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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, 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.



    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 

    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 
  • 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.

    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 

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