->''"If you have a chance to have a great actor in the part, everything else is irrelevant."''
-->-- '''Creator/KennethBranagh''' on casting '''Creator/IdrisElba''' as the Norse god Heimdall in ''Film/{{Thor}}''

Casting agents usually have a very specific appearance in mind when casting actors to play their characters. When holding auditions there will usually be descriptions noting what the character should look like, for example blonde hair, frail frame, not too tall etc. This is also the case when casting actors in adaptations of books and video games.

But sometimes, an actor who's completely different from the physical description shows up for the audition and nails the role. The casting directors throw the description out the window and hire this actor because of their performance.

This may lead to tropes such as RaceLift, AdaptationalAttractiveness, AdaptationalUgliness, BlackVikings, HollywoodHomely, and HollywoodPudgy. In rare cases, can even trump a character's original [[GenderFlip gender]]. Used to be used frequently as a justification for {{Blackface}}, and still to this day is the usual excuse given for whitewashing ethnic characters in adaptations.

Compare ColorblindCasting for when appearance isn't a factor in casting at all.

Note that it isn't an example of the trope if the actor works hard to [[DyeingForYourArt resemble the physical description of the character]].



!!Real Life Examples:

* In ''Film/{{Alien}}'', all of the characters are known by their last names and were written as unisex. Ultimately Ripley and Lambert were cast with female actors. Hardly any lines were rewritten, and it's since been repeatedly hailed as a masterpiece of female character writing.
* When casting Red for ''Film/TheShawshankRedemption'' the description was for a middle-aged Irish man with greying red hair and actors such as Creator/ClintEastwood, Creator/HarrisonFord, Creator/PaulNewman, and Creator/RobertRedford were considered. Creator/MorganFreeman wound up getting the part because the director "couldn't see anyone else as Red" after his audition. Which had the added effect of making the line - "Why do they call you 'Red'?" [{{beat}}] "Maybe it's cause I'm Irish." - hilarious. In the novella, the character is only named Red. It's changed in the film to "Ellis Redding," to explain the name.
* ''Film/TheLordOfTheRings'':
** The producers intended to cast only British actors as the Hobbits as Tolkien had imagined the Shire as a form of England but American Creator/ElijahWood sent in a strong audition tape and was cast as Frodo. A marginal case, seeing as Wood speaks TheQueensLatin with very few slips. Creator/SeanAstin's North Country take on Sam Gamgee has also received generally good notices.
** Gollum was meant to be an animatronic, but Creator/AndySerkis's performance impressed the filmmakers so much that they decided to use CGI and motion capture (trope-naming SerkisFolk), plus having him physically acting on the set. That also allowed them to have the flashback scene at the start of ''Return of the King'' where a live-action hobbit-Sméagol played by Serkis transforms into Gollum. Today, Serkis' acting talents are so well-regarded, even through the prism of CGI, that one of WebVideo/CinemaSins' {{Running Gag}}s is, "Andy Serkis [[AwardSnub isn't winning an Oscar]] in this scene."
* {{Invoked}} by the filmmakers of ''Film/TheLastAirbender'' for the main cast members of the Water Nation. In the original cartoon, the nation has [[{{Mukokuseki}} tan skin, dark hair and blue eyes]], serving as a FantasyCounterpartCulture for Inuits. The film cast Caucasian actors for the lead roles and Asians or Inuits as the silent extras-in-distress. The film's very poor reception and in particular critiques of the very wooden acting from the leads did not bear out the filmmaker's excuse for the RaceLift.
* Ben in ''Film/NightOfTheLivingDead1968'' was not written to be black. At the time, it was quite unusual for a black man to get a lead film role. Creator/GeorgeARomero has always maintained that he only cast Duane Jones because he gave the best audition, not to make a point or be controversial.
* ''Film/HarryPotter'':
** The films frequently cast actors this way. Horace Slughorn, Dolores Umbridge and Gilderoy Lockhart are all played by actors who don't quite match the physical description of their book counterparts (for instance, Slughorn is meant to be short and stout with a walrus mustache, but Creator/JimBroadbent is clean-shaven and over six feet), but who captured their attitudes perfectly.
** Umbridge is an even more noticeable case, as her appearance is constantly described as toadlike in the books, and the illustrations bear it out. Creator/ImeldaStaunton doesn't look anything like this, and they did nothing to make her even remotely unpleasant looking. However, this actually works in the films' ''favor'', due to [[BitchInSheepsClothing the heightened contrast]] between her sweet, grandmotherly appearance and her brutal, secret-police style rule over the school (and [[MisplacedKindergartenTeacher infuriating]] [[GigglingVillain behavior]]).
** Creator/AlanRickman as Severus Snape bears mention here; in the books, Snape is in his 30s, while Rickman was 55 when he made Philosopher's Stone. Regardless of the DawsonCasting, there are few who would disagree that Rickman totally owns the role. J.K. Rowling herself clued Rickman in on what she had planned for Snape's back story to help his performance in the films; she did not do the same for the rest of the cast.
* In ''ComicBook/TheMightyThor'' comics, Heimdall is pretty covered up, but still visibly Caucasian [[note]]In fact, in norse mythology Heimdall is identified as "the whitest of the gods"[[/note]]. For [[Film/{{Thor}} the film]], Kenneth Branagh chose to cast Creator/IdrisElba. Fan controversy over his choice led to the page quote. His performance was then raved about. As [[Creator/BobChipman MovieBob]] put it: "To everyone who pitched a fit about Idris Elba playing Heimdall; Every scene he's in may as well be subtitled ''THAT'S WHY''."
* ''Film/ThorRagnarok'':
** Valkyrie is a white blonde in the comics, but in this movie, she is portrayed by Creator/TessaThompson, who is black. Director Taika Waititi said he was aware that some of the more hardcore fans might take umbrage with her casting, but insisted that she gave the strongest audition of all the actresses who read for the part.
** The BigBad, ComicBook/{{Hela}}, is a 6'6" StatuesqueStunner [[PhysicalGod Goddess]] in the comics, but is played by the 5'8" Creator/CateBlanchett. Kinda justified because it would have been ''very'' difficult to find an actress (or human being for that matter) of Hela's height in real life, and of course a little thing like a height difference was never going to stop Marvel from snagging a multi-Oscar winning actress like Blanchett.
* Likewise, in his screen adaptation of ''Film/MuchAdoAboutNothing'', Branagh cast the African-American Creator/DenzelWashington to play the Spanish Don Pedro of Aragon whose character was the half-brother of the Caucasian Creator/KeanuReeves.
* Creator/DanielCraig got a bit of controversy when he was cast as Film/JamesBond in ''Film/CasinoRoyale2006'' because he looked very different from the past Bonds, being derisively referred to as "James Blond." This of course all went away once the film came out and he got rave reviews. He may have invoked the trope since he refused to dye his hair black for the role. Creator/SeanConnery got this in Dr. No as well, especially from Creator/IanFleming who insisted that Bond was ''English''. After he saw Sean Connery, he instantly added some Scottish roots into the books as well.
* Casting Quoyle of ''Literature/TheShippingNews'' based on appearance would require a lot of excessive prosthetics so instead Creator/KevinSpacey sells the role on the strength of his performance.
* To many, Rosie O'Donnell wasn't exactly what came to mind as an ideal choice to play the cute, slender Betty Rubble in the 1994 [[LiveActionAdaptation live-action]] [[Film/TheFlintstones film adaptation]] of ''WesternAnimation/TheFlintstones'', but among other things she nailed Betty's chuckle down pat. Next thing you know she's in the blue dress with the short-black hairdo.
** it also had a lot to do with the fact that she was a big fan of the original cartoons.
* Creator/PhilipPullman had something of a reaction like this when Creator/NicoleKidman was cast as Mrs. Coulter in ''Film/TheGoldenCompass''. The character has black hair in the books (Kidman being blonde) and Pullman said, "I was wrong, she has to be blonde", Kidman having been his personal choice for the role.
* ''Film/{{Carrie}}'':
** Creator/SissySpacek was widely thought to be too pretty to play Carrie White, the character in the book being described as chunky, mousy-haired and covered in pimples with Spacek being a tall thin redhead with clear skin. But Spacek's Oscar nomination speaks for itself. The character was then rewritten slightly saying that she would be pretty if she made an effort to tidy herself up a bit.
** Likewise, AlphaBitch Chris Hargensen is described as dark haired and olive skinned but has been portrayed by blonde actresses Creator/NancyAllen and Creator/EmilieDeRavin who absolutely nail the bitchy attitude. Finally averted with the 2013 remake which cast the brunette Portia Doubleday.
* ''Literature/TheChroniclesOfNarnia'':
** The 80s BBC Production cast four children who were nothing like the descriptions - Peter (Richard Dempsey) looked too young, Lucy (Sophie Wilcox) was much older and chubbier, Susan (Sophie Cook) was blonde instead of brunette, and Edmund (Jonathan R. Scott) looked older than Peter - but they all gelled well together in their auditions.
** Same thing with the Walden Films versions. Lucy has auburn hair, rather than blonde, but Creator/GeorgieHenley was unanimously praised in the role (and WordOfGod says in interview that the change was allowed to go through because Henley's audition was just that good). Edmund doesn't have an official hair color (although he's described as a fair-haired/bearded adult, and as a child the illustrations are indeterminate), but black-haired Creator/SkandarKeynes is a fan favorite as Edmund. Peter is supposed to be dark-haired, but played by blond Creator/WilliamMoseley. Susan is the only character whose actress fits the description, being played by brunette Creator/AnnaPopplewell. All four actors worked very well together.
* Julie Taymor altered Creator/WilliamShakespeare's ''Theatre/TheTempest'' to have Creator/HelenMirren play the lead in her [[Film/TheTempest2010 2010 film adaptation]].
* ''Literature/TheVampireChronicles'' film adaptations:
** Creator/AnneRice openly protested against Creator/TomCruise being cast as Lestat in ''Film/InterviewWithTheVampire''. Her choice was Creator/RutgerHauer. After she saw the film, she issued an apology and praised his performance. Though she did insist that Lestat's hair remain blond in the film.
** She was also against Stuart Townsend being cast as Lestat in ''Film/QueenOfTheDamned'' until she met him. The actor remained dark-haired for the role, though, likely to play up the "goth rock superstar" image they cultivated for Lestat.
* In the ''Film/{{Daredevil}}'' movie, the Kingpin was played by Creator/MichaelClarkeDuncan. There were men who looked the part better, but few of them were actually ''actors''. He was the best actor with the [[LargeAndInCharge size]] that they could find, and even then, he had to gain some weight for the role. Ironically, the Kingpin was originally supposed to be black in the comics, but an editor thought it would be racist to have a black villain. Incidentally, the mid-90s Spider-Man cartoon could be a subversion of this. Kingpin was drawn as a white man, and voiced by [[http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001975/?ref_=tt_cl_t2 Roscoe Lee Brown]].
* The ''Film/MeanGirls'' producers thought Lizzy Caplan was too pretty for "art freak" Janis, but eventually cast her for considering her the best actress that auditioned.
* Creator/HaileeSteinfeld did an amazing job as Mattie in the 2010 film of ''Film/TrueGrit'', which didn't drop a single line of dialogue about how ugly she was. Similarly, all dialogue about Rooster being fat and out of shape was kept, even though Creator/JeffBridges barely had a visible belly.
* Creator/WinonaRyder in ''Film/LittleWomen'' is much too petite to play Jo, who in the book is described as being "like a colt" with "long limbs and big shoulders and hands". That being said it's hard to imagine another actress of her generation who can capture Jo's spirit, clumsiness and generally loud attitude as well as she can.
