not be named, he said, “They’re the ones who could make or break people. We need to protect their anonymity.”

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