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Cast the Expert

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Mike: Did the actors do their own skydiving?
Crow: No, the skydivers did their own acting.

The thing about actors is that most actors are actors. While they are expected to portray fictional characters engaged in a wide variety of occupations, they rarely have the experience to be truly skilled in everything that the character does in the story. Generally, this isn't a problem. Enough skills can be acquired to fake the job through training from an expert, and for particularly complex tasks a Stunt Double, Talent Double, or Voice Double can be used.

However, on rare occasions, a person, sometimes even a non-actor, will be cast in a role partly because they already have skills from non-acting work experience or a major hobby that are relevant to the role they are being asked to portray. Examples include both extras and main characters. If the extras are soldiers assigned to the production by the military, it is probably evidence that the film is Backed by the Pentagon. Compare to The Cast Showoff where scenes are added to an actor's role to give them a chance to show off a talent, and Irony as She Is Cast when actors are required to display Stylistic Suck in a talent which they are actually quite skilled at.

This trope only refers to someone being cast as a fictional character or as a fictionalized portrayal of a real person. Reality TV, game shows and the like do not count. Neither do non-fictional informative shows hosted by experts in their field, as it is not only normal but pretty much required that, for example, someone that hosts a home improvement show should know something about home improvement.

This is one of the possible methods of using Meta Casting to give added depth to a production.

Compare Non-Actor Vehicle, Autobiographical Role, and As Himself (since nobody can be more an expert in being yourself than yourself). Related to Disabled Character, Disabled Actor and Queer Character, Queer Actor and Super-Trope to Newscaster Cameo.

Fictional examples:

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    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra — a parody of 1950s B Movies — references this in a roundabout fashion. The various Real Life actors were given backstories for their characters — not just the characters in the film, but also for the fictional actors portraying them, to make everyone's flavor of Bad "Bad Acting" very distinct. So Dan Conroy was cast as Ranger Brad and played the character as though he were an actual park ranger who got talked into playing a role in the movie because he had his own costume.
  • The metafictional horror film Shadow of the Vampire is based around the idea that Max Schreck, the actor who played the Dracula Captain Ersatz Graf Orlok in Nosferatu, was a real vampire who Murnau knowingly allowed to eat his way through the cast and crew.

  • Count Olaf's plan in the first Series of Unfortunate Events book is based on pretending he's doing this for authenticity.
  • Sam Holt: Sam was an actual cop before he got a job playing a detective.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In a Murder, She Wrote episode, when the town is putting on a play about an infamous trial, they cast a real judge as the judge in the play.
  • Skippy the Bush Kangaroo: In one of the episodes, a movie director decides to cast Heroic Pet Skippy as a Heroic Pet, which results in Skippy saving an actor for real when something goes wrong.
  • Family Matters: In "A Ham Is Born", Carl Winslow moonlights as a security guard at a movie studio where a police drama is being filmed. The movie director is annoyed at Carl's opinion of a film scene until Carl mentions his 20-year experience as a Chicago police officer. After Carl demonstrates the actual procedure for arresting criminals, the impressed director decides to cast Carl Winslow as the new leading protagonist of the film. Ultimately, Carl quits his career as a film star because he, as a married man, refuses to kiss the leading actress, even if it was only part of the movie storyline.
  • On Bones one of the actors in the Film of the Book of one of Dr. Brennan's novels studied to be a scientist and was hired because the Techno Babble didn't scare him off. This becomes useful when it turns out a real murder had taken place on set, and they needed additional help examining the body.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985):
    • In "Grace Note", the operatic soprano Julia Migenes played Rosemarie Miletti, an aspiring opera singer who eventually becomes a star.
    • In "Love is Blind", the folk singer Sneezy Waters played the Blind Musician.

    Video Games 

Real-life examples:

  • Umamusume: Junko Hosoe, a real life race commentator, comments on horsegirl races as herself. In one episode, she is joined by Yutaka Take, the famous jockey who rode many of the horses turned into girls by this anime.