* Creator/RobertDowneyJr is almost the exact opposite of Franchise/SherlockHolmes in appearance, being a handsome man of middling height and muscular build. Holmes is described as tall, slender, hawk-nosed and not particularly good-looking. His performance in the ''Film/SherlockHolmes'' film, however, was generally well received.
* Creator/MichaelKeaton in the original ''Film/{{Batman}}'' movie. Creator/TimBurton even defended his casting decision by claiming that he didn't need a beefy action star to play Batman; he needed someone who could actually act their way out of paper bag, especially as Bruce Wayne. The infamous molded abs were added to the Batsuit precisely to make Keaton look physically intimidating.
* Peter Ustinov played Creator/AgathaChristie's Belgian detective Literature/HerculePoirot in six films, despite being completely different in appearance. According to the other wiki, Christie's daughter allegedly said "That's not Poirot! He isn't at all like that!," to which Ustinov replied, "He is now."
* ''Film/XMenFilmSeries'':
** Magneto is very muscular in the comics, but the slender Creator/IanMcKellen was cast because he's one of the finest actors on the planet.
** In the comics, ComicBook/{{Wolverine}} is supposed to be [[PintSizedPowerhouse about 5'3"]]. Creator/HughJackman is a full foot taller. In the '90s, they even considered Glenn Music/{{Danzig}} for the role. The role was originally supposed to go to Dougray Scott (6' even), but he had to opt out when the filming for ''Film/MissionImpossibleII'' went over schedule.
** Also, average-sized (5'6") Creator/HalleBerry as Storm, who in the comics is a StatuesqueStunner.
** Creator/JamesMcAvoy--who is well-known for his PrettyBoy looks and his thick, wavy brown hair--doesn't physically resemble Creator/PatrickStewart (and Professor X in the comics was blond before he went bald), but the "Band of Brothers" featurette on the ''Film/XMenFirstClass'' Blu-Ray/DVD makes it clear that the filmmakers' first choice for the role was [=McAvoy=] because he's a very talented thespian.
--->'''Creator/MatthewVaughn''': James was the first actor we cast. I've always been a fan of James, I think he's a tremendous actor.
--->'''Simon Kinberg''': When initially somebody said, "What about James [=McAvoy=] for Charles?", I said, "That is the greatest idea I've ever heard, he'll never do it. Why would he take on somebody else's role which he is only going to be compared to Patrick Stewart?"
--->'''Lauren Shuler Donner''': James [=McAvoy=], one of the world's best actors, he's just incredible.
** In the comic books, Bolivar Trask is a taller fellow while Creator/PeterDinklage, who portrays him in ''Film/XMenDaysOfFuturePast'', has dwarfism. He's an Emmy-winning actor whose performances are frequently met with critical acclaim, and since his appearance has very little bearing on the character, nobody has made anything of it. Peter Dinklage often falls into this; he seems to be one of the few dwarfs in show business who can net a role that didn't call for one. Website/SFDebris noted in its review of ''Series/{{Threshold}}'' that nobody ever mentions his character's condition.
*** This is partly due to the fact that Dinklage has been consciously aiming for this trope in his choice of roles; he's always turned down stereotypical dwarf roles that would milk his physical appearance for cheap laughs. This is easy to do now that his acting abilities are universally praised, but it was a severe hardship in his earlier years.
* In the ''Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse'', African-American Samuel L. Jackson was cast as the Caucasian-in-the-comics Nick Fury.
** The unusual "casting" actually occurred in the ''Ultimate Marvel'' strand of the comics: in these, Fury was modeled on Jackson because the creators thought he would be awesome in the role, despite the break from Marvel canon. Comics fans agreed, and when it came time to show Fury in the MCU Jackson was cast for the post-credits cameo in ''Film/IronMan''.
** His portrayal was so well-received that in comic continuities outside the ''Ultimate Marvel'' imprint, the original Nick Fury retires and an African-American son was created (Nick Fury Jr.) to take his place.
* ''Film/IronMan'':
** Done retroactively in ''Film/IronMan2'': Creator/SamRockwell had auditioned to play Tony Stark in the original film but lost the part to Creator/RobertDowneyJr. However, Creator/JonFavreau was still impressed so in the sequel he called Rockwell to give him the part of Justin Hammer... despite Hammer being an elderly British guy (originally modeled after Creator/PeterCushing, no less!) in the original comics.
** And of course, the comics [[ComicBook/IronMan Tony Stark]] is 6' 1" (185 cm)). Creator/RobertDowneyJr. is 5' 7" (1m70), forcing [[ScullyBox high heels]] in certain scenes -- specially in ''Film/{{The Avengers|2012}}'', as both Creator/ChrisHemsworth and Creator/ChrisEvans, and even Gwyneth Paltrow are really tall.
** Pepper Potts as played by Creator/GwynethPaltrow differs quite a way from her comic book counterpart, who starts out in her early-to-mid twenties and is correspondingly immature at times; the original plan for the movie more or less followed this, with Pepper implied to drop out as a potential love interest after the first movie due to her inability to cope with Tony's new lifestyle. Gwyneth Paltrow's Pepper is at least ten years older than her comic book counterpart and is shown to be mature, capable and loyal due to her greater experience and longer stint as Tony's PA; and it's probably no coincidence that she's become one of the most popular love interests in the Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse.
* The eponymous role of ''Film/{{Salt}}'' was for Creator/TomCruise, but when he dropped out Creator/AngelinaJolie talked her way into an audition. The rest is history.
* During the beginning stages of making the movie ''Film/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy'', Creator/DouglasAdams made only one request regarding the casting; that Arthur Dent be played by a British actor. Other parts could be cast as the producers saw fit. In the final product, Creator/MartinFreeman was cast as Arthur, with American actors Creator/ZooeyDeschanel and Creator/SamRockwell as Trillian and Zaphod respectively, and American rapper Mos Def as Ford Prefect.
* Creator/JohnTravolta's performance in ''Film/TheGeneralsDaughter'' so impressed the author of the original book, despite being almost the complete opposite of the book's description of Warrant Officer Paul Bremmer.
* ''Film/FerrisBuellersDayOff'': Cameron Frye was originally envisioned as being chunky and [[UglyCute "homely in a lovable way".]] Creator/JohnCandy auditioned for the role, despite not looking like ''anything resembling'' a high-school student. Emilio Estevez, who also somewhat matched the description, was offered the role, but turned it down. Creator/JohnHughes then remembered the tall, thin, ''very'' attractive [[OlderThanTheyLook (29-year-old!)]] Alan Ruck from the ''[[Film/TheBreakfastClub Breakfast Club]]'' auditions (he didn't make the cut that time), and cast him based on that performance. What followed was what is considered to be one of the most soulful, enduring portrayals in Hughes' oeuvre.
* Very white, very British Creator/BenedictCumberbatch was cast as a specifically-ethnic character, [[spoiler:the Sikh-descended MagnificentBastard Khan Noonien Singh]], in ''Film/StarTrekIntoDarkness''. It was criticized at the time as a case of RaceLift. After the film came out, however, his performance was acclaimed; in fact, it's one of the few areas of the film that the vast majority, including Trekkies who grew up with a non-white version of the character, agree on as spectacular. Additionally, a couple [[AuthorsSavingThrow Authors' Saving Throws]] have come out: one a tie-in prequel which made the RaceLift in-universe canon to hide his identity, the other WordOfGod about how, given the character's acts of terroristic violence within the film, casting someone of the proper ethnicity might have invoked all manner of UnfortunateImplications. (It's also worth noting that the original actor approached for the role was Benicio Del Toro.)
* Believe it or not, Creator/ChristopherReeve as ''Film/{{Superman}}''. Creator/RichardDonner commented that during auditions and screen testing (which was revealed when the Donner cut of ''Film/SupermanII'' came out) Reeve was skinny and his hair was kind of blonde, but took interest because of his talent. Some shoe polish to darken his hair and [[DyeingForYourArt a few months training]] with David Prowse ([[Franchise/StarWars Darth Vader]]) to bulk up and he dominated the screen.
* A ''really'' impressive example in PJ Hogan's ''Film/PeterPan''. Tinkerbell was originally going to be entirely CGI. But actress Ludivine Sagnier lobbied for the role and impressed Hogan enough to cast her.
* Creator/CillianMurphy's casting as Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow in ''Film/TheDarkKnightSaga'' gained some ire from Batman fans due to his [[AdaptationalAttractiveness youthful good looks]], but his performance has generally been well praised.
* Creator/TomHanks bears very little physical resemblance to [[HitmanWithAHeart Michael O'Sullivan]], the protagonist of Max Allan Collins' graphic novel ''Film/RoadToPerdition'', but he was still praised for his performance in Creator/SamMendes' film adaptation. Notably, the casting choice represents a rare inversion of AdaptationalAttractiveness, as Hanks is a far cry from the graphic novel's [[http://www.comicbookreligion.com/img/m/i/Michael_OSullivan.jpg classically]] [[http://cronicasdeja.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/road3.jpg handsome]] "Angel of Death".
* For ''Film/MyWeekWithMarilyn'' we can safely assume that this is what they were going for when casting Creator/MichelleWilliams, who doesn't look all that much like Creator/MarilynMonroe.
* Creator/JamieFoxx as Electro/Max Dillon, who is white in the comics, in ''Film/TheAmazingSpiderMan2''. Given that he's ''blue'' as Electro, race is a relatively minor point.
* Jack Reacher in the novels is 6'3" and muscular. Tom Cruise is 5'7" and slender, but utterly nailed the role in ''Film/JackReacher'', to the approval of author Lee Child.
* ''Film/TheHungerGames'':
** Creator/JenniferLawrence does not match the description of Katniss Everdeen in [[Literature/TheHungerGames the Hunger Games books]]. Katniss is thin due to near-starvation, olive skinned and dark haired. Lawrence has a normal build, fair skin and blonde hair. This caused some initial fan outrage, to which Lawrence responded that [[DyeingForYourArt hair can change color]] and she refuses to starve herself for a role. Her acting performance has been almost universally praised. However, the casting call for the character asked specifically for white actresses, despite her AmbiguouslyBrown appearance in the books, which has caused some to take issue with the casting even if they were pleased with the final decision.
** Creator/JoshHutcherson got (and still gets) a lot of complaints for not matching the book description of Peeta Mellark. Peeta in the books is taller than Katniss and has curly blond hair and blue eyes. Hutcherson is shorter than Lawrence and has dark hair and dark eyes. He dyes his hair blond for the films but there are still a lot of complaints about his height, the fact that he doesn't wear blue contacts and how he's not deemed attractive enough for the role (even though Peeta is never described as being gorgeous and Hutcherson is quite easy on the eyes). However he was chosen for the role by Creator/SuzanneCollins (author of the books) who felt he perfectly captured the essence of the character and has stated that she can't see anyone else playing the part. By the time of the third and fourth film's release, at least, most fans were in agreement with Collins that Hutcherson captured the character perfectly. Even so there were still complaints about his appearence (however the initial mass of [[FanDumb outcry that he was too ugly compared to]] Creator/LiamHemsworth [[FanDumb to be a credible love interest]] had at least died down, since Hemsworth was not able to capture Gale's character to the same degree, and was considerably less charming).
* When Creator/FrancisFordCoppola was casting for ''Film/ApocalypseNow'', he intended Col. Kilgore to be a LargeAndInCharge type, but Robert Duvall, who did not fit that description, eventually convinced Coppola to give him the part. It worked, as Duvall was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and Kilgore has become an icon of film.
