When someone involved in a fictional project makes a list of actors who would best represent a cast of fictional characters.

The purpose of a hypothetical cast may be to give the reader of a fictional work a better picture of how a character looks and acts. This is common practice for online virtual series and sometimes used by authors of commercially published works. It can also be part of a hypothetical discussion by fans of a work. Many times, when a creator is pitching a work to a production company (such as a new series to a TV network), the creator will use existing photos from previous works to help others visualize the characters (as mentioned below, Jeff Eastin used a photo of Creator/LeonardoDiCaprio circa ''Catch Me If You Can,'' to help visualize the gentleman rogue con man of ''Series/WhiteCollar'''s Neal Caffrey.

Compare ComicBookFantasyCasting, where the appearance of a character in a visual medium is overtly derived from a real celebrity without being an explicit parody of that celebrity; NoCelebritiesWereHarmed, where a character is a blatant parody or fictionalized version of a real person, and TextualCelebrityResemblance, where a character's resemblance to a celebrity is mentioned within the work.


[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Anime Insider'' has a regular column that listed whom the editors would like to see in a live-action adaptation of an anime.
* This is a very popular past-time in many anime and voice actor sites in Spanish-speaking countries, partly due of the long voice-acting tradition of those countries.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''ComicBook/ScudTheDisposableAssassin'' always lists the voices of actors that the creator of the comic imagines will be voicing the characters in animation.
* ''Wizard Magazine'' has a regular column about what actors should play what roles in comic book movies.
* In-universe example: At one point in ''TheUltimates'', the characters sit around while being transported via cargo plane talking about who would play them in the movie of their lives. Naturally, ComicBook/NickFury says Creator/SamuelLJackson (on whom Ultimate Nick Fury was based).

