This entry is trivia, which is cool and all, but not a trope. On a work, it goes on the Trivia tab.

Darkhorse Casting

Sometimes, a director doesn't want famous actors and actresses in his movie. Maybe it's to avoid a bias in the viewers, maybe they just want a challenge, or maybe they just want to help struggling actors and actresses in the brutal world of show biz. For whatever reason, a director will go out of their way to find obscure actors and actresses to put in their movie.

Contrast All-Star Cast. Look at Ensemble Darkhorse for a definition of darkhorse.


  • What George Lucas was trying to do, and almost succeeded in doing, when casting for the original Star Wars trilogy. Harrison Ford read the part of Han Solo while they were casting for Leia, and did so well in the role that Lucas finally relented.
    • And again in the sequel trilogy. Besides some of the original cast, actors and actresses in the main leads are relatively unknown, such as Daisy Ridley, Crystal Clarke and Pip Andersen.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia manages to almost pull it off, Liam Neeson as Aslan being one of the only mainstream actors in the films.
  • Exaggerated in Boy Meets Girl, where Michelle Hendley was cast from Missouri on the basis of her YouTube channel. She had never acted prior to playing the lead in that film.
  • Was the case with Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston in Thor. The initial reaction to the casting was of bafflement at their relative obscurity.