* Harold Russell lost both of his hands in UsefulNotes/WorldWarII. After receiving hooks, and training on them, he was chosen to make an Army training film called "Diary Of A Sergeant". Creator/WilliamWyler saw the film and decided to cast him in ''Film/TheBestYearsOfOurLives'', for which role Russel eventually receive 2 Oscars.
* Creator/JackNicholson as, well, anything, but ''Film/OneFlewOverTheCuckoosNest'' in particular. In the novel, the character was, as with ''Film/TheShawshankRedemption'' above, a crazy, red-headed Irishman.
* ''Film/BatmanVSupermanDawnOfJustice'':
** Creator/JasonMomoa was cast as ComicBook/{{Aquaman}}. Momoa is exceptionally tall and of noticeable Polynesian ancestry with dark hair and tan skin, whereas (even at his strongest) Aquaman is more of an average height, blonde, pale, viking barbarian look. If anything, this was embraced as perfect casting considering [[ThisLooksLikeAJobForAquaman Aquaman's public impression]] despite all sorts of attempts in other media to have him be more badass. Momoa's roles in ''Series/StargateAtlantis'', ''Film/ConanTheBarbarian2011'' and ''Series/GameOfThrones'' earned him a legion of fans for his incredible physical presence, which should easily overshadow any "Aquaman is a weakling" memes.
** Japanese model/actress Creator/TaoOkamoto plays Mercy Graves, who was a white blonde woman in the comics (Pre-ComicBook/{{New 52}}) and ''WesternAnimation/SupermanTheAnimatedSeries''. WordOfGod is that Creator/ZackSnyder really wanted to work with Okamoto after being impressed with her performance in ''Film/TheWolverine'', and cast her in the part despite her lack of resemblance to the comic character.
* Creator/JamesMcAvoy was cast in ''Film/{{Trance}}'' and ''Film/{{Filth}}'' despite [[http://ca.ign.com/articles/2014/05/23/james-mcavoys-filthy-and-favorite-new-role the directors initially believing he looked wrong for the role]].
-->"What's strange is that both those movies, the director thought I wasn't right for it, thought I was too young to do it, didn't have enough darkness," the actor reflected on the two roles. "And yet, for some reason, when I went in and auditioned for Danny [Boyle] and then had a conversation with [Filth director] Jon S. Baird, they seemed to change their mind."
* In the book ''Literature/{{Holes}}'', protagonist Stanley is overweight; his actor for the movie adaptation was the slimmer Creator/ShiaLaBeouf, who initially tried to gain weight but stopped when Sachar himself told him that it was more important that he focus on depicting the character's diffidence. Film-makers also said it would had been difficult to have an overweight 14-year-old actor gradually losing weight like his character did in the book due to the digging.
* Both Creator/AnthonyHopkins and Creator/FrankLangella earned Oscar nominations for portraying UsefulNotes/RichardNixon (for ''Film/{{Nixon}}'' and ''Film/FrostNixon'', respectively) despite bearing little resemblance to the real man.
* Creator/MichaelFassbender looks nothing like ''Film/SteveJobs'' (compare him to Creator/ChristianBale, the first actor approached for the part), but his performance in Creator/DannyBoyle and Creator/AaronSorkin's biopic has been universally acclaimed.
* ''Film/AGuideToRecognizingYourSaints'':
** Dito Montiel claims he nearly had a fit when he saw that Creator/ChanningTatum was up for the role of Antonio. Among other things, Dito thought he was far too good-looking to believably play such a troubled kid. He was won over by Channing's desperate longing that he brought to the character - and worked with him twice more afterwards.
** Creator/ShiaLaBeouf was likewise turned down for the lead role - because Dito thought he was too "Disney" for it. Shia talked his way into a second audition and convinced Dito he could bring the necessary amount of anger for it - by punching a hole through his wall. It's held up as one of his best performances.
** When casting Laurie, Creator/RosarioDawson was signed on to play her adult self. To play her teenage self, Dito was torn between an actress who looked very much like her and Melonie Diaz - whose performance was better. He chose Melonie, despite thinking she and Rosario looked nothing alike. After the film came out, he was met with lots of people claiming SeparatedAtBirthCasting for the two actresses - because they were able to match their mannerisms.
* ''Film/TheGraduate'':
** Creator/DustinHoffman himself thought he was miscast as Benjamin. In the book, the character is an Aryan PrettyBoy, while Dustin was Jewish and also [[DawsonCasting 29 years old]] at the time of filming. Creator/RobertRedford was suggested for it, but director Mike Nichols thought that he did not possess the underdog quality that Benjamin needed. When he talked with Redford, Redford asked what he meant. Mike said "Well, let's put it this way, have you ever struck out with a girl?" Redford asked "What do you mean?" Nichols said, "That's precisely my point." WordOfGod is that Dustin was chosen because he was far enough away from his early 20s to have an attitude about that time of his life, and "get rid of that self-pity".
** To a lesser extent, Creator/AnneBancroft was only 35 playing ''the'' MrsRobinson. Few would argue with her iconic performance.
* Kimberly Peirce was horrified when the studio insisted on casting Ryan Phillippe as the lead in her film ''Film/StopLoss''. She dismissed him as a PrettyBoy at first, but he won her over early on with his ability to play AFatherToHisMen. This was during a time when he was slowly transitioning out of his roles in teen movies and winning critics over.
* An odd subversion in ''{{Film/Sunshine}}'' - which is about a crew of astronauts with only TwoGirlsToATeam. Creator/MichelleYeoh's audition was so good that Creator/DannyBoyle told her she could have any part she wanted, and he'd give a GenderFlip to a male character if need be. She ultimately chose Corazon, the biologist, who was already female in the script.
* Roger Murtaugh in the ''Film/LethalWeapon'' series wasn't written with any specific ethnicity in mind. Creator/DannyGlover was chosen because he was the strongest actor.
* Molly Abrams from ''Film/{{Showgirls}}'' was originally written as a chubby Caucasian girl. She was played by the thin African-American Gina Ravera.
* Creator/RobertCarlyle, who is short and wiry, was cast as Francis Begbie in ''Film/{{Trainspotting}}'', even though in the novel, he's described as being a big, muscular, intimidating brute.
* In ''Comics/SinCity'', Cardinal Patrick Henry Roark is a dwarf. In the film, he's played by Creator/RutgerHauer, who isn't.
* Captain Phasma in ''Franchise/StarWars'': ''Film/TheForceAwakens'' was originally written for a man, with Creator/BenedictCumberbatch as a major candidate. However, hoping to improve the cast's diversity, Creator/JJAbrams decided to cast actress Creator/GwendolineChristie instead, making her the first female main villain in the live-action films. The fact that Phasma remains under the menacing silver stormtrooper armor for the entire film makes it something of a moot point regardless.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/SavedByTheBell'':
** The character of Lisa was written as a Jewish princess with the auditions calling for white females only. Lark Voorhees (African-American) got the part based on the strength of her audition.
** Another example is that Mr. Belding was originally conceived as being black and over 50yrs old. Dennis Haskins won the part despite being neither.
** Jessie Spano also didn't exist in the original concept of the series; Elizabeth Berkley auditioned to play Kelly. Although producers cast Tiffani Amber Thiessen, they liked Elizabeth's audition so much they created Jessie just to have her on the show.
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'':
** Producers were reluctant to cast Creator/AmberBenson as Tara because they wanted someone with the same slender build as Creator/AlysonHannigan. Specifically, they needed someone to take Willow's place as TheWoobie, since Willow was becoming too powerful to convincingly put in any real danger. However, Benson quickly won them over with her ability to play awkward and vulnerable.
** Creator/AlysonHannigan also bagged the role of Willow precisely because she was the only actress that didn't portray the character as a stereotypical HollywoodNerd.
* When casting Julia in ''Series/PartyOfFive'' producers wanted a relatively young actress (the character was 15 at the time) but ended up casting the 19-year-old Creator/NeveCampbell due to her strong attitude during the audition.
* Shelly of ''Series/NorthernExposure'' was written to be Native American but Caucasian Cynthia Geary ended up getting the part.
* Given the time-period and the fact that Guinevere means "white" or "fair one", there were some raised eyebrows over mixed-race Creator/AngelCoulby getting the part of the future queen on ''Series/{{Merlin|2008}}''. The producers said that they had looked at hundreds of potential Guineveres, but Angel Coulby was the only one that could nail the quirky, clumsy servant girl, but also "bring the queen" when the occasion called for it.
* Series author Elizabeth George was openly displeased about the casting choice for Barbara Havers of ''Series/InspectorLynley'' - Creator/TheBBC cast the lovely Creator/SharonSmall in the role, whereas Barbara is distinctly unattractive. Then George saw Small's performance in the pilot, in which Sharon absolutely ''nailed'' Barbara Havers in all her awkward, bitter, broken glory, and changed her mind. To this day Small's performance is lauded as one of the best aspects of the series.
* ''Series/OnceUponATime'':
** Creators invoked this when they chose to cast Merrin Dungey to play [[Disney/TheLittleMermaid Ursula]]. They requested her specifically after seeing her in ''Series/{{Alias}}''. Ursula is famous for being overweight and purple-skinned with short white hair. Dungey is slim, African-American and went blonde for the role.
** Joanna Garcia is a full eighteen years older than Disney's Ariel, who is more recognisable as a rebellious teenager. However it's hard to imagine an actress who could better capture Ariel's quirky attitude.
** [[Disney/SleepingBeauty Princess Aurora]] is known as a blonde, but is played by brunette Sarah Bolger. Additionally Aurora's voice actress Mary Costa used a Mid-Atlantic accent, while Bolger (who is Irish) uses a standard American one. Either way her casting and performance was well-received.
** Lancelot was given a RaceLift to become black, and the character was very well-received. To the point where there were a lot of positive reactions when he was advertised for the fifth season.
* Happened twice in ''Series/CriminalMinds''. Garcia was originally written as a middle-aged Mexican man, but when the white, blonde and very ''female'' Kirsten Vangsness was introduced to the producers they had to have her and changed the part. (Her last name was later explained as coming from a stepfather, even though South America is full of people with European ancestry and Spanish surnames.) Aaron Hotchner was supposed to be a blonde Mormon from Utah, but the part eventually went to the dark-haired Virginian Thomas Gibson.
* The creators of ''Series/{{Elementary}}'' have said the part of [[RaceLift Joan Watson]] was race-neutral, and it went to Creator/LucyLiu because she was the best woman for the part. Which makes the claims about the decision stemming from a desire to [[TokenMinority pander to minorities]] [[FanDumb even more ridiculous]].
* ''Series/GreysAnatomy'' has always been known for ColorblindCasting (leading to one of the most diverse casts on television), but that doesn't mean that they didn't have a general idea of who to cast. Miranda Bailey (nicknamed "The Nazi"!) was intended to be a blond, white woman until Chandra Wilson got a hold of the part.
* Kaylee from ''Series/{{Firefly}}'' was originally intended to be Asian, but Creator/JewelStaite's audition impressed Creator/JossWhedon enough that he decided to give her the part anyway. This did have the awkward side effect of having no Asians on the starring cast of a show whose milieu is heavily influenced by Chinese culture, which Whedon has acknowledged, but he's also asked if any Browncoats would care to give up any of the actors who were cast. The answer has always been a resounding No.