    Films — Animation 
  • When Disney did Brother Bear, they went to Angayuqaq Oscar Kawagley for advice on the Inuit language. They liked the way he spoke Inukituk so much, they created a narrator role for him.
  • The Cars franchise primarily takes place in the American Southwest, and Route 66 in particular. In turn, Pixar cast journalist and historian Michael Wallis — who has written several books about the history of those specific areas of the United States — as the Sheriff of Radiator Springs.
  • Since Lilo & Stitch has its human lead Lilo study hula at a hālau hula (hula school), the role of her kumu hula (hula teacher) Moses Puloki was performed by Kunewa Mook, who is a kumu hula and musician in real life. He and musician Mark Kealiʻi Hoʻomalu made sure that the hula performed in the film was authentic. Mook would also reprise his role throughout the franchise.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • As a general rule, this happened a lot with war movies made in the postwar era, due to the simple fact that it was hard to swing a stick at a casting office without hitting a guy who had at least gone through the draft and basic training, or even fought in World War II or Korea. Lots of returning veterans became actors and filmmakers in the late '40s and '50s, which made it painfully easy for studios to find people with military experience to play soldiers in the movies, some of whom are listed on this page.
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey: The voice from mission control is played by Frank Miller, who was a Real Life air traffic controller. When the two astronauts are interviewed by the BBC, the interviewer is Kenneth Kendall, a BBC newsreader.
  • The film Act of Valor takes this to the extreme. Nearly every credited actor is enlisted in the United States military, many of them actual Navy SEALs.
  • A minor example in Airplane!: The screenwriters wrote lines for the two black characters who "only speak Jive". The actors who were cast in the roles pointed out that all the lines were ridiculous and were allowed to improvise their own dialogue.
  • Almost Angels: The Vienna Boys Choir provided many of the boys that played Vienna choirboys in the movie, though the lead parts were played by child actors with their singing voices dubbed.
  • Anatomy of a Murder: Judge Weaver was played by Real Life lawyer Joseph N. Welch, who was already legendary for being the one to finally give the Armor-Piercing Question that brought down Senator Joe McCarthy during the Army-McCarthy Hearings.
  • Any Given Sunday featured NFL Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor as one of the Sharks linebackers. And Terrell Owens As Himself. Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown plays one of the Sharks coaches.
  • In the Thai film Beautiful Boxer (based on the life of Parinya Charoenphol aka Nong Thoom) the title role was filled by real-life Muay Thai fighter Asanee Suwan.
  • Beverly Hills Cop: The role of Detroit police inspector Douglas Todd was played by Real Life Detroit police detective Gilbert Hill.
  • Black Hawk Down: In wide shots, those were actual Army Rangers fast-roping from UH-60s. The MH-6 Littlebird pilot who goes to the first crash site is the same pilot who did it in real life.
  • In Black Swan, the man playing Natalie Portman's dance partner was her Real Life dance instructor for the film, although he doesn't have many lines. He is also her husband and father of her child.
  • Blood of the Tribades has a scene in which the character Acheron is tortured by being forced to walk on broken glass: He was played by Scott Dezrah Blinn, a sideshow performer whose act includes walking on broken glass.
  • Bloodsport cast a lot of real-life martial artists as the tournament contestants. Notably, the Muay Thai fighter in the semifinals is Paulo Tocha, one of the first western Muay Thai experts.
  • Brubaker director Stuart Rosenberg tried to use as many ex-convicts as possible as extras in the film, feeling that they would give an air of realism to the film that might not have been possible otherwise. As part of the crew reached out to halfway houses, parole officers, and employment offices to find suitable former inmates. In addition to former prison inmates, several former prison guards from various jails and prisons also appeared in the movie.
  • Dennis "the pancakes kid" in Cabin Fever was cast primarily because his audition tape was a martial arts demonstration that impressed the casting department enough to bring him in. This is why he does a number of moves including a vertical cyclone kick before biting Bert's hand.
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier cast UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre as the martial artist mercenary Batroc.
  • Captain Phillips: The final scene was a spur-of-the-moment, unscripted addition. The medic treating Captain Phillips was portrayed by an actual navy medic (Petty Officer Corpsman 2nd Class Danielle Albert), who was advised to just treat him as she would a real-life patient.
  • Center Stage (2000), an archetypal teen ballet flick, avoided a lot of problems by doing this. Main character Jody Sawyer was played by Amanda Schull, who spent three years as a member of the San Francisco Ballet's corps de ballet; Charlie Sims, meanwhile, was played by American Ballet Theatre soloist and later Dutch National Ballet principal Sascha Radetsky. Prima ballerina Kathleen was played by the legendary Julie Kent, also of ABT. And the brilliant choreographer and dancer Cooper Nielsen was played by.... brilliant choreographer and dancer Ethan Stiefel, one of the best male ballet dancers in American history, who was a principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre at the time and had been for years. In addition, some of the students at the school were played by now big-name dancers, including Gillian Murphynote , Jonathan Stafford, Jared Angle, and Craig Hall.
  • The Chorus: All the boys in this film about the creation of a choir at a Boarding School of Horrors are members of the Real Life choir Les Petits Chanteurs de Saint-Marc, including choir member Jean-Baptise Maunier playing Pierre Morhange, a boy with an exceptional singing voice.
  • Close Encounters of the Third Kind:
    • The dialogue between the pilots and the air traffic controllers sound so realistic because Spielberg used the controllers from Los Angeles ARTCC, gave them the scenario, and they played it as if it were real.
    • Also, the synthesizer player is Philip Dodds, one of the lead engineers for ARP Instruments. Dodds was brought in to install the ARP 2500, and when Spielberg saw his expert handling of the equipment, he offered Dodds the role on the spot.
    • The "voice" of the mothership was performed by legendary tubist Jim Self. Spielberg cast him and his performance because the difficulty of playing the tuba added a "human" component to the alien communication.
  • The Cowboys: About half the boys were played by junior rodeo champions who were already experts at "cowboy skills" like riding and roping, and who needed to learn how to act. (The other half were played by actors who needed to learn how to ride and rope.)
  • The 1961 British sci-fi/disaster film The Day the Earth Caught Fire is set at real-life London newspaper the Daily Express, so the paper's longtime former editor, Arthur Christiansen, was cast as the editor in the film.
  • Damage: Most of the participants in the underground fighting ring were actual professional fighters.
  • Death Proof introduces stuntwoman Zo Bell, As Herself.
  • District 13 features a founder of Le Parkour as the main protagonist, who specializes in Parkour.
  • Theo James is a trained boxer, so he already had some experience with combat sports such as those in Divergent.
  • Eddie and the Cruisers 2: Eddie Lives!: Mark Holmes, who played bassist Quinn Quinley, and Paul Markle, playing drummer Charlie Tansey, were members of the Canadian rock band Platinum Blonde.
  • The Enemy Below. Many of the sailors on the destroyer escort were Real Life U.S. sailors provided by the Defense Department. Likewise, the person playing the ship's chief engineer was the ship's actual commanding officer.
  • E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial: The doctors are real doctors. The commentary mentions that this was because actors wouldn't quite speak as if they had been using the proper terms for years because, well, they hadn't been.
  • The Exorcist:
    • Father Dyer is played by Reverend William O'Malley S.J., a real-life Jesuit priest. William Friedkin commented that instead of looking for another actor to play Fr. Dyer, he went looking for a real-life priest who knew how to act.
    • The medical technicians who test Regan are also real medical technicians. Eerily, one of them was later convicted of murder - and was implicated in, although never charged with, the serial killings that inspired a later William Friedkin film, Cruising.
  • The Fast and the Furious (2001): Paul Walker auditioned for the role both because he was a car enthusiast wanting to do a car movie, and to fund his love of cars.
  • The Clint Eastwood film The 15:17 to Paris stars Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos and Spencer Stone — the three Americans who thwarted a terrorist attack aboard a train to Paris in August 2015 — as themselves.
  • During the gymnastics practice scene in Final Destination 5, Canadian Olympian Brittany Rogers plays the gymnast on the balance beam when Candace is on uneven bars. Ellen Wroe, who plays Candace, is also a real gymnast.
  • The Flowers of St. Francis by Roberto Rossellini is a movie about St Francis and the early Franciscans, based on Fioretti di San Francesco (or Little Flowers of St. Francis) and La Vita di Frate Ginepro (or The Life of Brother Juniper). The men who played St Francis and his followers were actual Franciscans.
  • In Frank, the band's drummer Nana is played by Carla Azar, who is actually a drummer, best known as a member of the indie rock band Autolux. Nana is Azar's only film role to date.
