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Casting Gag

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This is where an entire role mirrors or parodies an entire previous role or Real Life situation of the actor. A conscious casting choice can be assumed; thus, it can also apply to cameos and guest stars. This forms a small joke or minor piece of merriment. Note that the gag is entirely dependent on the casting and the role rather than some later effected plot or dialogue.

Contrastingly, an Actor Allusion is when the role being played can be nothing like the actor's real life or previous roles, but contains a Famous Role Shout Out: an allusion to the actor's work, but nothing more.

An actor can use this self-consciously when parodying themselves for Adam Westing. Compare with Playing Against Type, when an actor's role is (often consciously) very different from their typical ones, though this is less likely to be a gag. If the gag is that the character being played is untalented in something the actor excels in, then it's Irony as She Is Cast. If the Casting Gag is that the actor appeared in an earlier version of the same story, it's a Remake Cameo. Compare also to Actor-Shared Background, when the gag doesn't reference a large part of the actor's real life but matches certain elements. See also I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine. Stunt Casting is often done with the aim of shoehorning in this trope.


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  • In Naruto, the voice actors of the six dead Jinchuurikis also play their six Bijuus. But they mix up the roles, so none of those Jinchuurikis share his/her voice with his/her own Bijuu. For example, Yondaime Mizukage Yagura's voice actor Miyu Irino plays him and the Rokubi Saiken, Utakata's Bijuu.
  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion:
    • A relatively early example of this was the casting of Kotono Mitsuishi as Misato. Hideaki Anno stated that Misato was basically Usagi Tsukino (Mitsuishi's most famous role) if she'd grown up to be a very unhappy adult.
    • Another came when they cast Kyoko Zeppelin (Asuka's mother). Asuka is often seen as a Spiritual Successor to Jung Freud from Gunbuster, so they got Maria Kawamura to play Asuka's mother.
  • In One Piece:
    • The Japanese voice actors for the Straw Hat pirates also provide the voices for a group of impostors trying to gain infamy by posing as the Straw Hats. They also mix up who is who, such as Sanji's voice actor playing the fake Luffy or Chopper's as the fake Nami.
    • The Funimation dub maintains that gag with the English voice actors but goes a step further. The voices for Fake Sanji (Christopher Sabat) and Fake Robin (Luci Christian) mimic the voices of the characters from the earlier 4Kids dub (David Moo and Veronica Taylor).
  • In the dub of One-Punch Man, Christopher Sabat voices Vaccine Man, a villain who bears a strong resemblance to Piccolo.
  • Atsuko Ishizuka, the director of the anime adaptation of No Game No Life, has previous experience on The Pet Girl of Sakurasou. Perhaps it's no coincidence that Yoshitsugu Matsuoka and Ai Kayano, who voiced the lead pair of lovers in Sakurasou, would be once again cast to play, in No Game No Life, a pair of gamer-siblings. The gag went further due to the names of the characters involved: Sorata and Mashironote  in Sakurasou, and Sora and Shironote  in No Game No Life.
    • In addition to that, when Sakurasou got an English dub 8 years after its first release, Caitlynn French (Shiro's English voice) also manages to be the voice of Mashiro.
  • Reign of the Seven Spellblades: Satoshi Hino provides the voice of Alvin "Purgatory" Godfrey, who is famed for his abilities with fire powers. Godfrey's Nom de Guerre is "Rengoku" in Japanese. Only a couple years earlier, Hino voiced Kyōjurō Rengoku in the anime of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, who likewise has fire-related elemental powers.
  • In The Rising of the Shield Hero, Ren Amaki, the Sword Hero, is a Corrupted Character Copy of Kirito from Sword Art Online, being a teenager who enjoys playing VRMMO videogames, has a preference for swords and dresses up in black clothing. Both characters are voiced by Yoshitsugu Matsuoka in their respective anime adaptations.
  • When Rurouni Kenshin was first adapted into a Radio Drama, Kaoru, the tomboyish, blue-haired female lead was played by Tomo Sakurai, but the anime recast her with Miki Fujitani. Flash forward to the Kyoto arc, when Kaoru is initially left behind in Tokyo and Kenshin meets up with a tomboyish, blue-haired teenage girl named Misao who the author explicitly pointed out was filling Kaoru's narrative purpose in the meantime... who happened to be voiced by Tomo Sakurai.
  • In Sailor Moon Cosmos, Keiko Kitagawa, whose Star-Making Role was Sailor Mars in the live-action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, voices Sailor Cosmos.
  • Seitokai Yakuindomo has Furuya, who enjoys old-world snacks, uses '80s slang, and does her calculations on an abacus . . . even her fanservice is old-school. She's played by Fumi Hirano, best known as the voice of Lum in the '80s series Urusei Yatsura.
  • In Spy X Family, Loid and Yor Forger are voiced by Takuya Eguchi and Saori Hayami. AKA Hachiman and Yukino. And to make things more complicated, Fiona Frost (who has a crush on Loid) is voiced by Ayane Sakura who also voices Iroha in OreGairu.
  • Stephanie Griffin voiced Himeko Se in AnimEigo's dub of the Vampire Princess Miyu OVA and went on to voice Yukari in Tokyopop's dub of the TV series years later.
  • The 2022 remake of Urusei Yatsura brought back Fumi Hirano and Toshio Furukawa, the original voices of Lum and Ataru, respectively, as Lum's mother and Ataru's father.
  • The Vision of Escaflowne: the new Funimation dub has decided to cast Vic Mignogna as Folken, who is the older brother of Van. Van is voiced by Aaron Dismuke, who has some experience being the younger brother to Vic's character. In addition, Caitlin Glass plays the love interest to Aaron's character instead of Vic's.
  • In Yatterman Night, Eri Kitamura voices a descendant of the original anime's villain, Doronjo. She seems to have switched sides, as just six years earlier, she voiced none other than Doronjo's enemy Yatterman-1 in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom. It gets deeper than that: Leopard's mother Dorothy is played by Shizuka Itō, Ai-chan's voice actor from the 2008 series.
  • Takehito Koyasu voiced Takuma Saiou from Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, who uses a Tarot Cards-based deck filled with the Major Arcana. His particularly favorite card is The World and he enjoys saying and using it a lot. Koyasu would later be the voice of Dio Brando from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, whose minions have Stands related to the Major Arcana and has the power of The World who also enjoys shouting its name and using its power multiple times.

