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When someone involved in a fictional project makes a list of actors who would best represent a cast of fictional characters.

The purpose of a hypothetical cast may be to give the reader of a fictional work a better picture of how a character looks and acts. This is common practice for online virtual series and sometimes used by authors of commercially published works. It can also be part of a hypothetical discussion by fans of a work.

Related to Comic Book Fantasy Casting, where a comic book character's appearance is based on a real actor. Compare Textual Celebrity Resemblance, where a character's resemblance to a celebrity is mentioned within the text.

Examples of Hypothetical Casting include:

Anime and Manga

  • Anime Insider had a regular column that listed whom the editors would like to see in a live-action adaptation of an anime.

Comic Books

  • Scud the Disposable Assassin always listed the voices of actors that the creator of the comic imagined would be voicing the characters in animation.
  • Wizard Magazine had a regular column about what actors should play what roles in comic book movies.
  • In-universe example: At one point in The Ultimates. they sit around while being transported via cargo plane talking about who would play them in the movie of their lives. Naturally, Nick Fury says Samuel L. Jackson (on whom Ultimate Nick Fury was based).

Fanfic/Web Original


  • During the end credits of Cradle 2 the Grave, two of the comic-relief sidekicks have a conversation about who would play them if somebody made a movie of what just happened.

Live Action TV


  • In the back of Inkheart, Cornelia Funke mentioned that she always imagined Mo to be a bit like Brendan Fraser, and then the casting went like that for the movie.
  • In the back of Dark Fire, Cris D'Lacey made a list of all the actors he imagined playing each of his characters in response to a question.
  • This fan-made credit sequence for a hypothetical Good Omens movie.
  • In Stephen King's novel The Regulators, after Johnny Marinville and his black neighbor, Brad Josephson have a hard time climbing a fence to escape from monsters, Johnny jokingly suggests that they should make a movie called Black Men Can't Clmb Fences, where Brad would be played by Laurence Fishburne.
  • J. K. Rowling had her own ideal cast for Harry Potter long before the first movie was made, and was lucky enough to see several of her choices (Robbie Coltrane as Hagrid and Alan Rickman as Snape, to name two) actually used.
  • James Bond is described in Casino Royale as looking like singer Hoagy Carmichael.

New Media

  • The chromatic recasting meme on Live Journal and Dream Width, in which posters recast parts in TV shows and films with actors of color to prompt conversations about race in the media.
  • On Deviant ART, this is known as a casting call.
  • In online RPGs, players often use pictures of real people (actors or otherwise) to represent their characters. This is called a PB, or "played by".
  • Amusing things happen when this is done with Harry Potter characters before they are cast for real:
    • Before the third film, Ralph Fiennes was a popular fan casting choice for Lupin. Ironically, Ralph Fiennes went on to play Lord Voldemort, which is about as far away from mild-mannered Professor Lupin as you can get. There are still plenty fans who think Ralph Fiennes would have been a better Lupin than David Thewlis.
    • In a 2006 Fan Vid about Barty Crouch, Jr., Bellatrix Lestrange was represented by footage of Helena Bonham Carter from Merlin. She would go on to play Bellatrix in the actual films.
    • A 2005 Entertainment Weekly article speculated on who should play characters in the then upcoming Potter films. Helena Bonham-Carter was suggsted... for the part of Merope Gaunt.

Tabletop RPG

  • The Buffy the Vampire Slayer tabletop RPG made a lot of hay out of the televised nature of its inspiration; the GM position is called 'The Director', and individual adventures are called 'Episodes' and meant to be part of a larger 'Season'. To top it all off, the rulebook encouraged players to identify the actor who would play their character if the game they were in was actually a TV show.


  • In a PBS documentary on the making of The Producers (stage musical) cast album, Nathan Lane jokes with Mel Brooks about who will star in The Movie. Lane says Danny DeVito will be playing Bialystock. Brooks promises that Lane will be in the movie.

Web Comics

Western Animation

  • In-universe example: In response to a remark about who should play Homer in a live-action The Simpsons movie, Homer exclaims, "Isn't it obvious?! It should be Gary Oldman!"
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