I love writing and the creative process of it. But I’m also a very visual person. After all I am a graphic and multimedia designer by profession. So I cast every story I write. I find it helps me to keep better track of details about a person’s appearance. So for these past couple of days I have been wearing the hat of the casting director in my project.
I believe that the casting of a movie or a television show can make or break the show. For instance what if Regina (Lana Parrilla) wasn’t so perfect at being the Evil Queen on Once Upon A Time (OUAT)? Well, the show certainly wouldn’t be as good as it is right now. A small change in her expression makes a huge difference, she can be evil one second then turn around and look a her son Henry (Jared Gilmore) and all you can see is love. Pure love. And just in her eyes you can see that she would do anything – and has done everything – to make sure that he´s save. That just shows how incredibly talented she is. But someone had to cast her for that role, someone out there saw that talent in her and used it.
Another incredibly important part in casting is when younger actors need to be cast as the ‘child’ version of an already cast role. A really good example is Snow White/Mary Margaret (Ginnifer Goodwin) on OUAT. In some of the flashbacks she’s a child, the young Snow White is being played by Bailee Madison. Right now she´s fourteen but she´s been on OUAT since the first season. They really do look alike. And for all of those people who say that Ginnifer Goodwin and Jennifer Morrison who play mother and daughter in the show look nothing alike I can recommend you to look for pictures from a couple of years back where both Ginnifer as well as Jennifer had dark long hair. According to themselves they were often mistaken for one another in the press and at parties.
Or when you´re casting the – ´Oh-my-God!-I-have-a-sibling-I-never-knew-about´ sibling, this is also something which happens in a whole bunch of shows – Grey’s Anatomy anyone? Another good example is the show ´The Fosters´, which is about the Foster family who – yes, you guessed it – foster children. There´s Maya Mitchell who stars as Callie, the girl who thinks she can handle life all on her own but is failing miserably. She´s in youth detention and has a problem with men who lay down the law. So she´s placed (temporarily) in the Foster household with Steph and Leena – who have a son from Steph´s previous marriage and twins who they adopted a couple of years ago. Flash forward to this season (I´m trying to keep this post spoiler-free) we find out that some things weren´t exactly the way she always believed them to be regarding her parents and that she has a sister. And that sister is coincidentally played by none other than Bailee Madison. They have this uncanny-resemblance which you might expect two sisters to have.
This in my eyes is perfect casting! And to be honest I looked up if they weren´t related and judging by the search results I got, I sure as hell wasn´t the only one who wondered about it.
My casting process
So with all of this in mind I started my casting process.
I take a lot of time when I’m casting my characters, I have a certain idea in my head of what the person should look like and what age they are. And that idea in my head fits a certain type, I guess. So that is what I’ll be looking for. At first I started looking for the men in my story. My first main character is a female, but I felt that so far in all my stories my male characters have been lacking. Probably because my main focus has always been the women, who are often in lesbian relationships. So it’s no real surprise that my ‘men’ have been lacking in the character development department. I want to do it right this time. So that is where I started.
Looking for the perfect people to cast your story is key, especially when you’re casting family members. They have to look alike – enough at least to be brothers in this specific case. But I also want them to be their own person. To have their own identity and their own quirks. If you have pictures of the person you’ve cast you can use them to spot small details like that freckle they have, or a small scar.
I’ve cast my main characters and I have some possibles names for side characters. And yes, I am of course fishing in the same pond which most ‘casting directors’ are fishing in. The current pond of young actors. But the funniest thing happened, I was casting two brothers for my story. And I randomly came across an image of Aaron Taylor-Johnson. It was perfect, there are a lot of pictures of him since he’s been in quite a few new movies. And he’s one of those people who look different in each and every movie. And that is perfect because I needed that. When this particular character starts out he’s going to be a really buff looking ‘guard’ but as the story moves along he’ll goes through a lot of changes … both physical as well as mental.
And by coincidence I also found the perfect candidate for the younger brother. My FMC and some side characters. Interested in my ‘cast’? Take a look at my Pinterest.