Today, I want to talk about casting calls - or at least, the author version of them. By that, I mean choosing an actor or model who looks like the character. This can come in a number of forms: a popular question for authors is, "Who would play your hero/ine in a movie?" It can be entertaining to imagine who might be able to portray your favorite character. (It's often more fun than seeing who actually does - who among us hasn't been disappointed by a Hollywood casting choice?)
Another form is when the author chooses actors/models in advance to firm up their mental picture of the characters. The competence / realism of the picture reference truly doesn't matter; I've even "cast" a silver screen starlet in her heydey who at this point, I think, has passed on. A lot of writers swear by this method. It helps them visualize, and it's a fun tidbit to share with readers, too.
I don't do this too often; I tend to work more on my gut feeling of a character. But occasionally, I've done it in part when the mood strikes or when I have other reasons.
In the case of Scylla and Charybdis, I originally had a sense of Anaea as Emmy Rossum, Phantom of the Opera era - this was before Shameless hit the screens. I drifted away from that as I wrote. In the case of Flow, my three core characters were all former roleplaying creations, and having a PB - Played By - is very common in these games. (Some lazy players don't even bother to read others' character descriptions, they just look at the chosen actor / actress. Really!) Hadrian was Christian Bale from the era of Equilibrium, long before his now-iconic Batman stint. For those who haven't seen the movie, it's best described as The Matrix meets Fahrenheit 451. Bale was very gaunt, severe, and pale in that role.
But for my still-unnamed new project, I decided to "cast" all my characters. The reason for this ties back into something I discussed in an earlier post about character naming: I'm aiming for a society with a high degree of ethnic blending. But I know myself, and my default mental image tends to be pale European. So in selecting specific actors and references, I'm hoping to give myself an image to anchor myself with and maintain the look I'm striving for.
And because Facebook is the home of impulse, people there convinced me that it was perfectly all right to tweak a character expressly so he could be "played" by Giancarlo Esposito.