Buddy Casting YKTTW Discussion
A director populates his movies with actors he's friends with.
Needs More Examples Picture this: you are movie director Tee Roper. You had a few indie hits under your belt and gotten enough of a rep that you finally have your chance at a big Hollywood production. And lo and behold, it was a success! You have finally hit the big time! You now have the chance to hire some big-name actors for your productions, sweet! And then something interesting happens: you and the actors you've hired start getting along well. Real well. You simply just click with them and you enjoy the collaboration. The actors approach you and say "Hey, Tee? Any time you need someone for a flick, gimme a call, buddy, I'll be there." And lo and behold, they are. You announce you're gonna make a new film and they are more than willing to star in it, maybe even approaching you themselves offering to act in it. Pretty soon, you and those particular actors become practically synonymous with each other. And that, my friends, is Buddy Casting: the tendency for directors to have a favored group of actors who concurrently star in their movies. This cannot happen without the director and actor getting along, as no matter how awesome the finished film is, they won't want to do another one if they hate each other's guts. The director and his stable of actors collaborate frequently because they like each other and believe they play to each other's strengths. Another form of buddy casting is that the director and actors were friends before their respective careers, and maybe hit the big time together at the same time. Perhaps even on the same movie. This doesn't mean that this is always a good thing, mind you. It sometimes happens that the director and actors become too associated to each other, to the point that they collaborate with each other in pretty much every flick they do, whether it merits it or not. The director will start cramming his buddy actors into his films even if it's a cameo which has no bearing on the plot, or give him a starring role for which his buddy actor is not an appropriate fit. On the actor's side, he starts starring in his buddy director's films so often, he starts getting pigeonholed into them. On a worst case scenario, the director gets criticized as being too dependent on his buddy actors, and the actors get basically blacklisted from other directors' productions to the point they ONLY get work from their buddy director. Compare/contrast Pigeonholed Director, Type Casting, Stunt Casting.
- Robert Rodriguez has this in spades. Amongst his many buddy actors are Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Bruce Willis, Jessica Alba, Elijah Wood, Danny Trejo, Cheech Marin, Carla Gugino and fellow director/Heterosexual Life Partner Quentin Tarantino. And speaking of Tarantino...
- Quentin Tarantino has a few buddies he casts in his films too, most prominent being Uma Thurman(which he's famously called his muse) and Samuel L. Jackson, and his stable also has a lot of overlap with Rodriguez's.
- Tim Burton has casted Winona Ryder in a few of his films, but his most famous buddy castings are his girl Helena Bonham-Carter and the holy grail of buddy casting, Johnny Depp.
- Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro have collaborated to the point that thinking of one instantly makes you think of the other. He's also had many collaborations with Harvey Keitel and Joe Pesci, and he's recently had Leonardo DiCaprio as his go-to actor.
- While Your Mileage May Vary, Adam Sandler can be an example of when this trope goes wrong. Some of his buddy actors have been so pigeonholed into his productions, they are hardly ever able to get out of them, especially Rob Schneider and Kevin Spade. He's been frequently casting Kevin James lately, and Steve Buscemi, John Turturro, Jon Lovitz and Chris Rock are frequent actors in his movies as well.
- Pretty much every actor in a Kevin Smith film is buddy casting. Brian O'Halloran, Jeff Anderson and Jason Mewes, practically don't have careers outside his films. Other buddies who often star in his films are Ben Affleck and Jason Lee.
- Christopher Nolan has recently had Christian Bale and Michael Caine as frequent collaborators, with both of them having had their biggest commercial successes with him as director.