  • In The French Connection, Doyle and Russo's supervisor is played by Eddie Egan, on whom Doyle was based. Egan's real-life partner Sonny Grosso (on whom Russo's character was based) played Bill Klein. The mechanic who disassembles the car to find the drugs was played by the mechanic who did that job for the NYPD.
  • Full Metal Jacket, R. Lee Ermey was hired to advise on the film's portrayal of a US Marine Corps instructor but was eventually just given the role. Kubrick was hesitant at first since Ermey's actually a very nice guy... until Ermey made a video of himself chewing out the camera for fifteen minutes without stopping or repeating himself while being pelted with rotten fruit and tennis balls.
  • Going My Way: The Robert Mitchel Boychoir provided the boys that played the part of the parish choir.
  • Several accidental cases in The Great Escape.
    • Donald Pleasence had spent time in a German POW camp during WWII. When he tried to offer director John Sturges advice based on his experience Sturges told him to keep his "opinions" to himself. Once someone explained Pleasance's background to him Sturges quickly started asking Pleasance for technical advice.
    • James Garner had been his unit's scrounger while serving in the Army during the Korean War.
    • Charles Bronson, who plays the Tunnel King of the crew, had worked as a coal miner in his youth and was able to advise Sturges on earth movement.
  • In Grosse Pointe Blank Benny the Jet, a legendary kickboxer as well as John Cusack's personal trainer, has a role as an assassin who fights Cusack's character.
  • In Here Comes the Boom, both the Mentor Archetype Niko and the Final Boss Ken Dietrich are played by actual mixed martial artists. UFC commentators and staff members also appear playing themselves.
  • Professional ice skater Lynn-Holly Johnson was cast in the lead role in Ice Castles, which was her film debut. Presumably, it was easier to teach a skater to act than to teach an actress to skate at the level required for the character.
  • In Ice Princess, Nikki Flether (the "Jumping Shrimp") is played by real-life figure-skater Kirsten Olson.
  • A number of the rugby players in Invictus are, unsurprisingly, played by real-life rugby players.
  • In Werner Herzog's Invincible, the part of real-life strongman Zishe Breitbart is played by real-life World's Strongest Man champion Jouko Ahola.
  • In Like Flint: Ballerina Yvonne Craig appears in a small role as a Russian ballerina.
  • In Iron Man 3, the crew of the Air Force One was played by an actual skydiving crew wearing special breakaway costumes with concealed parachutes; so, the scene where they are all Thrown Out the Airlock following the President's kidnapping and saved by a remote-controlled Iron Man suit is basically an elaborate (and pretty risky, as the last one is pretty close to hitting the water when he's saved) skydiving stunt.
  • It Happened Here, an Alternate History film about a Nazi-occupied Britain, cast British fascists as local collaborators. Unfortunately, this backfired and led to one of the scenes involved being cut by UK censors, for having actual fascists expounding their ideology.
  • Audie Murphy, a World War II hero and movie star, played himself in the movie of his autobiography To Hell and Back. He also played a Civil War soldier in Red Badge of Courage.
  • For Ivan the Terrible, Sergei Eisenstein used actual Soviet soldiers for the battle sequences, which kept them from going to actual combat during World War II.
  • James Bond:
  • Jappeloup is about the life of a show jump horse rider, which Guillaume Canet was in his youth (he had to stop following an accident). Despite having the accident in mind, he practiced horse riding again for the film and did all the horse stunts himself.
  • In The Last Airbender, Noah Ringer, who played Aang, was cast for his martial arts ability (he has a black belt in Taekwondo), and had never acted before. He had to attend acting classes before shooting began.
  • In Little Miss Sunshine, all of the pageant contestants and mothers except for Olive and Sheryl were played by actual kiddie-pageant veterans. The costumes and makeup were the same as they wore to actual pageants.
  • Before becoming an actor, Jason Statham was training to be an Olympic diver (for which, presumably, he shaved). To make money while he trained, he became a street seller (not entirely legal). When Guy Ritchie was filming Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels, he needed a street-wise seller. Lo and behold, there's Statham. Part of his audition involved improvising a scene in which he refuses to give Ritchie back his money for a purchased watch.
  • In Knockout, the antagonist is the women's world lightweight boxing champion, and was played by real world champion boxer, kickboxer, and martial artist Fredia Gibbs. Real-life pro boxer Dora Webber also plays a lower-level boxer the protagonist fights early on.
  • Richard Todd, who played Major John Howard in The Longest Day, was a paratrooper and veteran of the actual D-Day landings; he was present at the actual landings at Pegasus Bridge depicted in the film. Todd also appears as a character (played by an uncredited actor), exchanging a joke with Major Howard (Todd's real-life commanding officer) about how "paras are always late."
  • A few of the players on both teams in the 2005 remake of The Longest Yard are actual retired NFL players, such as Michael Irvin as a wide receiver for the inmates' team and Bill Romanowski as a linebacker for the guards' team.
  • The Lord of the Rings:
    • In addition to the lead actors who were trained on horses, and numerous digital extras, for Rohan the production hired hundreds of horses from all across New Zealand, and then needed extras to put on them. Where do you find that many extras who can ride? Well, the horses' owners were nearby. Most of them were women, leading to a lot of Rohirrim with fake whiskers (and making Eowyn's Sweet Polly Oliver routine a lot less remarkable).
    • The New Zealand Army provided extras for the final battle in front of the Black Gate. This was made necessary because the Black Gate scenes were filmed on an abandoned minefield. Behind the scenes commentary on the DVD makes note of how good these extras were at following directions and setting up formations, and how much enthusiasm they brought to the combat scenes. This led to a notable Throw It In moment, after some of the Maori stuntmen started chanting a haka to get the extras pumped up, and Peter Jackson got the idea to have the orcs do a war chant.
    • An accidental case also cropped up. When they were blocking out the scene for Saruman's death where he's stabbed in the back, Christopher Lee interrupted, going, "No, that's not the sound a man makes when stabbed in the back, it's more like this..." Jackson hadn't realized that Lee served in the Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare (yes, it was actually called that) during WWII and probably did some things best left classified.
  • Mad Max series:
    • A lot of the extras recruited to play biker gang members for the original were actual local bikers, whom the pocket-change-budget production paid in beer.
    • In Fury Road, according to the art book, most of the Rock Riders were played by professional motocross riders rather than film stunt artists, for their specialized talents.
  • Masters of the Universe: Anthony De Longis is a skilled swordsman, so he was cast as the swordsman Blade. He was also Frank Langella's stunt double for the scenes where Skeletor fights.
  • In Mean Girls 2, the antagonist gets a karate master for her flag football team. Said girl is playing by real-life blackbelt Autumn Dial.
  • In Meteor, Natalie Wood's character Tatiana speaks in her native Russian sometimes. Wood spoke the language, due to her upbringing in a Russian immigrant family.
  • Miami Connection:
    • The film was made by a tae kwon do instructor, and almost the entire cast is composed of his students performing the fight scenes.
    • The actor playing the lead singer of the protagonists' band Dragon Sound was a professional musician who composed and performed all the film's songs. Unlike the rest of the cast, he had no martial arts background, so his character does not get into any fights.
  • In Million Dollar Baby, Maggie's opponent in her final match was played by Lucia Rijker, a champion boxer in Real Life.
  • Actress Esther Williams (competitive swimmer) in Million Dollar Mermaid, a biopic of famous swimmer Annette Kellerman.
  • Miracle cast actual college hockey players as members of the 1980 US Olympic team. Special mention goes to Billy Schneider, who played his father, Buzz.
  • Mortal Kombat: The Movie cast Robin Shou and Linden Ashby as Liu Kang and Johnny Cage respectively. Both actors were real life martial artists.
  • In Night and the City, the wrestler managed by Richard Widmark is played by pro wrestling great Stanislaus Zbyszko. His opponent in the pivotal wrestling match is played by character actor Mike Mazurki, himself a former pro wrestler.
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest: Dean R. Brooks, the real-life superintendent of the Oregon State Hospital, was cast as Dr. Spivey.
  • In One-Trick Pony, the members of the Jonah Levin Band are played by real musicians who actually played on the soundtrack album.
  • In Palm Springs, the professor who discusses quantum physics with Sarah is played by the film's scientific advisor, theoretical physicist Clifford Johnson.
  • In Performance, some of the minor cast members appearing as London Gangsters were reputedly the real thing.
  • Technical consultant and former Marine captain Dale Dye has appeared in many of the war films he's worked on, beginning with Platoon.
  • The film Red Rocket is about a washed up former porn star who returns to his Texas hometown. He is played by actor Simon Rex, who did have a brief stint in porn note  before his acting career.
