Casting

There are a few things all of us at ECG can agree on. For example, LaCroix is a necessary foodstuff for basic sustenance. Also 30 Rock is incontestably a funny, fantastic show. Also, used paper towels don’t belong in the recycling bin (OK, yeah. That last one is a pipe dream, but one can hope!)

But, of course, like all happily dysfunctional families, there are things we simply must agree to disagree on. We may all love La Croix, but which is the best flavor is just a too hotly contested topic.

The same can be said of the greatest actors in history. Start a conversation on that topic around here and you’ll get all sorts of answers thrown around. From votes for the classic and conservative choices of Brando or Streep to finely spun arguments in favor of Jeff Bridges or Robert Duvall to absolute staunch support for Patrick Stewart and Samuel L. Jackson. But just like our collective support in having LaCroix stocked in every fridge round these parts, what we can all agree on when it comes to the world of acting is that great casting is as important as all the rest of it.

The Forgotten Casting Director

Casting is the often forgotten agent in a movie’s production. In fact, it’s usually overlooked when glancing at a renowned actor’s career. But truthfully, being a great actor is so much more than just being the best looking Joe or Sally in a room. That’s because certain roles require skills and attributes way above and beyond just those qualifications. And in the end, it’s really the roles that can make or break an actor’s career. Great casting directors in tandem with the director’s vision take all the qualities in a role into consideration when they are filling it. A few qualities sort of like the below, let’s say:

Character’s Appearance

This is an obvious one. Of course it’s important to match an actor to a character’s general description, duh. Now, a description can be as vague as “Male, 40 years old”, but this is still the first criteria that will narrow a search for the perfect actor.

Character’s Background and Attitude

Dean in the role of Jim, a troubled new kid on the block, in the film Rebel Without a Cause.

I think we can all agree that there are some “vibes” we can pick up from certain people. Do we know for certain that James Dean was actually a tortured kid who lashed out at authority to try to conquer the inner masochist instilled in him by his hard-ass father? There’s really no way to tell for certain. But, there was certainly something in his demeanor that made it so he could play roles in that vein incredibly well and with great empathy. It may be that we associate Dean with those qualities because of the roles he played, of course. But therein is the symbiotic relationship that always exists between roles being casted and the actors that fill them. Neither exists without the other, and when a movie goes down in cinema history, it’s both of them that will be remembered.

Physical Requirements

You remember the scene in the original True Grit when John Wayne, in the very well cast role of Rooster Cogburn, shows what grit he’s still got by jumping his horse over a fence and riding away into the sunset? Well in all likelihood, that was probably John Wayne’s stunt double Jim Burk doing the action there. So it’s possible this isn’t the best example of the physical requirements a role might have… Isn’t that a great scene though?

All jokes aside, sometimes a role requires a lot of physical exertion. Matthew McConaughey famously lost nearly 40 pounds to become almost unrecognizable as AIDS patient Ron Woodruff in Dallas Buyer’s Club. More recently, Margot Robbie trained for several months, for hours a day, to play professional figure skater Tonya Harding in the very good film I, Tonya. Both of these actors were absolutely the ones for each of their respective roles. They just had to meet some physical requirements beforehand.

Audience Reactions and Expectations

Who says Tom Hanks can’t pull off the astronaut look?

On the interesting decision to cast Tom Hanks in the role of Jim Lovell in Apollo 13, Producer Brian Grazer said, “…I saw this as a movie about a spacecraft in jeopardy. And who does the world want to get back the most? Who does America want to save? Tom Hanks. We don’t want to see him die. We like him too much.”

Grazer understood that the movie needed a hero who audience goers could really, absolutely root for. Thus Tom Hanks became an astronaut. It’s a move that would repeat itself later in his career when he took on the role of Captain Chesley Sullenburger, famous for landing a damaged plane into the Hudson River and saving every life on board. To American audiences, Tom Hanks is a consistent, unsullied all-around-good guy. He is the hero we can all suspend our disbelief in.

Casting at ECG

At ECG, we know that who is in your video project is just as important as anything else. Our experienced production team casts for projects ranging from hip-hop music videos to government educational videos. We understand which actor to cast in your commercial to make sure audiences leave feeling intrigued or welcomed, or both! We cast from the best and brightest actors in the Southeast and have maintained relationships with actors who we know we can recommend with full faith and confidence — provided they’re right for the role of course! 

Work with a production company who understands how important casting is. Work with ECG. Get the conversation started today!

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