* ''Series/TheSuiteLifeOfZackAndCody'':
** Originally the parts of Maddie and London were inverted, with the blond Ashley Tisdale playing the obvious Creator/ParisHilton expy London Tipton, and Brenda Song playing Maddie. However, when it was revealed that Brenda Song has a natural affinity for playing TheDitz, the roles were reversed.
** They had fun with this in one episode during an alternate universe where Maddie and London's roles were reversed.
* ''Series/{{House}}''
** Chase was originally intended to be British, but Jesse Spencer gave such a brilliant audition that he was made Australian instead.
** Director Creator/BryanSinger put a ban on non-American actors for the title role after hearing so many badly-done FakeAmerican accents in auditions. So how did Creator/HughLaurie get the role? His flawless New Jersey accent convinced Singer that he must be American.
* When Pauline [=McLynn=] first auditioned for Mrs. Doyle on ''Series/FatherTed'', she was rejected for being too young and pretty ([=McLynn=] was in her early thirties; Mrs. Doyle was a middle-aged widow). She supposedly showed up for another audition with a bad cold - and got the part.
* Nickelodeon had a show planned in the mid-1990s to be titled "The Mystery Files of Shelby Wink" about a teenage white girl who solves crimes, but Asian American Irene Ng impressed them so much with her audition that they re-named the show "...Shelby Woo" and altered the premise accordingly.
* [[BreakoutCharacter Fonzie]] of ''Series/HappyDays'' was originally envisioned as a tall Italian man, based on a friend of the show's creator. While he does look like he's of Italian descent, (actually German Jewish in origin) at 5'8 Creator/HenryWinkler is notably much shorter than series lead Creator/RonHoward, but he performed the role so flawlessly they knew they had to have him.
* ''Series/{{LOST}}'' took this trope to its logical extent, by not only amending characters to get the best actors on the show, but flat-out ''creating'' new characters for the same reason. The role of Sun-Hwa Kwon, for instance, was written specifically for Yunjin Kim after her audition as Kate. Similarly, the character of Hugo "Hurley" Reyes was created when producers loved Jorge Garcia but didn't think he fit his auditioned role of Sawyer.
* ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'': Tasha Yar was originally conceived as a Latina character, with Marina Sirtis cast in the role. When Denise Crosby was cast, the character's name was changed to fit the actress' appearance. Conversely, the role of Deanna Troi was supposed to be a voluptuous blonde, but the part was given to Marina Sirtis. Essentially, Denise Crosby and Marina Sirtis traded roles.
* Enid Nightshade of ''Literature/TheWorstWitch'' is a HugeSchoolgirl with dark blonde hair. The TV series cast Jessica Fox who is petite and brunette, but captures Enid's mischievous nature and spunk perfectly.
** Maud in the books is also frequently referred to as plump, to the degree where her parents put her on a diet in between books 2 and 3. She's played by the very slender Emma Brown, who does a good job with Maud's caring nature - and shares very good chemistry with Georgina Sherrington, who plays her on-screen best friend.
* ''Series/WizardsOfWaverlyPlace'' was conceived as a show about an Irish-American family. However Selena Gomez gave the best audition as Alex, and the entire family was rewritten to be Mexican-Italian as a result.
* The creators of ''Series/RedDwarf'' originally imagined Lister as 41 years old and white: in their words, like an "English version of Creator/ChristopherLloyd as Reverend Jim on ''Film/{{Taxi}}''." When they sent the script to Creator/CraigCharles (23 years old at the time and mixed-race), asking if he thought the part of the Cat was racist, he said it wasn't and also asked to audition for Lister. He got the part.
* Tess from ''[[Series/BeautyAndTheBeast2012 Beauty and the Beast]]'' was initially written as a firey Irish-American cop, but Nina Lisandrello's performance impressed the producers enough that she was changed to a Latina instead.
* Creator/JossWhedon initially conceived Melinda May from ''Series/AgentsOfSHIELD'' as a white woman named "Althea Rice", but the role was changed after going to Chinese-American actress Ming-Na Wen.
* The casting directors for ''Series/TheBradyBunch'' wanted three brown-haired boys to play Mike Brady's sons, but chose the red-haired Mike Lookinland to play Bobby after being impressed by his audition. For the first few years of the series, Mike had his hair dyed dark brown to compensate.
* Slade Wilson is American in the original DC comics. However, for ''Series/{{Arrow}}'', Manu Bennet so impressed the creators that the character was changed to be an AwesomeAussie.
* The TV adaptation of ''Series/TheDresdenFiles'' had a Hispanic actress playing the part of Lt. Murphy, who's blonde in the books, and a blonde actress playing the part of Susan Rodriguez. ThePowersThatBe said that they were originally brought in for the roles they more resembled but were much better at each other's roles and so the two characters get a RaceLift. Karrin Murphy becomes Connie Murphy, presumably short for Consuela. Susan... just doesn't look much like a Rodriguez.
* The casters for ''Series/{{Hustle}}'' had intended for Michael Stone to be white, like the rest of the main cast, but Adrian Lester's performance impressed them.
* On ''Series/TheXFiles'', network executives wanted someone "taller, leggier, blonder and breastier" to play the role of Scully, but series creator Chris Carter lobbied for the then-unknown petite, redhead (albeit natural blonde) Creator/GillianAnderson due to her acting ability.
* In ''Series/{{Sharpe}}'', the title character is played by 5'9" blond Yorkshireman Creator/SeanBean whereas in the novels he's described as over six feet tall, dark haired and a Londoner. However Bean owned the role so thoroughly that Creator/BernardCornwell retconned the character as having spent a large part of his teenage years in Yorkshire to explain his accent.
* When the highly successful RadioDrama ''Franchise/{{Dragnet}}'' was first being brought to television in 1951, Jack Webb argued that his face was not suitable for the screen and suggested [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lloyd_Nolan Lloyd Nolan]] be cast as Joe Friday in his place. Fortunately, [[ExecutiveMeddling neither NBC nor Liggett & Myers (owners of Fatima, and sponsors of the show) would accept any substitute.]]
* In ''Series/InspectorMorse'', Morse has an OldCopYoungCop relationship with Sergeant Lewis, a Geordie. In the original novels, Lewis is an elderly man and is Welsh Kevin Whately, who plays Lewis, initially didn't think he'd be cast when he learned of the description of the book character. Colin Dexter, the author of the novels, not only praised Whately's performance as Lewis, but also commented that if he could start the series over, he'd write a Lewis who was like his TV counterpart.
* There are two occasions in ''Series/DoctorWho'' history where the producer had been looking for an elderly actor to play the next Doctor and ended up instead casting the youngest ever Doctor at that time due to being impressed by the actor - Creator/TomBaker, and Creator/MattSmith. In the case of Tom Baker, he'd even had a companion added to his first season on the grounds that the elderly man they cast wouldn't be able to do action scenes, who [[CastSpeciation had nothing to do]] as a result. While Baker went in a [[ByronicHero different]] [[ManChild direction]], Matt Smith did retain a lot more of the 'old man' concept than one would expect for an actor in his mid-twenties, with his performance having a lot of old-man-in-a-young-man's-body elements that are one of the more beloved parts about his character (Creator/ColinBaker even praising Matt Smith the 'oldest one of us all' in the 50th Anniversary panel).
* In the manga of ''Manga/YamadaKunAndTheSevenWitches'', Odagiri is of average height and has short hair. Asuka is taller and has very long hair. In the live-action series, Odagiri is the tall one with long hair, while Asuka is shorter and short-haired. Still, Asuka's actress plays her well enough. There are also other examples (other than different hair colors): Itou is short-haired in the manga, but has long hair in a sidetail in the live-action series. Ushio has long bangs and glasses, but here he wears no glasses and has middle-parted hair.
* ''Series/{{Daredevil 2015}}'':
** Creator/VincentDOnofrio passes pretty well for Wilson Fisk, but he's still not nearly as big as [[ComicBook/TheKingpin the comics usually depict him as]], and doesn't fit the physique as much as the late Creator/MichaelClarkeDuncan. But D'Onofrio's performance was so complex and layered, and brought such a fresh interpretation of the character into both a terrifying and surprisingly sympathetic villain, that critics and audiences didn't mind at all.
** Ben Urich is typically portrayed as white in the comics. The show has him portrayed by African-American Vondie Curtis-Hall, but his race doesn't do much to affect his role.
* ''Series/BandOfBrothers'':
** The real Dick Winters and Don Malarkey were blondes and portrayed by redheads Creator/DamianLewis and Creator/ScottGrimes. It's widely accepted that these choices were spot-on, and they received the ApprovalOfGod from the real guys.
** Buck Compton and Bull Randleman were in their mid twenties during the war, while Creator/NealMcDonough and Creator/MichaelCudlitz were both a full ten years older than their characters. On the flip side Joe Liebgott was around thirty during the war, and Creator/RossMcCall was twenty four during filming. You'd be hard pressed to find someone who doesn't agree that they were the right men for the roles.
** Frank John Hughes is described as this by other cast members, saying he didn't resemble Bill Guarnere - but was able to become him through sheer ability. He was known for his intense MethodActing, to the point where he wouldn't talk to any of the actors playing people the real Guarnere hadn't liked and carved the name of Guarnere's wife into his prop rifle. Additionally the man was his mid-twenties during the war, and Hughes played him at thirty three.
* The title character of ''Theatre/TheWiz'' is usually played by a a male actor. However, the director of NBC's version, Kenny Leon, cast Music/QueenLatifah, under [[http://www.today.com/popculture/behind-scenes-wiz-live-cast-jitters-rehearsal-rituals-t57556 the belief]] that "the Wiz can be anything, anyone..."[[note]]Leon previously directed Queen Latifah in a Creator/{{Lifetime}} remake of ''Film/SteelMagnolias''.[[/note]]
* ''Series/FreaksAndGeeks'': Neal was originally written as a slightly fat kid with a bowl haircut, but when Samm Levine auditioned with a Creator/WilliamShatner impression, they changed the character to fit him.
* ''Series/TheCrown2016'': UsefulNotes/WinstonChurchill was 5'6 and had a famously round and baby-like face, but he's played by the 6'4, long-faced Creator/JohnLithgow, who nonetheless pulls off a very memorable performance.
* In Sky One's adaptation of Discworld/GoingPostal, Lord Vetnari is played by Creator/CharlesDance. In the books, Vetinari is tall, lathe-thin, dark haired and with a beak of nose. His costume is described (and drawn by official artist Paul Kidby) to closely resemble the look of the Black Princes of Venice. Charles Dance is certainly tall, but he is also sandy-blonde, broadly strapping, has a straight nose and his costume is far more late Victorian-early than Renaissance. He also arguably seems on the oldish side for Vetinari. However, you will not find a fan with a bad word to say about the casting; his Vetinari seems to be definitive.
** Creator/DavidJason as Rincewind in ''Film/TheColourOfMagic''. Jason was 35 years older than Rincewind was in the book, as well as being shorter and stouter than the description, but he captured so much of what made the character likeable and entertaining that some fans didn't mind.
* Sam Malone in ''Series/{{Cheers}}'' was originally a former football player (specifically, a quarterback for the New England Patriots). This was thrown out the window when Creator/TedDanson was cast, as he didn't look like a football player. Thus, he became a former baseball player (specifically, a relief pitcher for the Boston Red Sox).
* ''Series/BrooklynNineNine'' was conceived with a lot of the characters as gender and/or race-neutral, allowing this trope to play out and assembling a pretty diverse cast in the process.