  • In the film Requiem for a Heavyweight the eponymous heavyweight's final boxing match (at the start of the film) is against Cassius Clay, whom you might know better as Muhammad Ali. Ali's not just "the opponent," he actually has some in-character lines. In the end, the heavyweight is forced into a humiliating wrestling match against the real-life professional wrestler Haystacks Calhoun.
  • Eddie Bunker lived as a criminal and thief many years before becoming a writer. He was later cast as Mr. Blue in Reservoir Dogs.
  • In Plan 9 from Outer Space, the only remotely convincing performance was the minister who gives the eulogy for the policeman-turned-zombie (played by Tor Johnson). The minister was played by a minister Ed Wood knew.
  • Several films by Robert Rodriguez, including Planet Terror and Machete, feature minor doctor characters played by Rodriguez's own real-life physician, Dr. Felix Sabates.
  • RoboCop:
    • The medical team attempting to resuscitate Murphy in RoboCop (1987) were played by a real-life trauma team. They were allowed to improvise their lines, and on the DVD commentary, the writers mention how it turned out better than what they ever could have thought up. One reason it worked so well is that the image of a trauma team working on a dying man in such a calm, emotionless, business-like manner feels incredibly creepy. Most people expect the ER team to act like they do on TV.
    • Casey Wong and his MediaBreak co-host in the first two movies, Jess Perkins, were played by real-life anchors: Wong by the late Mario Machado and Perkins by Leeza Gibson during her tenure on Entertainment Tonight.
  • Many of the SEAL team members in The Rock were played by the (retired) SEALs who also advised on the film.
  • Several of the soldiers in the finale of Rockabilly Zombie Weekend were played by active-duty soldiers who had worked checkpoints in the Middle East; they manned the airport checkpoint in the film and were told to simply do everything as they would do in reality. The protagonists in the truck were given a minimum of coaching for the scene and simply responded to the questions in character.
  • As could be expected, the Rocky series has cast several real-life boxers, usually in bit parts. The most prominent ones are the main opponents in Rocky V and Rocky Balboa, played by Tommy Morrison and Antonio Tarver. Furthermore, in Rocky III Rocky is in a boxer-vs-wrestler bout with "Thunderlips", played by Hulk Hogan. Hogan was a Monster Heel at the time, as is Thunderlips.
  • Ronin (1998) featured world-class figure skater Katarina Witt as a Captain Ersatz of herself — the championship count given for her character in the film is her actual championship total.
  • Round Midnight stars jazz saxophonist Dexter Gordon as a jazz saxophonist fallen on hard times. Gordon also actually knew Bud Powell, the influential jazz pianist whom his role was partly based on, and helped the screenwriters revise the script to be more accurate to the actual person. Two other jazz musicians play named supporting roles: Keyboardist Herbie Hancock and vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson. The film is also filled with cameos and performances from other jazz legends more or less playing themselves, including John McLaughlin, Wayne Shorter, Tony Williams, and Freddie Hubbard.
  • Danny Trejo, a reformed criminal and former prison convict, was offered a job as a prison extra in Runaway Train while working at the prison as a counselor. The screenwriter Eddie Bunker, a reformed criminal himself, recognized Trejo from his prison days and offered him a bonus if he'd train the lead actor for a boxing scene. After watching him work, the director cast him in a small role as a prison boxer, which spun into an entire career playing thugs and toughs.
  • Rush (2013), in an effort to be as authentic as possible, the producers scoured the globe for actual Formula 1 cars in use at the time. These cars were almost always driven in the film by their present owners — most of whom actually race their cars in historic competitions. They also managed to convince one of the drivers that competed in the actual 1976 season to participate in the film's production — fittingly, said driver is James Hunt's actual 1976 teammate at McLaren, Jochen Mass, who also portrayed himself in the film.
  • In Say Anything..., Lloyd Dobler's kickboxing opponent, who breaks Lloyd's nose when Lloyd is distracted by Diane's ill-timed declaration of love, was played by real-life kickboxing champion Don "The Dragon" Wilson.
  • Secretariat: Ron Turcotte was played by a jockey named Otto Thorwarth.
  • In Seabiscuit, George "the Iceman" Woolf is played by real-life Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Gary Stevens.
  • In Searching for Bobby Fischer, the rival chess prodigy in the chess tournament is played by an actual chess prodigy since "it was easier to teach a chess player how to act than it was to teach a child actor how to comfortably play speed-chess".
  • Nearly all the footballers in A Shot at Glory were real-life players at the time of filming. The staged football matches in the film all appear fairly realistic as a result.
  • Slap Shot had a number of minor league hockey players among its cast. The actors who played the (in)famous Hanson brothers were in the major league World Hockey Association, meaning the archetypal unskilled thugs of hockey cinema were visibly stronger players than any of their costars! As a bonus, the Hansons were based on the Carlson brothers, two of whom essentially played themselves in the film as two of the Hansons.note  The third brother was played by David Hanson, who also served as inspiration for "Killer" Carlson.note 
  • In Son of a Gun, the Getaway Driver Chris is played by stuntman Nash Edgerton, who does all of his own driving stunts.
  • Soul Surfer, a biography of one-armed, world-class surfer Bethany Hamilton, featured Hamilton herself in all its surfing scenes.
  • Spider-Man:
  • Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home featured real-life naval and marine personnel aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ranger, which was doubling for the actual USS Enterprise.
  • Most of the Rebel soldiers at the Battle of Hoth in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back were Norwegian soldiers.
  • Elite gymnast Nastia Liukin, the US national champion on uneven bars who would go on to win Olympic gold two years later, had a small role in Stick It, performing her bar routine to win the national title on that event in the (rigged) final meet. In addition, antagonist Tricia Skilken was played by Tarah Paige, a former elite gymnast, and Mina Hoyt, Haley's teammate, was played by Division 1 NCAA gymnast Maddy Curley. And the non-main character gymnasts who compete in the Classic and at Nationals are virtually all competitive gymnasts, including many notable NCAA gymnasts and Olympians Allana Slater and Mohini Bhardwaj.
  • Real strippers were used to play strippers in Stripped to Kill. Director Katt Shea gave the strippers she cast acting classes in the living room of her home.
  • Soviet comedy Striped Cruise is about a cargo of wild tigers that break free and wreak havoc on a ship, but are tamed by the ship's pantrywoman. Rather than using stunt doubles, professional tiger tamer Margarita Nazarova was cast as the female lead, bringing her USSR-wide superstar status.
  • When the President's limousine is flipped over by a nuclear blast in The Sum of All Fears, he is rescued by a squad of actual Marines. As with a number of the military examples, the Marines were simply given the situation and asked to respond as they would in Real Life.
  • The director of Sully spoke with actual pilots and pilot instructors to understand how midair crises play out. A few of the pilots and instructors later got cameos in the film.
  • In Terror Train, Ken the Magician is played Real Life Stage Magician David Copperfield.
  • Michael Mann's 1981 film Thief has an interesting subversion of this trope. Chicago police detective Dennis Farina made his film debut playing... a hired goon. Real-life jewel thief John Santucci was cast as a police sergeant. The industrial tools used in the film were provided by actual thieves, lending a level of realism uncommon in the heist genre.
  • Titanic:
    • All the crew aboard the research ship and its submarine are actual research-ship-and-submarine crewmembers. Cameron hired the Akademic Mstislav Keldysh to visit the wreck, and kept them on the payroll for use as set and extras once the production phase started.
    • The Swiss chamber band I Salonisti was hired not only to record the classical performances by the ship's band, but to portray the ill-fated band members as well, alongside actor Jonathan Evans-Jones who played the role of bandleader Wallace Hartley.
  • In To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar, the drag queens in the two pageant scenes are actual New York City drag queens. Besides obviously RuPaul, other well-known queens featured were Lady Bunny, Coco Peru, Hedda Lettuce, etc.
  • Top Gun had real-life fighter pilots (wearing darkened visors) as enemy MiG pilots.
  • Many of the military extras in the Transformers Film Series series are actual military. In several cases, they didn't even have a script beyond Michael Bay telling them to say and do what they would do in the situation.
  • Trading Places: All the traders seen towards the end are actual traders, who taught Dan Aykroyd, Eddie Murphy, and Richard Hunt how to trade commodities.
  • Wonder Woman (2017): Many of the Amazon extras are normally martial artists, boxers, equestrians, or track-and-field athletes. Gal Gadot herself is a former Israeli Defense Forces soldier. Ann Wolfe (Artemis), arguably the greatest female boxer of all time, was brought on by Patty Jenkins because of her real-life expertise. In Jenkins' words, "Who else should be one of the greatest warrior Amazons, but the best female boxer in history?"
