The challenges of a casting director

An interesting article has been posted over at Variety regarding casting directors. With all of the casting discussion going on right now in regards to the Game of Thrones pilot, I thought it was worth pointing it out. Give it a read to get an idea of how the pros do it, then come back here for some more arm-chair casting discussion!

Winter Is Coming: The article illustrates some of the challenges a casting director faces. This series will certainly have a fair share of them. From casting a great dwarf actor, to finding a bunch of talented young actors, and lastly, an issue that hasn’t been brought up much although it is integral to the series, that is casting characters who start out as minor, background characters but later become full-fledged major parts. Theon is a great example of this. There will be a lot of tough decisions for this production once the casting gets underway, I hope whomever they choose as the casting director is up for the challenge.


  • This has got to be a nightmare. One can only assume that if HBO wants a full fledged series, acotrs could be signing up for a full 7 season run. (A very remote possibility) But, each season will take at least 18 months to produce if HBO’s other series are an indicator. It could be even 2 years. At that rate of production we will probably never see past a 3rd season. Not to even mention that there are so many characters. Most television shows focus on 5-10 main characters, simply because of time constraints. … nightmare…

  • It is going to be a challenge for sure. To be honest, I would be surprised if we saw the full series put to film. It will have to be a huge success to make it that far. I would be happy with just seeing 1 or 2 seasons though.

  • While it will be challenging, I don’t think the issue of minor characters later becoming major characters is one that cannot be overcome. Another HBO series (and my favorite show of all time), The Wire, did an excellent job of this.

    While The Wire and A Game of Thrones are two COMPLETELY different genres, there are several underlying similarities in the way each present their stories, starting with the strong characterization of everyone.

  • With regards to all the characters, I think the creators will have to be ruthless at some stage and ditch/drastically reduce certain characters storylines. It shouldn’t be a problem with AGOT as the stories are on the whole intertwined with the exception of Jon and Dany.

    I’d completely forgotten about Theon as he’s a major character in book 2 and then gone until book 5. At least in this case it should be plausible to change actors (try and read the “Reek” preview).

    To be honest I’d be amazed if the casting director is able to get ALL the cast right. It sounds like sacrilege, but I’d be willing to forgive the replacement of actors for roles that expand over time. In the case of Jaime though, I think they will create extra scenes of him being questioned/trying to escape for the second series just to keep us aware of him.

    The one big plus is that each book has lots of new and prominent characters and tv loves to mix things up every year by introducing new members of cast. At least here we know the additions will be good ones.