* As referenced in the trope BrawnHilda, the role of Brunhild in ''Theatre/TheRingOfTheNibelung'' is usually played by rather large women not because of how it's believed she looked (InUniverse, Brunhild is seen as beautiful with plenty of suitors vying for her hand), but because large opera singers are usually the ''only'' ones with the ability to play her role. The role of Brunhild requires a ''lot'' of vocal vigor, being able to build that vigor usually results in building up a lot of muscle in your upper abdomen.

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* While the prototype of a modern pro wrestler is still that of [[PrejudicedForPecs a huge guy with bulky muscles]], quite a few who fail the "eye test" have been wildly successful thanks to their tremendous abilities in the ring and on the mic.
** Wrestling/CMPunk is relatively short, not particularly bulky, and covered in tattoos yet still set the record for the longest WWE title reign of the past 25 years.
** Wrestling/ShawnMichaels had a Hall of Fame career despite being a full head shorter than most of his opponents thanks to his tremendous ability in all aspects of being a great wrestler.
** The 5'4, 175lb Wrestling/{{Rey Mysterio| Jr}} has held multiple titles in his career and is probably the most famous luchador-style wrestler in America.
** Wrestling/ChrisJericho isn't particularly muscular or tall but he's WWE first Undisptued champion and has held the most intercontinental champion reigns.
** [[Wrestling/BryanDanielson Daniel Bryan]] is the latest example -- short by wrestling standards, with a slender (but still athletic) build, but talented beyond all measure and so ridiculously popular that the fans basically forced WWE to insert him into the main event for ''Wrestling/{{WrestleMania}} XXX''.
** One important thing to remember is that this “eye test” is really only enforced by a select few people at the top of the chain: namely Vince [=McMahon=], who seems to have a definite fascination with big, muscular guys. Vince is believed to be the reason “body guys” such as Wrestling/UltimateWarrior are pushed far beyond their skill set, and why Hulk Hogan wasn't allowed to do any of the moves that made him a success in Japan and was forced to wrestle a more generic “big man” wrestling style. With the exception of Shawn Michaels, most of the wrestlers who have achieved any kind of lasting success in WWE did so after achieving success elsewhere and generating enough PopularityPower that it would be downright impossible for Vince to ignore them, such as WCW (Chris Jericho, Rey Mysterio) or on the independent circuit (CM Punk, Daniel Bryan.) Notice that guys that Vince is [[HollywoodHypeMachine trying to make stars himself]] are still overwhelmingly big guys (John Cena, Wrestling/{{Sheamus}}, Wrestling/{{Ryback}}.)
** Despite fears that Wrestling/TripleH (who is married to Vince's daughter and, by all appearances, heir to the WWE empire) would be just as bad about the “big guys and eye-candy Divas” problem, seeming to share Vince's bodybuilding fascination (to the point where Stephanie got him framed photos of all Mr. Olympia winners for Christmas) and himself being a prototypical “big man” wrestler, he definitely seems to be adhering to this trope even more. Two of his first major acquisitions were Wrestling/{{Mistico}} (a luchador, who are traditionally more slender guys) and BrawnHilda Wrestling/KiaStevens (also known as Amazing/Awesome Kong.)
* Wrestling/JimCornette caused a little spat in the locker room of Wrestling/RingOfHonor, a company based on work rate, for telling the beer bellied Wrestling/KevinSteen he could be world champion if he took time off to lose weight. Steen took the time and [[SerialEscalation came back fatter]] but was still allowed to be World Champion because it was evident his work rate had not decreased. Steen's also seen his fair share of success in Wrestling/ProWrestlingGuerilla, a company based primarily on RuleOfCool. He had to lose weight (and comb his hair) to get a job with WWE, but was ''still'' fat.
* Former WWE Diva Wrestling/{{Ivory}} said that in her opinion, it's far easier to find a female wrestler with good ability and ''then'' make her ProgressivelyPrettier to fit the required for the 'WWE look' - than to find someone with the right look and try and teach them the ability.