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* Common in virtual series, such as ''FanFic/TheNyazianProphecies'', ''[[http://gypsypro.net/shows/creed/cast.php Creed]]'', ''[[http://www.thewatcherscouncil.net/backstory.html Watchers]]'' and most shows at Website/MZPtv.
* ''[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/6906423/1/iCarlys_Father iCarly's Father]]'' and its sequels, a Series/NickVerse fanfic series which is mainly a crossover between ''Series/ICarly'' and ''Series/{{Victorious}}'', has the hypothetical casting of [[Series/StargateAtlantis Joe Flanigan]] as the adult Steven Shay, and Music/ArianaGrande with her natural brunette hair colour as Taylor Dorfman in flashbacks set during her and Col Shay's romance during high school. The hypothetical resemblance between Taylor and Cat Valentine (Ariana's redhaired character on ''Series/{{Victorious}}'') is brought up when Steven meets Cat for the first time.
* Oh so common in ''Anime/PrettyCure'' fics. A good portion of these have EmmaWatson thrown in somewhere.
* FanFic/TheHarmonVerse has its [[OriginalCharacters OC's]] played by real-life actors and actresses, mostly from either talent shows or from Broadway productions.
* A lot of OC's in ''Series/{{Glee}}'' fanfics are played by contenders from ''Series/TheGleeProject'', and bring a lot of [[CastingGag Casting Gags]] with them.
* The writing site Wattpad encourages its users to do this with a feature allowing them to pick their ideal cast from a list of celebrities.
* In ''Fanfic/ChildOfTheStorm'', Harry, and by extension, Thor's [[HumanShifting James Potter form]], is fancast as [[{{Series/Smallville}} Tom Welling]]. The CastingGag inherent in this (Clark Kent also exists in this world, as a contemporary of Harry's), is noted indirectly in the narrative and directly in the Author's Notes.
* In the author's notes of ''Fanfic/MyImmortal'', Tara Gilesbie suggested that [[Music/MyChemicalRomance Gerard Way]] (!) should play Draco in the next Harry Potter film.
* ''FanFic/PrettyCurePerfumePreppy'' has both a Japanese and English language hypothetical voice cast list.
** Japanese:
*** Asumi Nakata as Chloe Auriville[=/=]Cure Rosa.
*** Asami Shimoda as Chiara Auriville[=/=]Cure Vanilla.
*** Satsuki Yukino as Mayonaka Ayameko[=/=]Cure Jasmine.
*** Natsuko Kuwatani as Mitsukawa Hanae[=/=]Cure Tangerine.
*** Rio Natsuki as Torino Ikuko[=/=]Cure Cardamomo.
*** Tomoko Kaneda as Lavvie.
*** Rie Iwatsubo as Lotus.
*** Yusuke Tezuka as Pittan[=/=]Daidai Pitari.
*** Yuriko Yamaguchi as Ashley [=McFly=][=/=]Leather Ashes.
*** Creator/AkioOhtsuka as Stankou.
*** Creator/UnshoIshizuka as Francheese.
*** Creator/TakeshiAono as Gaabeiten.
*** Creator/BinShimada as Shashincame.
*** Miyoko Aso as Komorah.
*** Chiemi Chiba as Nekoshippo Lori[=/=]Lapinyuu.
*** Toshiko Fujita as Romona [=McFly=][=/=]Raflesina.
** English:
*** Sherry Lynn as Chloe Auriville[=/=]Cure Rosa.
*** Creator/LuciChristian as Chiara Auriville[=/=]Cure Vanilla.
*** Sandy Fox as Mayonaka Ayameko[=/=]Cure Jasmine.
*** Bridget Hoffman as Mitsukawa Hanae[=/=]Cure Tangerine.
*** Creator/PhileceSampler as Torino Ikuko[=/=]Cure Cardamomo.
*** Tony Oliver as Lavvie.
*** Rebecca Forstadt as Lotus.
*** Creator/SteveBlum as Pittan[=/=]Daidai Pitari.
*** Jamie Marchi as Ashley [=McFly=][=/=]Leather Ashes.
*** Creator/LexLang as Stankou.
*** Creator/KirkThornton as Francheese.
*** Creator/RichardEpcar as Gaabeiten.
*** Creator/MarkHamill as Shashincame.
*** Catherine Battistone as Komorah.
*** Tress [=MacNeille=] as Nekoshippo Lori[=/=]Lapinyuu.
*** Creator/MaryElizabethMcGlynn as Romona [=McFly=][=/=]Raflesina.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* During the end credits of ''Film/Cradle2TheGrave'', two of the comic-relief sidekicks have a conversation about who would play them if somebody made a movie of what just happened.
* In ''Film/ThePlayer'', many of the ideas pitched to Griffin Mill include suggestions about the casting.
* In ''Film/GetShorty'', Ray Bones said he'd like to be portrayed by Harvey Keitel on-screen. It does happen in the final scene.
* Brazilian magazine ''Set'' had a dedicated feature on this, "De Cara Nova" ("A New Face"), which also added a director to the cast and accepted reader input (it served as a contest, often for [=DVDs=] of the discussed movie). While mostly it were for remakes - the very first was for ''Film/RaidersOfTheLostArk'', suggesting Creator/BrendanFraser as Indy - there were also {{Live Action Adaptation}}s - from ''Anime/{{Akira}}'' and ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague'' to ''Anime/FinalFantasyTheSpiritsWithin'', and even a ''Film/SmallSoldiers'' actioner making the toys life-sized warring factions - and some different ideas - ''Film/HarryPotter'' as adults, ''Film/BatmanAndRobin'' done right (only Creator/GeorgeClooney remained, and Batgirl was excised), and in PostModernism, an ''Film/OfficeSpace''-inspired movie based on ''Set'' ("well, at least those battles with the printer happen daily here!").

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* MirandaCosgrove from ''Series/ICarly'' wants TinaFey to be Carly's MissingMom.
* In-universe example: In one episode of ''Series/{{Castle}}'', the characters talk about what actors they want to be played by in the movie version of Castle's book.
* On ''Series/ParksAndRecreation'', the town's mayor, Walter Gunderson, has never appeared onscreen. Creator/AmyPoehler says they'd like Creator/BillMurray for the part.
** Dan Harmon wanted Bill Murray to play Jeff's dad on ''Series/{{Community}}''.
* In an episode of ''Series/ThirdRockFromTheSun'':
-->'''Dick''': [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kD_VCqpjEDM And when they make a movie of this, and they will... I don't want to be played by Woody Harrelson.]]
* When Jeff Eastin put together a mock-up poster to pitch ''Series/WhiteCollar'' to USA, he used a photo of Dennis Leary for Peter Burke and Leonardo [=DiCaprio=] for Neal Caffrey.
* After having the whole Series/{{Angel}}-[[Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer Buffy]]-Spike triangle explained to him, Lorne reflects that "I could sell that story to any studio in a heartbeat. I see Depp and Bloom - but then again, I see them a lot."
* Nine out of ten ''Series/{{Sherlock}}'' fans are desperate to see Creator/CatherineTate as Harriet Watson.
* Creator/RussellTDavies has mentioned envisioning certain actors in his head while creating various characters for ''Series/DoctorWho.'' He said that while creating Adelaide Brooke for "The Waters of Mars," he created her with Helen Mirren in mind (the role eventually went to Lindsay Duncan, who does bear a slight similarity to Mirren.) Similarly, for River Song, they considered Kate Winslet for the part (which went to Alex Kingston.)
* When then-Senator Barack Obama appeared on the ''Tyra'' show, Tyra asked him who he would like to play him in the inevitable biopic. He initially said his first choice would have been Denzel Washington, but [[SelfDeprecation because of the ears,]] it might need to be Will Smith.

* In the back of ''Literature/{{Inkheart}}'', Cornelia Funke mentioned that she always imagined Mo to be a bit like Creator/BrendanFraser, and then the casting went like that for the movie.
* In the back of ''Literature/DarkFire'', Cris D'Lacey made a list of all the actors he imagined playing each of his characters in response to a question.
* [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OWYrEue9l8 This fan-made credit sequence]] for a hypothetical ''Literature/GoodOmens'' movie.
* In Creator/StephenKing's novel ''Literature/TheRegulators'', after Johnny Marinville and his black neighbor, Brad Josephson have a hard time climbing a fence to escape from monsters, Johnny jokingly suggests that they should make a movie called ''Black Men Can't Clmb Fences'', where Brad would be played by Creator/LaurenceFishburne.
* Creator/JKRowling had her own ideal cast for ''Literature/HarryPotter'' long before the first movie was made, and was lucky enough to see several of her choices (Robbie Coltrane as Hagrid, for one, and Maggie Smith as Minerva [=McGonagall=], for another) actually used.
** Rowling's first choice for Severus Snape was Tim Roth, who turned down the role. It subsequently went to Creator/AlanRickman, who then inverted this trope by gradually overwhelming Rowling's own image of Snape and influencing how she wrote his dialogue (just ''try'' not hearing some of Snape's dialogue in the books written after the first film was made in Rickman's voice).
* Creator/StephenieMeyer's choice for Bella was Creator/EmilyBrowning. Meyer also said she pictured Creator/HenryCavill when writing Edward Cullen, but by the time the movies were made, he was considered too old for the role, making it the ''second'' part he's lost to Robert Pattinson (the first being [[Literature/HarryPotter Cedric Diggory.]])
** For ''Literature/TheHost'',she pictured Creator/HilarySwank as Melanie, Creator/MattDamon as Jared, Creator/RobertRedford as Jed, Creator/CaseyAffleck as Ian and Creator/BenAffleck as Kyle.
* In Usenet discussion, Creator/TerryPratchett has suggested Creator/PetePostlethwaite as his conception of Sir Sam Vimes, and Creator/JamesSpader for Havelock Vetinari.
** He's also reportedly specified "the bad guy from ''Film/DieHard''" (Creator/AlanRickman) for the role of Vetinari.
* Virtually every fan of ''Literature/StarTrekNewFrontier'' seems to think that [[Series/StargateAtlantis Joe Flanigan]] would make an ideal Mackenzie Calhoun. Just go look at all the fan-made intro vids on Youtube!
* Lot of ''Literature/FiftyShadesOfGrey'' fans wanted to see Creator/MattBomer in the role of Christian Grey. A producer said that Matt wasn't straight enough for it causing many outrage.

