How do new movie/tv shows find cast members if it’s a secret project?


How do new movie/tv shows find cast members if it’s a secret project?

In: Other

They interview people for an unnamed/undescribed project. If they decide they might hire any of those people, they have them sign NDAs, before proceeding. Any actor knows that if he breaks the NDA, he’s probably not going to work again, so they tend to keep the project a secret.

Assuming they don’t already know who they want and have access into getting them. One can simply cast with a fake title, maybe change the name of the character Temporarily. Once the cast is set they can know what the actual project is and sign an NDA to not speak about it.

back in the ’70’s I knew some folks got work on a “horror” movie being filmed in Oregon called “Harvest Moon” i think the title was. The actors couldn’t breathe in their costumes so it was their job as soon as ‘cut’ was called they ran over and pulled the heads off so the actors could breathe. They didn’t know the creatures were “Ewoks” until the movie came out.

First, most productions have a “working name” that is usually totally unrelated to the intended release name. Aside from the main stars, none of those auditioning will know what the final movie will be called. It’s quite common for them to not know who will be directing it or producing it either.

Second, big productions will use casting agencies for most or all of the secondary roles. That agency will be given a brief thumbnail description of what the directors and producers are looking for. That agency then does the heavy lifting part of holding large auditions or sorting through talent agency submissions to come up with a short list of candidates.

Third, that short list of candidates may then go through a second round of auditions with the director, producer and perhaps senior writer(s). This is often the first time the candidates get a solid idea of who is being the project. Being required to sign a non-disclosure agreement at this stage is extremely common.

Fourth, it’s hard to nail down just how common this is, but any of the secondary cast who leaks stuff to the media can easily find themselves blacklisted, even if they aren’t already bound by an NDA. Even if talent agencies, casting agencies and main production staff don’t engage in blacklisting, would an up and coming hopeful want to risk it? The industry often has to re-shoot scenes anyway. Having to re-shoot scenes that don’t feature the main cast because you had to replace a secondary character half way through production is not a big deal. So even during production, if you screw up badly enough, you can be replaced quite easily.

The brutal reality is that the movie industry sees thousands of young hopefuls for every role. Competition is fierce but usually anonymous. You don’t know who else may have auditioned for a role you want. You don’t know who you’re going to be ultimately working for or how your desired role will fit into the over all story. It is an extreme example of a buyers market. (and that power imbalance is why the “casting couch problem” continues to thrive.)