* Creator/PatrickStewart, Creator/MichaelGambon and Creator/AnthonyHopkins have all played ''Theatre/{{Othello}}, the [[AmbiguouslyBrown Moor of Venice]]''. Gambon and Hopkins played the role in blackface. Hopkins played Othello in 1965, when blacking-up was still acceptable; Gambon played Othello in 1990, and his blacking-up was a deliberate artistic choice. In Stewart's case, the entire play was cross-cast (Othello's white, everyone else's black), making an interesting social experiment.
* Although Theatre/{{Hamlet}} is a young college student, his constant change of emotion makes him one of the most challenging roles an actor can play. Because of this, [[PlayingHamlet he is almost always played by a much older, more experienced actor.]]
* Similar to the Hamlet example, a lot of {{Opera}} roles are usually subject to this, most notably Theatre/MadameButterfly (supposedly 15-17 but with a voice most singers don't perfect until at least 30). Salome is another such role.
* There is a film version of Wagner's [[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0286286/ Die Walkure]] where a black woman and white man are cast as twin siblings. Their voices work for the roles, though, so no one cares (and opposite-sex twins are always fraternal anyway).
* Similarly, Wagner's tenor roles are mostly supposed to be teenage boys (or at least early twenties), but most men can't sing these demanding roles until they're in their forties.
* The 2008 concert performance of the musical ''Theatre/{{Chess}}'' had Mexican-American David Bedella performing the role of a Russian, Molokov.
* Community and school theaters as a rule tend to do this, since good actors (or actors, period) are often quite limited.
* ''Theatre/HarryPotterAndTheCursedChild'' has cast a black Hermione, who is usually seen as white (although the author notes the original book series did not describe her skin color; only her sketches and a line describing Hermione as "pale" are any indication at all). Ron and Harry don't have their traditional hair colours (ginger and black) either.