  • The Wrestler: WWE fans will note that Ron Killings, now known as R-Truth, is among the indie wrestlers that make cameos in the film. WCW fans may recognize Ernest "The Cat" Miller as The Ayatollah. And ECW fans will recognize The Blue Meanie. In fact, every wrestler you see in this movie is a professional wrestler in real life, and they're using their actual gimmicks (save for Miller).
  • The Killing: The thug Maurice, whose job during the heist is to brawl with the police as a distraction, is played by Kola Kwariani, a professional wrestler.
  • United 93 cast several experts in to make the film as authentic as possible, like Captain Dahl being portrayed by United Airlines pilot J.J. Johnson. The most impressive, however, is that Greengrass managed to cast several people involved in the event to reenact that day, with the most notable being Ben Sliney reenacting his first day as the FAA National Operations Manager.
  • In Zack and Miri Make a Porno, among the motley crew that Zack and Miri hire to make their titular porno are performers played by actual (former and then-current) pornographic actors Traci Lords and Katie Morgan. This was discussed in one behind-the-scenes DVD extra in which it was noted that an advantage in doing so was that the porn stars would be willing to go a bit further than many mainstreams actors might feel comfortable with when it came to the movie's more raunchy aspects (since they were used to that kind of thing in their day jobs) but at the same time, the fact that it was a mainstream movie meant that they would get a break from the kind of things they were used to doing in porn.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Baywatch was full of pretty actors pretending to be lifeguards... save for one man, Michael Newman, the only one to actually look like a lifeguard and perform complicated stunts (notably, he's one of the few regularly shown swimming worth a damn). An actual lifeguard with 20 years of experience who'd saved dozens of lives, Newman played a fictionalized version of himself. He also served as a technical consultant for the show and many of the saves on the show are recreations of saves Newman himself participated in. And then Alexandra Paul (Stephanie Holden) is not a lifeguard but she is an accomplished professional triathlete.
  • The BBC miniseries version of The Choir casts St Paul's Cathedral chorister Anthony Way as a chorister for the fictitious Aldminster Cathedral Choir.
  • Law & Order: Attorney and politician Fred Thompson played the district attorney for several years, though it should be noted that he also had prior acting experience playing the roles of senior government officials, so this would be a cross between this and Typecasting.
  • Dennis Farina, an ex-cop, plays cops on Crime Story and Law & Order in addition to many film roles. Conversely, his Crime Story co-star John Santucci, who played mobster Pauli Taglia, was a real-life criminal, a jewel thief busted on a few occasions by Farina and his cop boss, Chuck Adamson, who co-created Crime Story.
  • Homicide: Life on the Street: Gary D'Addario, a retired police commander, inspired the character Al Giardello, and played a recurring role as QRT head Lt. Jasper.
  • The X-Files:
    • The episode "The Amazing Maleeni" features two stage magicians, both played by actual stage magicians.
    • Likewise, all the circus performers in "Humbug" are played by actual sideshow performers; the guy who pounds a nail into his nose is actually pounding a nail into his nose.
  • Generation Kill: The series is based on a journalist's memoirs following a Marine recon unit, with actors playing the real Marines. Rudy Reyes, a member of the unit depicted, was attached to the project as an adviser, but the actor playing him suddenly became ill, so he simply played himself. It helps that he already looks like a GQ model.
  • NYPD Blue consultant and former New York detective Bill Clark was seen a few times as a cop.
  • Andy Buckley, who plays former-CFO David Wallace on the US version of The Office, is a Real Life stock-broker.
  • Pauley Perrette studied sociology and criminal science before becoming an actress and playing forensic specialist Abby Sciuto on NCIS. Similarly, David McCallum spent so much time studying for his role as Creepy Mortician "Ducky" Mallard that the producers were tempted to pay him a consultant's fee.
  • John from Cincinnati: A TV show set in the surfing community. Keala Kennelly, who plays Kai, is a well-known professional surfer who set the record for riding the largest tow-in wave by a woman. Greyson Fletcher, who plays Shaun Yost, is a fourth-generation surfer whose drug-addicted father revolutionized the sport in the 80s with "aerial"-type tricks and whose grandfather was a defining legend of the previous-generation surf community. Greyson's character Shaun is a third-generation surfer whose drug-addicted father revolutionized the sport in the 80s with "aerial"-type tricks and whose grandfather was a defining legend of the previous-generation surf community.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • The show often had actual members of the military on screen, including two Air Force Chiefs of Staff playing themselves.
    • The reason Sgt. Siler spends most of his appearances being electrocuted, blown up and hurled around is because he's played by the show's stunt coordinator.
    • The show cast actual capoeira practitioners as extras when they needed an exotic martial art for the Jaffa in "The Warrior".
  • Power Rangers regularly casts martial artists, dancers, and gymnasts as the main heroes, people who know how to use their bodies for fight scenes. It sometimes goes in the opposite direction as well, tailoring the character to the performer. Amy Jo Johnson is a gymnast, so was Kimberly; Walter Emanuel Jones is a dancer, so was Zach; Nakia Burrise is a singer, so was Tanya; and so on.
  • Bill Nye the Science Guy:
    • A few episodes of NUMB3RS have Bill Nye play a scientist.
    • He also does this in an episode of Stargate Atlantis, playing a key part in saving the day.
  • KDFW-TV news anchor Clarice Tinsley has played a TV reporter on Wishbone, Walker, Texas Ranger, and The Good Guys, all shows set and/or filmed in the DFW Metroplex.
  • Glee: Heather Morris is a professional dancer who toured with Beyonce as a backup dancer. The show brought her in to teach the "Single Ladies" dance to the cast, and they liked her so much that she was given a background role as a silent, nameless cheerleader. She took it from there, ad-libbingnote  her way into making Brittany a regular character and fan-favorite.
  • Mayim Bialik, who plays neurobiologist Amy Farrah Fowler on The Big Bang Theory, holds a Ph.D. in neuroscience.
  • On Grey's Anatomy, many of the nurses (including the omni-present Bokhee), are played by actual nurses. Subverted, however, as they rarely do much past pass instruments in surgery.
  • On CSI, assistant coroner David "Superdave" Phillips is played by David Berman, who worked as a coroner for a time in real life. Berman is also a consultant on the series.
  • The villainous magician in the Lois & Clark episode "Illusions of Grandeur" is played by Penn Jillette, of Penn & Teller.
  • In most of the large-scale incidents on Emergency! where units other than Engine/Squad 51 appear, the other firefighters are actually firefighters. Similarly, Engine 51's driver Mike Stoker was played by Los Angeles County firefighter Mike Stoker, the captain in the first season was an LACoFD captain, and the uncredited dispatcher was really a county dispatcher.
  • The low-budget '80s action film Killpoint is mostly memorable for using real police officers in several scenes, including a S.W.A.T. team.
  • R. Lee Ermey played another drill instructor in the sci-fi series Space: Above and Beyond.
  • Retired Marine Captain Dale Dye has played a number of soldiers, including Colonel Sink in Band of Brothers, Colonel Wood in The Rough Riders, a Marine officer in Space: Above and Beyond and a Resistance officer in Falling Skies. He also ran the boot camp for the actors in Band of Brothers, Saving Private Ryan, and The Pacific. He also reprised the role of Colonel Sink for Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway.
  • In an episode of Battlestar Galactica that called for a musician in a major part, they came close to casting the series composer Bear McCreary. They went with someone else after the audition, but it came very close to fulfilling this trope. Bear had a cameo later on as a piano player in the background.
  • Summer Glau was actually discovered this way. Glau, who is a trained dancer, was originally cast as a ballerina in an episode of Angel.
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Once More with Feeling", Hinton Battle (Broadway performer and choreographer) was cast as the dancing demon Sweet.
  • In the children's TV series Brum, Mike Cavanagh played the role of the motoring museum owner. In real life, he wasn't an actor but the actual owner of the museum. He didn't have to do much acting as for the most part he only appeared in the opening and closing of each episode, and in the 2001 revival the footage was cut so he was barely even seen at all.
  • The PBS educational series The Voyage Of The Mimi gave the role of crusty Captain Granville to Peter Marston, who was a crusty MIT professor and the actual owner of the boat used in the show. Not to mention likely the first and only nuclear physicist with an Actor's Equity card.
  • Both the History Channel and the Military Channel have had a number of shows hosted by either Richard ("Mack") Machowicz or Will ("Whiskey-Whiskey") Willis. Mack is a former SEAL, while Will served in both the Army Rangers and Air Force Pararescue.
  • Mr Selfridge cast Natalia Kremen, a former artist with the Bolshoi Ballet and English National Ballet, as famed ballerina Anna Pavlova.
  • Similarly, Downton Abbey cast New Zealand soprano Dame Tiri Te Kanawa to play Australian soprano Dame Nellie Melba.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 speculated about this in the episode Skydivers, supplying the page quote.
