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Hypothetical Casting

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"[H]e called me up and said, "We have this crazy fun role. We had a Jon Hamm type in mind, but then we thought we're not going to get him, so what about you?" And I was like, I'm often offered Jon Hamm's hand-me-downs, so..."

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. 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 - for example, Jeff Eastin used a photo of Leonardo DiCaprio circa Catch Me If You Can, to help visualize the gentleman rogue con man of White Collar's Neal Caffrey. It can also be done in interviews or other extratextual materials, such as screenplays or via Line to God.

Compare Comic-Book Fantasy Casting, 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; No Celebrities Were Harmed, where a character is a blatant parody or fictionalized version of a real person; Ascended Fancast, where a fancast actually gets the role; and Textual Celebrity Resemblance, where a character's resemblance to a celebrity is mentioned within the work. See also Creator-Chosen Casting, when the creator actually does get to choose who plays the characters.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama has said on at least one occasion that a younger Jackie Chan would be the ideal live-action interpretation of Son Goku.
  • Saiyuki - Previous to its animated adaptation Artist Kazuya Minekura (jokingly) suggested that resident Stepford Smiler Cho Hakkai be voiced by Akira Ishida, and so when time came to actually cast him, the animators decided that Ishida was indeed the best candidate for the job.

    Comic Books 
  • Albedo: Erma Felna EDF: Steve Gallacci has given some suggestions for a hypothetical voice cast for the comic:
    • For the titular heroine, Gallacci's suggested voice actresses were Claudia Christian, Rula Lenska, or any actress speaking with an European accent.
      • This also extended to foreign dubs as well, as both Gallacci and some fans suggested Yu Shimamura for voicing Erma in a possible Japanese dub or Anime adaptation.
    • Patrick Stewart as the voice of Itzak Arrat.note 
  • The Crow: Creator James O'Barr wanted Johnny Depp to star as Eric Draven in the film version.
  • Extinctioners: Creator Shawntae Howard suggested that, in the case of a hypothetical animated adaptation of the comic, Keith David would be his choice for voicing one of the main characters, Warfare.
  • Hellboy: When discussing who should play Hellboy in a film, Guillermo del Toro and Mike Mignola wrote down their first choice on a napkin. They unanimously picked Ron Perlman.
  • Scud the Disposable Assassin: The comic always lists the voices of actors that the creator of the comic imagines will be voicing the characters in animation.
  • Superman: In one of the most bizarre examples, Kevin Smith recounted his meeting with Jon Peters for the cancelled Superman Lives. Peters suggested Sean Penn to play Superman, largely based on his performance in Dead Man Walking. According to Smith, Peters said, "Look at his eyes, he's got the eyes of a caged animal, a real killer". Again, this is Superman.
  • The Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers: Writer James Roberts has said that Overlord sounds like the Anthony Ainley/John Simm incarnations of The Master from Doctor Who. He also tells his troops to "please attend carefully", a reference to a well-known line from the Master in the story "Logopolis".
  • The Ultimates: In-universe example. At one point, the characters sit around talking about who would play them in the movie of their lives. Naturally, Nick Fury says Samuel L. Jackson (on whom Ultimate Nick Fury was based). Things get awkward (and then very much worse) when Hank Pym starts suggesting Steve Buscemi should play Bruce Banner in the most unintentionally insulting way possible.
  • X-Men: Chris Claremont's ideal choice for Wolverine was Bob Hoskins, largely based on the film Lassiter, specifically the scene where he threatens Tom Selleck. He also envisioned Angela Bassett as Storm.

    Films — Live-Action 


    Live-Action TV 

    New Media 
  • In-universe within the Whateley Universe, Phase - having just bought out Marvel Comics (in 2007) - ends up in a discussion with his teammates about a possible Iron Man movie and why it wouldn't work because of the casting difficulties.
  • Towards the end of At War's End, that guy from that show started working on 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.



    Video Games 
  • For Brütal Legend, Double Fine based the main character, Eddie Riggs, on something of a caricature of Jack Black. Once Black himself took the role, this led from Eddie's character going from a No Celebrities Were Harmed design to a full-on Ink-Suit Actor.
  • The original Castlevania has for the credits a list of well-known horror movie actors "cast" as the bosses of the game.
  • An in-universe case in Curses. Examining the demon and angel tells you that if you were to cast a film of your adventures so far, you would hire Donald Sutherland to play the demon and Judi Dench to play the angel.
  • The creators of God of War have cited Djimon Hounsou as the person they'd most want to play the role of Kratos in a live-action project, an example of hypothetical Colorblind Casting.
  • Valve wanted someone with the vocal talent of Louis Gossett Jr.. to voice the extra-dimensional beings known as the Vortigaunt in Half-Life 2, based on his performance in Enemy Mine. They ended up with the man himself, albeit he didn't return for the following episode releases.

    Visual Novels 
  • Hatoful Boyfriend, 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.

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons
    • An in-universe example: In "I am Furious (Yellow)", in response to a remark about who should play Homer in a live-action "Angry Dad" movie, Bart suggests John Goodman, but Homer strangles him and exclaims, "Isn't it obvious?! It should be Gary Oldman!"
    • The writers have joked that if the show ever gets a Live-Action Adaptation, William H. Macy will play Ned Flanders.
    • Phil Hartman wanted to play Troy McClure in a Live-Action Adaptation "biopic" of McClure's life; plans didn't get very far before his tragic murder in 1998.
    • There have been several actors mooted for members of the Simpson family in hypothetical Live-Action Adaptations over the years. A popular candidate for Bart in the early '90s was Benjamin Salisbury from The Nanny.
  • The creators of Avatar: The Last Airbender wanted somebody who sounded like Jason Isaacs to play Zhao, as they got the idea for the character from Isaacs' character in The Patriot (2000) — but the real Jason Isaacs wound up taking the job instead.
  • Transformers: Animated art director Derrick J. Wyatt often shared his ideal picks for voices for characters who either didn’t speak in the show or only appeared in printed media such as the comics. Among his picks were:
  • The pilot of Archer read on the script "think Jessica Walter in Arrested Development" to describe Malory Archer. Sure enough, Walter's manager got hold of one script and she became interested in the role.
  • In the original casting calls of Gargoyles, the last paragraph of Hudson's biography is a single sentence: "Hudson hates spunk", implying they were seeking an Ed Asner type. Asner came in to audition and thought he botched it, especially as he wasn't expecting to have to do a Scottish accent, but got the part.

Alternative Title(s): Hypothetical Cast, Hypothetical Voice Casting