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Episode 2: “How Not To CAST A Movie”

In movies and theater and TV shows – in anything that hires actors – casting is the most important creative decision the director will make. Even where a director puts the camera will make no difference if the actors working the other side of the camera are wrong for their roles. Casting can be so tricky that even if you get all the actors but one cast correctly? The one bad actor will ruin the entire story. They’ll be the only actor anyone ever thinks about.

Right For The Role

From a director’s point of view, sometimes casting is “fate and destiny more than a director’s skill and talent.” Steven Spielberg said that and he’s shockingly right. In theory, casting is ninety percent of any director’s work. Sure, sure – in movies and TV shows, the director has to worry about where to put the camera, too, but even perfect camera placement will mean nothing if the actors the camera is photographing are wrong for their roles.

Sometimes, in movies, casting is fate. Ronald Reagan was Warner Bros original choice to play Rick, the hero of Casablanca. Humphrey Bogart was an afterthought.

How does one know when an actor is right for a role? Can one tell if an actor is wrong? Sometimes those choices are hard to discern. Sometimes they’re as clear as a heart attack.

“Bordello Of Blood”

As we geared up to make Bordello of Blood, we had three solid actors in mind for our leads. We never made an offer to a one of them because Joel Silver, our larger-than-life executive producer, had ideas of his own for the leads. And reasons of his own for having those ideas.

In a horror movie, the lead’s important but the villain is more important than anything. “Tales'” first feature, “Demon Knight” had an excellent villain in Billy Zane. Billy’s bad guy is funny, terrifying and relentless – perfect for a “Tales From The Crypt” movie. In “Dead Easy”, we would have had a complex villain caught between two worlds – this one and the afterlife – with the villain so desperate to get back to this world, he doesn’t care that it would cost the soul of his son. “Bordello’s” villain – Lilith – had no particular end game in mind. That came around to bite us in the end – like a vampire prostitute.

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