  • In the Leverage episode The Two Live Crew Job, rival thief Apollo is played by former pickpocket and series consultant Apollo Robbins.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise. In Season 3 the Enterprise starts taking a regular hammering during the Xindi arc, so featured a lot of scenes where the main characters would walk down a corridor in the midst of being repaired. As this involved Building Is Welding, the Paramount set constructors (who were familiar with using welding equipment safely) were put in Starfleet uniforms as background extras.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Most of the prostitutes throughout the series are played by porn actresses, since they're well-versed in having sex on camera and obviously didn't have a problem with the show's notorious excessive nudity. Esm Bianco, who played Ros, one of the few prostitutes given characterization, is a burlesque performer.
    • World's Strongest Man Gregor Clegane was played (in his third iteration) by Hafr Jlus Bjrnsson, the top contender for the real-life strongest man in the world. Hafþór was also a former professional basketball player before a career-ending injury lead to him taking up powerlifting, meaning he had the perfect combination of being outlandishly tall and strong. Before Hafþór took the role, Clegane was played by Conan Stevens, who before becoming an actor was a professional wrestler.
    • In "The Lion and the Rose" Icelandic band Sigur Rs make a brief cameo as minstrels performing a cover of the groom's family anthem and reprise it for the credits.
    • Professional singers Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol and Ed Sheeran both had cameo roles that involved singing.
  • JAG:
    • Retired Marine Corps Master Sergeant Matt Sigloch, originally hired for a small part in the Pilot Movie, became the on-set military technical advisor for all the 227 episodes.
    • Admiral Chegwiddens replacement as Judge Advocate General in the final 10th season, General Cresswell, is played by actor David Andrews, who is a graduate of Stanford Law School and was a practicing attorney before becoming an actor.
  • NCIS had a weird example, where a one-episode agent named Agent Ray was being played by the real-life SECNAV, Ray Mabus.
  • Some of the extras in Invasion: Earth in the scenes involving weapons were actually service personnel from RAF Leuchars, which served as the show's set for the air base.
  • On one episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Stabler's pregnant wife was involved in an automobile accident and a good portion of the episode involved her being extracted from the wrecked car. The FDNY firefighters who responded were real and, aside from minor variations for drama purposes (such as allowing Benson to go into the car to assist instead of a firefighter or paramedic), did exactly what they would do in a real vehicle extraction.
  • Miami Vice cast their technical advisor, marksman Jim Zubiena, as a Trigger-Happy hitman in "The Hit List".
  • Both Scandal and Parks and Recreation utilize Jay Jackson as a newscaster, as he was a news reporter for 20 years. This happens to be true for every role of his.
  • A short scene in the third episode of Band of Brothers features a soldier on horseback played by the series assistant military adviser Freddie Joe Farnsworth, the only person on the set who knew how to ride a horse and had an American accent.
  • "The Tower Is Tall but the Fall Is Short", an episode of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, features a fight scene between Cameron and another female Terminator in which Cameron literally ties her adversary in a knot before killing her. The Terminator was played by Bonnie Morgan, a professional contortionist who could actually undergo that without special effects and survive.
  • Vikings: Katheryn Winnick, the actress who plays the Action Girl shieldmaiden Lagertha, has studied martial arts since childhood and started her own schools.
  • In Kaamelott, Christian Bujeau, who plays King Arthur's weaponmaster, is an actual expert in medieval fencing.
  • James Michael Tyler's role on Friends began as that of a background extra often seen working behind the counter at Central Perk. The fact that he was the only extra who actually knew how to run the coffee machine led to his Ascended Extra status starting in Season 2, with the character of Gunther becoming the face of the coffee shop.
  • In the short-lived series Toma, the real David Toma is an extra or bit player in each episode. (The more successful series Baretta was also based on David Toma.)
  • GLOW, a Very Loosely Based on a True Story show about the now-defunct all-female wrestling promotion, has plenty of actual wrestlers in the cast, most notably multi-time Women's Champion Kia Stevens.
  • Billions: Chuck's wise, well-spoken jiu-jitsu trainer is played by John Danaher, who is well-known in the martial arts world as a wise, well-spoken jiu-jitsu trainer.
  • I Love Lucy did this at least twice:
    • In "Job Switching" (aka the famous candy factory episode), the candy-dipper that Lucy gets into a chocolate fight with was played by real-life candymaker Amanda Milligan. (When she was cast, she told the producers that she had actually never seen the show; on Monday nights, when I Love Lucy aired, she always watched wrestling.)
    • In "Visitor From Italy", the pizza chef in the restaurant where Lucy works was played by chef and restaurant owner Aldo Formica, who also taught Lucille Ball to twirl pizza dough so she could do it in the episode. Nineteen years later, he played a similar role in an episode of Maude.
  • Adam-12: The police dispatcher in the series, whose voice can be heard in every episode, was played by an uncredited real-life LAPD dispatcher, Shaaron (sic) Claridge.
  • Diagnosis: Murder: The episodes "Must Kill TV" and "Trash TV", both about the cut-throat business of TV production, feature a mega-TV producer, Jackson Burley, played by real-life mega-TV producer Stephen J. Cannell.
  • Hawaii Five-O: Jazz/pop singer Nancy Wilson played a jazz singer addicted to heroin in the episode "Trouble In Mind". A couple of years later, she played a self-centered jazz singer whose daughter is kidnapped by her vengeful ex-manager (Hal Linden) in an episode of The F.B.I., "The Confession".
  • Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! has "Whoopsie Goldberg," an obvious No Celebrities Were Harmed version of Whoopi Goldberg. She's played by Shon Vaughn, a professional Whoopi Goldberg impersonator.
  • Mortal Kombat: Conquest had Siro and Shang Tsung portrayed by real-life martial artists, Daniel Bernhardt and Bruce Locke respectively.
  • Opera singer Patrice Munsel played operatic (and very temperamental) sopranos in the Checkmate episode "The Gift" and The Wild Wild West episode "The Night of the Diva".
  • The Inbetweeners has Mr. Gilbert, the cynical and world-weary Head of Sixth Form who alternates between Apathetic Teacher and Sadist Teacher depending on how badly the main characters have ticked him off, played by former secondary drama and English teacher Greg Davies. As Davies has made numerous public comments implying-to-outright-stating that teaching was not an enjoyable, fulfilling or rewarding career choice for him, Gilbert's sheer joy in tormenting his students appears to be Davies channeling many long pent-up frustrations.
  • Sons of Anarchy, a show about the eponymous (fictional) outlaw motorcycle club, had cast Sonny Barger, a real-life Hells Angel and a co-founder of the Angels' Oakland charter, as Lenny "The Pimp" Janowitz, a founding member of the title club.
  • One episode of Murder Most Horrid is set in and around a hospital; one of Dawn French's rival surgeons is played by Peter Wingfield, who dropped out of medical school note  to become a full-time actor.
  • The Mandalorian
    • Carasynthia Dune, a former Rebel shocktrooper, is played by former MMA fighter Gina Carano. Cara is arguably better at hand-to-hand than the Mandalorian-trained protagonist, and she even gets a little The Cast Showoff scene where she prize-fights a very burly-looking alien man in a bar and wins.
    • A Tusken raider who communicates with the protagonist using sign language is played by Deaf actor Troy Kotsur, who is fluent in Native American Sign Language and also assisted in developing the Tusken sign language used in the show.
    • Magistrate Morgan Elsbeth is portrayed by martial artist Diana Lee Inosanto, daughter of Dan Inosanto, who fought Bruce Lee in Game of Death. She even starred in, directed, wrote, and helped produce her own martial arts movie, The Sensei. After Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni saw the trailer, they agreed that she has exactly the kind of skills and background you would want from a foe capable of going up against a Jedi in single combat.
  • Motherland: Fort Salem: Raelle sings and plays the guitar in a Season 2 episode. Taylor Hickson, her actress, has been singing and playing the guitar since childhood, being a professional musician along with her acting career.
  • Betty: All of the protagonists are real skate boarders, playing fictional versions of themselves and doing their own stunts.
  • After the death of Alex Trebek in 2020, Jeopardy! brought on Ken Jennings as one of the new hosts. Jennings also happens to be one of the best Jeopardy players of all time, with a 74-game winning streak from his original 2004 run that still stands as the longest ever and multiple tournament wins under his belt. He'd earlier been hired as a consulting producer for the show.
    • One of the interim hosts while the show was still making its decision was Buzzy Cohen, the winner of the 2019 Tournament of Champions.
  • Former SAS member Chris Ryan co-created military drama Ultimate Force and also appeared in it as the leader of Blue Troop.
  • An episode of Poker Face features John Darnielle, lead singer of the Mountain Goats, as the guitarist in a punk band.