    Film — Animation 

  • For his album Rock Swings Paul Anka covered Bon Jovi's "It's My Life" which references the song "My Way" by Frank Sinatra, which Anka wrote.
  • Peter Gabriel's "The Barry Williams Show" is from the point of view of a trashy Reality Television show host, but the title wasn't meant to reference any specific celebrity, and the name "Barry Williams" was just meant to be as ordinary-sounding as possible. Peter Gabriel subsequently learned that there was in fact a TV star of that name, the American actor is best known for playing Greg from The Brady Bunch, so he got him to make a cameo in the music video... Ironically enough, he plays an audience member, not the host.
  • P!nk's "Revenge", a Revenge Ballad about her and her friends getting back on an ex who treated her badly, has a guest verse from Eminem, infamous for channelling his real-life Destructive Romance with Kim Scott into songs about getting (bloody) revenge on her. Pink doesn't give any details about what her revenge is, and all Slim describes is intentionally cheating on his girl to make her feel bad... but his presence is enough to imply some violence to the plans. This is reinforced by the video, which is pretty gory for Top 40 pop.
  • The voice provider of Vocaloid's Megpoid/Gumi is Megumi Nakajima, who had previously voiced the Idol Singer, Ranka Lee, from Macross Frontier. Her design is also very similar to Ranka's and has the same color scheme as her.


