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Darkhorse Casting

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Despite rumors that had everyone from Shia LaBeouf to Josh Hartnett being cast in Kenneth Branagh’s version of Thor, two virtual unknowns will instead be handed the keys to the Marvel franchise. Australian actor Chris Hemsworth, whom you might recall from the opening scene of Star Trek, will play the Norse superhero, and Tom Hiddleston has been cast as his nemesis, Loki. Let’s hope they follow the J. J. Abrams route and put the money they saved in casting straight to special effects.
Will Graham, Vulture, May 19, 2009 — "Marvel Rolls Dice, Casts No-names for Thor"

Sometimes, a director doesn't just want big stars in their movie. Maybe it's to avoid a bias from the viewers, maybe they just want a challenge, or maybe they just want to help struggling actors and actresses in the brutal world of show biz. Usually, these lesser-known actors and actresses will be teamed up with their big-name counterparts.

Compare Amateur Cast, when a work is predominantly comprised of unknown actors, and Non-Actor Vehicle, when someone who's famous in a field outside of acting is given a lead role in a work (those tropes occasionally overlap with this one). Contrast All-Star Cast, when the cast is primarily made up of A-listers. Look at Ensemble Dark Horse for a definition of darkhorse.



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  • The Love Live! series has a history of casting voice actresses who (at the time) have very little exposure and almost no major roles to their names. Love Live! being such a well-known multimedia franchise in its home country, the result is that their role in Love Live! ends up becoming their Star-Making Role. The third series Superstar!! even goes into full-blown Amateur Cast mode.

    Films — Live-Action 

    Live-Action TV