  • Many major league sports telecasts recruit former players in that sport to be color analysts. Special mention goes to CBS Sports' pickup of former Dallas Cowboys player Tony Romo, who spent years under center for the team, and as such, brought explanations for some of the seemingly-pointless pre-snap motion calls, and is known to correctly predict plays before they happen, leading to him getting the nickname Romostradamus.
  • NASCAR broadcasting teams have typically been composed of a commentator, and former crew chiefs or drivers for color analysts. The NASCAR on Fox broadcast team for Cup races is comprised of Mike Joy and former drivers Jeff Gordon and Darrell Waltrip. The NASCAR on NBC broadcast team for Cup races is comprised of Rick Allen, Jeff Burton (former driver), Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (former driver), and Steve Letarte (Dale Jr.'s crew chief from 2011 to 2014 and who took him to his second Daytona 500 win).
    • NASCAR on Fox took this up to eleven with their coverage of the June 2017 Xfinity race at Pocono, and the 2018 Xfinity race at Talladega, where the broadcasting team was entirely comprised of active Cup drivers.
  • Pro wrestling often does this as well, also bringing in current wrestlers as guest commentators (especially if they've recently been involved with someone in the match, giving them an extra opportunity to praise and/or trash-talk them).

  • In both the original Broadway production and the film version of The Music Man, the school board who always disagreed about everything until Professor Hill tricked them into being a barbershop quartet were played by The Buffalo Bills, an award-winning barbershop quartet.
  • The character of Janet in ''The Drowsy Chaperone" is a (presumably) Broadway actress in the Show Within a Show, "The Drowsy Chaperone". Therefore, Sutton Foster, who played Janet on Broadway, was a well-known Broadway actress, playing a Broadway actress, who was playing a well-known actress.
  • Major productions of On the Town usually cast a professional ballet dancer as Ivy Smith, since her dances are so technical and complicated — for example, the Broadway revival cast Megan Fairchild, a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet.