  • In 2009, Cate Blanchett played the title character in an Australian production of Richard II. Richard and Queen Elizabeth I (who Blanchett previously played in Elizabeth) have famously been compared—Elizabeth herself allegedly even said: "I am Richard II; know ye not that?"
  • Anne Hathaway's role as the lead in the 2009 Shakespeare in the Park production of Twelfth Night, though it's more of a casting pun. Her name is the same as Shakespeare's wife.
  • Jesse L. Martin, the original Collins in RENT, was in the Rock Opera Bright Lights Big City as the protagonist's best friend, who expressed disdain for "yuppies" and enjoyed using certain, um, recreational substances.
  • Darren Criss, known for playing Harry in A Very Potter Musical, took over Daniel Radcliffe's role in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.
  • Arsenic and Old Lace inverted this in the original stage version. The psychotic older brother berates his surgical henchman because someone said he looked like Boris Karloff. In the original Broadway cast, he was played by Boris Karloff. As the production was still making money at the time the film was set to be produced, the stage producers wouldn't allow Karloff out of his contract long enough to appear in the film version, and so the film producers had to make do with a heavily-made-up Raymond Massey. Karloff did get to reprise the role for a TV movie adaptation in 1962.
  • For the 1951 West End production of A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams personally cast Vivien Leigh—who was still best known for playing Scarlett O'Hara at the time—as the mentally damaged Southern Belle Blanch Dubois, whose inability to cope with the loss of her family's ancestral plantation tragically costs her her sanity. The casting choice carried over to the well-known film adaptation released the same year (see "Film" above).
  • The 2011 production of Company cast Neil Patrick Harris, an openly gay engaged man, as a bachelor who strings women along and disdains marriage.
  • The original Broadway production of Shrek: The Musical cast John Tartaglia, a famous Broadway puppeteer and Muppet performer, as Pinocchio, a puppet.

