Actors would be horrified if they knew how casting decisions are really made. “How about Eric Bana? No, his foreign numbers are lousy; we should go with Kenau Reeves. No, he and Jennifer Connelly can’t stand each other. They were in that tentpole that really bombed. Well, how about James Franco? Too young. He can play older. Think he’s tall enough? Jennifer is pretty tall…”
And so on and so forth. It seems to have nothing to do with their acting ability, if they are appropriate for the role, or their personality. It is all about what they mean at the box office. And, to a lesser extent, if they can get along with their co-stars. How they behave on a set really matters. I suggested a certain actress to my director and she visibly shuddered. “No way, she is impossible to work with; I’m not going through that again.” Well… put her card back in the pack.
Back in the day, studios manufactured movie stars. Today, it seems that even pretty bad actors can become movie stars, if their foreign numbers are good. That is one of the reasons that you see so many British and Australian actors playing Americans in the movies. Their names on the marquee draw theater goers overseas. Almost 70% of a movie’s revenue and 100% of its profit will be generated by foreign sales.
To the director, the actors are the raw clay that they form into the narrative of the film. To a producer, the actors are simply an expense item that they need to get the film made. To the exhibitor, the actors are the reason that people are sitting in their theaters – they could care less about the narrative of the film or what it took to get the movie made. To the actors, it’s a rigged game that keeps a small number of actors living in luxury and the vast majority of them waiting tables and selling cars.