[[folder:New Media]]
* The [[http://fanlore.org/wiki/Chromatic_Recasting chromatic recasting meme]] on LiveJournal and DreamWidth, in which posters recast parts in TV shows and films with actors of color to prompt conversations about race in the media.
* On deviantART, this is known as a casting call.
* In online [=RPGs=], players often use pictures of real people (actors or otherwise) to represent their characters. This is called a PB, or "played by".
* Amusing things happen when this is done with ''Literature/HarryPotter'' characters before they are cast for real:
** Before the third film, Ralph Fiennes was a popular fan casting choice for Lupin. Ironically, Ralph Fiennes went on to play Lord Voldemort, which is about as far away from mild-mannered Professor Lupin as you can get. There are still plenty fans who think Ralph Fiennes would have been a better Lupin than David Thewlis.
** In this 2006 FanVid [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3L8an9LUCE about Barty Crouch, Jr.]], Bellatrix Lestrange is represented by footage of HelenaBonhamCarter from ''[[Series/{{Merlin1998}} Merlin]]''. Carter would go on to play Bellatrix in the [[Film/HarryPotter actual films]].
** This 2005 [[http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20431232_1085589,00.html Entertainment Weekly article]] speculates on who should play characters in the then upcoming ''Potter'' films. Helena Bonham-Carter is suggested... for the part of Merope Gaunt.
* In-universe within the WhateleyUniverse, Phase - having just bought out Marvel Comics (in 2007) - ends up in a discussion with his teammates about a possible IronMan movie and why it wouldn't work because of the casting difficulties.
* Whole groups on Polyvore are dedicated to "dreamcasting" characters, mostly from the Franchise/DisneyAnimatedCanon.
* Towards the end of ''[[Roleplay/DinoAttackRPG At War's End]]'', that guy from that show started working on [[http://www.imdb.com/list/3cfHUt9F4ZY/?publish=save a cast list]] for a hypothetical film adaptation and asked his fellow players for actor suggestions. Note that this cast list is largely based on the actors' credentials rather than their appearances, so the casting picks are not intended to give readers a better mental image of characters' appearances.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* The ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' tabletop RPG makes a lot of hay out of the televised nature of its inspiration; the GM position is called 'The Director', and individual adventures are called 'Episodes' and meant to be part of a larger 'Season'. To top it all off, the rulebook encourages players to identify the actor who would play their character if the game they were in was actually a TV show.

* In a Creator/{{PBS}} documentary on the making of ''Film/TheProducers'' (stage musical) cast album, Nathan Lane jokes with Creator/MelBrooks about who will star in TheMovie. Lane says Danny [=DeVito=] will be playing Bialystock. Brooks promises that Lane will be in the movie.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The original ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaI'' has for the credits a list of well-known horror movie actors "cast" as the bosses of the game.

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* ''VisualNovel/HatofulBoyfriend'', as a {{Doujin}} game, has no voice work, but each love interest's introduction names a voice actor whom the creator would like to play them if it did.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* This is the entire point of the "Casting Couch" episodes on the ''WebVideo/TheBlockbusterBuster''

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/LegostarGalactica'' (particularly its wiki) occasionally includes information on who is playing the various ({{Lego}}) characters. One of them is played by Scott Bakula, apparently.
* [[http://www.comicmix.com/news/2008/06/04/interview-chris-hastings-on-the-adventures-of-dr-mcninja/ In this interview]], ''Webcomic/TheAdventuresOfDrMcNinja'' creator Chris Hastings said that his casting choices for a ''Dr. [=McNinja=]'' movie would be Creator/SamRockwell or Will Arnett as the Doc, Sam Elliot or HulkHogan as Dan [=McNinja=], and Creator/AnjelicaHuston as Mitzi [=McNinja=]. The villains would include Williem Dafoe as Ronald [=McDonald=], Creator/JeanClaudeVanDamme as Frans Rayner, Phil Fondacaro as Knickerbockers, and Creator/BelaLugosi as Literature/{{Dracula}}, "''Film/TheCrow'' style."
* All the characters in ''Webcomic/{{Zelfia}}'', however minor, have "canon" voice actors.
* ''Webcomic/ElectricWonderland'' author Peter Paltridge has admitted that he used to imagine Creator/BrittanyMurphy voicing Aerynn Arlia in an AnimatedAdaptation.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In-universe example: In response to a remark about who should play Homer in a live-action "Angry Dad" movie, Bart suggests Creator/JohnGoodman, but Homer strangles him and exclaims, "Isn't it obvious?! It should be Creator/GaryOldman!"
* During season 5 of ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers,'' AdultSwim encouraged fans to submit their ideas via Twitter and the official message boards for who would play the characters in a hypothetical live action version of the show. As one would expect, the ideas were all over the place, but a few stood out as good fits, including Creator/MichaelCera as Dean Venture, Creator/HughLaurie as Phantom Limb, Creator/EdwardNorton as the Monarch, and Creator/PeterDinklage as Jonas Jr.
* In many sites, even in ThisVeryWiki, many fans suggested the hypothetical Japanese voice cast for the dub of ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic''. One of the most interesting voice choices were Creator/MariyaIse as Twilight Sparkle and Creator/ArisaOgasawara as Applejack, partly due both [=VAs=] worked in ''Anime/PantyAndStockingWithGarterbelt'' as the titular heroines, and both characters resemble quite a lot like those characters from MLP. Ironically enough, when the proper Japanese dub came out, Ise ''did'' work in the dub, but as voicing ''Scootaloo'' instead, while Ogasawara did not get any role there.