* Rather rare in video games, but ''VideoGame/HeavyRain'' made an effort to stick entirely to InkSuitActor. As such the casting interview for Scott Shelby is rather interesting, as after Sam Douglas gives his audition there is quite a lot of whispering from behind the camera. When Sam Douglas asks what's wrong, the director tells him that his performance was very different from what they imagined for the character. Sam Douglas' face naturally falls as he realizes he obviously hasn't got the part... but as he did get it in the end they clearly liked him so much that they rewrote the role for him. Scott Shelby's very heavyset and sleepy eyed appearence actually makes the characters OneManArmy and [[spoiler:SerialKiller]] nature all the more striking, proving their decision the correct one.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Jafar of ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}'' is, in animation, a LeanAndMean villain. He is voiced by Jonathan Freeman, who is slightly chubby but got so much into the spirit of the character that his expressions and gestures were worked into the animated role. And Freeman later reprised the role in the Broadway adaptation.
-->'''Andreas Deja, supervising animator for Jafar''': Based on some of the storyboards, I had this very skinny, elegant, bizarre-looking person in mind. And then I heard that Jonathan was at the studio doing some more lines for the movie. So he came into my office, and I almost couldn't put his face with his body together because he's ''not'' skinny. He's very friendly and jovial. But Jonathan does have...sort of an oily, insincere quality...which I needed to find out on which mouth shapes I would use. (''Still frames of Jonathan Freeman using his mouth movements and facial expressions for Jafar appear for comparison'')
* When doing the casting for the role of Hades, the [[EverybodyHatesHades villain]] of ''Disney/{{Hercules}}'', Disney wanted someone who was similar to Jafar, who was a villain with a deep voice and spoke with a sophisticated tone. When James Woods auditioned, the character was changed completely solely because James Woods was so good at the role. He even played the role in the video game series ''Franchise/KingdomHearts'', and is on record as saying it's a role he will ''always'' play when given the chance.
* Producers wanted a CelebrityVoiceActor to play Melody in ''Disney/TheLittleMermaidIIReturnToTheSea'', and brought professional voice actress Creator/TaraStrong in just to read a template for the role. Strong's performance impressed them so much they cast her as Melody anyway. She's said that it's the favourite role she's ever played, as she was a massive fan of the original film.

