Screenwriting : Dream Actors for Your Script, and Why? by Hank Biro

Hank Biro

Dream Actors for Your Script, and Why?

Before or while working on a script, my characters aren't normally written to suit certain famous actors. The current script I'm writing is an exception. It's about a flamboyant famous rapper, and other celebrities, all living secret, malevolent double-lives. I would love the lead character to be played by an actual rapper to help with believability because whoever's in the role will need to know how to rap (and hopefully be able to write an original soundtrack for the film) and have an incredible stage presence. My two top picks are: Tyler, The Creator (whose latest album inspired this concept), and Canadian rapper Shad K. Who else writes characters while having actors in mind to play them? Please share and if you answer yes, explain how your casting choice would improve your character.

Cannon Rosenau

Yes! But I still leave it very open so that way it gives the chance for new up and coming talent to be cast.

I only picture certain actors so that way I can give life and mannerisms etc to the voice in my head and subsequently onto the page.

Vasco Saraiva

I always do, but only because it makes me see the movie much better. The voice, physicality and everything helps me a lot and informs the character as well. But this is purely on a personal level, I never share who the actors are.

Jim Boston

Hank, I sure DO write characters with certain performers in mind.

Right now, I'm working to bring "Bleeding Gums" to the finish line...and when I worked on the screenplay's outline, I thought Crystal Bernard would make a heck of a Barbara Mikolajczyk. [Never mind that, on www.imdb.com, it says that Bernard hasn't had a movie role or TV role since 2008! She's got musical chops, and she's proven that (especially to "Wings" viewers) for decades.]

Thought it'd be cool for a native Texan to play a Texan-turned-Nebraskan.

And when I started putting "Pixie Dust" together, I thought the old "A.N.T. Farm" duo of China Anne McClain and Sierra McCormick would make a good Cindy and a good Huck, respectively.

Hank, I wish you all the VERY BEST...especially on the script you're working on!

Cannon Rosenau

Jim Boston I just started watching Wings. So far so good. Anyhow, that actress is cute as a button, yet seems feisty. And that folks is why we have to picture actual people. But not write ourselves into a corner and be ambiguous enough so the movie can be made with whomever the other creatives have in mind.

Richard Banton

I don't. I'm not Aaron Sorkin or Tarantino so the chances of getting the big names is a pipe dream. However, I write all my major roles with a certain look in mind.

Vic Burns

In another world - James Garner.

William Martell

I don't have anything to do with casting. The actor plays the character, the character doesn't play the actor.

I once recommended an up and coming actor who once crashed a party at my house to a producer, who had never heard of him. So they cast some nobody actor... The up and coming guy starred in an indie film a couple of years later - and became a movie star.

They never listen to me, so I don't suggest any more.

Brett Hoover

I don't always have a particular actor or actress in mind when I begin writing my character for either one of my screenplays or one of my books. Most times I just create a character Bible describing all the characteristics and interests that, that character possesses. This helps me get a great idea of what this character would do in a particular situation. However, there are just some stories that I immediately picture a specific actor playing the role. Just seeing the face and knowing the actor's previous works and mannerisms helps me guide my particular character throughout the story. So for me, both works but I still prefer the character Bible method more than seeing my character as a specific actor, mostly because I feel it gives me more flexibility with the character I am creating.

Jim Boston

Cannon, I understand what you're saying...and I realize writing characters with certain performers playing them in mind is like wearing a blindfold while you're trying to reach into a cookie jar that's got, unbeknownst to you, a rat in it.

Thanks for the heads-up...and all the VERY BEST to you!

Brian Walsh

It depends on the character, but sometimes I think of an actor and it helps me visualize the character better, especially for the smaller character roles. For example, in the novel I am working on, there is a character that I picture as Elizabeth Perkins, because of the way she holds herself and speaks, conveying the cool confidence that the character needs in the story, plus her visual appearance, yet I don't picture any other actors as the other characters in the book.

Doug Nelson

After a discussion with Lee Emory, I wrote a paranormal script specifically for him (Dead Man's Hand) in which he was the lead ghost. He loved it and we were in full pre production when he passed away. (lots of puns about casting living actors and another script going into the dead pile.)

Dan Guardino

Doug. That is a bad way for a script ending up in the dead pile. I had two go into the dead pile because the producer went to jail. This is one crazy business for sure.

Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy

I rarely have an actor in mind when I write parts of a screenplay. However, I did recently write a pitch and Pitch deck for Gerard Butler based on input from a producer who was shopping this project to a specific production company..

Nick Assunto - Stage32 Script Services

I always find myself writing a character that makes me go, "Man, Anna Kendrick would be awesome in this role." so if that ever happened one day I'd probably feel like I achieved some sort of next level goal, but other than that I don't really think about it right now. I find if I start fantasizing about if my project was made, as nice as it is to, I lose sight of getting the work done.

Dan MaxXx

I was reading the making of "American Gigolo" and John Travolta was originally cast instead of newcomer Richard Gere. Travolta also turned down "Officer and a Gentlemen."

Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, Clint Eastwood, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Nick Nolte, John Travolta, Dustin Hoffman - they all turned down playing Rambo.

Basically, keep your options open 'cause Bosses also hire replacement writers.

Nick Assunto - Stage32 Script Services

I believe Shyamalan is one of the few writer/directors to consistently get his first choices for roles after the success of THE SIXTH SENSE. He would write with an actor in mind, and be able to cast that actor because he had the sway at the time. So even with your dream actor in mind, as a writer you have the least control over the choice. If you really need that actor to play the role, write it in a way they couldn't possibly turn it down.

Doug Nelson

Dan G, it is a ghost story so....

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