    Video Games 
  • During production of Grand Theft Auto V, Rockstar hired actual gang members to voice some of the side characters, and they often rewrote the dialogue when it seemed unrealistic. Lead actor Shawn Fonteno, who plays Franklin, is no stranger to gang life himself, as revealed in an interview, adding to the game's authenticity.
  • For the character of Dragan in PAYDAY 2, Dragomir Mrić was brought on as his voice and face model. In his youth, Mrić actually took part in what would have been the fifth-largest bank robbery (in terms of the amount of currency stolen) in history, though unlike his character, he was arrested for it and reformed while in prison.
  • The Colin McRae Rally series had both the man himself and his teammates Nicky Grist and Derek Ringer in a dual role as technical advisors and voice actors.

     Web Original 
  • When Epic Rap Battles of History did "Bruce Banner vs Bruce Jenner", both characters after their transformations are played by someone appropriate: The Hulk is professional bodybuilder Mike O'Hearn, and Caitlyn Jenner is transgender rapper No Shame. The pre-transformation Bruces are played by series creators Epic Lloyd and Nice Peter, but having Lloyd put on a green muscle suit would have looked a little too ridiculous, and Peter dressing in drag to play a trans woman may have been seen as offensive.
  • Yacht Rock features real-life Allmusic music critic Steve Huey in the role of Hollywood Steve, the series' host and historian of the yacht rock scene.

     Western Animation 
  • For the Amphibia episode Temple Frogs, Lhakkana Nhaksiri (Polly's Thai dub VA and the show's Thai dub translator) was brought in to guide Amanda Leighton on how to pronounce the Thai lines Polly fluently speaks in the episode which were also the lines Nhaksiri wrote for the episode. She also appeared in the episode as the Thai language teacher that Polly went into. More info here.
  • In Downtown they hired the Hard-Drinking Party Girl they interviewed (as shown in the TitMouse Studios promo DVD for MTV's Downtown) for Very Loosely Based on a True Story ideas to be the voice actress for the character of Alex's sister Chaka.
  • Vampirina creator Chris Nee got Jorge Gutirrez to be heavily involved with the Dia De Los Muertos episode, from the writing to the character designs, and even the voice work, due to their past work together on Maya & Miguel.


Video Example(s):


Beef as a Fisherman

Ms. McNarama likes how Beef said "It could be dangerous", so she casts him as a fisherman in play so he can say that one line and it would be nice to have a actual fisherman in the show.

How well does it match the trope?

4 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / CastTheExpert

Media sources: