Thursday, 28 August 2008

Character Options

I'm doing something in the development of 'Life Support' that I've never done before: I'm casting it. I don't mean that I'm organising a table read (although, thinking about it, that's a bloody good idea). No, I'm putting an actor to each of the regular characters in my head. 

I know I'm late to this party, and everyone probably already does this: with feature scripts, I've often been asked 'Who do you see playing this part?' and I've never before been able to answer definitively. But now, if asked, I could tell you my whole cast.

I haven't cheated either: I've refrained from using Hollywood A-listers, or casting myself, or anyone dead or otherwise unavailable. It's a plausible ensemble, with one role written for a non-famous actor friend, and the rest going to TV actors of whom I'm fond. One cameo has been written with a legend in mind. But it's only a day or two's of filming, and a vital and interesting role, so it didn't stretch the bounds of the possible.

Of course, when it gets made (well, why not?) I will probably not be consulted that much, and even if I were, I wouldn't get my dream cast. For this reason, I'll be superstitious and not name names. 

It has certainly proved a very useful exercise in helping me to find a unique voice for each of my characters, and I've tried to avoid the obvious pitfall of limiting any creative choices based on whom I've got in mind. But anything that concentrates on character, to my mind, can't be going too far wrong.


Jason Arnopp said...

Funnily enough, I only started doing this 'casting' business recently, too. Not sure how it helps, but it seems to. Perhaps, if you decide that - for instance - you're writing for James 'Jimmy' Nesbitt, you might up your game and give him some extra-amazing dialogue. Or maybe we simply enjoy it.

Stuart Perry said...

It is fun, isn't it? I can't deny it. I don't know why I've found it easier to cast a TV piece than I ever could a feature screenplay, though: perhaps instinctively I find it easier to write dialogue for Jimmy Nesbitt than Al Pacino!

Andrew said...

Do you have any roles for fat Aussie twats? Maybe "random stranger with candy"? I have always pictured myself as "Menacing weirdo".

And get a damn haircut you hippie.

Stuart Perry said...

Hello Andy, you son of a gun - I will keep you in mind for a guest role!