Character Breakdowns: Who Would Play One Of Your Characters?

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Character Breakdowns: How Much Thought Do You Put Into Choosing Who You’d Like To Play Your Characters?

I love to get behind the minds of writers and directors when it comes to choosing people to play the roles of the characters they’ve written. I always think, I wonder what made them choose this actress or actor?

I like Director, Dee Rees’ thinking when she was packaging her film Mudbound. She thought outside of the box. In her words, she chooses the "unexpected" choice.

Here is what Dee Rees had to say about pitching to cast singer Mary J. Bilge in the Mudbound film.

“Let’s talk about Mary J. Blige, who disappears in the role of Florence. Many people have said they can’t believe it’s her.”

“Yeah, totally. Her manager, Shakim [Compere], also manages Queen Latifah, so I knew Shakim from “Bessie.” I called Shakim and said, “Hey, do you think there’s any way Mary would want to do this?” I had also gone to CAA, and in the first meeting, I said, “I want Mary. Would she be willing?” For me, it was a long shot. It was a Hail Mary. But she said yes.

I just really wanted someone unexpected. I wanted someone for Florence who could have this very reserved exterior but have a very empathetic, alive, vulnerable inner life. With Mary’s music, if you’ve been to her concerts, it’s literally like a therapy session for thousands of people. She’s not just performing; she’s living it. Every verse, she’s reliving the heartbreak or she’s reliving the joy, and you feel it. I needed a character that can make people feel, and I knew she could bring it.”


Shonda Rhimes to has a unique way of choosing actors to play the roles she creates. She said that it she doesn't make her decision based on ethnicity when she's casting. In fact, she doesn't even specify the characters ethnicities, and in some cases, though she has an image in mind, she keeps an open mind and let the audition inform her on who to choose to play her characters.


So, this makes me wonder...

If you could have your wish, who would you like to see play one of your characters? Why? What are the important criteria for choosing your cast?

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