Is it typical for casting agents and the talent industry to pass us up on a job , if we do not fit the role?

I want to start off by saying I am a 33 year old black male. And ten years ago , I pursued an acting and modeling career. I was always more successful with modeling than I was acting.

I found that the casting agents and even independent film directors , would pass me by for jobs because I did not portray or act out the role as they wished.

I recall several years ago. I was to play a role in being a robber and committing a murder.

However , the independent casting agent who freelanced from his own home , pursued a different actor to play the role.

I later found out that this was all because I am " too articulate and well spoken." To fit the role. I was not " ghetto or thuggish enough." For lack of a better phrase , I was "too white." To act out the role of being an armed robber.

I find it offensive that casting agents often seek out young black males to play roles as the "bad guy."

Why couldn't I have played a role as a doctor or an attorney? Why must I have played a role in something horrific ?

Maybe I'll take it as a compliment that I do not fit the "stereotype" of who we are portrayed to be on a daily basis.

11 Answers

  • 1 month ago
    Best answer

    As cogito said modeling is not the same as acting.   Can you make money for print jobs, fit modeling or runway?  Yes but not steady income.

    Every actor has to deal with "type casting". I think for People Of Color it is much more obvious what they are will to consider. Hollywood still thinks POC's as maids, servants, criminals, uneducated and low class.  

    The same is true of anyone who is not anglo, conventionally beautiful, or over 35.  Hollywood is about selling illusion not reality.I didn't start my full time professional acting career until I was in my mid to late 30's.  I'm not "Hollywood" [Body size, age] and having done a few films I don't much care for it. 

     I know my type, I'm game to work and I deliver so I've managed to become a "working actor."  We all get offered "crap jobs" it is up to you if you take them or not. I stick to live theater which I enjoy so much and my "day jobs"  [every actor has a day job, just a fact of life] involve payment for performance.  

    I'll never be wealthy but acting makes my life rich.

  • 4 weeks ago

    You can find a better actor role

  • Lili
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Of course it's typical.

    Why would ANYONE want to cast someone -- black or white -- who didn't fit the role?  And who didn't have the acting skills to MAKE himself fit the role, as you evidently did not?

    Plenty of black actors are cast as doctors or lawyers or business executives. There are many parts for them. Look at television series these days.  Black actors are most certainly NOT cast as thugs all the time.

    You know that. You are merely trolling. And you're not very good at it.

  • Mark
    Lv 6
    1 month ago

    This is typical. See the movie "Hollywood Shuffle"

  • What do you think of the answers? You can sign in to give your opinion on the answer.
  • 1 month ago

    Yes, if you don’t fit the image (or can’t convey that image during an audition) casting directors will pass you up for the role.  If you don’t want to portray a “bad guy” then don’t audition for a role like that.  I don’t see the point of being insulted of being asked to audition for a “bad guy”. Actors shouldn’t take auditions personally.  

    As a woman who is six feet tall (and was a professional, union actor for 15 years), I was often cast as the villian. I was too tall to play the love interest of an actor who is shorter then me (and most actors are shorter then me). I didn’t take that personally or feel insulted. I understand that it’s a business and I need to understand how I fit in with my skills and my looks so I knew how to best market myself.

    You’re right though that if a casting director was casting a doctor, lawyer, business man or the like they default would be a white male even if that wasn’t specifically stated in any breakdown or description.  I do think that’s changing - that the default isn’t white and male for those roles.  I think as more women and people of color become directors, casting directors, producers and the like, then the more diversity there will be.

    But being an actor by it’s very nature is full of rejection. There is a ton of competition which is why networking is so important. Actors need to make and keep connections in the industry. I totally get that it’s easier to make connections with people who look like you or have similar backgrounds - but it’s not impossible to make connections with people who are different. And like I said, as there is more diversity in the people who make the films there will be more diversity in casting.

  • Cogito
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Modelling has nothing at all to do with acting.

    As far as the acting goes, your agent will be given a list certain roles by a casting director, specifying the approximate 'look', age, height, weight, etc of the characters.  The agent then looks through his books to see if any of his clients fit that description.  

    He then contacts those actors and suggest that they apply for an audition.  It's up to the actor to do so or not.

    Either through your audition or by looking at your showreel, the casting director will choose the actor he feels could portray the character best.

    Of course you would get passed by if you could not or did not portray the role as they wished!

    And the agent only picks the actors who might get chosen for audition - he doesn't decide what race/colour/gender the characters are - that's down to the director and/or the producer - or even the writer of the play or script.  

    Neither your agent nor the casting director are being offensive.  They're just doing their jobs.

    Of course you could play a doctor or an attorney, but only if your agent gets asked to suggest an actor for such roles.  He may never have been asked!

    Just one last thought - if your agent is the same one who got you all those modelling jobs in the past, it may be time to seek another one.  Most casting directors only approach agents who deal with models as well as actors if they're looking for very good-looking/beautiful people.  When they want good actors and care very little about their appearance in terms or beauty, they go to real acting talent agents - not those who work with models.

    That may be limiting your opportunities.

  • Peter
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    The same thing happened to Danny De-vito, he applied for the Superman role.

  • 1 month ago

    The talent industry don't get paid, if their clients don't get jobs.

    they are on commission.

    It is the job of the Casting Agents to Find and submit Only People who fit the Role as instructed by the Producer and Director. Finale choice is selected by the Producer and Director

  • mokrie
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Well you tried out for a role of a criminal and not the role of a doctor or lawyer so you can't blame them for wanting a "type" for that part. If they want a Danny Trejo type and your a red head with freckles it ain't gonna happen. Film is a business. The slim girl gets a part as cat woman and not the very fat girl. And often they have a certain face type or body type in mind for a part. Just keep hitting auditions and if you go to enough of them you'll get a part or two and build a resume.

  • Mark
    Lv 5
    1 month ago

    Maybe, maybe not. It isn't personal, despite what you think or say. Your job is to present a character that they like so much, they HAVE to hire you. Once you audition, the rest is out of your control. Worrying, wondering why or why not, is such a waste of time, because you don't really have a say in the outcome. Only in how you present the character during one or more auditions.

Still have questions? Get answers by asking now.