    Video Games 
  • Catherine has Michelle Ruff and Laura Bailey, both who played the Lovers Arcana social link Persona 3 and Persona 4, respectively, play the two K/Catherine characters in this game, vying for the same man.
  • In Saints Row and Saints Row 2, Phil Morris voiced Legal Lee, who is a lawyer, much like his Seinfeld character Jackie Chiles.
  • Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise features the voice cast of the Like a Dragon series as characters from Fist of the North Star, with each actor's characters sharing qualities with each other. To name a few examples:
    • Takaya Kuroda voices Kazuma Kiryu and Kenshiro, stoic badass protagonists.
    • Kazuhiro Nayaka voices Akira Nishikiyama and Shin, former best friends to the protagonist whose jealousy drives them to betrayal.
    • Hidenari Ugaki voices Goro Majima and Jagi, crazed Combat Pragmatists who are obsessed with defeating their rivals.
  • In Hitman (2016) William Mapother voices the target Dino Bosco, a Prima Donna Director and B-list actor. This is significant as not only is Mapother an actor who is a cousin of Tom Cruise, he was originally cast as the replacement voice actor for Agent 47 in Hitman: Absolution, but the original VA, David Bateson came back at the last minute after recording some lines in secret with IOI to prove Square Enix wrong (to which they agreed, and Bateson was added proper). His level in 2016 "The Icon". also has a pair of NPC's that references this backlash, and one of them wants Dino replaced with a guy named "Dave Bateson", and will form a petition to do so.
  • In Hitman 2, Sean Bean voices the Elusive Target codenamed: "The Undying", real name Mark Faba, a target known for coming back from the dead when the ICA tries to assassinate him, and has canonically two separate contracts from the ICA as even 47 can't keep him dead for long. He's basically his GoldenEye character Alec Trevelyan in videogame form, crossed with the notoriety of Sean Bean being a Chronically Killed Actor.
  • Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid features Dan Southworth returning to his role as Eric Myers, the Quantum Ranger, from Power Rangers Time Force. Eric's dialogue, however, is now peppered with references to Southworth's most famous video game role, Vergil from Devil May Cry, while his fighting style is reminiscent of The Musketeer fighting style used by Dante.
    Eric Myers: I need more Quantum Power!
    Eric Myers: Foolishness, Lord Zedd. Foolishness.
  • The 2020 game Genshin Impact, or 原神 yuánshén in Chinese casts Aoi Yūki as the female lead Lumine for its Japanese soundtrack. The gag is in Chinese: back in 2011, the shock from the series Puella Magi Madoka Magica tied, in many Chinese viewers' minds, the name Aoi Yuuki with her character Madoka Kaname, or the omniscient being Madokami, or directly translated in Chinese, 圆神 yuánshén. Fast forward to 2017, when Yuuki appeared as Yoshiko Hanabatake in Aho Girl, and the huge contrast between the two characters gave the latter the nickname 猿神 yuánshén meaning "the monkey goddess". The homonymic pun got a third member later that year with Akiho Kosaka from My Girlfriend is Shobitch as 援神 yuánshén, voiced by, you guessed it, Aoi Yuuki. As the voice actress of three successive yuánshén's, it makes sense for a game titled yuánshén to cast her as the leading characternote .
  • Cyberpunk 2077: The creators of Cyberpunk have said that POV character Morgan Blackhand is pretty much grimyfuture John Wick, so when CD Projekt Red had the chance to cast Keanu Reeves, who played John Wick, in their adaptation... they cast him as the other prominent POV character Johnny Silverhand, who himself is based on Johnny Mnemonic, also played by Reeves.
  • In Disco Elysium, the final conflict is between two sides led by two of the Chapo Trap House hosts - Felix Biederman's deranged mercenary Kourtenaer, and Matt Christman's Union strongman Titus. This appears to be a reference to how, on Chapo, when they argue it's usually over the cultural value of video gaming, with opposing positions that somewhat resemble the characters (Matt thinks it's a boot on our necks keeping us from rising up and destroying capitalism; Felix just likes that they let him pretend to be a soldier with a big gun).
  • Mortal Kombat's Johnny Cage was originally modeled after action star Jean-Claude Van Damme (specifically as he appeared in Bloodsport), and the series itself actually began life as an attempt at doing a licensed game starring Van Damme himself. Decades later, Van Damme would lend his voice and likeness to an alternate DLC skin for Cage in Mortal Kombat 1, bringing things full circle.
  • Psychonauts 2: Razputin, voiced by Richard Steven Horvitz, gains the ability to summon a small, hyperactive oddball minion to help him with certain tasks. Said minion is voiced by Rosearik Rikki Simons. This is a reference to Simons' role on Invader Zim as GIR, a small, hyperactive oddball minion working for a character voiced by Horvitz.
  • The Latin American dub of Smite casts Mario Castañeda as Sun Wukong. One of Castañeda's most famous roles is, of course, Son Goku in Dragon Ball, who is probably the best known Expy of Sun Wukong (at least in anime).
  • In both the Japanese and English versions of Sonic Frontiers, Sage, a Rei Ayanami Expy, is voiced by Rei Ayanami's voice actress.

    Web Animation 

    Web Videos 
  • The Time... Guys made their three-person cast a joke. One actor plays every single historical character the gang meets.
  • Canadian programmer Ian Kirby, one of the Power Trio of artists behind Broken Saints, makes a Creator Cameo on the DVD voice track as a Canadian soldier.
  • In The Nostalgia Critic's review of Les Misérables (2012) makes fun of the Love at First Sight trope by having that happen between Paw Dugan and Maven of the Eventide; Paul Schuler and Elisa Hansen are engaged in real life.
  • The antagonist of the Irish film Undefeated is a bully who gives a speech about how repulsed he is by the thought of people being gay. His actor James Stephen Walsh is bisexual.
  • In Mr Peterson Robbie is a reckless driver who murdered the titular character with Car Fu. Bobby Calloway didn't know how to drive when his scenes were shot.
  • The Nutters: Luke is portrayed as a clueless ditz. His actor Liam Gaynor was noted to be one of the most intelligent and insightful members of the cast - even winning arts scholarships.