!!InUniverse Examples:

* ''Film/BringItOn'':
** When the squad is holding tryouts to find a new member, they initially want a girl who fits the (stereo)typical cheerleader image. When tomboy-Missy (who proves to be an excellent cheerleader), tries out and gives the best performance out of everyone who's trying out, they let her join the team (albeit very reluctantly). Physically, Missy ''does'' fit the stereotypical cheerleader image--she's thin, athletic and hot. It was only her attitude and tomboyish nature that turned them off.
** This was the intention between the decision to cast Jamie, the younger sister of one of the current cheerleaders--despite her being ''several'' years younger than the other girls. Of course this is only from the perspective of her older sister, as Jamie turns in a decidedly average tryout--and the above mentioned Missy gives a way, way better audition.
* Played depressingly straight in both the film and comic of ''[[Film/ThreeHundred 300]]'' involving the deformed Spartan that is rejected by Leonidas: while the Spartan king admires his fierce loyalty despite being cast aside as an infant, and admits he's got a strong arm, his inability to fit properly into a Phalanx line makes him a liability to the necessary tactics. If only he was [[{{Gonk}} facially malformed]] but could stand up straight...


* The picture book ''Amazing Grace'' by Marry Hoffman is about a black girl auditioning for the role of Peter Pan. It plays out [[StockAesops exactly how you'd expect it to.]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* A strange case with Bridget in ''Series/EightSimpleRules'' when she ends up getting the part of Anne Frank in the school play despite looking nothing like her. She reads the book and ends up giving a fantastic performance.
* In ''Series/{{Nashville}}'', Juliette is cast as Patsy Cline in a biopic about her, even though Juliette is blonde (as well as not being an actress) and Patsy was brunette.
* In an episode ''Series/BigTimeRush'', where James pursues a side career as an actor, he quickly learns that there's more to becoming an actor than simply having a nice physical appearance--and he also realizes that he's not the only "pretty face" out there.

[[folder:Web Originals]]
* John Scalzi's ''[[http://www.scalzi.com/agent/ Agent to the Stars]]'' has the titular agent represent a young starlet, Michelle Beck, who wants the lead in a Holocaust drama. Despite his serious reluctance to help get her the role, and with [[ItMakesSenseInContext a little help from a space alien]], Michelle ends up giving an Oscar-worthy performance that silences even her harshest critics:
-->I set down my own fork and massaged the bridge of my nose. "Michelle," I said. "if you had brown hair, you still wouldn't look a 40-year-old Eastern European Jew. You'd look like a 25-year-old Californian Aryan with hair dyed brown. Look at yourself, Michelle. You're blonde. Naturally. You have Newman Blue eyes. And you have a body shape that wasn't even ''invented'' until the 1980s."

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* One episode of ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' deals with Langdon Cobb, an actor who always wears a paper bag over his face. Despite wearing the bag, he's considered one of the best actors in the known universe and the only way a rival could conceive to try to best Cobb was by actually committing suicide during a reenactment of ''Theatre/RomeoAndJuliet''. [[spoiler: And even ''that'' doesn't topple him]]; Cobb is just that good.
* Seems to be a pretty common occurrence in the ''WesternAnimation/BojackHorseman'' universe. In one particular bizare case, the guy who played Vizzini in The Princesss Bride (who is human) plays the role of Bojack (who is a horse) while in the same film Bojack plays the role of Mr Peanut Butter (who is a dog). Andrew Garfield is also considered the role for a horse at one point with the characters in universe almost quoting this page.